In the previous article, we covered how to build a basic structure in Sketchup. If you want to, you can go back and review the first Sketchup lesson.
In this article, we are going to learn to use more tools to get a better understanding of this great program. Here is the basic structure that we built in the last article (see 1).
Now let’s start adding components. Go to the Windows menu and select Components (2). A window will open up. On the drop down menu, select Components. Below the drop down bar, you will now see many options. Let’s start with putting a door in the hole space we cut in the wall in the previous lesson. Select Architecture and then look for a folder titled Door. You will have several options for doors here. Click on the door you want and simply drag it onto the canvas to the wall NEXT TO the hole where you want the door installed, so the door will stand upright. (If you try to put the door in the hole first it will ‘fall’. Putting the door on the wall lets the computer know that you want it upright.)
The door will probably not be the right size for hole that you want to fill (3) so with the door still selected, go to the Tools menu and select Scale.
The door will now have lots of green boxes showing around the edges(4). Grab one of the edges and you will be able to enlarge the door and make it the same size as the hole. (Moving a corner will keep the proportions the same. Grabbing the side or top green box will stretch the door.) You can now move the door until it fills the hole you made using the Move/Copy tool, as explained in the first Sketchup article(5).
Now go ahead and drag another door into the hole you made for the bathroom and using the same technique, enlarge it and put it in place. Doors are just one of many types of objects you can add to the room.
Now that we have the basic layout of our dorm room, we can start adding furniture. Go back to the Windows menu and select Components again. In the drop down bar select Architecture. Below you will see several options. Click on Furniture. Let’s add a desk, so find a good desk in the Desks folder and drag it into your room.
Now that your desk in the room, we need to orient it so that it will be flat against the wall. Select the Move/Copy tool and move your cursor over the desk. You will notice that a 4 red + sings appear at each of the 4 sides of the desk. As you put your cursor over any of the + sings, you will see that a type of rules will appear over the desk (5).
While holding the mouse button down, move the mouse around. Notice how the object changes orientation. This is how to adjust an object in 3D space. Orient the desk until it aligns with one of the walls. Remember that while your mouse is over the + sings, you can change the orientation of the object, and while the mouse is over some other area, you can move the object within the room.
Using the same Scale tool that we used to enlarge the door, adjust the desk size until it is proportional with the rest of the dorm room.
Now that you know how to add and manipulate a piece of furniture in our room, let’s add more furniture and make our room ready for occupants. Go ahead and add some beds, a cabinet, and a toilet and sink in the bathroom. As you do so, remember that you not only have the objects in the Components windows, but if you choose, you can add more objects through the 3D warehouse and by adding more objects in the bonus pack. We will cover how to do this in the next section.
Now that your room is furnished, let’s learn how to add textures. First, let’s install some carpet on the floor. Go to the Windows menu and select Materials(7).
A window will pop up. In the drop down menu, select Carpet and Textiles. Here you have a wide variety of styles of carpets and textiles to choose from. Click on a color you like. When you move your mouse over to the canvas, notice that it now looks like a paint bucket. The surface you click on will be filled in with the color or texture you chose. Remember that textures won’t look perfect since the image has not been rendered yet. Think of this as a rough sketch of what it will look like when you are finished.
Practice placing colors and textures to the walls and floor. Then try adding some tile to the bathroom floor. Here is what my room looks like with textures and furniture added. (8,8a)
One awesome thing about Google Sketchup is that you not only have access to all the tools and objects available within the program, but you can also get massive amounts of objects from their 3D warehouse.
Look in the File menu and select 3D Warehouse then click Get Models(9,9a).
Here you will see an enormous amount of models that you can easily import to your project. Just click download under the objects you want.
Another cool resource is the Google Sketchup website. If you go here, you can download large bonus packs of furniture, people, cars, etc, all for free!
One of the great things about Google overall, is the incredible amount of resources available to help you become more proficient with this program. If you go here, you can get videos and self-paced tutorials that cover many ways to use Sketchup and how to use even more tools.
The ability to convert your canvas into a photorealistic picture takes a little more effort. Sketchup itself does not have a render engine. It is still possible though. Here is how I do it.
First of all, go to the Sketchup 6 Plugins page. A plugin is basically software that adds functionality to a program. Here you will see several choices. Among these, there are two types of render engines. One type works within Sketchup, that is, inside the program. The other type allows you to export your canvas and render it using a totally separate program.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s use a renderer that works within Sketchup. Many of these you will need to pay for, but they have free trials. I downloaded and installed the trial of Podium. When you install Podium, remember that you need to save the registration code they give you. Once installed, reopen Sketchup and go to the Plugins menu (10), select Podium then click Show. When the screen pops up, click on the Settings (10a,10b): the second screen will pop up.
Make sure that in the Settings, you choose a place to save the rendered file where you can find it easily. You can adjust the quality of the rendered image with the slider bar in the setting menu also.
Clicking Render is like clicking the button on a camera. Whatever is visible on your screen is what will get rendered. Manipulate the canvas until the picture you see is what you want. Then select Render on the Podium window. It will take a few minutes for the computer to render and polish the image. Once it has finished, click Save. Podium has now saved the rendered image in the place you specified. Here is what my image looked like before(11) and after(12) rendering. So cool!
This series has covered how to make structures, add objects and textures and render images. The more you explore and experiment, the more confident you will feel creating your designs. Sketchup has many more tools than those covered in this tutorial. If you are interested in a how-to guide on anything else, please let me know. Thank you for using this How to guide. I hope
you can see the potential for creating your oun great 3D im
ages in Google Sketchup 6!