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Creating a simple structure.

Start a new SketchUp drawing to work through this part of the tutorial. Draw a 50' x 30' rectangle by activating the Rectangle tool; pick a point in the upper left side of the screen and start dragging it to the lower right of the screen and type 50' x 30'.


Use the Zoom Extents tool to zoom out to the entire drawing space. Orbit so you see the rectangle in perspective as seen in figure 2-20.

Use Push/Pull to raise the structure 12' (figure 2-21).



Select the Top View and draw a line from midpoint to midpoint along the length to create a roof line (figure 2-22).


Orbit again to get a perspective view and then using the Move tool select the line you just drew to pull the roof line up along the blue axis, then type in 8'(figure 2-23).


Now we will make a small addition to the side of the house. Draw a rectangle on face along the length of the house. The sample below uses a 10',12' rectangle. Draw another rectangle along the ground that matches up in length with the rectangle on the wall. The sample uses a rectangle that is 10',5' (figure 2-24).


Inference Locking

To draw in the walls of this addition we will use the Line tool and what is known as Inference Locking to make sure that the two roofs will align. Activate the Line tool; select the back corner of the ground rectangle and start dragging the cursor up along the blue axis (figure 2-25).


Once the blue axis inference tag is displayed, hold down the Shift key. This refers to locking the inference and forces that line to move only along that axis. With the Shift key held down, locking on blue axis, select on the surface of the roof (figure 2-26). This draws the line up along the blue axis until the top point aligns with the pitch of the roof.

Use Inference Locking to draw the other corner of the ground rectangle. Draw a line connecting the two lines just drawn for creating the outside wall (figure 2-27).

Keep using the Line tool to draw in the lines from the corners of the walls to the bottom roof line (figure 2-28).

To create surfaces on the two sides, use the Line tool and draw lines from the top corners of the outside wall connecting to the roof line (figure 2-29).

Repeating a Task

Use the Push/Pull tool to pull out part of the roof and type in 1" (figure 2-30).

To repeat this task on the two other sides of the roof, just double-click on their surfaces (figure 2-31).

Use the Line tool to draw in the remaining fascia (figure 2-32).





Use Push/Pull to pull the fascia out 1" and then double-click all the other surfaces to repeat this task (figure 2-33).

Zoom in to the peak of the roof and orbit so that you are looking slightly up at it. Using the Line tool, draw in the peak of the roof on one end using the inference tag parallel, which is represented by a magenta line, and the inference tag intersection created when hovering at the bottom of the peak (figure 2-34).



Orbit around to the other end of the house and use Push/Pull to drag the peak the length of the roof line (figure 2-35). Select a point along the far side of the roof line to get the on-face inference. This ensures that the peak runs flush with the other end.

Use the pink eraser to heal the surface of the fascia and roof (figure 2-36).






The components are found under Window- Components. You will see a variety of categories in the pull-down menu (figure 2-37). The components that appear are the samples. You can download more component files by going to



Select a download option and save it to your desktop. On your desktop, double-click the file to embed in the SketchUp program under program files.

Start by embellishing the structure with windows and doors. Select Architecture--Doors. Select a door and hover along the walls that you want your door to go on (figure 2-38). You should see the inference tag on face appear; now drag the door to the bottom of the structure so the inference tag reads On Edge, letting you know that the door is actually attached to the bottom facade of the structure.

In the Components palette, use the Back arrow to go back to the main listing of architectural elements (figure 2-39). Select the windows folder and add some windows (figure 2-40).




Face Me

In the Components palette, use the Back arrow again or pull-down menu to get back to the main subject headings and select the Landscape Architecture folder. Here you can find a variety of landscape features. Most components are 3D, but if you look under plant_materials, you will notice 2D and 3D options. The difference between the two, outside of the fact that one is 2D and the other is 3D, is that 3D images create a huge file size. The good news is that the 2D symbols have what SketchUp calls "Face Me" applied to them. This means that no matter which way you orbit around your model, the symbol will always face you. In plan view, they look like thin lines, but in perspective they will rotate around. I recommend putting in all the plant materials in plan view, especially if you are copying a plan already done in AutoCAD (figure 2-41).

You can add more items throughout your model. As you orbit around you might notice that some items get placed underground. If you are having trouble setting items on the ground, draw a small rectangle on the ground plain and then place the component on it. You can go back and erase the rectangle later.



The materials are found under Window--Materials. In the pull-down menu you will find a variety of materials that can be applied to your model (figure 2-42). Select Brick and choose the Brick_Rough_Dark, and now select anywhere on the surface of the building. To change it, select a different material and reselect the surface. If you want it to go back to the default colors, select the "set the material paint with to default," which is the purple/beige swatch on the material browser.

Altering Material

To exaggerate the scale of a material like the brick, select a material and then click on Create and alter the size or color of this material (figure 2-43). When you hit OK, it will be added to the materials list that exists in this model. Notice the tab in the Materials pull-down menu has changed from Materials to In Model. Select the material here and then select the surface you want it applied to (figure 2-44).




Setting Up a Slideshow

This feature sets up a series of pages that will run like a slideshow. The transition between pages is animated so it automatically continues to the next slide. To start, set the drawing to plan view by selecting the Top View from the View tools and selecting Zoom Extents. Then go to View--Animation--Add Scene (figure 2-45).

You will see a page tab appear at the top left of the workspace screen. Now orbit around and zoom in to your project and add another scene. You can change settings and effects when you add scenes, and those changes will be reflected in the slideshow. To hide components that will not be seen on a page, select the component and then go to Edit--Hide. This helps with running a smoother slideshow by allowing you to visually disable parts of your drawing that will not be seen. To turn them back on, go to Edit--Unhide--All or Last, depending on what you want to show up again.

Face Style

Face Style tools allow you to choose a variety of options that relate to how the model will be seen (figures 2-46 and 2-47).

When X-Ray is selected with any of the other options, it allows a see-through appearance of the model.




Style Settings

The Styles settings allows you to choose a variety of options that relate to how lines will be seen. Go to Window--Styles and select the Sketchy Edges style and select each of the options to see how they affect the line work in the model (figure 2-48). You can also adjust the settings for many of the styles to exaggerate or minimize the effect by selecting a style and then the edit or the mix tab.


Add a slideshow page after selecting some display settings.

With the textures back on, it would look as shown in figure 2-49. Orbit around your drawing and add another slideshow page.

Shadow Settings

You can create quick shadow studies by using the Shadow Settings. Go to Window--Shadows. Here you can check the display shadows box and set a time of day, day of the month, and how light or dark you want your shadows to appear (figure 2-50).



But this shadow assumes north is to the right along the red axis and that it is in Boulder, Colorado. To change to a specific geographic location with a specific north angle, go to Window--Model Info and select Location on the left-hand list. You can choose a city, state, and north angle. In this example, I will set the shadows to be for Athens, Georgia, and north to be 45[degrees] from the red axis (figure 2-51). Add another page to the slideshow after setting shadows.



To set a text style, go to Window--Model Info--Text from the list. Select the Font button to choose a font, a style, and a size. Hit OK to get back to the Model Info--Text and select the black box next to Font to change the color of the font. Hit OK to get back to the Model Info box. To type on screen, go to Tools--Text and select a location for the text to go. You can use the Selection tool to erase it, or double-click on it to edit the text. To change any existing text, make the changes in the Model Info--Text--Font button, make your changes, click on OK, and then choose the select all screen text from the bottom of the Model Info--Text.

Slideshow Settings

Go ahead and add another slideshow page. At this point you should have several pages.

To set the timing for transitions go to Window--Model Info--Animation. This allows you to set timing for the transition between slides as well as the pause at each slide. Set page transition to 5 and page delay to 0. Right-click on one of the page tabs and select Scene Manager. Here you can change the name, organize your pages, or set properties for individual slides. Hit OK when done. Right-click on one of the page tabs again and select Play Animation to view the slideshow.

Saving and Animation

Save this as a SketchUp file by going to File--Save As. To save this as animation that runs smoother, go to File--Export--Animation and make sure the file type is set to .avi, which will play in the Windows Media Player. Once it has saved, open Windows Media Player and go File--Open and search for the file, select it, and open. Then select the play button at the bottom of the screen.

Saving and Printing

Save the drawing with the default SketchUp extension .skp to continue work on the model. You can also export the file as a 2D graphic with the .pdf, .jpeg, .tiff, or .dwg extension to be able to bring it into other programs.

To print, zoom and pan into the area you want to print. Go to File--Print Setup to select a printer, paper size, and orientation. This project is set to print to a color printer, ledger paper, and landscape orientation. Once the printer and paper are set you can go to File--Print and set it to fit to page.

If you want to print to scale, you must first deselect Perspective by exiting from the print dialog box and going to Camera--Select Parallel Projection. Then choose one of the predetermined views from the View tools. In the print dialog box, uncheck Fit to Page to have the option to select a scale by entering a unit in the printout to a unit on the ground in SketchUp. So a scale of 1/8" would be a printout equal to 1" and SketchUp equal to 8'.

author's notes

When applying Components and Materials, the file size can get large very quickly. For this reason, the components and materials will be applied to two sides of this structure.

At this point in the development of a project, many firms have enough information to print out several views and hand sketch accurate perspectives. Another option is to export this as a JPEG and render it in a more graphic-intensive program such as Photoshop or Piranesi. As previously mentioned there is some debate on whether the printed representational graphics of SketchUp are presentation quality. But below you will find a few extra steps toward finalizing the project for producing another popular method of project presentation: the slideshow and/or an animated walk-through.

By Professor Ashley Calabria
COPYRIGHT 2009 Delmar Learning
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Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:CHAPTER 2: SketchUp
Author:Calabria, Ashley
Publication:Computer Graphics for Landscape Architects, An Introduction
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Previous Article:Basic 3D drawing--let the fun begin!
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