Monday, July 21, 2014

SketchUp and String Art

A few weeks ago I was contacted by artist Henning Tauscher from Germany:
Hello there! I am Henning from Germany and I do a little string art in my spare time. I've been doing this for quite a while now and my projects became bigger and bigger. Now when you do a string art project that's 5 meters in diameter, filling a whole room, it becomes complicated imagining it, sketching it, or playing around with colours and patterns. (This is for the ceiling of a Psy Trance party, that I host with my crew.) I was looking for a way to visualize it on my PC to be able to play around and easily erase/change patterns. So when I was looking at SketchUp, which I was unfamiliar with at the time, I stumbled upon your "Project of the Month" from March 2011. It helped me a great deal with getting started in SketchUp, especially with the tools I need to produce string art. Now I would like to share my project with you, if you like. It came out really nice! Again a big THANK YOU and a hug from across the big pond!

Here's a shot of his finished project:

I don't hit a lot of trance parties these days, but I'd go to this one if it were a little closer to home :)

I asked to see Henning's SketchUp model and it's great! Here's the initial view, with a hip, black background and SketchUp 2014's defauilt person (Sophie) on the ground. She's good for providing a sense of scale.

Here's the front view, where you can see that the middle part slopes toward a lower center point, and the rest is flat.

I separated the three levels of objects to give a better sense of how the model is set up:

Henning made perfect use of components. In each of the three layers, there are components that are mirrored and rotate-copied about the center, to fill in the rest. Here's one of these components, where you can see the lines that stretch between the dividing points along each straight edge.

If you're wondering about the edge and background colors, these are set in the Styles window (menu: Window / Styles). On the Edge page of the Edit tab, you can set the edge color to "By Material." And on the "Background" page you can set background color, which then turns otherwise black edges to white (check out Sophie).

Here's one more shot of the finished product, which includes one of the surrounding mirror. Don't you want to go and hear some wild music now?

Thanks Henning - our "cool" factor has just gone up :)

Anyone can design anything in 3D!

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Great Rendering Tutorial

I've been corresponding for a few years with Jorge Lopez, an architect who also teaches at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Last week, Jorge sent me a link to an easy-to-follow rending tutorial that he created for his CAD SketchUp class. The rendering application he used is IRender nXt, which has a 30-day, fully functional trial version.

Even if you're not planning to purchase an application like this, it's a great opportunity to learn step-by-step the basic mechanics of how to render a SketchUp model. Once you get the techniques, they can usually be applied to other applications. Give it a try!

The SketchUp model Jorge starts with is an interior pool (nice!) with SketchUp's usual cartoony look.

He starts with a one-click render, without adjusting settings or adding lights, which only takes a couple of minutes and looks pretty good:

The tutorial proceeds to show how to add lights (a table lamp, a floor light, a spotlight above the fireplace, some wall sconces) and how to apply light properties to SketchUp objects (the dome light of a ceiling fan, fire in the fireplace). Pretty stunning so far:

Then you learn about the finishing touches: playing with the reflective properties of the water, making the pool tiles a bit bumpy, making plastic and metal and glass look realistic, making mirrors reflect.

Here's the final rendering, before and after the final adjustments:

The tutorial ends with info on how to adjust the camera view,change the field of view, and create an animation.

If you've ever wanted to try your hand at rendering, Jorge's tutorial is a great way to start!

Anyone can design anything in 3D!

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