First time using Google SketchUp

Well, Google SketchUp is taking me a while to get used to. Just going by the instructionals, it seems like it’s a lot simpler to learn how to use than an Adobe program. But I think I took to Adobe Illustrator a lot faster than SketchUp (although it’s hard to compare since it’s been a few years since I learned that…but I don’t remember feeling the same sense of frustration with that program in any way…except for maybe trying to use the mesh gradient tool). Although while learning I often felt like knowing Illustrator was almost a handicap for learning SketchUp because I kept wanting to use keyboard shortcuts that work in Adobe but do not translate into SketchUp (for example it drove me crazy that I couldn’t zoom by hitting the control key plus +/- ahhhhh!!) It was mainly little details like that that kept driving me up the wall. The more I used it the less I hated it (in the beginning it was making me outright angry at the program more often than not) and by the end I was actually having a lot of fun with it. Although the main part I find enjoyable is customizing the structure you build with the materials and components. I still need a lot of practice when it comes to actually building structures from scratch.

The biggest issue I had in the beginning was that I tried building my structure as one room at a time and connecting them after the cubes were already pulled into 3-D shapes. I also made the mistake of making the rooms as cubes and then trying to pull the walls outward to give them thickness.. When I pulled out each side of a room into a wall and then tried to connect them by deleting the little lines between the faces, I kept having whole connecting faces get deleted as well instead of the walls merging together. My structures kept turning into impossible Escher-like buildings. In the end I had to search for advice online and I realized that it works much better if you draw your entire floor plan first two-dimensionally, and then only pull it into a 3-D shape after the Inner and outer walls have already been designated. The process went from making me want to pull my hair out in frustration to not being terribly difficult whatsoever.

It took me a very long time to get the hang of using the rotate tool correctly (it was always rotating my objects on the wrong axis, when I tried to move things a certain way, but by the end it stopped being so difficult). Likewise I also had some trouble setting guidelines where I wanted them, they also kept aligning to different axis’s than I intended. I found working in a 3-D space very awkward sometimes.

My photo-narrative was about a dragon that lived on a bookshelf and went searching for other dragons to be friends with. Because there was a lot of book imagery in my photos (it starts on a book shelf and then throughout some of the photos the titles on books in the background are relevant to the story) , I made my 3-D space a sort of library/reading room/gallery, with bookshelves, places to sit, and framed pictures. I tried to replicate a few items from the photos in the 3-D space, such as the black dresser in the end of the photo sequence, the hamper basket, and the presence of a black cat and small red dragon. I made the door way between two rooms in the structure arched to look like an entrance in my apartment, because that’s where the photos were taken, even though I did not try to recreate my actual apartment in the structure. The customizing of the components and materials was definitely the most enjoyable part of this assignment for me.

Here I am going to post several screen-caps of the project (although it’s actually less than half, there were just way too many to show the whole sequence) plus my 2 of my graph planning drawings.

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2 Responses to First time using Google SketchUp

  1. zanyrin says:

    WoW … that is pretty impressive for a first time run.
    Love the bookshelves!

    • gnarlycat says:

      Hi! Thanks! I’m afraid I can’t take too much credit for the bookshelves though…I started with a stock black and white book shelf that came as a default competent in the program. I only changed the appearances of the books on each version and colorized them. When I was working with SketchUp I sometimes felt more like I was playing a SIMS game than working with an art program! (I think if I practiced more I’d be able to make more of the elements from scratch though). But, yeah, like you I really love books! :D

      I like the look of your journal a lot! The color and graphic are all really nice.

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