- A brief introduction -
InternetGIS course - 2011
Create 3D models and share them with the world
Google SketchUp is software that allows you to create 3D models
of anything you like.
• Model anything you can imagine:
‘Redecorate your living room. Design a new piece of furniture. Model your
city for Google Earth. Create a skate park for your hometown, then export
an animation and share it on YouTube. There's no limit to what you can
create with SketchUp’.
You can build models from scratch, or you can download what you
need. People all over the world share what they've made on the
Google 3D Warehouse. It's a huge, searchable repository of
models and it's free.
Orbit tool – to look around the 3D model
Zoom tool – to zoom in/zoom out
Pan tool – to move your view (without orbiting)
or use the scroll wheel to navigate:
Roll the wheel
backward to zoom
Press and hold the
wheel to orbit
Press + Shift to pan
Draw shapes (1)
1. Draw a closed loop of edges to create a surface
2. Watch the axis directions and use inferring to line un edges
Inferring: ability of SketchUp to line edges for you
Simply hold on to the point you want to line up with for few seconds and then
go back and draw slowly until SketchUp shows you a dotted line
Draw shapes (2)
1. Learn and use the different inference points
Middle of an edge
On the edge
1. Always draw to and from existing edges
On the face
– don’t draw new edges over existing edges
Rectangle: to be accurate with the rectangle type the
dimensions separated by a comma (e.g.: 3m,5m) and
Line: you can type the length of the line. Any edge can
be subdivided: right click and choose ‘Divide’, then move
the cursor to choose the number of segments.
Circle/Polygon: you can type the radius of the circle.
You can change the number of sides by typing a number
followed by the letter ‘s’ (circles have a default of 24
sides, polygons 6). Hover your cursor over the edges to
snap to center points.
Press ‘Esc’ to stop using any tool. Right click to see ‘Entity Info’.
Arc: is a 3 steps process:
1) define the first end point of the arc;
2) define the second end point of the arc;
3) define the radius of the arc.
You can type an exact radius if needed and also snap to a ‘half circle’
inference or draw arcs tangent to adjacent edges (magenta lines and
arcs to indicate tangency), also in sequence (blue: the new arc is tangent
to the previous one).
By default arcs have 12 segments, type a new number + ‘s’ if you want
to change it.
Freehand – be careful not to cross over edges
It works on any flat shape, in any
direction (direction perpendicular to
begin an action (such as push/pool)
type in a value (e.g.: 15cm for 15 centimeters, 4.5m for 4.5
press the ‘Enter’ key
Use the inferring capacity to be
If sides are parallel you can also cut
openings (unless you have an edge
on the other side).
You can move:
Follow me tool: this tool requires a
profile shape and a path to pull the
• Selected Entities
• Grouped Objects
Tape Measure tool:
1) measure edges and distances;
2) create construction geometry/dashed guidelines;
3) resize individual groups or the entire model.
measure angles and create
construction guide lines. To measure an angle, click once
and release to anchor the center point. Then click again to
define a reference point and a third time to finish and create
the guide line. You can always type a value.
Axes tool: allows you to reorient red, green, blue axes. Click
once to place the axes origin, then move the red axis in the
desiderated position and click again to place it. Do the same
for the other two axes.
It only affects edges, not surfaces. You can hold the button down and
drag over multiple edges. Toggle X-Rays mode on to erase edges
behind a surface.
Hold the ‘Shift’ key to hide edges
you don’t erase edges.
Hold the ‘Ctrl’ key to soften an edge
surfaces with a smooth
gradient. Unsoften edges by holding ‘Ctrl’+’Shift’
You can select individual entities by clicking on them with the Select tool.
A single click will select edges, surfaces and objects that are grouped
E.g.: one click select the surface, a double click selects the surface and
its bounding edges. A triple click selects all connected geometry.
Components vs Groups
There are 2 ways to isolate geometry in SketchUp. You can create a Group or a
Component. Groups and Components look very similar, but they behave
Select all the necessary geometry, then choose ‘Make Group’ from the ‘Edit’
menu. That geometry now behaves as one entity.
Select the geometry for all the objects, then choose the ‘Make component’
icon from the toolbar.
(Click the ‘Create’ button on the Create
Component window that appears).
Groups and Components appear the same, with a bounding box indicating they
are unique entities.
* Groups have no relation to each other; any copy of a Group is a
completely unique entity.
* Components are linked to each other, any change to one component
reflected in every instance of that Component.
If you are not going to make any copies of your object, make it a group.
To make changes to geometry inside a component you need to ‘edit’ that
component: right click on the component and choose ‘Edit Component’, then
make changes (or double click on the component with the Select tool). Right
click outside the component and choose ‘Close Component’ when finished (or
left click outside the component with the Select tool).
Any components you create are stored in the Components Browser:
‘Window’ > ‘Components’
Modeling for Google Earth (1)
• Goal: get great levels of detail into your model without
overtaxing people systems who want to browse the scenes
that you have made.
Clean surfaces that are not seen in anyway (e.g.: interior surfaces,
bottom surfaces, etc.) or invisible geometries.
Important detain only, according to the scope.
Whenever possible, use single flat faces.
Modeling for Google Earth (2)
Simplify curves: the default arcs and circles in SketchUp are too
complicated to work well in Google Earth (e.g.: 8 faces instead of an
Colours: for small faces or hard to photograph areas in your model,
plain coordinated colours can work nicely.
Hide edges: once you have put the texture, turn on hidden geometry,
select all and right click on edges to hide them.
Resize and cut your images before using them as textures before
Texture Optimization in Photoshop (1)
View > Show
if you want to
see a grid as
Texture Optimization in Photoshop (2)
Save for Web & Devices…
The smaller the images
the better the
performances will be
File > Import…
and navigate to the optimized
image that you want to use as a
Click on the lower left corner
and drag till you cover the
Texture > Position
surface, then right click:
Right click and uncheck fixed pins. Move the yellow pins freely in the position on the
photo of the actual building edges.
Click and drag the pins in the correct position on the model.
Model Positioning (1)
• You can start creating the model in the correct location
importing the view from Google Earth.
• Click on the icon 'Add Location'
want to import:
to select the area you
Model Positioning (2)
• Google Earth tools:
Obtain Google Earth view
Add a new
StreetView Google Earth
Model Positioning (3)
• If you haven’t created the model in the correct position, you can
always click on the lower left corner icon (‘Model Info’) and go to the
Google Building Maker
For some cities where Google has a proper imagery dataset you have the
possibility to easily build up a 3D model of buildings.
Levels of Detail: