Share Your Google Sketchup Tips and Follies!

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by Patrickivan, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Patrickivan

    Patrickivan Fleet Captain Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Being an exclusive Google Sketchuper, I've had my ups and downs. I'm still having problems with some things, so I thought it would be fun if we shared some of our experiences here. To help me- er, others!

    So for me, I can't get lights. It drives me nuts. I've followed all the instructions, but to no avail. Has anyone else had issues with this?

    Also, as far as my tips go, the sandbox tool is your friend! Don't be afraid to use it. It may be a lazy tool, but if you're like me and just can't get some specific and odd shapes, sandbox could save you! The following "soucer" started out as a circular disc. I put in the front window first as well, then stretched it right out by 50%. It came out exactly how I wanted it!

    [​IMG]

    The Scale Change tool is incredibly handy. Sometimes I'll sketch out the dimesions on a project, but once in sketchup, some things just don't like right. Re-scaling come in pretty handy! And it can be extremely handy turning a sphere or a disc into an oblong or ovoid shape.

    Oh- make componants! Nothing screws up a project more then making everything one componant. It's so much easier to change something if you can isolate that one componant from the rest!

    One more quick thing. Section Plane gets you access into what you're working on. Should you have forgotten to put in some details, this cuts a virtual hole for you! I love it!

    Hmmm- that's it for now. Time to go home!
     
  2. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    A Long Time Ago...
    I never could get the handle of sandbox. What do you mean by "get lights"? Sketchup does not have light effects. You have to render in something like Kerkythea and add the lights there.

    Must have plugins, which you can download here:
    http://forums.sketchucation.com/viewtopic.php?f=323&t=28782

    Tools on surface - love it.
    Joint pushpull - love this
    round corner - handy, but not perfect.
    extrude tools - great for making complex shapes.
    Fredoscale - If you love scale change, you're going to go gaga for this.


    Tips:
    I created a template starting file. Basically it's just a saved file with a simple grid in it that I use as a starting point. Sort of like drawing on a clean sheet of graph paper as a kid.
    [​IMG]


    Also, Sketchup is a fairly fickle program and you may find yourself backed into a corner at times. There are 2 things I do to prevent this. First, I periodically save my work to a separate file. Secondly, while working on parts I will frequently create a copy of said part and work from that, Leaving earlier stages available. As you can see in the image below, it starts to make your work space look like a construction yard and requires cleaning up now and then to keep the file size manageable.
    [​IMG]


    ETA: while surfing the net I came upon this guy's work and realize while I may become proficient in sketchup, I'll never be the artist/designer he is. Check out all 8 pages. There is some phenomenal stuff there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  3. Patrickivan

    Patrickivan Fleet Captain Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Right- I just said lighting for the sake of confusing SU users who haven't tried it. Actually, I think it was you way back who told me about Kerkythea (as well as some other tips). I've tried that and another (can't recall the name) and just couldn't get them to work. I chalk it up to missing some step somewhere...

    BTW- that guys stuff is amazing. He has one hell of a creative thought process!

    I'm using that template grid! That's a great idea!

    And my biggest Follie involved loosing all my stuff when my wife transfered everything from one computer to another. It was a sad day...
     
  4. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Location:
    BK613
    Since I am no expert in sketchup, anything I add will probably fall under "cool things I wish I'd known at the beginning" :guffaw:
    -When using the push/pull or offset tool, after using the tool on a surface, double-clicking on a second surface will repeat the action. And on the third, fourth, etc.
    -I didn't miss in that the move tool creates copies. Tap CTRL before you move and you'll drag an "array-copy" into existence. I did miss that the rotate tool does also.
    -Groups and components: Everything is an entity in this program, even guides, and can be grouped. Even parts of a mesh can be grouped. Groups make it easier (for me) to deal with hiding and unhiding, and their array-copies are not linked like components are. Perfect for creating the mirror of a warp nacelle. Or hiding/unhiding guides set to your deck heights.
    -Components are Sketchup's instances and array-copies are linked. Edit one and you edit them all. Would have been perfect for those windows I modeled completely before copying. Twice. :lol:
    -You can use the animation functions to create static views (right, left etc.) Go to view>animation>settings and uncheck enable scene transitions. Then create a scene for each of your static views.
     
  5. WinstonSmith

    WinstonSmith Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    BK613 , you can also unlink an individual component from its array copies by right clicking on it and selecting make unique, which is useful if you need to change something on just one component without altering all the others.
     
  6. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    A Long Time Ago...
    Tonight's WIP, not ready for it's own thread yet. A TMP era 1 to 5 man ship.

    [​IMG]

    ETA: Gah, photobucket really turned up the jaggies when it uploaded the file.
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Location:
    Brockville, Ontario, Canada
    WOW! There is some genuinely crazy shit in there. :techman: He's got talent and a helluva imagination.
     
  8. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    That has such a soft, friendly look to it...
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Location:
    Brockville, Ontario, Canada
    This is really nice! :techman:


    How can you get more photorealistic images of the model as well as tone down the brightness and reflectivity of the surfaces? Also how do you get a different coloured back grand rather than white?
     
  10. Patrickivan

    Patrickivan Fleet Captain Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    To change the backgound colour, Go To:

    Windows
    Styles
    Edit
    Background


    Windows- Shadows, will control the light level and in effect tone down the brightness. Play around with it. It makes the images look so much more dramatic with a raking light across the hull!
     
  11. The Axeman

    The Axeman Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    Central Scotland
    I dont use Sketchup myself, but I do use Sketchup Pro to convert native Sketchup models into other formats that I can use. Although the Pro version costs a small fortune, it is free to download, install and use for up to 8 hours. Firing up Sketchup Pro, loading and then exporting a model takes about 3 minutes, so you should be fine for about 160 model conversions before it locks you out!
     
  12. Finn

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    It looks like a TMP version of the Defiant (the DS9 one, ofc)
     
  13. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Location:
    BK613
    Exactly. You can also select multiple instances of the same component and make them unique, creating another collection of connected array-copies. Illuminated windows and darkened windows for example. The thing to be aware of, as you probably know, is that SU keeps and saves in your file all the information for any components that you create, even ones that you have deleted (not the ones you undo though.) You can purge unused components from the model in the Component Window but until you do, they are still there. Even poor Susan, our default startup girl, is still there.
    (BTW, sorry about the delay in responding.)
    That is a very sneaky idea. :techman:

    ----
    On topic (well more "I wish I knew thens" :lol:):
    -The surface used by the follow tool is oriented to be perpendicular to the curve/line it is following, even at the end (and even if it didn't start out that way). Anticipating this in your curve/line setup can save a lot of grief.
    -RClicking on a textured surface provides an selection for repositioning the texture on the surface. Making that repositioned texture unique will allow you to paint with those offsets in place.
    -Didn't know about the sandbox tools last post. Still playing with them, but one thing that stood out early: The Drape tool, if you are careful, is an easy way to apply complex curves/lines (hull grid lines, etc.) to curved surfaces.
    -Using Layers now. Layers can have their visibility checked or unchecked, which is different than Hidden using one layer. A non-visible layer can't be interacted with. No accidental merges with Hidden geometry. No guides interfering with your moves. Speaking of which ,all my "permanent" guides go on their own layer.
    And using Unhide>All only shows hidden geometry on visible layers. So a very effective way to group items like primary hull, secondary hull, nacelle, deck 1, deck 2 etc. and only have them visible/usable when you need them.

    Becoming a word-wall so I will stop for now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012