Modelling from paper part II: Google Sketchup

Getting started with Google Sketchup

Google Sketchup is a simple to use 3D modelling software. The best part is, it's free. Right now, what we're doing is figure out how to create a simple 3D object on the computer using Google Sketchup. After that, Pepakura Designer will unfold it into a paper model template.

1: Download Google Sketchup

Click here to download
There are 2 versions, Google Sketchup and Google Sketchup pro. The latter costs money, so you know which to choose.

2: Install and open it

This is what you will see:

It's a really simple interface, with a workspace in the middle, the toolbar on top and a man surrounded by 3 lines - this is to help you grasp the perspective that you are looking at - remember, we're working in 3D.

3: Play around with the tools

What you can do now, is to get familiarised with what the tools do. Play around, draw some basic shapes.

If you mouse over the tool icons, the function of the tool appears:

4: Basic Tool sets

The first set of 4 tools from the left are drawing tools:

These let you create the all the basic shapes you need. The pencil draws straight lines, the rectangle draws squares and rectangles, the circle draws circles and the curved line lets you create warped lines and curves.

The second set of 4 tools from the left are basic editting tools:

These let you do simple editting to the lines that you drew. You can erase them, measure them and fill them in with colours/textures.

The third set of 4 are 3D transformation tools:

Push and pull will drag whatever shape you drew into a 3D object. For example, if you drew a square, push and pull will drag it into a 3D box. Move/Copy will simply allow you to move the objects around. Rotate allows you to turn your object - the first click sets the turning axis, and after that, you can turn the object in any direction you like. Offset lets you create scaled up/down versions of the things you already drew.

The last set of important tools are your view tools:

These allow you to change the perspective that you are viewing your 3D object at. You can either rotate the perspective, move the perspective, zoom in or zoom out.

The last tools on the right are to save your/share your work!
These do not require further elaboration.

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I'm having lots and lots of fun with this software, after Google earth this is my favorite Google application. said...

Pretty worthwhile info, thank you for the article.

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