CatchUp Edition 6

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LightUp Review / DrawTop / Interior Design / Boo’s Clues / Villa / Useful Apps / Featured Member / Books



Making a storm in Photoshop LightUp brings sketchup to life WEAVING with Eric + MORE

Villa Thrilla

n o i t a c etchU bers

Sk ,000 mem 100

Everyone at SketchUcation wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

vv Management Mike Lucey - Managing Director

Csaba Pozsarko - Training Director


Octavian Chis- Technical Director

Richard O’Brien - Quality Director richob@sketchucation


It’s been a hectic year at SketchUcation with some major milestones achieved. The most exciting is reaching over 100,000 members. This would not have been possible without our super community making SketchUcation the friendliest place for SketchUp support.

Pete Stoppel Chris Fullmer Dave Richards Eric Lay TIG

So to each and every member we say thank you so much for choosing SketchUcation as your forum of choice. It really means a lot to us that you continue to visit, post and contribute on a daily basis.

Thomas Thomassen Jean Lemire Jim Foltz Eeva Edson Mahfuz Majid

Contributors Eric Lay Mike Lucey David Hennessy Adriana Granados Csaba Pozsarko Dennis Fukai Richard O’Brien David Hier

But we remain committed to bring you even more SketchUp content in 2012. You may have noticed that last edition we launched our own book sales. Well, we are not stopping there as we have some exciting things cooking that we are super excited about. We can’t mention it yet but rest assured you will love it! We’ll sign off this year wishing you all a very happy holidays and a joyous new year. Until next year.....

Mike Lucey

On the cover: Villa courtesy of David Hier

Editor: Richard O’Brien ©Copyright 2011 SketchUcation All rights reserved While the pulisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of of the information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any erros therein

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BOO’S CLUES weaves

Create a circle perpendicular to the ground plane. In this example I used only 8 segments and made it 12� diameter to keep it simple.

I extruded the circle a few times making sure both sides had equal distances.

I moved the segment on the far end up so the bottom of the circle matched the top of the first circle. If the end segment is constrained to the ground plane hold the Alt key to override it. This is forcing the Autofold behavior.

I then moved the inner segments up equal distances on either side for a smooth transition.

BOO’S CLUES weaves

Now make the modified tube a component and start to copy/rotate and place them in a weave pattern.

Continue to copy/rotate the segments.

Continue to copy/rotate the segments until you have the amount you want. Simple as that.

BOO’S CLUES weaves

Now you can use the Artisan plugin to subdivide and smooth the mesh for a cleaner weave.

Or you can use the Sketchy Free Form Deformation plugin to bend and twist the weave. Have fun. by Eric Lay

Fast, accurate and affordable photogrammetry and metrology tool





recently obtained a DrawTop for testing and must say that I will be keeping it! The DrawTop is a sheet of custom-cut vinyl that is attached to the back of the laptop and instantly creates a handy and useable whiteboard, ideal for doodling, client meetings and presentations.

This would work in the teacher facing students situation allowing the teacher to turn the laptop, make notes, drawings etc on the DrawTop then turn it to face the students. I mentioned this to the makers and they are considering it.

The folks at DrawTop also cut vinyl for lots of devices other than laptops so you can really customize this to your needs. Included with the DrawTop are: • 4 fine-tip dry erase markers • 1 microfiber eraser • 4 Velcro stickers to hold the pens in place The vinyl sheet has an adhesive back for attachment to the laptop but I have a confession to make! I am a Mac user and was not prepared to stick this to my shiny aluminium cover. Instead I used the 4 Velcro stickers to do the job for me, allowing the ability to set up and remove in a jiffy. The DrawTop offers the laptop user a convenient worktop for hand drawing as can be seen from the above picture. To make the DrawTop more useful I would like to see it coming with some kind of a device that the laptop would be seated on to allow turning.

SmartTop for $5

DrawTop Tablet for $10

Original DrawTop for $12

by Mike Lucey


how to make a vaulted ceiling


ne of the most read topics that interior designers consult on my blog is how to make a vaulted ceiling. Writing this article for Sketchucation has a special meaning for me and I dedicate it to my mother who just passed away. This is the ceiling of the room where I spent 2 days receiving condolences and where I had to say goodbye to her at least in this life. The room had a comfortable and elegant design. The ceiling vaults intersecting in the manner of Gothic designs also had a cross slit in which artificial light emanated. Also, a great perimeter crown molding hided other fluorescent lights. The red granite floors combined with sandstone contrasted with 12’ height white walls. To complete the mystique atmosphere a faint diffuse light entered through 10’ height windows.

My first recommendation when you model an interior space is to group floor, walls and ceiling separately in order to manipulate the model much easier. It is very common to be handling one of these three groups and needing to avoid the interference of elements and planes that you are not working on. On this basis once created the walls up to the ceiling height, I grouped all the entities to prevent the “sticking” with the ceiling elements. As the ceiling was composed of eight intersected vaults, the first step was the creation of the first arc. To help me with this drawing I used the function “Extrude Edges by Vector” in TIG’s Extrusion plugin to create a face on which to draw an arc.

Note: This project is a good example in using SketchUp’s Solid tools that can save vital time and effort. The only requirement for using these functions is to be in the presence of volumes, ie grouped closed geometries.


how to make a vaulted ceiling

The simplest way to know that we have modeled a volume is to select the group and open the Entity Info window to check if the Volume field is showing. If this field is not displayed either means that your geometry is open somewhere (a face is missing) or there are additional internal elements to the outer surface.

The first step then was to create the first vault and group those elements. Once created the group was copied and rotated 90 degrees.

After placing both vaults in the correct position the Union tool was used. The two vaults were grouped and at the same time intersected. Having obtained this basic module it was copied once. Again, using the Union tool they were grouped and glued together.

As explained in the beginning these vaults were intersected by a cross-shaped space that concealed fluorescent lights. A cross-shaped volume was modeled separately and grouped. The cross then was placed in final position intersecting with the vaults.


how to make a vaulted ceining Using the Split tool, the individual parts of the overlapping geometry was obtained. Two separately parts were the result: the cross above the ceiling level, and the cross below the ceiling and visible from the interior of the vaulted ceiling. Each of these groups is identified individually in the Outliner. The part below the vaulted ceiling and visible from the interior was deleted since the light box was on the ceiling level upwards. Entering into the edit mode of the vaulted ceiling group I also deleted the horizontal and vertical planes to expose the light box geometry from inside the room. by Adriana Granados

USEFUL APPS filesquare

In this edition of CatchUp I would like to Once loaded we see the uploaded file in the introduce you to FileSquare. I am a great FileSquare window. believer in simple apps that do one job well and are easy to learn. I think FileSquare is one of these and feel many of you may also agree. How many times have you been working on a design and wished you could quickly discuss it with a client or colleague on the Net in realtime? I have, but to date have not been able to with ease. Now this is possible with FileSquare. This simple cloud app allows the user to upload multiple images and share them with a shortened URL. Its possible to annotate and comment Clicking the uploaded file opens a new window on your design projects to get feedback from showing the image ready for annotation. your client or colleague. The whole process happens in realtime which can only speed up the total design process. The first step is to sign up and open the FileSquare page, give the Project a name and then click the ‘‘Upload’ button and locate the image you want to share.

I have placed a rectangle (blue) around the portion of the design and asked a question, ‘Should this be cropped or shown in total?’.

For the purposes of demonstration I am uploading the current SketchUcation logo with the new advert under it. BTW, this is our newest venture!

USEFUL APPS filesquare

To share the project all I need to do is send the shortened URL to the client. Also my question is now showing up in the comment area for them to read and answer.

To try it out go to, The developer, Ben Cheng, advises that the app will integrate with Dropbox which I think will be a useful addition to this much used facility. Ben also invites feedback a feature suggestions. I have a few in mind, like ‘arrows’ and such but not too much as I feel the app should remain simple to use. Also I would like to be able to save the project discussion sessions on line for In this case I replied to myself, as can be seen, reference. The only way I can see to do this at but the app does allow for back and forth present it the save the shortened URL. discussions between users with the ability to select parts of the image and add annotation. Once you sign up, Ben sends a welcome message. by Mike Lucey learn with the experts at your pace


One particular useful feature is the ‘Ignore Cache’ check box which is off by default. This allows LightUp to calculate the overall scene once and store that info so the next time you render it has most of the work done already so it only needs to calculate any further changes.

If you are familiar with rendering then you will know that render engines sink or swim based on two basic principles - speed and output. If it falls short on either then the likelihood is it will sink. It is fair to say that LightUp is blisteringly fast from the outset even on a basic enough laptop. But what about output? Well, that is where LightUp needs a deeper understanding to truly pass judgement.

Under the ‘Lighting’ parameters you can adjust the overall lighting in your scene. There’s 4 primary lighting modes - Direct, Lux, Realtime and Ambient Occlusion.

First thing of note about LightUp is the rather sparse toolbar.

Four measily buttons might seem a tad low. But beneath is a pandora’s box of knobs, dials, switches and levers that adjust about everything in your scene. The preferences button contains four main parameters - Quality - Lighting - Viewport - Resources Probably the most important aspect in any render engine as it determines you’re final output.

Here you can control, with complete precision, the overall final result with the most important factor being ‘Resolution’. The resolution is similar to sampling. It allows you to tell LightUp to determine to lighting in your scene. By default it is set to 4x but you can enter any measurement value here. For instance you could tell Lightup to sample every 6” in your scene which then increases the render time but gives superior results. So if you want to quickly test some changes using a value of 1x will give near instant results. This means you’re not wasting time re-rendering.

These come packed with sliders and input boxes to adjust the lighting that you can tweak within your rendered scene. It’s this level of attention to detail that make LightUp both a joy to learn and master. Not needing to re-render saves so much time and seeing your changes ‘live’ makes this a killer feature. The ‘Viewing’parameter allows you to adjust the navigation speed within your scene as well as toggling gravity, inertia and collision detection. You can also toggle textures on/ off to create a ‘clay’ like render and import HDR images to use as ‘Skyboxes’. Finally there’s ‘Resources’ which links to tutorials and documentation.

It’s all well an good being able to adjust everthing imaginable but in the end it is output we are interested in. Well LightUp doesn’t disappoint on that front. But what I found interesting with LightUp was how closely tied to SketchUp it is. Firstly, the output is in the same viewport that you model in. So no second window or exporting to another application it sits within the same comfortable space you know and love. There are other nice touches that just make so much sense. One being the use of Dynamic Components. If it animates in SketchUp it also animates in LightUp. Other nice features are that enabling fog in SketchUp also creates fog in LightUp. These small touches just add greatly to the overall experience. But LightUp doesn’t stop there. It adds a set of components to your Library which makes to things that much more easier to get your scenes setup quicker.

Once you have your scene setup you get to the nuts and bolts. Simply clicking the ‘Tour Tool’ initiates the render. Once complete you’re free to navigate around your scene using a mixture of arrows keys and modifier keys that allow panning, rotating and walking. Whilst not the same navigation that you are used to in SketchUp it does not take long to get familiar with it. From within the scene you can start to tweak your materials by simply double clicking them. Below you can see the level of options you have to adjust materials.

These fall under 3 main headings - Shading Properties - Texture Animation - Colour Animation which are updated live within you’re rendered scene. The animation aspect is extremely useful. Basically you can make your materials move, rotate or scale via a series of waveforms. This would be useful for things like billboards to cycle adverts or flickering flames in a fire which you can also animate it’s lighting to get a really amazing effect.

make use of. But it’s the ‘Irr cache’ component that really blew me away.

In essence, an ‘Irr Cache’ is a local light probe. You basically place an ‘Irr Cache’ near an object to let Light Up know that you want this object to reflect it’s immediate surroundings. This means the normally slow process of rendering reflections on curved surfaces is reduced dramatically by leveraging these local light probes to calculate the neccesary reflections. Light doesn’t need You can also load in custom to reflect everything within a bump and specular maps as scene just what is in it’s locality. LightUp by default creates it’s own based on the material Lightup works incredible you’ve applied. In the hard behind the scenes so latest version you can have users simply click materials procedural animated water by and adjusts parameters. This simply adding ‘watershader’ to approach is what makes a material name. So realtime LightUp so unique in it’s rippling ponds are only a few approach. It’s not terribly keyboard strokes! hard to get to grips with but once you begin to tweak you Since all render applications quickly grasp the concept of need good lighting to get what makes it tick. It is then good results it’s no surprise that fun starts. that this is where LightUp really excels. It is the level of feedback the LightUp gives you on lighting LightUp comes with various that I found very helpful. the components assigned to your ‘Light Query’ tools work both Library. These primarily focus within SketchUp and LightUp on lighting and irradiance. As and to very good effect. you would expect these lights can have IES files associated to Lighting is a one click them as well as all the standard operation by either inserting features other applications a component or applying a

material. Click a material with a space. LightUp also come the ‘Light Query’ tool and you with a Lightmeter dynamic get the following box. components that can display the readings in tandem with the lux contours. Finally, you have got the export options. this can be accessed via ‘Capture’ button on the toolbar and like the other tools you get a glut of options to play with.

While hovering over a light will show you how it is emitting along with any info that might be concerned with that light.

bloom effect to DOF it is all controlled by sliders that make it foolproof. You can either export still images, cubic maps or movies. as standard with lots of resolution options. But the most notable option is to export your scene so it’s viewable via a free LightUp player. This means you can show you’re clients fully navigable scenes without the concern of sharing a model and with the added bonus that your scenes can look incredible. Overall, I think it is remarkable what the LightUp team have achieved. Taking time to learn how LightUp works is where you will get the best output. Understanding how it approaches lighting and geometry is the secret to getting stunning results. I found both the developer, Adam Billyard, and their forums a super resource in getting to grips with LightUp. There’s literally tonnes of tutorials and examples file to pour through.

Used in conjunction with the Lux Contour lighting mode you can interactactively take lightmeters readings to see the result your lighting has in

If you have not tried it out I recommend giving the 30 day trial a whizz. you won’t be The ‘Adjust Color’ parameter disappointed. by Rich O’Brien allows your output to be given further loveliness. From


david hier Importing Floor Plans When using floor plan illustrations for modelling (as opposed to CAD files) it’s important to ensure that all of the elevations and floor plans are in scale with one another. When downloading images they can be subject to cropping and resizing that can throw off the alignment. I usually import the files into a single Photoshop document and overlay them, scaling and adjusting them until I’m satisfied that everything is correctly aligned. You can then create new individual files that are of equal size: making it easier to import the images into SU.


david hier Using Layers, Parallel Projection & Scenes When you import your drawings into SU, it’s a good idea to keep each floor plan and elevation on a separate layer. That way you toggle the visibility of the plans, which is especially useful when aligning your modelling with the elevations and preventing first floor plans from obscuring the modelling of the ground floor. It can also be useful to set a keyboard shortcut for Parallel Projection as it makes it much easier to switch to 2D views in order to lay out the house walls and align wall heights with elevations. Usually you can use SU’s Views tools to switch between elevations, but if you are dealing with an irregular or large site, it’s a good idea to create a scene for each elevation you need to use.

Working to Scale It’s important to establish a correct scale at an early stage in the modelling. It will help with the accuracy of your model and allow you to make educated guesses when it comes to modelling details that are not found in your drawings. Since most render engines use physically accurate calculations it’s also important to use a real world dimensions - a 1m x 1m house will render very differently to a 100m x 100m house. If your floor plans don’t have a scale guide, you can usually infer certain sizes from elements common to most builds. For example, single course interior walls are usually somewhere between 15cm & 20cm thick. In the case of the Villa PM I also needed a size for double cavity walls and using the interior walls as a guide a 50cm thickness seemed appropriate. I then used 15cm x 15cm and 50cm x 50cm modules as a guide when drawing out the walls.


david hier Keeping House You can now use your elevations to Push/Pull the walls and start work on the 3D structure of the ground floor. At this stage it’s very tempting to just crack on with your modelling, however there are some things you should keep in mind that will prevent you from having to backtrack and tidy up your model once it starts to get more detailed. I like to start out working in Monochrome mode and leave the texturing until later. This helps to prevent problems with reversed faces (easy to spot in Monochrome mode) and textures applied to back faces. Start grouping geometry and using layers as soon as possible. This will help to prevent problems with intersecting geometry and make it easier to modify your model and add details at later stages. Remove any hidden internal geometry as you go along. This will keep file sizes down and prevent texture and geometry problems when rendering.

Photographic References If available it’s useful to have reference images to hand. If you are modelling an existing building this will help you to see details that you could miss when only working from plans. These images will also give you something to aim for when rendering your model. If you are working on a model of something that has yet to be built, find images of something similar that can be used as a reference.

Adding Detail Once you have modelled the basic structure of the building and surrounding landscape, it’s time to start adding detail. Since a lot of things can change during this stage of the modelling avoid texturing for the time being. However, working with a monochrome model can be difficult, so I will normally create plain colour materials for each of the main textures that will be used in the final model.


david hier

“ a lot of things can change during this stage of the modelling so avoid texturing for the time being �


david hier Mind the Gap


Very few surfaces are completely flat and for the most man-made materials any unevenness can be simulated using bump or displacement. Organic landscape elements are a different matter and even something like a flat lawn will have some unevenness. These imperfections may be subtle, but it’s important to add them as something like a perfectly flat lawn will break the illusion you are trying to create in your final render. SU’s Sandbox When modelling windows I will usually start by creating tools or a plugin like Artisan can be used to add a plane to fill the window opening and then offset it by subtle undulations that will add realism to your 0.5mm to 1mm - creating a gap. I will also do the same model - just be careful not to overdo things. thing when adding railings, furniture or any item that sits on a surface. If you are planning on creating renders with lots of close-up detail I would even suggest adding recessed gaps where two planes meet e.g. walls and floors. When adding fittings and fixtures try to avoid modelling directly on to or up to faces. In reality there will always be a small gap between any touching objects. This gap will often be imperceptible to the naked eye but for the purpose of rendering we need to exaggerate this and add small gaps between touching objects. This kind of detail may seem a bit excessive, but the rendered results will speak for themselves.

Bevels Depending on the level of detail and look you want for an image it’s often a good idea to avoid sharp right angle corners. You can deal with this by selectively adding either chamfers or round bevels to the corners of your model. Note: In my illustration you will notice lighter patches of grass. These are unrelated to the organic modelling added to the lawn and have been used to define areas where I can use different types of instanced grass when rendering.


david hier Texturing Once you are happy with your detailing you can begin applying textures to your model. For my Villa PM model I mostly used standard SU texture mapping tools. Since I wanted the building to look slightly weathered I mapped a single dirt texture to the main building structure: resizing, scaling and positioning the texture as possible. Doing this, rather than applying a plain stucco texture and adding the dirt during rendering, allows you to accurately position the weathered texture. The only place I couldn’t do this was the wedge shaped wall that forms the sides of the driveway.

My solution was to accurately draw the wall face in Adobe Illustrator in order to create a template for use in Photoshop. I then used the template to create the unique texture needed for the drive: painting and cloning the weathering where it was required. This takes a fair amount of time, but since I knew that the driveway wall would feature prominently in my render, I decided that it was worth the effort to achieve a more realistic result (A= Illustrator template. B= Final texture).


david hier What is background?


After studying art and product design I went on to attend a BA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths University (London). I eventually set myself up as a freelance designer in 2003, establishing my own company (Arts Ablaze), working mostly in the fields of graphic and website design. Throughout my education and different career paths I’ve always maintained a strong interest in all forms design. Architecture is especially important to me as I wanted to become an architect from a very young age. Unfortunately I didn’t have the right maths qualifications - this was before computers could be used to do the grunt-work. One of the great things about Sketchup and 3D visualisation is that it’s allowed me to finally work with architectural design. In many ways it’s really satisfying to have come full circle and returned to the area of design I find the most fulfilling.

When did you start using SU? I first discovered Sketchup towards the end of 2007, whilst working on a personal building project - a modern villa design for a family home in Portugal. It was a challenging venture as it was my first real-world attempt at architectural design

and I had to find a balance between the contemporary design I’m passionate about and the rustic style that the local authorities required for the exterior of the build. Right up until the beginning of construction I was unaware of the possibilities as far as 3D CAD was concerned. I was working with a basic 2D CAD programme and assumed that 3D was only accessible to large businesses and Hollywood special effects companies. Consequently I struggled with the tools I had available: creating very basic visualisations that outlined what I expected from the builders when it came to structural details and the final fix. With my background in graphic design I turned to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to laboriously create NPR isometric projections and printed vector artwork that I used in conjunction with foam board to construct 3D room models. Producing these drawings and models was extremely labour intensive and I knew that there must be a better way to achieve the results I wanted. Fortunately I stumbled upon Sketchup and was astounded by how user friendly and fun the programme was to use. I remember watching all the official tutorials in one go and I was modelling my villa design before the day was out. I was amazed by the way I could easily appreciate structures in 3D and change my designs

on the fly - I was hooked! Looking back I can see a lot of mistakes in the model, but I’m still blown away by what I was able to achieve in the first few days of using Sketchup.

How has your last/ previous profession influenced your approach to 3d? An understanding of the design process and a familiarity with manufacturing methods and good design really helps when it comes to modelling. Even if you have plans to work from, you still need to understand how the design works in both terms of its mechanics and aesthetics. Ergonomics are very important and it’s easy to get things wrong if you forget how an object is going to be used and how people will physically interact with a design. When considering the function of a design, it’s important to remember that visual appeal can often be as important as any practical application. Viewing a design as a piece of sculpture assists you in seeing how the lines and forms flow together, which ultimately helps you to create more accurate models. My background in Fine Art really helps, as years of life drawing and trained observation gives you an amazing attention to detail (being a little OCD helps as well). This is even more applicable when it comes to rendering, as the process of compositing a

scene and recreating materials and textures is very similar to the process of painting landscapes, portraits or still life scenes. Even if you are working on something that has yet to be built, it helps to have images of similar objects or scenes to hand, so that you can observe the kind of details that help to make a high quality visualisation image. What advantage has your web design skills brought to 3D visualization? For me, HTML coding is mostly just a way to get graphic design into a particular format; it’s probably the least rewarding stage of the design process. Using CSS is however a bit more creative and does have some parallels to modelling with components: reusing common elements in clever ways to reduce file size and create a more elegant and paired down design. Considering the graphic design side of things, software skills are certainly transferable and come in extremely handy. I will often use Illustrator to create complex shapes or logo designs that I can import into Sketchup as DWG files. I will also use Illustrator when it comes to material creation: often producing template structures for use within Photoshop. In turn good Photoshop skills have really helped when it comes to texture creation and postproduction.

What are your ‘must


have’ plugins?

to start up as a sole trader.

Although I used to download every plugin going, experience has shown me that you can easily overcomplicate things if you rely on them too much. With a bit of thought Sketchup’s native tools can be really powerful. Having said that, there are some key plugins that are important to my workflow e.g. Round Corner, Fredo Scale, Tools on Surface and Joint Push Pull, as well as Weld and Bezier Spline. Artisan is also an absolute must. It lends itself to so many tasks that it has become indispensible and I’ve yet to really get to grips with what it’s really capable of.

I do however think that you need certain qualities to make it as a freelancer. You’ve got to be highly motivated, as there isn’t anyone to push you to deliver a good service or improve your output. It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing just enough to get the job done and ultimately your work will become ‘just a job’ rather than a vocation.

What advice would you give someone c o n s i d e r i n g freelancing? I can’t really offer that much advice when it comes to the question of whether or not you should go freelance. I know that a lot of peoples agonise over the pros and cons of working as a freelancer, but in my case I didn’t have much of a choice. I was made redundant and after being unemployed for 6 months I was told that I would have to start seeking unskilled work or retrain through the New Deal programme. The New Deal scheme provides a short course for start-up businesses and support for the first 6 months of trading, so I opted

david hier

You also need to be highly organised. On a day to day basis this will help you organise your time, manage different clients and and keep on top of deadlines. The chances are that you will have to do your own book keeping, so good organisation skills are must when it comes to your accounts and tax. Personally I think that all of the hard work is worth it and the pros certainly outweigh the cons. There will be the inevitable periods of selfdoubt, financial uncertainty and the occasional ‘client from hell’, but other than working as part of a small studio, I really can’t imagine working for someone else again.


avid has also shared this model for people to play with. So go get your hands on it here. If you are a Thea user, you can also grab some exquisite materials and this scene all ready to render here.

Finally there’s David’s masterclass in creating seamless textures in Photoshop and using these to create high quality materials in Thea here.


hey sat in their studio Noses to laptops When out in the street, Came a cry from the rooftop. ‘Whaat!’ cried the Artisan, ‘Yeay!’ yelled the Mayor, As he opened the door Boofredlay was there.

O’Brien called ‘Wait! Don’t leave without us. And running behind him, The guru named Gaieus. And they flew-through the Google Earth On a Bezier spline. Their workflow was such, It didn’t take time.

‘We need you’. He said. There’s no time for rubies, We must get these plugins To all of the newbies. So off they rotated And joined in with the gig, There was Fredo6, Solo, ThomThom & TIG

The people below, In great jubilation, Blessed their good fortune For the team at SketchUcation. So our thanks to you all For the endless assistance, For sharing your knowledge And keeping your patience.

And for SU’s creation So loved round the nations, Supported by thousands … too many to mention. Let’s all raise a glass To toast everyone here Merry Christmas you guys And a Happy New Year!

by Emerald15

FEatURED MEMBER david hennessy


This scene was originally rendered out from Maxwell with an alpha channel to allow for the sky insertion. As this is a tutorial on Post Processing, I won’t go into detail on the render side of things except to say that you must ensure you have reflections on your ground plane and some on the building alongside some internal lighting in order for the following effects to work.The 2 trees in this Raw image are from OnyxTREE BROADLEAF which allows you to create windblown versions of their preset trees.


Original layer duplicated, gaussian blurred, colour saturation increased and screen blended at 75%-this gives a nice soft effect to the lighting.

there's a storm brewing...


Be careful that you use a sky that sits well with the original render. This sky(which I recieved from Roger, a frequent contributor to the forum, thanks again Roger) was originally a dark blue but I desaturated it to get the mood I wanted but also to allow for the bright orange lighting of the house to really stand out.


This background tree was sourced from the internet and scaled accordingly. It wasn’t very hi-res but because I was using it for background it didn’t matter.


The same tree rescaled and repositioned. I also lightened these trees to suggest they are further away with reduced visability due to the rain.


I like to place small elements in my images such as insects,birds etc.I try to keep them unobtrusive but if someone looks closely,they can see them.These people elements also added a sense of movement to the image.


Here I copied a part of a waterlogged field image,distotred it to match the perspective and overlayed it on the original grass, blended NORMAL at 37%. This image had some small areas of water which, while not reflecting the actual raw render, help to give the effect of heavy rainfall.


Here, I overlayed a rain image with ground splashes at 11 %. Because I didn’t want this rain layer to dominate, in fact I wanted the splashes.


I duplicated the bottom half of the rain image. This was then overlayed again to intensify the splashes.


Here I began to notice that the original house reflection from the raw render was beginning to disappear so I copied the original, flipped vertically and overlayed it. I also used a motion blur filter moving downwards to extend and distort this image.


I added some foreground elements. All of my renders incorporate foreground planting and rocks etc. By layering these elements and adding gaussian blur to suggest depth of field, you can begin to build up a more natural effect. You need to be careful that the lighting on these elements matches the render or they can look out of place. Here I added some motion blur to a couple of these plants in order to again suggest movement.


A layer of rain drops added, layer blended NORMAL at 22%. This was created using a technique I found on here, very simple and very effective.


This was achieved using a Rain Brush for photoshop. I painted a new layer along the top of the building and the low walls and then played around with the opacity.


A new layer consiting of wind blown leaves with some motion blur added.this was then copied and rotated around the image.

'layering these elements and adding gaussian blur to suggest depth of field'


I wanted to bring the main house image out a bit more so darkened the top and bottom, this also helps with a more ominous feel.


This was an extra that I originally didn’t have on the image I uploaded to SketchUcation. Here I Layer blended LIGHTENED at 90%.I also changed the colour of the lightning which was originally a red colour as it didn’t work with the sky colour.


Again,this layer is optional. When I first started this image, I was looking for a mood,and I will normally sacrifice detail if I have to in order to get this mood. By inserting an image of windblown rain on glass with Layer blending OVERLAY at 43%, I got the effect I was looking for.

Check out SketchUcation’s Post Processing forum where you’ll find more stunning tutorials by David

David, and his brother James, set up Hennessy and Associates in July 2007 in Tramore, Ireland. Their background is as Architectural technicians, originally working for Murray O’Laoire architects for 10 years, both in Ireland and abroad. ‘Currently, we do a lot of outsourcing for other companies and have worked on projects in Moscow, Saudi Arabia and South Africa amongst others. We also do our own projects,one off housing, extensions etc.’ ‘We do both technical drawings and 3D modelling,using Sketchup to model and Vray, Maxwell and Twilight to render.’

FEatURED MEMBER david hennessy


Fill cells and bolt sills to stem walls, check level before placing backfill in preparation for rim and floor joists. Resize blocking, fascia, and subfloor components to fit framing. Push-Pull the rectangle to the top of the excavation

Form the base of the backfill with the Rectangle tool

Use inferences to match the top of the slope

Rectangle matches the bottom of the excavation

Triple-click to select the backfill and group and name

Resize the top of the backfill with the Scale tool

Resize rim joist to width of floor joists

Use a Plug-in to calculate the volume of the backfill

Start multiple copies with Move tool and Ctrl key

Use the Ctrl key with Scale to resize from the center

Key-in spacing then the number of copies Cantilever joists to match width of entry deck


Volume Calculation

Use the Scale tool to resize similar components to fit the required framing

Lengths of composite members to be trimmed later

*SketchUp V8 also shows the volume in the Entity Info dialog box

Composite girder set flush to sill in beam pocket

Cantilever rim joists over the girder


Use components to add visual scale to screenshots

Videos from our books. Backfill Volume Scaling Components (Again) Setting Blocking

Add multiple copies with the Ctrl key and Move

Drag along the Red axis, key-in spacing, and number of copies

Move-copy blocking over face of the girder

Fascia ties ends of cantilevered floor joists

Organize framing members in nested groups

Use the Scale tool to resize the blocking component to fit

Move-copy blocking along both sides of the guideline

Outliner is a materials list for quantity take-offs Add stock subfloor from a component library

Double fascia for deck per revised drawings

Resize subfloor components with the Scale tool to fit

See the Think Out of the Box blog article for more on construction modeling learn with the experts at your pace French Birdie Chair with SketchUp model included by Alvydas Learn how to create a 3D model of this French Birdie Chair using SketchUp !

Google SketchUp for Interior Design & Space Planning by Adriana Granados Learn the tricks of the trade from an Interior Design Expert

Broadley’s with SketchUp model included by John Higgins Learn how to create house scenes SketchUp and Photoshop

Sofa & Cushions with SketchUp model included by Alvydas Step by step tutorial on how to model a sofa and cushions

Chairs for kids with SketchUp model included by Alvydas Building a chair for kids using SketchUp based on a photograph

Grete Jalk Armchair with SketchUp model included by Alvydas How to build your dream chair in SketchUp in an easy to follow tutorial

Next Edition..... We’re starting the new year with even more CatchUp as we plan to turn it into a monthly release. So that means more tips, tricks and reviews for you to pour over. As ever, we’re alredy beavering away at January’s edition and if you read the editorial you know we’ve something very exciting on the horizon that we know you’re going to love! So it’s a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our members and readers.

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