Diorama (pt 1, Terrain)

One of the things I most love doing is making miniatures, and today's post I will talk a bit about how I made terrain

A little while back around Christmas I got a bunch of different materials for making a miniature scenery. I used card board to make the terrain and cut it out layer by layer until I had what I wanted:

Next I bought a thing called "sculpamold" and the stuff that acts a lot like plaster in that it is like a gooey almost dough like substance that I can form and put onto the cardboard:

After that I painted the entire thing green for the grass, now I wasn't finished with the grass but I painted green so that what I sprinkled on top would not show any white underneath it. Next I took some "Woodland Scenics course turf" which is like fluffy green cotton but a whole lot smaller, I mixed that with some other darker stuff to really add some texturing to the terrain. After that I made tree's, I used the same course turf but without the darker stuff, and picked up some twigs from a Manzanita tree as it branched out a lot more. Then I applied the course turf by using spray on glue and did it layer by layer until it looked like a tree. Next I sprinkled some of the darker stuff onto the top of it for more of a realistic look to it. After that I did some smaller detailing to the terrain to give it more of a realistic look to it:

I had the strips of cardboard in the back as I was also making a stone path and when I applied the turf it didn't get onto the places I had it covered

SketchUp | Uncles In-Law House

My Uncle is thinking of building a in-law house on his property and asked me to make a blueprint/diagram for it in SketchUp

Describing the building

I started by Skyping my Uncle and then he started explaining how he wanted the house, and I made it from there. Its going to be under 600 Square Feet because anything over that he would have to get a special permit to build over the 600 square feet. He wants one bed, one bath, kitchen, living room/dinning room all up and with a lot of natural light. He wants several closets for the utilities and ext. Here is a picture of what we made:

I took a bunch of stuff out of the 3D warehouse to furnish the 3D model. Since the house is so small most of the things that I brought in didn't fit correctly, I had to rearrange them a lot and resize them to get them to fit. I added a little person in it for perspective so that my Uncle could really get a good sense of size. I used screen-share so that he can see what I doing and that I don;t have to take a million pictures and send them to him as it is very time consuming.

This is my first actual project that might actually be used. While I was modeling it, I didn't have much time to get everything exact, so I will be re-doing the whole thing to make the size correct and build the furniture into the building not out of it.

SketchUp | Going Pro!

I recently bought SketchUp Pro, and today I will talk a bit about it

The version I have of SketchUp is a student version of it and that means that I can't use what I make on there for commercial use, basically meaning that I can't make a business using SketchUp in any part of it. Now that I have SketchUp Pro I can use it for a business and I get a bunch of other features like Layout, which lets you lay your 3D Model out into a printable form.

The reason I got this was for two reasons, number one is that I could use Layout and then having access to Layout I can really go through the book "SketchUp & Layout for Architecture". The second reason is that I can someday make a business, which I hope will be soon.

SketchUp Pro costs $695.00 USD

SketchUp Student Costs $49.00 USD

If you are new to SketchUp and not sure if you want to really get into SketchUp and you are still a student I would deffinitly suggest you get the student version even if you have enough money for the Pro version.

SketchUp | SketchUp & LayOut for Architecture

"SketchUp & Layout for Architecture" is written by Matt Donley and Nick Sonder. Today I will be talking about it

My mom is a part of a group that brainstorms ideas for their businesses. One of these people in the group is "Matt Donley." He is an experienced SketchUp user. He wrote a book called "SketchUp & Layout for Architecture" where he takes you through a step by step process of constructing a house and getting it ready to be built. Not only that but it gives you a detailed instructions on how to use the different tools in SketchUp & Layout. You use Layout to literally lay your model out.  Let's say you created a building and want to print up the blueprint for it, you would use Layout to do that. He came over last week and gave me a signed copy of his book

Matt Donley went to several Maker Faires where he found SketchUp and later helped the SketchUp team present their program. He also went to a 3D Boot camp and did a presentation on SketchUp. While he was there, he met up with Nick Sonder who is a architect and talked about SketchUp and such. After talking it over a bit Matt found that Nick needed someone to uncover any problems in his building model. Matt found that there are other people wanting the same thing, but couldn't find anyone to do it. Basically how it works is he gets the blueprint of the model and reconstructs it in SketchUp.  If he finds any errors in it he would tag it and then once done reconstructing the building he would send it back the his employer and his employer would fix it up and that would go to the contractor building the house or building.

Let's say you didn't double check for any errors in your model and you sent it off. Well, let's say you have a wall that goes out in a vertical line in your model but when you look at the blueprint it shows it going horizontally. You would want to fix those problems before sending them out to be used to construct the building. If you didn't do that, once the building was finished you would find that the person you hired to build it decided to make it horizontal and it made the building look funny.

SketchUp | More of Lynda!

After going through a few video tutorials from Lynda I have learned a lot of new things about making a proper building in SketchUp and here is a few of them!

Making parts separate from your building

In apart of the tutorial it says its best to make the parts in your model in a separate place, like instead of building it in your model to fit you create it before hand and then bring it in as a separate model. There are several different reasons for doing that, one is that you don't accidentally mess up and make some panel on a back wall of your building. It is very easy to make that mistake, so when making custom parts its best to make them separately and adding them in after.

Improving windows on your 3D model

When I made windows in the past I just uploaded a pre-made window from the 3D warehouse SketchUp has. I then just tried to fit it into the space I wanted, 99% of the time it didn't fit. I did make my own windows before but they never looked very good, now that I am going through a tutorial I now know how to make windows and how to fit the 3D warehouse windows to fit into the window frames I made.

Making background scenes

Lets say you make a custom kitchen for someone and you only want to present the kitchen and not the rest of the building. You can take a picture in real life of a room or something of that sort, and then upload that into SketchUp to use as a texture and put it in place of a open window between two rooms. Another thing that you would use this for is making a scene behind your windows outside,  like lets say you don't like the SketchUp view and you want to display something like your neighborhood where you would build or remodel the kitchen. Well all you have to do is take a picture with your phone of outside where the kitchen is/would be and use that to put on the outside of your windows, so that when looking around in SketchUp you can see outdoors. Like you can see here: (I did not make this, its apart of the tutorial)


I also learned how to make rimming for the walls, doors, and windows. Like instead of making a door trimming and then pulling it down to the ground you could use this tool called "Follow me" which basically lets you grab any template and have it follow your mouse to anywhere you wish, like going around the ceiling of a room, or around a door, all you have to do is select a template then use the follow me tool to pull it around a door to make a frame.

SketchUp | Making Blueprints

After looking around a bit for tutorials for SketchUp I remembered that there was an online teaching program called "Lynda" and I learned some new features from going to Lynda!

When I made houses in SketchUp I didn't do it right, I new that I didn't do it right, I just didn't know how to do it correctly. I had searched online in the past to see how it was really done. I knew that I had to make a blueprint first then go off of that, I didn't really know how to make a blueprint before and so didn't build the 3D models correctly. I found out how to make a blueprint using different layers to construct the walls, floors, doors, windows, and so on. From going through the lessons I know know how to properly construct a building in SketchUp.

To get in more detail on why and how I didn't do it correctly, I had made the 3D model like you would make a sculpture out of ice. You start with a big block of ice and chip away until you create something. What I did was had a block and  pulled things out of it. Now I know that I have to first create a blueprint of the building I want to make, then pull the walls up and add the detail and it would work out much better.

I found that in addition to starting with a blueprint its best to have a separate layer for almost everything, like one for interior walls, one for exterior walls, one for floors, and so on and so forth. If you have a bunch of layers for each thing you can get more detailed with your 3D model, like if you wanted to make all the floors yellow all you have to do it click one button and bam! they are all yellow. Whereas if you had done it by hand it would take you 5 times as long or more.

Here is a quick photo of a blueprint I just started:

SketchUp | Minecraft and How It Effected Me Getting Into Architecture

I've made many buildings in a video game called Minecraft, and recently I decided to convert one of those into SketchUp

I decided to do this because I noticed that the 3D models I created with SketchUp from scratch didn't look very good, so I decided to go from Minecraft to SketchUp. If you have played or have seen Minecraft you know that Minecraft is made up of blocks, and those blocks are huge, 1 square meter. I couldn't re-build it exactly the same as I had in Minecraft but similar enough that you can tell that they are alike.

Here is a picture of the minecraft version (on the top) and SketchUp version (on the bottom)

A little bit about Minecraft and how it effected my getting into Architecture

I have played this game, Minecraft for sometime now and I think that's actually what got me into architecture in the first place. I have built many many things on Minecraft, anything from a small cottage to a multi millionaire mansion. I built a lot on Minecraft and I enjoyed it very much so I was thinking I could learn how to design houses on 3D modeling programs and that could be my future career. When I was younger maybe 6 or 7 I was always wondering what my talent would be, my older siblings had theirs and I felt left out, my oldest brother used to have coin collecting, second oldest used to want to be a doctor, and third oldest was working toward being a programmer. None but one of them actually ended up with what they started but they all had their interests. I was always wondering what I could do, then my Dad started reading me this book called "Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction" and another book I forgot the name of. After that I started using some of the things I learned in the book in Minecraft and my buildings that I created got better from there.

A little after this my Dad got me this book called "Complete a Sketch" and I went through and completed that. By this time it was around 2014 or so. Then I heard of this Program called SolidWorks, and my Dad said I could buy the student version of it when I finished the Complete a Sketch. When I got SolidWorks I began learn how to use it. After that I make this website and started bloging about it :)

SketchUp | Recent Problems I've Had

I have had many problems and errors while using SketchUp and today I will talk a little about one of the experiences I have had

I don't know if its just me but throughout the entire time I've been using SketchUp I have encountered so many errors and problems with SketchUp its not even funny. Well, I will get right down to it, about 2 weeks ago my brother asked me if I could make a 3D model of a logo in a writers curriculum. Its called "One Year Adventure Novel" and teaches you how to write a book properly. There is also a forums for it and on there he decided to make a knife and send it to the owner with it engraved with their logo .He had made the knife and needed the 3D model to send with his knife to a person who can then engrave the logo into his knife.

So I started from scratch and built the model he wanted. First I made the outline of the compass then started bringing it out and turned it into a 3D model and came up with this: https://skfb.ly/SvGZ I sent it to my brother which in turn sent it to the Engraver guy. The next day the guy replied saying that the model was built wrong and so I had to go through and figure out what I did wrong. Couldn't find anything that was amiss but re-modeled it anyway. Sent it strait to the guy and he still had problems, then I figured maybe he was having problems with the model being hollow which hadn't made a difference to me when I had it to 3D print. Anyway long story short I filled in the model and sent it to the guy again. Once more he had a problem loading it into his program.

I had one of my brothers help on this (Nicholas Harris). He figured out the problem pretty quick, the only trouble was putting it into action. Turns out the problem wasn't with the model itself it was behind it, I will explain. When you engrave something you upload a 3D model and it will cut it out, well the problem was that it had no sense of depth without a background to tell it where it should stop off. We tried several different things and sent it to the guy hoping that the problem was solved. Well, its been over a week now and no reply from the guy, so we don't know if it works or if it has another problem and just doesn't want go any further. Until further news this is the end of the post, thanks for reading!

SketchUp | Terrain Building


I have been using SketchUp a lot lately. I decided I would like to go further then where I am now. So I made terrain for the models that I made to make it look a little more realistic. I didn't know how to do this so I searched up a tutorial online and found exactly what I was looking for. The tutorial was a step by step on how to make what ever kind of terrain you would like.

Here is a link to the video that I o https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DSmo_dLAmM

After playing around with different terrains I decided I would add a model to it to see what it would look like. I made a Modern House and then made a beach terrain and added the house to it and I think it turned out okay but it could have been better. The problem I had with it was making the terrain after I made the house and not before to have the house go on the terrain instead of building the terrain around it, if I had done the terrain first then it would look more like the house was built on a beach instead of a beach built around a house.

Here is what I mean, this picture is without the terrain: 

And here is a picture of it with the terrain:

If you want to see every part of the house you can go to this link: https://skfb.ly/RDIS but unfortunately the colors didn't upload so it is all white

One of the really awesome things about making terrain is that you can upload Google Maps/Earth and get the real life terrain and bring it into SketchUp to get a accurate size of where you want this house to be built. For example lets say you want to make a house next to you and you have a spot picked out, you open this area in SketchUp then you have the terrain of where you want the house to be. You then can build the house around the terrain and get a good sense of what it would look like in the desired spot of which you want it. If you had not done this then you would maybe like change some things when its too late and regret it. Having the terrain already there makes it easier for you to get a good sense of where you are and what you want changed before the house is already in motion to be built.


Hello once again

Today I am going to talk a little about a new program I am going to be using from here on out! SketchUp is a program that is sort of like SolidWorks but it more meant for designing houses and buildings, SolidWorks is used for engineering not for modeling buildings like what I have been using it for.

SketchUp is simple but advanced, what I mean by that is that it looks very simple but can get very advanced. SketchUp users are architects, designers, builders, makers and engineers. SketchUp allows you to draw out a shape then you can pull it into a 3D model, you can also put in the sizes you want to design the perfect home, you can drag, pull or even add furniture to see what it would look like in the real world. SketchUp also has the ability to add textures to your model to see what it might look like and get a better perspective on what you're going to put into real life. You can even upload your own textures into it or if you don't want to go to the extra trouble you can just use what it already has.

SketchUp also allows you to import blueprints and then you can bring those up and re-create a the house but in 3D form and maybe modify it a bit to get it to what you're looking for. I have not yet learned much about the program but it has interested me for making this my career in future years. Currently I have the student edition which does not allow you to use it for commercial use.

Here are 3 things I would like to use it for in the future:

1. I would love to design my own house in the future, as well as designing a cafe which I have had in mind for quite a while.

2. I would like to switch over from SolidWorks to this and create 3D models that I can create a blueprint for and then model it in real life as a house or whatever build I happen to do.

3. Also with SketchUp I would like to use this for moving things around in rooms and such by creating a 3D model of the room then add furniture to it and make it to what I want and then move stuff around in the room in real life and take what I did in the program and put it in real life