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Friday, December 16, 2011

Case study of a vaulted ceiling done with Sketchup

In the last chapter of this case study I will tell you how we did the ceiling. As we always do, we divide our model into groups: floor, walls and ceiling. In this way makes it easier to work with each part individually. In this figure you can see the different groups.

Once the walls were drawn and grouped to prevent bonding geometry with the ceiling we started modeling. The design presented no great difficulty except for the beams that interrupted the continuity of the vault. The first step was to create the arc for the vaulted ceiling. Since we needed only one face we used Vector Extrude Edges plugin by TGI. Using this tool is not necessary to have a face to extrude along an axis. With only defining the edge and a vector you can get a face. The vector in this case was the length of space to cover. The plugin can generate automatically a group.

Next, using the Offset tool, we made ​​a copy of the initial arc to generate the transverse faces of the beams. We draw these faces and with Push / Pull tool we completed the volume along the vault.

In a perpendicular plane we draw the sections of the transverse beams and with the Follow Me tool we created the beams along the arc.


Orbiting around to have a bottom view of the ceiling, we use Intersect with Selection to complete the missing lines of intersections and then we smoothed with Ctrl + Erase the intersection lines between the central beams. We grouped all the elements.

We unhidden all groups and this is the final result. Merry Christmas for all of you and a happy 2012!

Monday, November 14, 2011

How to prepare seamless or tiled textures in Sketchup

Preparing textures for SketchUp is a simple task. However, it must take into account the dimensions and how the texture will be repeated to cover a surface to achieve a seamless effect. In this project the carpet had four regions: bleedout, corner, border and field. The picture with the four textures was provided to us from which we had to create each of the materials and then apply them to different regions.

The pattern for the corner only repeated once and required no repetition. Using an image editor we cropped this portion of ​​the picture to get an image that would then be used to create the material in Sketchup.

From the same image we cropped the edge portion. This image as a material should be repeated in only one direction in a seamless way. Because of this fact, in the image editor in addition to cutting the new texture, we repeated the cropped image to check the appropriate continuation of the pattern. Once done this we saved the original image in JPG format.

This same process was repeated for the bleed-out area. In this case in the provided image, the pattern did not match exactly in the vertical and horizontal directions. That is why we had to take several steps before achieving an appropriate pattern that could be repeated in both directions without showing seams. The first step was to overlay the image for a larger area than could be cropped to achieve the repetition in X and Y. Once obtained the base pattern, we checked if it was matching in the vertical and horizontal directions. Then we saved the image.

For the 4th region corresponding to the field we repeated the same steps above.

Once obtained the necessary images we created in Sketchup the textures. This step-by-step process is explained in my book " Google SketchUp for Interior Design and Space Planning -Materials and Textures, the key for interior design” Course 3.

From the Materials window a new material is created using the image. In the Texture section you have to enter the real world height and width dimensions of the image. For example the image belonging to the field area it is represented 36 "x36". Once you have saved the texture select the Paint Bucket and apply it to the target face. If the texture does not appear according to the desired results it can be edited from the editing tab in the window of Materials.

After applying the new materials you will probably neeed to correct the position of the texture in some areas using the command Texture > Position. In this case we had to adjust the texture in the two short sides of the borders.
This is the final result.

These are some resources where you can create tiled or seamless texture.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Curved shapes in Sketchup. Case study of a lighting fixture

Recently, my company was entrusted with some interior renderings for a church. The project is an auditorium with a relatively low ceiling that makes a non inviting space, with fluorescent lights scattered throughout the area, with unattractive colors and crammed with uncomfortable furniture.

The idea of ​​the architect is to turn that space into a pleasant meeting place and replicate the elegance and prestige that currently has the nave of the church. This case study is a perfect example to continue the topic of how to make vaulted ceilings in Sketchup, how to prepare images and textures for use on floors or as wallpapers, or how to create curved lighting fixtures.

All the space was modeled in Sketchup and rendered in 3DMax. In the coming posts I will tell you how we did it. Today I will start with the lighting fixtures.
The picture provided by the architect indicated that the lamps would be like the photo except for the color of the glass that should be white.
We checked the image that had double-curved shade and other curved faces. To simplify our work we decided to use Extrusion Tools plug-in developed by TGI. One of the guidelines that we follow when we create renderings is to keep the geometry as simple as possible with the least number of edges and avoid any unnecessary detail due to distance or point of view will not be seen.
The first step was drawing two concentric circles with 12 sides each instead of the default 24. In this way we could make the edges smoother without need to involve many faces and at the same time to work with 6 sections to recreate the shade.We created a vertical face on which we draw the shade curve and then we copied it at 60 degrees.

Then we copy the outer arc at the top. We delete unnecessary lines and we used the Extrude Edges by Rails. In order we chose the upper curve, the two rails and finally the lower arc for the melting curve. To all the answers we answered no except for smooth edges. The result is as shown in the picture.

Then we copy the outer arc at the top. We delete unnecessary lines and we used the Extrude Edges by Rails. In order we chose the upper curve, the two rails and finally the lower arc for the melting curve. To all the answers we answered no except for smooth edges. The result is as shown in the picture.

Once created the first group we made 5 copies with rotation and then grouped the 6 sections to form the shade.
For the metal frame we drew a rectangle in the XY plane and use Edge Extrude Faces by using the arc as profile. Then we made 5 copies with rotation every 60 degrees and grouped them. Using the Outliner is essential to separate and hide the various groups and subgroups that we created.

For the ring perimeter simply we changed the number of edges of the base circle at 24 and then apply Pull / Push tool. We deleted the entities that we did not need leaving 4 segments of the curve.

Separately we created a prism and the rosette groups to intersect the faces of the ring. We omitted most curved edges to simplify the model. We placed groups on the ring.


After applying Intersect Faces with Selection we deleted the prisms and the intersected faces. We created a component which we rotated and copied. Using Ctrl + erase we removed the joint edges.

Finally we created the center and hangers using Push / Pull and Follow Me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

How to create a shell niche

A few nights ago I was having dinner in a nice Italian restaurant with a neo-classic decoration. A few walls had shell niches that exhibited wonderful sculptures. These niches were exedras - a semicircular recess inside the wall.
The word Niche derives from the Latin nidus or nest. The Italian nicchio for a sea-shell may also be involved, as the traditional decoration for the top of a niche is a scallop shell. I recall a nice piece of art of Filippo Lippi - Madonna - where the trompe-l'oeil niche frames her.
I took a picture with my phone with a very bad light just to remember the image.
I thought it could be a very good example to apply the Extrude tools plugin developed by TGI. After registering you can download them from .
You will also need another plugin called Weld from Smustard that can be downloaded from . All these plugins are free.
Once you have downloaded both tools follow the instructions how to install them.
These tools are a must-to-have for interior designers.
After analyzing the geometry I decided that the option to use was "Extrude Edges by Rails." I had organic forms with double curvature, the front arcs and two curved paths converging at the rear of the exedra.
I followed this procedure:
1. I drew a 12 segments half-circle in the red-green plane. I drew another half-circle in the red-blue plane with the same properties that would be the opening of the niche. I made a third half-circle with an offset at 2” to get a face to work on and to use it in a later step to finish the overall niche.
I exploded the “opening” arc to get separate segments. I divided the second segment into 6 and drew a big arc and two small on each side. I worked with the second segment of the arc because it was above the bottom part of my drawing and was easier for me to work with.
I drew a line from the center point to the base arc to divide it into two parts and work only with the curve that I was going to use as rail. I rotate + copy 15 degrees and 30 degrees, and drew a short arc between the two rails to define the shell focal point.

Next, I erased the construction lines and I joined with Weld the three small arcs of the wedge.

I selected Extrude Edges by Rails from the Extrude toolbar and selected Arc 1 as profile curve, Arc 2 and 3 as rail curves, and Arc 4 as melding-profile.
I reversed faces, erased coplanar edges, smooth edges and erased original curves.
Once the group was created I rotated + copy 11 times every 15 degrees and I made a group. With Intersect Faces > With Selection I divided the front face into two separate ones so I could erase the face covering the niche space to reveal the inside of the niche.

Finally I drew a profile in the top edge of the cylinder and I used Follow-Me to create a molding to separate the cylinder from the exedra. ( I could also have used Extrude by Lathe)
To create a fast rendering I applied gold color inside the niche. I imported an alpha-transparent background image “as image” and applied it on a vertical face. I created an Always Face Camera component. I edited the component and erase the vertical face keeping only the image. I placed the Rodin sculpture inside the niche. I turned the edges and profiles off,

I used Pull/Push to create the lower part of the niche and Line to complete missing faces.