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View pashley's profile

Sketchup General Questions

by pashley
posted 03-23-2008 02:36 PM


40 replies so far

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2565 days


#1 posted 03-23-2008 04:04 PM

It doesn’t look like you can export 3D models, but there are some rendering plug-ins that do a much better job than the built-in rendering engine. You might be able to find a plug-in that will do 3D export, too.

If you are used to modeling programs, I don’t think you’ll have too much trouble with SketchUp. Most people pick up on the basics really quickly.

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2565 days


#2 posted 03-23-2008 04:15 PM

I am far from computer illiterate, and somehow ScetchUp has beaten me at every turn. Your mileage may vary.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile

ChicoWoodnut

904 posts in 2505 days


#3 posted 03-23-2008 05:06 PM

the free version does not allow exporting (Except to Google Earth). Here is a link to the files for the pro version.

http://sketchup.google.com/gsu6/exporters.html

As for the learning curve, It takes some time. I tried several other programs before landing onn this one. I still like it better.

-- Scott - Chico California http://chicowoodnut.home.comcast.net

View Paul M's profile

Paul M

70 posts in 2410 days


#4 posted 03-23-2008 05:53 PM

I have fiddled around with Sketchup a couple of times, but found the measuring lacking the accuracy I want. The 3D seems cool, but of no real value to me. I use a AutoCAD, and have never bothered with the rendering, since all I need is in 2D. Learning curve on most of these is prety steep, so since I know a number of keyboard shortcuts, I will stick with a standard type program.

-- Paul from New England "No man is a failure who is enjoying life". William Feather

View pashley's profile

pashley

1025 posts in 2408 days


#5 posted 03-23-2008 07:36 PM

I think I might take a stab at it, and get a “for Dummies” book to help me out.

Can someone point me to some renderings done with these plugins? I’d be interested in seeing them….

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View ww_kayak's profile

ww_kayak

70 posts in 2415 days


#6 posted 03-24-2008 04:32 PM

It looks like a fair amount work (depending n your experience), but the common theme is to convert KMZ files to whatever you need, however you can:
Sketchup to Bryce

Blender is also a free 3D program, but don’t even think about just trying to guess how to use it ;) If all you’re doing is opening and exporting, it shouldn’t be too bad.

-- Tom, Central New York

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7799 posts in 2742 days


#7 posted 03-25-2008 01:32 AM

I’ve been trying to learn SU for a few weeks now…

I have found it VERY FRUSTRATING… until I’ve learned how to handle my specific problem(s).

I have been fortunate to run into a SU GURU on one of the forums who is willing to help me with whatever my problems whenever I have problems. He has helped me alot.

I too have been working with computers since 1962, operating, programming, systems design, teaching, managing, etc.

I have found SU to be very hard to learn… not very user friendly… my friend disagrees… I’ve almost quit using the programs a couple of times now… to rest, think about it, only to try it again… getting better and better each time.

There are Tricks to it’s use… subtle tricks… still learning… getting better…

I’m currently learning how to rotate (orient) and move components to create the Model. That Rotate tool can be SO frustrating, it’s enough to really “get” to one…

I have alot to learn… the more I use it & learn, the more I like it.

I have learned alot from this LINK…
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?p=r&user=SketchUpVideo&page=1

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 2503 days


#8 posted 03-25-2008 02:12 AM

robertpaul~Lacking the accuracy you want- What are you building that you need better than a 64th?
You can always go to decimal mode….it reads to 0.000000”

Ryan

Edit: To change units:
Window-Model Info-Units

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here: http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/showthread.php?41055

View TheCaver's profile

TheCaver

288 posts in 2529 days


#9 posted 03-25-2008 02:29 AM

Sketch up is the best thing ever invented on the computer for woodworkers :)

JC

-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View pashley's profile

pashley

1025 posts in 2408 days


#10 posted 03-25-2008 03:39 AM

Yes, I’ve seen the SU videos on YouTube, and I think they will help me. I guess it’s like any program – you have to learn it, the hard way. Wish Apple had made it; I’d have had the Queen Mary done by now… :)

I’ll keep pecking away at it – I think it will be worth it in the long run.

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2776 days


#11 posted 03-25-2008 04:19 AM

As mentioned the free version will not export 3D models other than kmz for import to Google earth (pretty cool to play with that though) Clients think its pretty cool to zoom in on their project from outer space…:)

The sketchup render is better than most people think. The key is to get good materials textures. There is an extraordinary bunch of wood textures at:
http://www.defcon-x.de/textures/
Click on the thumbnails and then save the resulting page jpg to your materials directory. They are huge files so you’ll want to resize them. I used some in the Skecthup challenge:
http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/Treefarmer/blog/1965

I haven’t played with Bryce in years. I used to love the landscapes it would generate.

There is a very good blog (Design, Click, Build) on Sketchup at Finewoodworking.com. I used to contribute to it (you’ll find some of my video tutorilas there) but dropped it when I found LJ. Tim Killen on FWW is doing some amazing design work with it. FWW’s online subscription is a must for any serious woodworker IMO, amazing knowledge base there. I’ve done a few tutorials for Sketchup here as well. Just look at my blogs. I’ll try to add some more and feel free to ask any questions. Probably best to PM me so I’ll be sure to see it.

Sketchup is easy to learn for some and tough for others. I think it has to do with taking the time to view the tutorials avialable on the web and paying attention to the items that catch people. Sketchup has a very different way of creating geometry and its the subtle things that Joe mentions above that cause problems…stickiness and inference are just two that come to mind. One rule…you can’t make too many components. I make components of just about every piece in a design.

Accuracy isn’t a problem. You can type in the exact accuracy you need for almost any command. One of my blogs here talks of setting up Sketchup for woodworking.

I’ve said this many times and I’ll repeat it here. I have 30 years of design/drafting experience. I’ve used Autocad, Microstation, and other graphic and 3D design software professionally for over 20 years and use Autocad almost every day. I do all my woodworking design in Sketchup. Its the easiest and best software package I know of for creating accurate 3D designs.

I have a plugin for Sketchup that extends its realism but don’t use it much. I have seen some very realistic things done with some but they aren’t free. The native renderer suits my purpose 90% of the time. Especially for woodworking.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7799 posts in 2742 days


#12 posted 03-25-2008 06:39 AM

”There is a very good blog (Design, Click, Build) on Sketchup at Finewoodworking.com. ... (you’ll find some of my video tutorilas there) ...”

That’s the guy that emailed me and is helping me alot! Dave Richards… a real expert / guru on SU!
(hope I’m not Name Dropping out of turn.) :(

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View grumpycarp's profile

grumpycarp

257 posts in 2436 days


#13 posted 03-25-2008 11:05 AM

G.I.G.O. and additionally R.T.F.M. nuff said . . .

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7799 posts in 2742 days


#14 posted 03-25-2008 05:07 PM

How about G.I.R.G.O.?

What is R.T.F.M.? :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1140 posts in 2681 days


#15 posted 03-25-2008 05:35 PM

RTFM – Read the fantastic manual. At least I think that’s what the F stands for….

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2776 days


#16 posted 03-25-2008 07:19 PM

This page is titled “How can I best learn how to use Google SketchUp?”

http://sketchup.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=36211

Here is a link to the manual page.
http://sketchup.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=36213&ctx=sibling

Sketchup frustrates a lot of people initially but once you understand the basic concepts it gets much easier.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View pashley's profile

pashley

1025 posts in 2408 days


#17 posted 03-26-2008 02:17 PM

Thank you, yes, I was aware of those links.

I have purchased “Google Sketchup for Dummies” and it seems pretty good, so hopefully, that will get me going!

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View pashley's profile

pashley

1025 posts in 2408 days


#18 posted 03-26-2008 04:10 PM

Sketchup question:

I’ve made a basic mission coffee table in SU. Can SU:

• Print out a architectural – type plan, in which is shows the dimensions of each part, even though I have not used the Dimension Tool on each piece of the table? Or, do I have to dimension each piece, then print it out?

• Can SU print out a list of the board feet I’ll need for this project? It would be great if it would do a cutting layout on boards as well, but I doubt it can.

Thanks!

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

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pashley

1025 posts in 2408 days


#19 posted 03-26-2008 04:31 PM

Another question: how do you “explode” your project?

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2776 days


#20 posted 03-26-2008 04:37 PM

You’ll need to dimension the pieces seperately using the dimension tool. I talked about this in a previous post. You’ll find it here.

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/991

Unfortunately the estimating tool in Sketchup is not very useful. There is a cost estimator under the Plugins menu. You assign a cost to a material/texture and then can calculate the total cost based on selected faces but it is rudimentary at best. No cutting layout either. There are some specialized cabinetry software out there that will do those kind of operations but I haven’t used any. Mostly pros using them.

As for cut layouts I have done it manually in Sketchup but its not much faster than figuring it out yourself. Tim Killen has a great blog on doing that on FWW.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2776 days


#21 posted 03-27-2008 04:29 AM

Exploding the project may be too grand a term. As I make each individual piece I make a component out of it. Once everything is designed I make a copy and then simply move the pieces away from each other. Seperate them enough to allow for easy dimensioning and printing.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View grumpycarp's profile

grumpycarp

257 posts in 2436 days


#22 posted 03-27-2008 08:47 PM

Pashley,
The free won’t do your “plan” (as in dimensioned drawing not overhead) view except as the folks above mentioned. The pay version comes with a mini program called Layout which will export multiple views to a single page which could then be dimensioned. In the free version I would create multiple “scenes” using that utility as well as the camera tools to orient the views and then pull them apart and dimension as needed. That way you can always go back to the original “assembled” view easily. You and even create an animation to put the thing back together again.

View CanadianWoodChuck's profile

CanadianWoodChuck

395 posts in 2604 days


#23 posted 03-28-2008 02:35 AM

Does anyone know why, when I export my SU file in 2d to a jpg format and then try to view it all I get is a black screen? I had this issue before and I can’t remember what I had to do to resolve the problem.
Of all the things I’ve lost I miss my mind the most! :)

-- Wood Chuck (Bruce) http://3dwoodworkingplans.com

View pashley's profile

pashley

1025 posts in 2408 days


#24 posted 03-28-2008 02:41 PM

Question:

Let’s say I’m using SU to lay out a mission table. I want to make a tenon joint. I can understand how to make a tenon on the end of a piece, but how do you automatically make the mortise draw on the post?

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View Earle Wright's profile

Earle Wright

121 posts in 2411 days


#25 posted 03-28-2008 03:35 PM

You draw the outline of the mortice on the surface where it will be located, and then use the “Push/Pull” tool to “push” the mortice into the post the desired amount. Again, ‘automatically’ is more a measure of degree of work involved (one man’s ‘automatic’ is another man’s ‘magic’!).

I’ve been using SketchUp since Version 2, and I can say without reservation that the tutorials are indispensible to learning the tool. There are a lot of things you can do “brute force” that take a long time, which take only a few keystrokes after learning from the appropriate tutorial. Yes, it’s like scheduling a dental appointment or sitting down to review your insurance coverage. You know you need to, but you just don’t want to stop and spend the time. You will be amazed, though, at the future hours you’ll save for having taken the time for the tutorials. And, since you’re very familiar with computers, you will gain even more benefit.

Aside from the tutorials the things that most help me in efficiently using the tool are: a five-button mouse, setting up the blank SU page to a template of my choosing by using all the “Preferences” and “Model Info” features, and using the numerical keypad to enter all lengths and sizes, rather than trying to make the mouse a pencil.

As grumpycarp has pointed out, the ‘Free’ version won’t do everything that the ‘Pro’ version will, but it does most of it, and ‘Free’ is about as good a deal as you can get to sample and learn the program prior to making the decision to buy.

Good luck!

-- Earle Wright, Lenoir City, Tennessee

View pashley's profile

pashley

1025 posts in 2408 days


#26 posted 03-28-2008 04:12 PM

Thanks, Earle, I think I’m half way there….let me further clarify.

Let’s say I have a tenon made on the end of a piece of maple. It’s 3/4” wide by 4 inches high. I’m going to be putting this tenon in a mortise on a 4×4 leg. I know how to take the tenon and place it on the leg right where I want it.

Now, I want SU to automatically “cut” that mortise in the 4×4 leg - how to do that? I’m guess it has to do with the “Intersect with Model” command?

If that is the case, do I need to make that tenon, and the piece of maple it’s on, a Group first?

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View ww_kayak's profile

ww_kayak

70 posts in 2415 days


#27 posted 03-28-2008 04:25 PM

The most important things to me in Sketchup:

1. Make sure you GROUP EVERYTHING (otherwise parts will “fuse” together when they touch)
2. Use Construction lines (snap, snap, snap, draw, draw cut, pull… done)
3. Enter values using the keyboard (don’t try to pull something 1 1/16”, just pull it 3” and then type 1 1/16)
4. Use the keyboard shortcuts (cuts your design time by a ton)
5. Use the X-Ray view (crucial for joinery)

-- Tom, Central New York

View Earle Wright's profile

Earle Wright

121 posts in 2411 days


#28 posted 03-28-2008 04:36 PM

I think I understand what you’re trying to do. I just set up a simple SU file to try to accomplish what you want, but have so far been unsuccessful. I may play around with it a little more, because it seems that the “Intersect” tool should be able to handle this. Ain’t got it yet, though. Will let you know if I figure it out.

After ‘soapboxing’ the tutorials so much, I’ll probably find the answer in one I’ve either not sampled or one I’ve forgotten about!

If we (the LJ community) can figure a way to simply do it, though, it will be a very useful ‘routine’.

-- Earle Wright, Lenoir City, Tennessee

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 2503 days


#29 posted 03-28-2008 06:42 PM

The whole mortice thing…..make your tennon, save it as a component. make your piece that is getting the mortice, save is as a component. Partially insert the tennon where you’d like the mortice, then click “Intersect with model”. It will mark the mortice location.

What I can’t figure out how to do is make compound curved legs…like what is on the Japanese box in my projects…anyone have any ideas?

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here: http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/showthread.php?41055

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2776 days


#30 posted 03-28-2008 07:13 PM

I’ve done tutorials on both the use of the intersect to create a mortice and tenon and on compound curves.

Mortice and tenon…2nd tutorial in this set here
http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/Treefarmer/blog/1718

Compound curve tutorial is near the bottom in the comments
http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/Treefarmer/blog/1830

Do you folks subscribe to FWW online? I have a few other tutorials there. I’ll get them onto youtube and post them here soon. The one for a cabriolet leg will give you a good idea of the organic component creation.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View Earle Wright's profile

Earle Wright

121 posts in 2411 days


#31 posted 03-28-2008 07:16 PM

Patrick,

Based upon what you’re wanting SU to do, I’m convinced (at this point, at least) that SketchUp won’t perform that function automatically. There are several ways to transfer the location for the mortice as you, Ryan, and I have pointed out. To make the mortice at that location, though, will require the “Push/Pull” tool.

The reason for this is that all ‘solid-appearing’ objects are just ‘skins’ in SU, or collections of surfaces. There are no actual solid figures. So by ‘Intersecting’ the tenon with the leg, you are only marking the common points between the two, which are on a surface. Thus, the creation of the “Push/Pull” tool.

I’m with Tom and his five rules. I want to use the tool as efficiently as possible, realizing its limitations and well as its ‘features’.

-- Earle Wright, Lenoir City, Tennessee

View pashley's profile

pashley

1025 posts in 2408 days


#32 posted 03-28-2008 07:21 PM

The feedback I’ve been getting here and elsewhere, is that this can’t automatically be done. BUT, i have figured out a way to do it! I should probably make a video….

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2776 days


#33 posted 03-28-2008 07:55 PM

By automatically do you mean the tenon will create the mortice as soon as you put the two together? If so…no it won’t.

I slightly disagree with the 1st two of Tom’s rules.
1. Groups are fine for assemling related objects but components are much more powerful. For example: I would make components of the legs of a table so that changes made to one in the future would be reflected in all. Groups I use to temporarily combine items for moving, scaling, etc…

2. I rarely use construction lines. With the absolute accuracy available and inference snapping I think they are usually an unneccesary step. ie: This model of the filters for a 140 MGD water treatment plant is precisely accurate. All the concrete work, piping, etc.. was done without the use of construction lines.
Photobucket

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View pashley's profile

pashley

1025 posts in 2408 days


#34 posted 03-29-2008 02:47 AM

I believe I have come across a good way to do this mortise/tenon thing I alluded to earler. I made a video of it, which can be seen here:

http://thirddayproductions.com/mortise2.mov

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2776 days


#35 posted 03-29-2008 05:48 AM

Nice adaptation….using the intersect and erasing unneeded parts is key to the creation of more complex geometry. The original sketchup tutorials on sketchup.com use it often. I just added a few tutorials to my blog that you folks may be interested in. The one for the cabriolet leg is a good example of using intersect to create something that would otherwise be very difficult in sketchup.

http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/Treefarmer/blog/4011

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

19570 posts in 2541 days


#36 posted 04-01-2008 10:06 AM

I have used turbocad before sketchup. I think SU has a faster learning curve and is more user friendly but I still use both.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Brad_Nailor's profile

Brad_Nailor

2531 posts in 2648 days


#37 posted 04-04-2008 07:00 PM

A few thoughts…
Always group your parts as you construct them. It keeps the geometry from interacting..trust me you want to be able to control this. Like Bob said if it’s something you think that you will use again in this drawing or others, make it a component. Then it will be available from the component browser in other drawings and when you modify it in the current drawing all the other instances of the component will be changed. That comes in real handy if you are making a simple change to a component that appears allot in your drawing. If you want the change to appear on only one of many components, highlight it and right click, choose make unique. Then that will keep any changes to that particular component limited to that individual item.

The tape tool is a handy item but you will find that as you become more adept at using SU you will use the VCB more than the tape tool. But that being said, construction geometry can be very useful to align rotate and move parts. Put them on their own layer and then you can hide them when you don’t need them. Also, as someone else stated above, set up and use keyboard short cuts. They can speed up your drawing time. A big one I use allot is hide and unhide. It is soo much easier and faster to choose an entity and just press “H” on the keyboard, rather than use the right click menu. I very rarely use icons.

As far as rendering is concerned, I don’t really consider the native SU output as renders…more drawings then renders in my opinion. To me the term render really means photo realistic rendering, although in the old school hand drawing days a render could be a pencil sketch, or a watercolor or marker colored drawing, but the intent was to represent the object in a realistic light. If you want to get realistic results within SU, then look into Podium. It is a photo realistic render ad on that plugs right into SU. It is pretty easy to use once you read through the documentation and get a grasp on the basics. The thing that really sets it apart from all the other render engines and plug ins is the interface. It isn’t a sea of buttons and click boxes with functions that you don’t understand. It is easy to use but it has some advanced capability’s and support like bump maps, clip maps, and the ability to create light emitting modules (LEM) and omni lights. Like SU it takes some practice and fooling around with it to get some really killer results. The demo version is free and is fully functional, but the output is limited to smaller size renders. It is reasonably priced, and the support is great with an on line message board community allot like here..a bunch of great people that will not hesitate to help anyone.

Raw SU output..
Photobucket

Same model and file, simple ambient light render using Podium..
Photobucket

Hope that helps..
David
PS..Bob…that drawing of the water treatment plant looks crazy! I would love to see the rest of the model!

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/DSO-Designs/297237806954248

View pashley's profile

pashley

1025 posts in 2408 days


#38 posted 04-04-2008 07:50 PM

Thanks, David. I am getting the hang of SU, and like any program, you just have to take the time to learn it!

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2776 days


#39 posted 04-08-2008 05:50 AM

Hi David,

I need to take a look at podium. I have turbo sketch but I’m not very happy with it. Takes forever too. I’ll get some more pics of the plant posted shortly. What you see there is the heart of the plant but justa small portion of the whole model. I have some interesting sections especially. I have 100’s and 100’s of hours into it. I just completed a walkthrough animation of the renovations that I’ve been designing. One thing I hope they improve in Sketchup is the animation capabilities. I’ve gotten pretty good with the limited tools but its still a pain.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View Slacker's profile

Slacker

178 posts in 2391 days


#40 posted 04-14-2008 04:22 AM

Bob Babcock, those videos are awesome! I have learned a lot of how to use Sketchup, and I am happy with my skills, and then I see these videos and realize how little I know of the program’s capabilities. Thanks for putting them up. If you feel compelled, I would like to see some more.

-- Adapt, improvise, overcome

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