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    Thread: DevilDog's SketchUp Tips

    1. #1
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      DevilDog's SketchUp Tips

      While not essential for pond construction, Google SketchUp, is very useful for working out all those little "kinks" that come up during pond construction (or any kind of projects).

      Before you start hauling blocks and bags of concrete, try your design ideas out in 3D. Its a lot easier to find out on paper that your skimmer design doesn't work, than to tear out some cured block wall.

      The program is free for non-commercial use from Google.

      The learning curve is fairly easy (it took me about 72 hours and I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer). If your comfortable with terms like "Right Click", "Click-And-Drag", "Mouse Over", etc you should be fine.

      I will be posting some of the very basics first to get someone who has never used the program before up to speed. How to download and install, how to start your first model, that sort of stuff.

      If you've been using the program for awhile you'll probably be pretty bored with this thread until I start getting into some of the more interesting stuff. Please hold your questions/comments until the end as I would like this to be a very useful guide, that someone could just follow along.

      If you want to work ahead, there are tons of tutorials on youTube and Google's Help pages. If you know a better way (I'm no Expert) please PM me and I'll edit the Original Post and credit you.

      I'm pretty excited so lets get started.
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    2. #2
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      How I got started aka The Boring Back-Story

      A few years ago my wife and I were ready to start our kitchen remodel on our 40 year old home, hereafter referred to as The Money Pit or simply The Pit.

      I had several years of Construction/Carpentry under my belt and the budget dictated DIY all the way. We took one of the Big Box "Kitchen Design" brochures and brought it home.

      Inside the brochure was a little graph paper area to note your kitchen dimensions. Hah! Don't be fooled! That pathetic little thing is just to get you to the Salesperson's desk (not that there's anything wrong with that, it just seriously misrepresents the task ahead of you).

      We took our little 3" x 3" drawing back to the Big Box and they proceeded to enter all of our dimensions into a program on their computer, which began drawing a little blueprint of our kitchen. Then we went around the kitchen and talked about the different size cabinets we wanted on the walls, on the floors, etc. All in all it was about a two hour process. At the end, the Salesperson hit Print and there was our new kitchen in 3D from various angles!

      Being savvy consumers, we wanted to shop around and get some more prices, ideas, compare manufacturers and that sort of thing so we headed on over to the next Big Box and what do ya know....We had to start all over! "What are your room dimensions?", "What cabinet would you like here?", "Here's a picture of your new kitchen!"

      This was repeated 2 or 3 more times with different stores and it was getting to be a real pain. (which, if you are doing a kitchen I highly recommend. Our design evolved so much from our "First Draft" and we caught so many errors it was well worth the invested time)

      I said, there's got to be a 3D CAD program that I can use to let me make my own changes to the design as we work on them and we can move forward much quicker. So I did a Google search and what-a-ya-know, Google SketchUp.

      I downloaded it to my laptop and took it to my in-laws for a 3-day weekend. By the end of the weekend I had my first draft of the kitchen done. Here it is:

      That's funny, this one never seems to collect any dirty dishes.

      TL/DR: Not having your own design software sucks.
      Attached Images Attached Images  
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    3. #3
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      The Boring Back Story II

      So, now you're saying "Whoa, he's really good! Look at all that complex work he did! He made a stove and a curved faucet and windows. Cool." (or maybe your saying something similar to that, like "Ehh, he's OK")

      Actually I didn't. That's the nice thing about SketchUp. Every time you finish a model and save it, SketchUp asks you if you want to "Share Model". You don't have to, but if you want to it gets uploaded to Google's SketchUp Warehouse and is available for download to anyone for free.

      So, if I'm modeling my square box of a house (which I can manage) and I want to put a fancy Lamborghini in the driveway (which I can't) I just go into SketchUp's Warehouse and download the one I like best.

      The only thing I did on the Kitchen Render picture above is size the floor/wall/window dimensions correctly. All of the cabinets sizes, shapes, colors, door styles, appliances, faucet were all downloaded from Google. Free.

      TL/DR: You don't have to know beans about it to get some great results.
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    4. #4
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      How to get it

      OK so time to download it. (Just an aside: If you haven't Googled your way to the SketchUp page yet or your wondering "what is Google? ", you might want to excuse yourself from the class.)

      Home Page

      LEGAL STUFF: Google SketchUp is free for Non-commercial Use. If you are a Construction Pro, Designer, etc, etc and in some way benefit financially from your designs, you need Google SketchUp Pro ($495). If memory serves me correct, the US Government set up Toll-Free Hotline to rat out people who are using unlicensed software. Disgruntled Employees, slighted Business Partners? You get the picture

      Download Page
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    5. #5
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      Time to do some work. I'll give everyone a few hours to Download and install. If you have any troubles PM me.
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    6. #6
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      Hi CDD, I just wanted to say thanks for doing this.
      When I was designing my pond I gave up trying to use SketchUp. I sure could have used this then.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    7. #7
      Zaid is offline Member
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      I also second that this program has been a life saver, been using it through out my pond creation. What I love the most about it is how easy it is to use, and the fact that it uses real dimensions.

    8. #8
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      Start your first file

      OK, so once you have it installed and open you should be looking at something like this:




      You may or may not have all of the same Tool Bars showing that I do but we can get to those later. Most likely you just have what Google calls the "Getting Started" Tool Bar



      If you ever wonder what something does, "Mouse Over" it, whether its a button, or an object you've drawn and SketchUp will show you Context Tips at the bottom of the window, next to the Blue Question Mark. Mousing over the Tool Bar from left to right you should see:

      The Select Tool - For "Selecting" things
      The Line Tool - For drawing "Lines"
      The Rectangular Tool - You didn't really think I was going to keep listing them did you?
      The Circle Tool
      The Arc Tool
      The Component Tool
      The Eraser
      The Tape Measure
      The Paint Tool
      The Push/Pull Tool

      and a bunch more we'll get to later.

      If you want to jump ahead (and by the time I finish writing this you'll be drawing Lamborghinies) you can click on the Blue Question Mark at the bottom of the Window and SketchUp will open The Instructor (cue angelic music).

      The Instructor (angelic music again) will walk you through the common and advanced uses of whatever tool you currently have selected. Go ahead and open it.

      So lets draw something. Select the Rectangle Tool from the Tool Bar and click twice in the Drawing Area. The Instructor (angeli...awww Shut Up) should be giving you some guidance now.

      Got your Rectangle? Now select the Push/Pull Tool (it looks like a box with an arrow pointing up) from the Tool Bar.

      Click inside the rectangle and move your mouse up and down. Once your Cube is the height you like, click again to lock its height.

      Congratulations! You just drew your first house. Should look something like this:



      Maybe its a dog house.

      OK, play around with turning some circles into cylinders and squares into boxes while I hit the shower.

      When I get back we'll cover a few advanced things that really irritated me when I first started learning. Groups and Components
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    9. #9
      Kent Wallace's Avatar
      Kent Wallace is offline The luckiest man in the world
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      I use Sketchup whenever I get a chance. I love it but I wish I were better at it. Maybe I can learn something here as you go along.
      Excellent thread, keep going.
      Last edited by Kent Wallace; 04-05-2012 at 08:14 PM.

    10. #10
      cindy's Avatar
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      I am so ready, thanks for doing this. I need to landscape and do a kitchen
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      My opinions in ER and on this forum are mine only. Use my advice at your own discretion.

      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."


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    11. #11
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      Raising the roof

      Well, I wasn't going to post anything until tomorrow but of course I'm lying in bed staring at the ceiling and worrying about my pond (or lack thereof)

      So I thought I'd post a little more.

      Lets Raise the roof on our Doghouse.

      First a little on Navigating your View aka: How to look around

      Three main tools to look around in SketchUp and one "Emergency Ripcord"

      Orbit - Looks like a blue Atom
      Pan - A Hand
      Zoom - A magnifying glass
      Zoom Extents - A magnifying glass with four arrows around (Think of it as The Eject Handle )

      If you are using a Scrolling Mouse or a 3-Wheel Mouse your middle button and/or wheel will handle some of the functions for you without having to select the tool from the Tool Bar.

      Play around with the Navi tools and remember the Zoom Extents button is your "Eject Handle". When you first start using SketchUp (SU) its common to get "lost" in the geometry.

      You'll zoom out to look at your doghouse and back right into your Lamborghini. Suddenly you won't be able to see anything and no amount of Zooming or Orbiting seems to rescue you. Hit the Eject Handle. It takes you automatically to a height where you can see all of the objects in your Model.

      TL/DR: Remember the Eject Handle is Zoom Extents
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    12. #12
      cindy's Avatar
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      Ok I have my box
      My opinions in ER and on this forum are mine only. Use my advice at your own discretion.

      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."


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    13. #13
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      Raising the roof

      Sooo, ever onward.

      There are several ways to raise the roof on our doghouse but the easiest ways both start with the Line Tool (The Pencil)

      Grab the pencil and address your doghouse.

      If you move the point of The Pencil along the roof edge above where our front door is going to go you'll see that colored dots will pop up for useful points along the line. Green Endpoints and Blue for the Middle and Red along the line. These points (Inference Points for the terminally Nerdy) are SU's way of asking "Do you mean here?" or "Do you mean this way?"

      Find the Middle and now we can go one of two ways. We can either

      A) Draw the ridge line across the roof of the house and use the Move Tool to "pull" the Ridge Up

      or

      B) Draw the rake of the gable ends and use the Push/Pull Tool to drag the gable across

      The two methods, side-by-side look like this
      Attached Images Attached Images  
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    14. #14
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      Sorry for the glacial pace of this thread (I wasn't kidding when I said you'll all be drawing Lamborghinies before I'm done). I'm writing it "on the fly" and I apologize to anyone trying to follow along.

      So, regardless of which method you used to put a roof on your house, you most likely had to rely on an Axis Inference in order to be successful. If you used Method A you may have noticed SU prompt you "On Blue Axis" while you were moving the ridge beam. If you used Method B you may have noticed a blue dashed line following your mouse up from the Midpoint Inference dot.

      Similar to Inference Points these are SU's way of asking "Do you mean this way?" Or "Do you mean relative to that thing over there?"

      You'll notice that if you are indecisive with your mouse movement, SU will start throwing other Inferences at you as it attempts to figure out what you are trying to do. It usually guesses right for the first few seconds but, if you hesitate, it starts throwing suggestions at you.

      To cure this, as soon as you see SU suggest the correct Inference that you want to use, press and hold the Shift key on the keyboard. This will Lock Inference and allow you to be as wishy-washy as you like about your mousing behavior.

      Sorry for any typos and I'll try and get some images on tomorrow, typing on the Droid is no fun.

      TL/DR: Press and hold Shift to Lock Inference
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    15. #15
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      Using the Offset Tool

      Since our dog will occupy the same plane of existence as our doghouse, we probably want to make it hollow on the inside, so he'll have some place to sit.

      Use the Orbit Tool to rotate your view to the underside of the doghouse or if your reading ahead and feeling froggy you can flip the model upside down.

      Now, you could mess around with the Rectangle Tool and try and get a square centered up in the bottom of the floor, but the Offset Tool is much better.

      The Offset Tool looks like two arcs with an arrow between them. Select it and then click on the bottom face of your house. You should get a dynamic rectangle that will allow you to scale the dimensions of your floor while easily staying in the same plane.

      Make the square the same shape as your floor bottom and slightly inside.

      Then Select it and use the Push/Pull Tool to "push" the floor into the house.

      You may notice that you can push the floor right on out the top of the house which looks funny but doesn't really help our dog. Use SU Endpoint Inference to stop your push right at the top corner of the walls.
      Attached Images Attached Images  
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    16. #16
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      Selecting, grouping and copying items

      So, generally after you build something, you'll want to Group all of the Faces and Edges together into one logical unit. Try using the Move Tool to drag your doghouse over a few feet and you'll see that SU treats it like just an abstract mess of pieces. Unless you select the entire doghouse each time, you'll end up just pulling the roof out of shape.

      The solution is to make Groups out of collections of Edges and Faces. Its up to you to decide what a logical grouping strategy is, if you're designing a deck it might be a 2x4 that makes sense if you're laying out a town, you're going to be miserable managing Groups at that level.
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    17. #17
      cindy's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by CplDevilDog View Post
      So, generally after you build something, you'll want to Group all of the Faces and Edges together into one logical unit. Try using the Move Tool to drag your doghouse over a few feet and you'll see that SU treats it like just an abstract mess of pieces. Unless you select the entire doghouse each time, you'll end up just pulling the roof out of shape.

      The solution is to make Groups out of collections of Edges and Faces. Its up to you to decide what a logical grouping strategy is, if you're designing a deck it might be a 2x4 that makes sense if you're laying out a town, you're going to be miserable managing Groups at that level.
      Faces, edges and groups?
      My opinions in ER and on this forum are mine only. Use my advice at your own discretion.

      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."


      K.O.I.

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    18. #18
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      Sorry,

      everything in SU is created of either Edges or Faces.

      Faces are composed of at least 3 Edges all of which are coplanar. The simplest Face you could have is a triangle.

      Faces and Edges are always straight even if the look curved. If you draw an Arc and then zoom in on that Arc you will eventually get close enough to see it is just a bunch of straight lines.

      A collection of Faces and Edges make up "Geometry" and a user-defined collection of Faces and Edges becomes a "Group".

      Generally, if you are making "things" in SU. Once you have a "thing" you will want SU to treat it as a "thing" and not just Geometry.

      To turn Geometry into a "thing" you need to create a Group.

      To create a Group you use the Select Tool (more on Selecting in the next post) to select all of the Geometry that composes your thing and then right-click and choose "Make Group"

      Once you have a Group, SU will treat it like a "thing" and it will behave differently from Geometry.
      Attached Images Attached Images  
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

    19. #19
      cindy's Avatar
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      Clearer, thank you. I'll pull it back up when I get to the home computer. Played with it a little last night. Thanks for doing this.
      My opinions in ER and on this forum are mine only. Use my advice at your own discretion.

      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."


      K.O.I.

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    20. #20
      CplDevilDog is offline Senior Member
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      Selecting things (entities) is your way of telling SU, "The next thing I do, I want to apply to this thing (entity). (Google refers to Faces, Edges, Groups and Components as "Entities" in their tutorials so to avoid confusion I'll use "entity" instead of "thing").


      Selecting is done pretty much 3 ways.

      1. Single, Double and Triple Clicking on things
      2. Click-and-drag Left To Right
      3. Click-and-drag Right To Left

      Play around with The Selection Tool (looks like an arrow).


      Single Clicking on an Edge or Face you'll Select that thing (entity) only.

      Double Clicking selects the Entity you are clicking plus any adjacent entities.

      Triple clicking (very useful and used often) selects all of the Entities connected to that Entity by any sort of Geometry

      Assuming you have not yet Grouped you doghouse into an Group, try Triple Clicking on a wall, you'll see that the entire doghouse turns blue.

      Click-and-drag Left-to-Right selects all of the entities completely contained within the selection box

      Click-and-drag Right-to-Left selects all of the entities touched by the selection box.

      One common problem when beginning SU is unintentionally selecting entities that are hidden behind the actual thing you want.
      Last edited by CplDevilDog; 04-17-2012 at 08:44 AM.
      Can correctly identify Shinola 3 out of 5 times*

      *Under ideal conditions


      Every Success is nothing more than a string of Failures laid end-to-end.

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