SketchUp Tutorial | Construction Tools

  • These tools will provide you with some quick and easy ways draw up your model with accuracy and speed. We will start by adding the view toolbar, View->Toolbars, then select the Construction box. This will bring up a tab that looks like this icon:

  • Measuring tape, this tool allows you to create dotted construction lines along your model to then use as a pattern to draw lines. To use, select the tool from the toolbar and left click once on a line segment to start the construction line, then select another point/line segment to finish it. Icon:

  • Dimension tool, this tool allows you to find the distance between two lines or objects, can be used for documentation or notes to yourself. To use, select tool from toolbar and left click a point in your model to find the starting point of your dimension, then left click again at another point to finish it. Icon:

  • Angle measurement tool, this tool is very similar to the measuring tape, this tool will allow you to find the angle of an object or line. To use left click once at a point to start and left click again to finish it. In the lower right hand corner of your screen it should show you the angle of the object you measured. Icon:

  • Text string, this tool allows you to add notes to your model that has a line segment from what you attach it to with a note box at the end. To use, select the tool from the tool bar and hold right click from a point you want to add a note to. To change the text box double tap left click and this will let you change the note. Icon:

  • Reorientation tool, this tool allows you to move the orient axes. To use, select tool from toolbar and left click on a point to place, left click again to set the direction of the red/green axes and once more to set the direction of the blue axes. Icon:

  • 3D text, this tool allows you to create 3D text in your model. To use select tool from toolbar, this will bring up a window where you can enter the text as well as changing the font, size and angle of the 3D text. Icon:



SketchUp Tutorials | Toolbars

Toolbars are tabs you can add and remove to your workspace to create a easy and fast way of grabbing the tools you need.

To add and remove toolbars go under Views->Toolbars and select/deselect the desired toolbars. 

Once you enabled the toolbars you want you can drag the outline of the toolbar and snap it to the top, bottom, right or left sides of the screen. 

You can also create your own toolbars and add whatever tools you want to it. To create a new toolbar go under Views->Toolbars->New and it will bring up a tab for you to name the title of your toolbar.

Once you named it and hit "OK" it will bring up an empty toolbar. To add tools to it simply drag tools from your existing toolbars until you are satisfied with what it has. It will also bring up a box under toolbars named to what you set it as. You can create as many toolbars as you like or simply use the ones already created.

SketchUp Tutorial | Basic Drawing Tools

  • SketchUp has many different ways of drawing up your model. These are the basic drawing tools that you will need. We will start by adding the drawing toolbar, View->Toolbars, then select the drawing box. This will bring up a tab that looks like this icon:

  • Please note: These tools are only 2D tools.
  • Tip: To get a precise length type in how long you want it and in your bottom right corner there will be a box called Measurements/Length/Dimensions and it will show you the dimensions of what you just crated. If you want to make a line one foot ten inches type in 1'10" and hit enter and it should look like this:

  • Tip #2: For rectangles and circles it looks slightly different, to make a 3" by 3" rectangle make any size rectangle then type in: 3",3" and hit enter. The dimension box bottom right should look like this:

  • Pencil tool, this tool allows you to create line segments from point a to point b. To use select the tool and hold left click and drag until you get the length you want. Or left click once to start the line and left click again to finish it, then click escape if you are not going to continue the line segment.  Icon:

  • Freehand, this tool allows you to draw freehand, it is very hard to work with and I would not suggest it if you are trying to be accurate. To use select the tool and hold left click and drag. Icon:

  • Rectangle tool, this tool allows you to create rectangles/squares. To use select the tool and left click once where you want to start the corner of the rectangle and left click in another location to finish the rectangle. Icon:

  • Rectangle face, this tool allows you to make a rectangle from three points rather than two and can be more accurate. To use select tool and left click to start then left click again up or down from your starting point to make the length/width and finally finish the rectangle by going the opposite direction from the second point. Icon:

  • Circle, this tool allows you to create a 2D circle. To use select tool and left click to create the mid-point for the circle, then select another point to finish the circle. Icon:

  • Polygon, this tool allows you to create any sort of polygon you want. To use select tool and type in the number of faces you want for your polygon and click enter. Next left click to create the mid-point for the polygon and select another point to finish the polygon. Icon:

  • Three point arc, this tool allows you to create arcs from the midpoint then creating a parcial or full circle. To use select tool and left click to place the midpoint of the arc, then pull out to create the radious of the circle. Now simply pull mouse and left click when you have the satasfactory arc. Icon:
  • Raised arc, this tool allows you to create a arc from two points and then lifting up the arc. To use select tool and left click two points in your model then lift up to the desired hight. Icon:

  • 3 Point circumfrance, this tool allows you to create a circle from two points then will bulge out the arc. To use select two points in your model and drag out until you get the desired arc. Icon:

  • Closed arc from center, this tool allows you to create a closed arc from the midpoint. To use select tool and left click once to create the midpoint, then select another point to create the radius, next select another point to determine the how much of the circle you are going to use. Icon:

SketchUp Tutorial | Face Views

  • This is the second part to viewing your model. This is essential to get precision details to faces of your model. We will start by adding the view toolbar, View->Toolbars, then select the views box. This will bring up a tab that looks like this icon:

  • Isometric view, this tool will bring your view to the nearest isometric position. To use simply select the icon and it will preposition your view. Icon:

  • Top view, this tool will bring your perspective to a above view of your model on the blue axes. To use simply select the icon and it will preposition your view. Icon:

  • Front view, this tool will bring your perspective to a front view of the model on the red axes. To use simply select the icon and it will preposition your view. Icon:

  • Right view, this tool will bring your perspective to a right view of the model on the green axes. To use simply select icon and it will preposition your view. Icon:

  • Back view, this tool will bring your perspective to a back view of the model on the red axes. To use simply select icon and it will preposition your view. Icon:

  • Left view, this tool will bring your perspective to a left view of the model on the green axes. To use simply select icon and it will preposition your view. Icon:


SketchUp Tutorial | Views

  • SketchUp has many different ways of viewing your model. We will start by adding the camera toolbar, View->Toolbars, then select the camera box. This will bring up a tab that looks like this icon:

  • The most common is the orbit tool. To use hold your middle mouse button down and slide mouse around to get different perspectives of your model. Or select orbit icon from the view tab and hold and drag left mouse button to move perspective. Icon:

  • Panning, The panning tool is to move across the view face in a left, right, up down way. To use this tool hold shift+middle button and slide mouse across the screen. Or select hand icon from the view tab and hold left click and drag to move your perspective.  Icon:

  • Zoom, the zoom tool is to get a close up or zoom out of a model. To use, scroll middle mouse button forward and backward to zoom in and out of your model. Or select icon from view tab and drag left mouse button up and down to zoom in and out. Icon:

  • Zoom window, this tool allows you to select an area of the screen and it will move your perspective to fill that selected area. To use this tool select the icon from your views tab, hold left click and drag from one corner to the other. Icon:

  • Zoom fit, this tool allows you to zoom out until the model fits your perspective screen. To use select icon from the view tab and will bring the perspective to see everything in your model. Icon:

  • View Undo, this tool allows you to go to your previous perspective view. To use simply select the icon and will bring you back to your previous perspective. Icon:

  • Position the camera, this tool allows you to set the camera at a specific hight and location. To use select icon and attach to a plane, line segment or point and type in the eye hight to set the perspective. Icon:

  • Pivot camera view, this tool allows you to stay at the current location but turn the view left, right, up, and down while keeping the location stationary. To use select icon and hold left mouse button and drag to change view. Icon:

  • Walk camera view, this tool allows you to walk around your model. To use select icon and hold left mouse button and move up and down to walk forward and backward. Icon:


SketchUp Podium | Rendering

Since my last post I was playing around trying new things with SU Podium. Created a simple room, 12'x12' and added a couple windows and a bed and hit render.

Before each render I change the rendering definition to fast. This creates a lower quality render but it reduces the time of render by a lot and so making small changes and hitting render over and over takes hardly any time.

The first render came out semi decent, it was just a plain room with about nothing in it. So I added some window frames, curtains, & a picture and hit render again. This time it came out much better, it was starting to look like a room and not just a box.

One thing I did notice though that there wasn't enough light in the room. When I added the windows I didn't think about them being tinted, because they are there isn't as much light coming in. I tried adding some lights and it did add to the render but it was out of place, it was like a black room with a dot of light. It didn't light up the entire room but only a few feet around the lamps.

Then I realized, this render wasn't a actual room and no one could see the other side of the room. So I took out the back wall behind the camera and hit render again. This time the room was flooded with light, almost too bright, I took a paint brush and colored the walls a dark yellow and hit render, this was horrible, there was light but it made the color look really ugly.

I decided to go with a lighter yellow but even so it still seemed like a fake light if you know what I mean. This time I decided upon a very light blue, almost white blue for the walls and that did the trick. It gave it more of a soft light rather then a fake or hard light from the yellow.

After that I added a bunch more detail, another picture, baseboards, window sills, wardrobe, and some odds and ends of random things you might find in a bedroom. After this I did a HD render of it and posted it to my instagram page. 

Here is a photo of the finished render:

And here is a picture of what it looks like from my point of view when rendering:

I started working on another rendering of a room, this time its a living room rather than a bedroom but so far I don't like how its turning out, still playing around with different settings.

SketchUp Podium | Rendering Error

SU podium is a rendering system for SketchUp.

And lately its been having some strange Issues.

When I hit render there is a little icon on the logo down on the task-bar signifying that it is rendering but when I try clicking on it to open the tab nothing happens. I try opening several times but still nothing happens. I try googling the problem but it appears that no one has encountered this issue. Then I try un-installing it and re-installing. I go under the extension manager where I can find extensions I've downloaded in the past.

I find SU podium there but it appears that it has already been shut off.

I'm really confused at this point so I google "how do I uninstall su podium" and apparently SU podium is a program of its own and not a SketchUp extension. 

Now I go under programs and features in my settings. Finally I find SU podium there and hit un-install, nothing happens for a moment then it says uninstall complete even though I still see the tab. I never did figure out why it didn't remove it entirely.

Anyway, so I go to the download site to re-download SU podium. Everything went fine for a couple minutes and when I hit finish installing nothing happened once more. I tried installing it again but still nothing happened.

I re-open SketchUp and SU podium did install after all. I make a test model and hit render. Everything works like it is supposed to but when I try hitting the tab indicating that it is rendering nothing happens as before. Getting kind of frustrated I hover over it and it shows that it is a tab but when I click on it nothing happens.

By accident I right clicked the icon and clicked maximize tab, and it opened! I was really shocked it worked like that.

So it doesn't work like its supposed to but it does open if I click maximize tab. This is really strange and I hope I can fix this in the near future.

Drafting - Carpentry


We have a family friend that does carpentry for a living. Last year I started doing some work for him by drawing up the plans that he has. What he normally does is draws the plans up by hand then whenever there needs to be a renovation he re-draws the plan, again by hand. This is very time consuming for him.

Now, he does draw the plans out yes, but after he draws them he sends them to me and then I would draw them up again in SketchUp and send them back. When he needs something changed he would then ask me to move this line 4" forward or up or down. Add a drawer? No problem!

So what I do exactly is take the drawings he gives me then in SketchUp I would re-draw them and cross reference them with the plans he gave me then send them back to him. 

Another thing I do with the drawings though its more of a side project, is making the plans he gives me and turning them into 3D models which I would then make a 3D perspective drawing of them rendering with SU Podium - a rendering system.

The benefit of drawing them up in SketchUp rather then on a piece of paper is making large changes and even small ones are really simple and accurate and harder to loose.

When I start out drawing it I have a few presets I made for doing this particular thing. First one is setting this to what is called Construction Documentation, which is pretty much the same thing as what the default is, however it automatically sets the background to white and starts at a overhead view, which you might think  isn't a big deal but its really handy.

I just use the pencil tool and rectangle tool, pencil draws in one strait line from point a to point b, a rectangle tool allows you to draw a rectangle from one corner to the other with whatever size you want. 

Once I am finished drawing up the plan I send it to Layout. Layout is another program owned by SketchUp that allows you to send plans for the final touches and ready for printing or sending however you choose.

In layout, I add notes, dimensions, dates and title block. I would then double check that the dimensions add up from the plan he gave me and cross reference that it is linked with SketchUp still. Once this is complete I export the final document as a PDF and ready to send out.


Architecture - Revit

I love using SketchUp and have been for the past few years. However, it is not as advanced in some qualities as I once thought it was, it has a bunch of great features but is missing several key components and tools as well which makes it difficult for documentation and for setting material properties and the list goes on.

I talked to an architect a while back and asked him what programs he used specifically and he said that he used multiple software engines to get his work done rather than using only one. He gave me a list of programs that he used and said I should learn them all and that each had a certain use even though many could all do the same thing. SketchUp was a good modeling tool but didn't focus on documentation or some other key points. Photoshop was good for finished renderings for project proposals or to envision what the project outcome will look like, and so on and so forth.

He said that each of the programs he outlined were necessary and each had special qualities that all fit together, and each focused on a certain area.

On the list was a program Revit, he suggested I get into that as it is one of the most commonly used and advanced programs for architecture and said that it was a very important program to get to know as it was one of the centerpieces in the way of architectural software engines. He also let me borrow a book to learn the program and said that it was one of the best books for the program and should teach me everything I would need to know about the program.

I put a pause on SketchUp and starting reading into this new program. As I was going through the basics I was amazed at how detailed and simple but advanced, way beyond SketchUp. However I noticed that it was very advanced in some things, SketchUp had other qualities that outdid Revit.

So from all that. I am working to learn Revit and master it.

Diorama (pt 2, Model Tree's)

This is the second part of explaining what I do for making diorama parts.


While I was googling tutorials on how to make terrain and etc I found one on how to make model tree's. The tutorial started by showing how to cut the right length and how many to cut. If you wanted lets say a 3" tree you would cut 7" pieces of wire, and if you wanted lets say 24 total end branches you would cut 12 7" pieces of wire. Next you would hold them all together then bend them in half and twist a little loop on the bottom around 1"  loop, then keep twisting until you have a good size trunk about 2/3 of the rest of the wire.

Next you twist two of the top wires together until you can't go any farther with your hands, and do this to every single one until you have 12 wires. Next you take two of those and twist them almost all the way, and do this until you have 6 wires left, next do the same to these but instead of doing almost all the way you do it half, so you end up with a bunch of branches branching off of the 3 main ones, you can then fix anything that looks out of shape and curve everything into a circle at the top so it looks like a tree without leaves.

After that you go to the bottom of the tree where you have the loops, you take one of the loops and twist it until you have only a little loop at the end, you do this to every one until you have 12 little loops, next (this is optional) you can twist two of those wires together half way until you had 6 left. After that you take a pair of wire cutters of scissors and cut all the loop ends so that there would be now 24 ends, then use your pliers and twist them to about the shape of roots and you should have a tree that looks like this:

After you finish that you are on to the next step, and that's plastering it. Make up some plaster and get a paint brush and paint it onto your  tree until it drys and paint another layer on until it looks like a tree and not showing any wire like this:

After that paint it with brown paint and let it dry. Next use the green turf or moss and glue it onto the tree with hairspray or any spray glue. If you're using the turf from my previous post you have to layer it several times before its complete. You should have a finished product that looks like this: