Monday, April 13, 2009

Google Sketchup Materials

There are lots of times when the materials provided in Sketchup just don't cut it.  You may be trying to draw something and it just doesn't look right unless you have the right texture.  Here's a couple solutions:

One easy way to find more textures is to just do a google search.  I found these textures of a bunch of different woods that can be downloaded.

You can also search in the 3dWarehouse.  If you want leather, just do a search for leather.  You may find a couch that has a texture that someone created.  Just import the couch and grab that texture to use in your model.

One other way is to create your own texture.  You can use a photo of the exact thing you are trying to use as a texture such as a gravel path or house siding.  This is a little more complicated so I will discuss this in a separate post.  Let me know if you have any questions regarding textures.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

CAD Cleanup Scripts

The most valuable information I leaned this last week was about Ruby Scripts.  This was something I didn't know much about and just thought that it wasn't necessary.  There is no doubt that Sketchup will ever replace Civil3D because of the way that program connects and integrates pipe networks, surfaces, profiles, etc.  Also, there will be many times when we are working with other people or firms who are using different cad software.  However, Sketchup offers a unique way to show projects in 3D and rather than re-drawing every project in Sketchup, we can use the cad file as a base.

The time consuming and challenging part of taking a cad drawing and turning it into a 3D model comes from cleaning up the cad file and then making faces.  When line work doesn't connect where it is supposed to, or line work overlaps, we have to manually fix these problems before we can use it properly in Sketchup.  There are a series of Ruby Scripts that can be run in a particular order that will speed up the process.  All of theses scripts are avalable on

IntersectOverlaps - Causes lines that cross and do not intersect to intersect.

CloseOpens - This script looks for lines that are supposed to touch and don't, and then draws a line connecting the open segments.  Open line segments keeps faces from being created.

ExtendCloseLines - This script will find lines that fall short of touching their intended target and extends them in a straight line to touch their intended target.

DeleteShortLines - This script will remove those annoying little lines that overshot their target. 

MakeFaces - This script will create faces where it is possible to create faces.  A critical time saver for transferring Cad files to Sketchup.

MakeFaces is a free scrip and the others are all under $20 each.  I can guarantee that you will save more time and money purchasing and using these scripts than doing all that work by hand.

In order to run most of these scripts you need to add another basic one.  It is called  ProgressBar and is free.  This will display a progress bar on the status line while a script is running to let you know how long it will take to complete the script.

By clicking on any one of these links above it will take you to the Smustard website link directly to that script.  You can then download and/or purchase the script.  In later blogs I will make some video tutorials that show how to use these scripts and show the benefits of them. 

Happy Sketching!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Google Sketchup 3D Basecamp Day 2

Today was another great day at the Google Headquarters. The day was packed full of hour long sessions to choose from. During the first hour session I chose to forgo the sessions and visit the 'Sketchup Lab.' This is the play to go to share models, experiences, troubles, and get help. One of the Ruby Script authors was there sharing some extremely valuable information. His name is Todd Burch and he has many scripts on the Smustard website. Stay tuned for some exciting information that will drastically transform the way you take Autocad or Civil3D files into sketchup to model in 3D.

The other sessions I attended taught me alot about how to manage large models and how to work with the 'sandbox' tools and digital terrain.

I am excited to share what I have learned and I hope you all find it useful. If any of you reading this have been here at the Sketchup Base Camp please let me know. I'd love to connect with more people that use this software in a similar manner.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sketchup 3D Basecamp Day 1

Today was the first day of the Google Sketchup 3D Base camp. I have nothing but good things to say about the experience so far. Today I attended three sessions: Smart Modeling, Geo modeling, and Sketchup & Autocad.

I will share in more detail the useful things I learned. The Smart Modeling session was about making models that were organized and did not have more detail than is needed. This will greatly useful in the large models that we build.

Geo modeling was about taking a photograph, and using the 'photo match' tool to build a 3d model, and then placing the model into Google Earth.

Sketchup and Autocad was about just that. The interface between sketchup and Autocad. This session had the most valuable information of the day. Stay tuned for some great time saving tips for taking your Autocad files and turning them into Sketchup Models.

Tomorrow is going to be another great day! I am looking forward to it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Google Sketchup Tip: Field of View

I came across this tip the other day and thought I would share it on this blog.  If you have ever been modeling and wished that you could see more inside the window without zooming out, then this tip is for you.  Many times, zooming out doesn't work because there is an object or wall that will come between the 'camera' and what you are looking at in Sketchup.  By changing the field of view you can increase or decrease what is shown in the window.

The video above is quite thorough but I would like to add one note.  If you are a photographer, you know that different lenses can be characterized by their zoom or 'field of view.'  A 20mm lens is more of a wide angle lens than a 300mm zoom lens.  You can also input the desired field of view in Sketchup as millimeters instead of an angle.

I hope that this tip helps you in your sketches!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Google Sketchup 3d Basecamp

It's official.  I was selected randomly to go to the Google Sketchup 3d Basecamp.  Basically, it is a seminar or conference all about Sketchup.  I will have the opportunity to head down to the Googleplex and hear some speakers on some great topics.  Here are a few of the topics that I am most looking forward to:

-Working with large models
-Sketchup and Digital Photography
-Taking your models into Photoshop
-Working with terrain and other irregular surfaces
-Sketchup and Autocad

Here is a complete schedule of events and topics for the Basecamp

I will be sure to take plenty of photos and share all the great information that I learn.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Intelisum - Processing LIDAR Data

InteliSum, Inc. has developed innovative and patented 3-D InteliCamera™technology that fuses LIDAR XYZ coordinates, digital image (RGB) data, and geophysical position (GPS) information to create Life Dimensional™ image (LD3™) files. Our intelligent pixel (InteliPixel™) technology allows easy capture of 3-dimensional objects and environments, plus fast, seamless transition (transfer) into computer aided design (CAD) software.
I think we will try the demo of this software and see how well it works.  I will let you know how it works.  If there are other programs that some of you may know about that are used to process LIDAR data, let us know.