Learning Sketchup

Some resources for learning Sketchup, (3D modeling software available for free online), to model my landscaping job for the house across the street.


## Day One Learning the basics

Moving a Point vs a Line

Day Two

I built a rough model of the house Mostly played around using what I learned in Day One. I also associated my model with the physical location; This was important so I could use shadows; so I could see how well the front porch shaded you from the sun , any day of the year, any time of day. Shadows are a standout feature for me; they make my model look more realistic – but more importantly, they let me design changes in the front yard to make it more livable (Colorado can be very sunny and very windy)

Day Three

I took measurements of a few parts of the house and the front yard so I could build an accurate model

### Creating a Group

### Labeling

### Importing Images

### Resizing with Tape Measurer Click once to place starting point; click a second time to place ending point, note the length of the segment you just created; then type a new length, and hit Enter; (you’ll be prompted to resize the “active component” aka group if you’re in one.)

### “Gluing” / Glue to Surface

Day Four

S - Scale; for creating reference lines/points (Hold Ctrl to scale around the center) Q - Rotate;

Day Five

Creating Dimension Annotations from Lines

Create a dimension annotation by grabbing an existing line, and “raising” it. This is useful becuase I find

If you create a dimension along a line (i.e. same target vertex is on same edge as start vertex), when you click the target, there will not be a perpendicular line, there will only be a point.

Guide Points with Tape Measurer

From the Sketchup forum

You add a guide point by selecting the tape measure tool, clicking on a vertex, moving the cursor to where you want the point, and clicking again. If the new location is on the same edge as the start vertex, you will get just a guide point.

Make your own* - Paste in Place Otherwise you must right-click

Day Six

Using Section Planes

Section planes give a “cross-section” view. This wasn’t necessary for my landscaping project, but would be useful for interior design. The building section symbol looked familiar (i.e. I remember them from the blueprints for my second-story addition.)

Browsing the 3D Warehouse

I wanted to add landscaping elements like trees, but I didn’t want to build something so complex! I used the 3D Warehouse. I took advantage of these features:

Creating 2D Face-Me Components (Plants in the Yard)

I added trees, but I couldn’t find feathergrass in the 3D Warehouse, so I wanted to add my own image. This article explains how to do it. The basic steps are:

  1. import a 2D image
  2. convert it to a “Face-Me” Component
    • so that it always “turns” to face the camera, so a 2D image appears to be 3D
  3. carve its hidden geometry so it casts a shadow
    • Configure the component so the shadow is “perpendicular to the sun”

Extruded Text

I needed address letters on my front porch;

Casting Light

I added a horizontal “slats”/screen because I’ve seen them in my neighborhood and I liked them (especially at night). I wanted to “light” my slats in the Sketchup model, but the free Sketchup for Web doesn’t have light features

Softening Edges with the Eraser tool and Ctrl

Now that I moved past my “landscape” topography, I didn’t need the distracting edges on the curved slope; I didn’t need the reference lines I added to mark out the lengths I measured.