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The Official AppleNova SketchUp Appreciation Thread


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The Official AppleNova SketchUp Appreciation Thread
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-09-28, 16:48

I've dabbled in this app a bit in the past, just screwing around and trying to get my head around it. But in the past week, I've really hunkered down and now I'm kinda addicted...



Any other SketchUp hounds here? For a free, fast-loading app, it way more precise and powerful than I ever knew!

As you know, the Google site where you download it comes with a gob of tutorial vids. Those are all well and good, but it wasn't until I stumbled across this site - SketchUp for Woodworkers - that it really "clicked" for me.

Watching those 7-8 videos there, I learned more in 30-60 minutes than I had the previous week, and all the "official" videos. The guy does a great job of explaining things. So if, like me, you weren't getting anywhere and simply not grasping things fully, give that Woodworkers link a shot.

Beyond that, this would be a good thread to share tips and tricks, or share drawings (a big, "catch-all" SketchUp thread is what I was picturing).

In just four days, I've used it to design a corner desk (I'd been doing it in Illustrator, but to bring into 3D dimensions and "fly around" it has been a blast), mock up up my Mom's bathroom remodel (which, thankfully, I'm not doing!) and even "visualize" my friend's front yard in KC, where I'm traveling next week to help her put up picket fence. She was quite impressed, and was finally able to "see it in her head", the approach were were going to take.

It's a great tool for the very things I enjoy most (furniture and gizmo ideas and design, plus room/house/yard projects). I'm constantly doing something in those areas, for fun or profit, and I can see how this would be a great "see it before you begin" tool. And you can't beat free.



It appeals to the same part of me that Illustrator does, I suppose...the clean-line, precision "draftsman" aspects (measurements, angles, rotations, constructing things, mockups, designing things for a particular space, etc.), as opposed to the more soft-edged, layered, "artsy" vibe of Photoshop, Painter and things like that (I've never been a painter or "artist" in that type of way...watercolors, painting fruit or landscapes, etc.).

I'm a hard-edged, tape measure and protractor kinda guy...and more now than every before.



SketchUp totally plays to that, and fits me like a glove.

7.1 just came out last week, BTW.

So, let the thread begin. I'd love to learn some cool tricks and tips, and even see some work done by others. That's how I get my "push"...
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addabox
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: oaktown
 
2009-09-28, 18:19

One of the things I do is serve as the technical director of a high school theater program, and Sketch Up is an absolute godsend for mocking up sets. A while back I made a scale model of the stage area itself, as well as component versions of some of our stock scenery pieces, and it sure does save time to just sort of throw things around to get a sense of mass and scale and placement.

I still haven't quite gotten the knack of getting things to move in the plane I want, and sometimes when I have discreet objects that touch one another they seem determined to go all Brundlefly on me and merge into sticky elastic monstrosities, but other than that it's amazingly easy to use.

That which doesn't kill you weakens you slightly and makes you less able to cope until you're completely incapacitated
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addabox
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: oaktown
 
2009-09-28, 18:27

Um, like this:

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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-09-28, 18:39

That's awesome. I can see how it would be great for stuff like that!

Hell, even just something like re-arranging a room (especially if you have large, funky or hard-to-move pieces). You might like to see how - or if - a particular idea will work before wearing yourself out, dragging stuff all around.

No, it's not photorealistic and I know there are nicer-looking ways of going about it. But, as I said earlier, you can't beat free and to quickly throw an idea together so easily, I can't imagine too many apps out there fitting that bill.

I've been wanting to rearrange my living room for a while now, but because of doorway, window and cablet outlet restrictions, I'm limited to only a few options. But I'm currently "building my living room" (including the furniture, doorways, window, electrical outlets, etc.) and can easily play around with a few "what if" scenarios at my leisure.

Beats boring old graph paper or "top-view only" approaches all to hell (but I've got those easily available too, with a single click, for any floorplan views I want). Best of both worlds...
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addabox
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: oaktown
 
2009-09-28, 19:01

One thing that happens when you spend a lot of time in Sketch Up is that you get so used to the two fingered track pad zoom and "o" orbit shortcut that you start expecting everything to work that way. Even having posted that jpeg export I had an overwhelming urge to zoom in a bit and change the POV.

I also really love the ease of importing images as textures. Painting surfaces with the kind of treatments you have in mind goes a long ways towards getting a feel for how the real thing will work.

BTW, this is all in the free version, 6.4. Do you happen to know if v7, or the "pro" version gives me a little more flexibility with lighting? Shadows and moving the sun around usually just make the stuff I work with look fucked up.

That which doesn't kill you weakens you slightly and makes you less able to cope until you're completely incapacitated
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-09-28, 19:02

I'm not sure. I'm not familiar enough with previous versions to know what's different or improved. Sorry.
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Bryson
Rocket Surgeon
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Whitby
 
2009-09-28, 19:05

Nice work Addabox. Planning on going into that for a living? Or are you going to get a proper job?

I have AutoCAD 2009 at work for the real nitty-gritty, but I use Sketchup for things like quick drawings of woodwork I want making. It's good stuff for free!
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Swox
OK Mr. Sunshine!
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Toronto
 
2009-09-28, 20:08

I got into it for a while over the summer (time is so short now that classes have started again... sigh), and I found out that if you have Photoshop, you can open the one file type they let you save as in the free version of Sketchup there, and then save it in any other format you like, which is nice. Maybe this doesn't seem as awesome to others as it does to me, but I was psyched that I was (if memory serves me correctly) getting the functionality of the full version for free (of course, it's not totally free, but I had already bought PS for other purposes, so it effectively was, I like to think ).

I was planning on doing some animation with it sometime (probably with After Effects or something, which I'll get when I have more free time to putz around). I'll post my evil wizards castle when I get a chance.

Do not be oppressed by the forces of ignorance and delusion! But rise up now with resolve and courage! Entranced by ignorance, from beginningless time until now, You have had more than enough time to sleep. So do not slumber any longer, but strive after virtue with body, speech, and mind!
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709
¡Damned!
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory
 
2009-09-28, 21:45

I used SketchUp to map the 3rd floor of my building so I could try a few construction layout ideas:


This was 6 years ago, but I still love playing around in it. I wish I had more use for SketchUp, because it's very satisfying to work in.

So it goes.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2009-09-28, 21:53

I would love to get the hang of this kind of software. I have played in this one as well as Punch's Home Design and just fail. I'm trying to get my house laid out so I can do furniture ideas as well as more complex things like working with contractors for changes and additions. Some day I'll learn it I guess.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-09-28, 22:09

Three things I've done in the past few days, just kinda learning it all. Nothing as cool as 709's apartment above (but that's coming...I spent a good part of yesterday measuring the entire joint ).

First is my friend's yard in KC, or how her fence will look after next week. The funniest part of this is that stock 2D person model I found in the Google 3D warehouse looks just like my friend! Same hair, body type, dressed the same (including the ever-present sunglasses any time she's outsides), always toting around a water bottle, etc. I couldn't believe it.



The second is me just practicing with shapes. Building something and then grouping it immediately seems to be key. I made a four-foot-long 2x4, grouped it, colored it and then duped it for my shop table (along with three sheets of half-inch plywood). That thing on the left is actually a recreation of a little table/rack I built back in the early-90's to hold my Tascam 4-track recorder and a couple of rack effects. It got left in California during a move, but I still remember what it looks like. I designed it to hold everything perfectly (this was pre-Mac/Illustrator for me, so it was cool to sit down and draw something on paper to hold the musical/recording gear I had at the time, drive to Home Depot to buy the stuff, come home and make it in one afternoon. It's just the bare carcass...I didn't include the black metal rack brackets or any hardware.

I've immortalized it in SketchUp.





And then this is a desk idea I was working on for my Mom. She's got a huge corner desk right now, but it actually sticks out into the kitchen doorway a few inches, and is just a beast. But for all its size, it has no storage or place to put stuff (it's two big flat surfaces and metal cylinder framing...no shelves or cubbyholes, etc. So I was playing with some ideas. Mostly for practice, but if we hit on something that might work, who knows? All those models you see were available at the 3D warehouse, including - to my total surprise - her exact display...a Westinghouse 19" widescreen display she got at Target, of all places, about this time last year. I couldn't believe it. I found a Mac mini, Time Capsule, orange iPod nano, etc.


Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2009-09-28 at 22:30.
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BuonRotto
Not sayin', just sayin'
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2009-09-29, 08:39

Dudes!

Duuuuuuuuuuuuudes...

I use SketchUp for schematic design of my projects. I used to use Form Z but gave that up because no one else uses it anymore. Anyway, here are my two most recent projects, one an architecture school, the other... a psychiatric hospital. Yup.





I definitely have to upgrade to 7.1. The school model there on the bottom is about 58 MB (is fully modeled on the interior too), and the hospital with site file is about the same (doesn't have an interior yet).

I'll be using SketchUp to model some ideas for our new house. We're planning on re-doing the kitchen, and we can possibly test some paint colors. I have to actually get in the house though and measure it first.
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BuonRotto
Not sayin', just sayin'
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2009-09-29, 09:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post
BTW, this is all in the free version, 6.4. Do you happen to know if v7, or the "pro" version gives me a little more flexibility with lighting? Shadows and moving the sun around usually just make the stuff I work with look fucked up.
Pro only gives you more exporting options, along with, I think, additional plugin support. Nothing changes about the default shadows/lighting in SketchUp Pro itself. There are plugins that improve on the rendering/lighting.

One thing I do a lot in SketchUp is lift the shadows up to at least 40, sometimes as high as 70. This lifts the shade color as well. By default, SketchUp attaches a light to your view/camera that shines brighter than any other light source, so your lighting can seem messed up if you're expecting, say, the table top to be brighter than the side that's closest to you. There is a simple checkbox to change this to "use sun for shading" in the shadows palette (not in the toolbar). Sometimes you have to fudge the sun's location too.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-09-29, 09:14

Holy smokes...you're the man!

That's awesome work.

My prediction: this thread is going to get super-cool before long...709 and BuonRotto have set the bar.

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BuonRotto
Not sayin', just sayin'
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2009-09-29, 09:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post
I still haven't quite gotten the knack of getting things to move in the plane I want, and sometimes when I have discreet objects that touch one another they seem determined to go all Brundlefly on me and merge into sticky elastic monstrosities, but other than that it's amazingly easy to use.
Learn about using components in SketchUp. Components are "smart" groups. You can save them individually and reload them in place of one another. So, for example, you can save one set design option, edit it, then save it as option 2, etc. You can then right-click on your option, select "reload" to bring up option 1 again. Compoents and groups also keep geometry from getting too glued together. You can go overboard with it (like one guy here at work who makes every single box a group, then makes it a component, then puts a bunch of them together as another component, creating overly-nested groups and components!), but it's very, very useful.

The inference snaps are hugely helpful, but you have to learn to 1. get the one you want (usually by dragging over or starting from another edge that goes in the same direction) and 2. holding the shift key to lock into that direction.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-09-29, 09:33

Very true. One of those Google tutorial vids talks about starting from a known, established origin or plane, if at all possible. If you just build something "out in space", that's fine...but you'll spend a little time dragging it over to meet the other elements. You'll think you're drawing a wall or shape directly beside an existing one...but when you orbit around and look at it from another angle you'll see you're about 10-20 feet away.



It's odd, working in that 3D space for the first time, but once you get the orbit, pan and zoom thing down and are smart about how (and where) you build and group things, a lot of problems go away. Right now, after only a week, I know I could throw together a desk or coffee table in a couple of minutes, with everything nicely aligned and positioned correctly. This time last week, I'd be crossing planes, dragging the wrong side, scaling stuff wrong, accidentally losing elements to other ones (via the Brundle method ), etc.

I'm serious, folks...if you're fuzzy on all this (new to it, just can't quite get a handle on it all, etc.), watch these seven "full" tutorials at that SketchUp for Woodworkers site.

By the time I finished the seventh one, I was so much better with it, and not so "wandering in the dark" about it all. Each tutorial builds on the previous one (he starts by building a simple bookcase), but with each video, he introduces more tools or approaches, embellishing that bookcase (in a sensible way too, via moulding or trim, etc. like you might want to do in real life). So it all builds on each other in a natural, sensible way. And you wind up learning 3-4 new tools (and how to properly use them!) along the way. Plus, great tips on grouping, components, moving on planes, scaling, rotating, etc.

I hope this guy does some more soon!
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BuonRotto
Not sayin', just sayin'
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2009-09-29, 09:36

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post
One thing that happens when you spend a lot of time in Sketch Up is that you get so used to the two fingered track pad zoom and "o" orbit shortcut that you start expecting everything to work that way. Even having posted that jpeg export I had an overwhelming urge to zoom in a bit and change the POV.
I find it impossible to use a trackpad with SketchUp! The one thing I don't like is the default pan/orbit tool on the mouse though. It's backwards from every other software I use. Orbit is middle mouse button by default, while pan is shift-middle button. Every other software I use, save the oddities of Adobe software, make pan the middle mouse button, whether in 2D or 3D. I fixed this along with the pasting behavior (to paste in place from regular ol' paste), and added a shortcut to hide all other geometry outside of a component (I used the H key). I just wish all other software (I'm looking at you, REVIT) used the same spacebar shortcut to get to a select/pointer tool.
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