SketchUp: 3D basic tutorial (part 1).

2018.03.04, written by Kuna.

First entry of March πŸ€ While waiting for spring, my enthusiasm for background art keeps growing (!) and I thought about releasing a tutorial for SketchUp. Since it’s the first one on the subject, I’ll cover the basic tools and functions. Also, I think that for someone who first approaches 3D models it could be a tricky issues so I’ll be very detailed.

Basic tools to move around.

When we start the program we get a plain view with a blue sky and green land (and the figurine of a person πŸ‘€). Let’s learn how to move inside this virtual place and go look up to the bar crowded with all sort of symbols.

The Hand – Select the Hand tool, then click anywhere on your screen and drag to move wherever you want. 

Double Arrows –  Left to the Hand there is the Double Arrows tool that allows you to rotate your environment. If you want to save some seconds you can activate the DA button any moment by clicking and holding the scrollwheel on your mouse.

(Unfortunately I don’t have English names for buttons and I also believe SU is translated into dozen of languages so I’m going to use icons’ images to write this tutorial) .

Magnifying Glass – Use the scrollwheel forward and backward to zoom in and out (to do it manually use the Magnifying Glass next to the Hand button).

Magnifying Glass + 3 arrows – The last button on the same bar is used to get out of 3D models and have the camera in a position from where you can watch your creation entirely. In practice it can be used this way as well: when you’re building your rooms or cities sometimes it may happen you get stuck inside a wall or under the pavement and this button is useful to teleport you back in the green land.

Building our first room.

From now on we’re going to cover the tools to operate on our buildings. Let’s build a room! 😏

Let’s now select the last button on the first bar, the one looking like a square crossed diagonally. Let’s click on the green land and drag the cursor until we make a square or a rectangle to our liking. It’s going to be our pavement.

On the right lower corner of the screen we can check the size of what we’re building.

Now, let’s introduce a Core Tool: the Black Arrow. It’s the first one on the left. Let’s use it to click on the surface of our square to select it. This tool is used to select any item on screen. To apply any effect, move and transform an item you have to use the Black Arrow to select it first.

The square became blue. Let’s select the four lines contouring our square surface as well while holding CTRL on the keyboard. Then right-click on our shape and click on “Create group” (or some equivalent for it in your language ^ ^).

When we “draw” something with the square tool we indeed get every part of our solid disconnected from the others. This is not wrong and let us edit every single part individually, but I believe it’s more convenient to have every piece “assembled” as when you want to move it around you don’t have to select every single part of it especially in case of complex items. Moreover, after you create a group you can still edit each of its part in a more convenient way. So let’s proceed and finish building our pavement.

Now, let’s double click on the surface. This will split its parts again but only temporarily. (When we click back on the green land we will have our shape assembled again. So remember: Double click to temporarily “dismantle an item” to get able to edit its part. Click anywhere else on the green land and you have it put back together again.)

Click on the surface to select that only and then use the button with the upward arrow to drag it and build the width. Now we have a 3D pavement.

In a similar way let’s build the walls for our room. Lets’ create the first one and copy-paste it on the other side. (To move items on screen use the four-arrow tool)

To build our third wall we copy-paste one more time and we use the tool with the two arrows in circle to rotate it. Click on the tool and bring the virtual goniometer on the top surface of the wall (it has to be blue in color, meaning you’re rotating the item on the x axis). Now click on the wall and then move the cursor a bit far and click again: you anchored the wall. 

Now you can move the cursor and rotate it until it fits its place.

Note that this third wall is slightly shorter than what it should be. This lets me introduce you the last tool we’re going to cover for this entry.

Let’s click on the last button on the bar, the one portraying a square with an arrow pointing at the upward right corner. This will allow us to resize our target.

A bunch of tiny cubes will appear all over around the wall. Depending on which you click upon you will resize items differently. The cubes in the middle of each trio resize items while mantaining proportions. We click on the one you see in red in the figure and drag it to enlarge the item.

Ta-dah, we have our room. 

Generally I leave it open on one side, I mean it’s more convenient if you’re creating an interior. As for the ceiling I usually add it later to have more freedom in movements.

So this was my introduction to SU tutorial. We learnt how to build solid items and the basics to move around in the landscape and also to control objects. There’s going to be a second part in two weeks, and that will cover: door creations, coloring and applying materials and the 3D warehouse.

Thank you for reading, see ya!πŸ™ŒπŸ’œ