We will walk through the majority of steps necessary to complete our work within SketchUp together - however, much of the work will require creativity and imagination as well as trial and error in order to obtain the required design/shape. In order to help everyone throughout this process - I have posted some scripts and will post videos that will assist you in using SketchUp and it's many tools.
Use the Tape Measure Tool
Use the Protractor Tool
Create labels with the Text Tool
Create Cutaways using Section Planes
Measure and Label
Use the tape measure tool
Use the protractor tool
Create labels with the text tool
Create cutaways using section planes
Use the tape measure tool
- When we draw in SketchUp, there are many times when we'll need to measure and align things. And for that, we can use the tape measure tool. Now, we can find it in two places: here it is on the toolbar, looks like a little tape measure, and we can also find it under tools, tape measure, and the hotkey is the letter T. Now, when I select this, the tape measure icon comes up, and in its simplest usage, we can actually just left click and drag, and measure stuff out. So, for example, this house is 66 feet, 4 1/2 inches wide.
- We can also measure other things, such as the width of this is 24 feet, 7 inches, or we can measure the height of this, which is 10 feet. Now, another way to use the tape measure tool is to create guidelines that can be used as a drawing aid. Now, I'm going to go ahead and actually draw an extra window on this house, and I want the top and bottom of this window to align to the existing window. Now, I'm going to go into my view, and just change my face style to monochrome, so this way we can see it a little bit more clearly.
- So, if I want to align something to this window, I can do one of two things. I can take the line tool, snap it to that end point and draw along the red axis, and that will create a line on that surface that matches up. But, that can get a little bit messy, because we're actually creating and affecting the geometry. A much cleaner way is to use the tape measure tool. So, I'm going to go ahead and undo that operation, and let's go ahead back to tape measure.
- So, all I have to do is click to the top corner of this window, which is an end point, left click and drag, snap to the red axis, and then left click at the corner there, and watch what happens. We get this dotted line, which is basically just a guideline, at the height of that window. Notice how it goes on either side of that window. So, it basically goes off into infinity. So, now I have a line that I can actually snap to, to start to draw other things.
- But, I also want to align the bottom part of that window. So, I need to draw one more guideline with the tape measure tool. So, again I'm going to snap here to this end point, left click, drag along red, snap there, and again click. Now, as you can see, we have two parallel guidelines, and I can use these to create a window. So, I'm actually going to use the rectangle tool in here. So I'm going to go ahead and find my rectangle tool, and let's go ahead and let's left click and drag, and then I'm going to drag that out so it's a big, square window, and that'll make it pretty easy.
- So, now once I have that, I have the basic outline of the window, and we can make a full window here simply by doing an offset. So, I can just offset this a little bit to create a window frame, and then maybe do a push-pull operation, just push that in just a little bit to create the actual window itself. So, as you can see, we now have another window in our scene. So, as you can see, the tape measure tool is not only good for measuring things in your scene, it's also a great way to create guidelines so that you can draw things very precisely.
Use the protractor tool
- When we want to measure angles or create angled guidelines, we can use the Protractor Tool. Now this can be found under Tools, Protractor. And when I bring it up, it brings up this little icon that looks very similar to the Rotate Tool. And what we can do is hover over any face and then use that to measure an angle. So here we have an angled object here. And all I have to do to measure, say, this angle here, is to say snap this to the corner on the green axis, left click and drag, left click again and then sweep out the angle.
- And notice how when it hits this line it'll start to snap. So once it snaps I can left click again and it will tell me the angle of this. In this case, it is 53.6 degrees. Now one thing that also happens is that it creates this dotted guideline. Now this is a guideline very similar to what we created with the Tape Measure Tool. So I can use this as a way to draw more detail. So, if I wanted to, I could take my Line Tool, snap to this end point, and notice how I can drag along this line and left click again and I can create a line that goes at that angle.
- And then I can create another line down here on the blue axis and then go over on the red axis and I've created another triangle. And if I want to, I could use my Push/Pull Tool to push-pull that into actual geometry. Now let's go ahead and do something a little bit more practical here. So I'm going to go ahead and select all of these objects and just delete them. Now here I have the basis of a house but the house still needs a roof. So let's go ahead and put an angled roof on this.
- Now, when we measure roofs, typically what we do is we use the pitch of the roof. So, for example, 12/6 pitch would be 12 units over and six up and that would give us a degree of 26.5. So, the pitch of the roof is actually a number that is usually used in building but there is also a degree value that goes with it. So we need to remember this 26.5 degrees. And we're going to do a 12/6 roof pitch.
- So, I'm going to go ahead and go back to my Protractor Tool. And let's go ahead and snap here to the green axis here. And then I'm going to go ahead and left click and drag along the red axis and then sweep that up to whatever angle we want. In this case, it's 26.5 so I'm just going to type that in and hit Enter. And when I do that it actually creates that guideline. So let's go ahead and do this one more time for the other side. So, again, I'm going to left click at that end point, sweep it out on the red axis, left click again, and then type in 26.5.
- So now I have two guidelines that match and we can basically just take our Line Tool, snap, and snap again. And notice how I have the front part of that roof. And if I want, I can take my Eraser Tool and erase my guidelines and then use my Push/Pull Tool to pull that into an actual roof. And this is actually a 20 foot roof so I'm going to actually type in 20 feet and hit Enter.
- And so now that lines up perfectly. So this is a basic gable end roof and that may be all you need. But let's go ahead and go one step further and create a hip roof which will be angled on this direction as well. Now this is going to be a little bit more complicated but just go ahead and bear with me here. So, what we need to do is angle this roof the same angle but going this way. So, again, I'm going to go to my Protractor Tool, highlight this, and this time sweep it out along the green axis and, again, we're going to go 26.5.
- So now I have this angle. But the problem with this is that if I draw along this it's going to be away from that roof. So I need to find a way to project this line onto the roof. Well, probably the easiest way is to just use the Tape Measure Tool. So I'm going to select my Tape Measure Tool, snap to the peak of that roof, go over until I snap. Then it's going to snap right here. And then again snap here until I hit that angled guideline and then draw over one more until I hit the peak of the roof.
- So what I've done is I've walked my way over and found the peak of that roof. Now once I have that, I now have the point from which I can draw the hip roof. So I'm going to go back to my Line Tool, snap to that intersection, snap to that end point, and do the same for the other side. Now once I have this, I can start erasing detail to reveal my hip roof. So the first thing I'm going to do is erase my guidelines. So I'm going to erase this one, this, and this and this.
- Now, I still have the gable end of that roof but underneath there is hidden my hip roof. So once I start erasing these edges, you'll start to see the hip roof. And there it is. So let's do this one more time just so that we understand the process a little bit better. So, again, I'm going to select my Protractor Tool, line it to the red axis, snap to green, and, again, angle it to the pitch of the roof which is 26.5 degrees.
- And now let's use our Tape Measure Tool to walk this over. So I'm going to start at the peak of the roof, walk over until it's above that corner, drag along the green axis until I hit the angled guideline and then go back over along the red axis until I hit the peak of the roof.Now, all I have to do is, again, find that intersection, one line and the second line. Now I have my hip roof hidden under there.
- In fact, if we view this in X-ray mode, you can kind of see that that hip roof is already there.And let's go ahead and start to delete these. So I'm going to go ahead and delete, delete, delete, delete. And you can see that hip roof is hidden and now it's not. So let's go ahead back and turn off X-ray so we can see this. And there we go. We now have a hip roof on our house using the Protractor Tool.
- So, as you can see, this tool's a great way to draw things at an angle and draw them precisely.And, combined with the Tape Measure tool, it gives you a lot of power in SketchUp.
Create labels with the text tool
- If we want to annotate our drawings, there are a couple of tools we can use to help us. One of these is the Text tool. Now we can find this under Tools/Text. Now remember we've used 3D text, but this is a different type of text. So when I select this, it brings up a little label here, and we can hover over anything in the scene, so let's go ahead and hover over this palm tree here, and just left-click and drag. Now what it's going to do is try to fill in the label with text, so if I left-click again, it will give me some sample text, but in this case what it figured out is not quite exactly what we want, so we just want to type in the actual name of this, so let's go and type in "Tropical Palm" and then go back to the Select tool.
- Now once I have that label there, it will stick to the object. Now one of the things about the Text tool is that it will always face where your camera is, so if I move my camera this way, you can see that it's always going to show up, and so that's one of the hallmarks of this. Now if we want, we can also label other things, so again I can go into my Text tool or I can find it here in the toolbar here, and again left-click and drag, and we can say "Shrubs" or whatever we want to call that, and then again, hit the Select tool and there we go.
- Now it depends on exactly what object you have, but the Text tool will try and fill that in, so if I want to, say, go here, you could say, okay, well, that's trying to find the house shell, but we can change that again to "Garage Door". So now that we have a couple of labels, we can also move them around, so if I were to, say, select one of these and just hit the Move tool by hitting m or selecting it, I can actually move these around, and notice how the orientation will change just depending upon where things are.
- So, if you need to annotate your drawing, the Text tool is a great way to add labels.
- We can also annotate our drawings using the Dimension tool. Now, we can find this either in the large toolbox or under Tools, Dimensions. This works very similar to the Tape Measure tool. All you have to do is just snap to a point in the scene, left click and drag, snap again, and then you're going to pull that up, and it will give you the dimensions. There we have the dimensions for that garage door.
- Let's go ahead and do some more of this. Again, I'm going to select Tools, Dimensions. Let's go ahead and snap to, say, the end point of the roof, and then pull up, and notice how, again, we get the dimensions of this, and also notice how, just like with the Text tool, this will always face you. If you're looking at it from an angle, the text will always go ahead and face you. Let's go ahead and, say, measure the width of the other side of this roof here, so from here to here, and, again, we can pull this up.
- Notice how it also snapped to that other dimension, and now we have a global dimensions for this house. If we want, we can start to modify this, so, if I were to hover over one of these and right click over it, you'll notice that we have a couple of different things. We can change the Text Position, so we can go outside of the start or inside of the start, or keep it centered. We can actually edit the text. Now, this will input the exact dimensions that comes out of the scene, so, if you're going to edit this, you need to do it for a good reason, and then, if we want to, we can also go into Entity Info.
- If I right click over this and go into Entity Info, you'll see that I get this in the tray, or, on the Macintosh, this will be a floating window, and then we can actually change the font, if we want.If I go into this I can change the font, I can change the size of the font, or whether it's bold, and so on. You can see I can actually affect that, if I need to. As you can see, this tool is very straightforward, but it does allow you to add dimensions to your scenes.
Create cutaways using section planes
- If you want to reveal more information about your drawing, you may want to create a section, which is basically a cutaway view of the drawing. Now, we can create these using the section plane tool. We can find this under tools, section plane. Now, this tool is very easy to use. All I have to do is select this. And notice how it comes up with this plane. So all I have to do is hover over a surface. And notice how it changes? It even angles if I'm on an angled surface.
- I'm going to go ahead and select the roof. So I'm going to snap it to the blue plane here, along the roof, and left click. And when I do, the section plane appears. Now, I can use this section plane to create, basically, a cutaway view. So all I have to do is select this. I'm going to go ahead and box select this and then go to the move tool. And then all we have to do is move this up or down. And you can see how we're creating a very nice cutaway of this building.
- Now, if I want, I can go into my camera, say, "Go into a top view" here, and maybe even go into parallel projection. And you'll see that we actually have a halfway-decent floor plan of the building. But I'm going to go ahead and rotate out and go back into perspective mode here.Now, section planes can be moved, but we also can delete them. So if we select them, we can hit the delete key, and they go away. So let's go ahead and do one more here.
- I'm going to go and create one from the front of this building. So, again, go into tools, section plane. And this time, I'm going to snap to green, which is the front wall of this building. And notice how that section plane comes up. And, again, I'm going to select this section plane and then hit M, for move. And you can see how, now, I can basically do a cutaway of this building.
- Now, section planes can be saved with a scene. So if I go into my scenes window here, notice how if I create a scene here, I can create scenes for active section planes. So you can actually do a section plane on a scene-by-scene basis, as well. So go ahead and play with section planes. And, as you can see, this is a very good way to get floor plans and sections of your work.