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Google SketchUp 8 Essential Training

Creating terrain from contours


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Google SketchUp 8 Essential Training

with George Maestri

Video: Creating terrain from contours

If you want to create more complex surfaces in SketchUp, you'll probably want to use the Sandbox tools. Now normally these are used to create contours for creating landscapes, but you can also use them to create irregular objects and curves. So let's go ahead and start with landscapes, but before we do, we need to make sure that we have the Sandbox tools turned on. Now these are what are called Extensions, so you have to turn them on. On the PC you'll find them under Window> Preferences; on the Mac you'll find them under SketchUp>Preferences.
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  1. 7m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Installing SketchUp
      1m 12s
    3. Starting SketchUp for the first time
      47s
    4. Using the exercise files
      49s
    5. Tips for Mac users
      3m 22s
  2. 43m 52s
    1. Interface basics
      4m 42s
    2. Adding toolbars
      2m 38s
    3. Navigating
      3m 48s
    4. Changing perspective
      2m 51s
    5. Walking around
      3m 12s
    6. Creating camera views
      5m 15s
    7. Shading faces and edges
      7m 59s
    8. Creating shadows and fog
      5m 50s
    9. Creating Scenes
      5m 9s
    10. Setting preferences
      2m 28s
  3. 22m 19s
    1. Selecting and moving objects
      6m 25s
    2. Scaling and rotating objects
      5m 36s
    3. Manipulating faces and edges
      4m 8s
    4. Advanced selection tools
      6m 10s
  4. 48m 47s
    1. Line tool fundamentals
      5m 42s
    2. Refining objects with the Line tool
      3m 39s
    3. Using the Rectangle tool
      4m 44s
    4. Pushing and pulling faces into 3D
      5m 30s
    5. Creating circles and polygons
      6m 5s
    6. Creating arcs
      4m 0s
    7. Using the Offset tool to create outlines
      8m 33s
    8. Using the Follow Me tool
      3m 24s
    9. Softening round edges
      5m 16s
    10. Creating 3D text
      1m 54s
  5. 16m 45s
    1. Using the Tape Measure tool
      4m 41s
    2. Using the Protractor tool
      7m 16s
    3. Creating text labels
      1m 7s
    4. Using the Dimension tool
      1m 18s
    5. Creating sections
      2m 23s
  6. 20m 45s
    1. The Component window
      5m 32s
    2. Creating components
      3m 55s
    3. Using the 3D Warehouse
      3m 15s
    4. Importing from Google Earth
      2m 26s
    5. Using the Interact tool
      1m 54s
    6. Using the Component Options window
      3m 43s
  7. 25m 3s
    1. Grouping objects
      5m 42s
    2. Working with layers
      3m 27s
    3. Creating layers
      4m 20s
    4. Using the Outliner
      6m 42s
    5. Hiding and unhiding objects
      2m 48s
    6. Locking and unlocking objects
      2m 4s
  8. 41m 32s
    1. Using the Materials Browser on a Mac
      2m 49s
    2. Applying materials
      3m 2s
    3. Editing materials
      5m 4s
    4. Creating materials
      3m 19s
    5. Adjusting materials
      4m 38s
    6. Applying bitmap images
      2m 43s
    7. Mapping curved objects
      3m 39s
    8. Projecting maps on curved objects
      3m 27s
    9. Importing floor plans
      4m 27s
    10. Modeling with floor plans
      8m 24s
  9. 27m 11s
    1. Applying styles
      2m 26s
    2. Editing styles
      8m 30s
    3. Outputting 2D bitmaps
      3m 13s
    4. Basic animation
      5m 56s
    5. Advanced animation
      7m 6s
  10. 20m 40s
    1. Creating terrain from contours
      6m 22s
    2. Modeling objects with contours
      1m 42s
    3. Creating terrain from scratch
      3m 40s
    4. Sculpting with the Smoove tool
      3m 2s
    5. Stamping and draping objects on terrain
      5m 54s
  11. 15m 3s
    1. Geolocation with Google Maps
      3m 11s
    2. Using Photo Match to align cameras
      4m 30s
    3. Modeling in Photo Match
      7m 22s
  12. 59m 46s
    1. Using the Component Attributes window
      6m 41s
    2. Exposing component attributes
      6m 0s
    3. Using math and functions
      8m 49s
    4. Creating dynamic materials
      7m 2s
    5. Creating a dynamic staircase
      8m 52s
    6. Hiding objects dynamically
      2m 58s
    7. Configuring staircase rise and run
      5m 21s
    8. Adding interactivity: Motion
      5m 24s
    9. Adding interactivity: Rotation
      4m 55s
    10. Adding interactivity: Changing colors
      3m 44s
  13. 15m 58s
    1. Creating solids
      2m 25s
    2. Using Boolean operations (Union, Intersect, Subtract)
      6m 46s
    3. Working with Trim and Split
      4m 45s
    4. Creating outer shells
      2m 2s
  14. 21m 28s
    1. Importing objects from AutoCAD
      6m 40s
    2. Importing other 3D objects
      3m 8s
    3. Exporting objects
      5m 39s
    4. Exporting objects for rendering
      6m 1s
  15. 14s
    1. Goodbye
      14s

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Google SketchUp 8 Essential Training
6h 26m Beginner Jun 28, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author George Maestri explains how to model and render 3D objects and scenes using Google SketchUp 8. The course covers the fundamentals of the application, from navigating the user interface, manipulating objects, and building basic shapes to importing objects from Google Earth, animating a scene, and modeling organic terrain using the Sandbox tools. The course also explores SketchUp Pro features, which are available as an upgrade. These include tools for creating dynamic components and adding interactivity, as well as sophisticated importing and exporting options for working with outside applications.

Topics include:
  • Setting preferences
  • Building scenes
  • Pushing and pulling faces into 3D
  • Creating 3D text
  • Measuring and labeling models
  • Creating, editing, and adjusting materials
  • Projecting maps onto curved objects
  • Modeling with floor plans
  • Rendering a scene
  • Geolocating models with Google Maps
  • Modeling in Photo Match
  • Hiding objects dynamically
  • Creating solids
  • Exporting objects for rendering
Subjects:
Architecture Previsualization CAD 3D Drawing
Software:
SketchUp
Author:
George Maestri

Creating terrain from contours

If you want to create more complex surfaces in SketchUp, you'll probably want to use the Sandbox tools. Now normally these are used to create contours for creating landscapes, but you can also use them to create irregular objects and curves. So let's go ahead and start with landscapes, but before we do, we need to make sure that we have the Sandbox tools turned on. Now these are what are called Extensions, so you have to turn them on. On the PC you'll find them under Window> Preferences; on the Mac you'll find them under SketchUp>Preferences.

But regardless of how you get there, you need to scroll down to Extensions and here we have all of our extensions, and I want to make sure that Sandbox tools are turned on, and then press OK. And once those are turned on, you'll notice that we'll have a Sandbox option under tools, and we'll also have a Sandbox toolbar which we can turn on, and here it is. I'm just going to go ahead and float that over the scene. Now you can create surfaces in Sandbox using two methods. The first one is to use contours, which is what we're going to do now; the second method is from scratch.

So let's go ahead and create a landscape from contours. Now I already have a terrain map loaded here, and if we want we can go ahead and sketch out some of these contours. So I'm going to go into Camera> Standard Views>Top, and then make sure I have Parallel Projection turned on, so that way we can draw these pretty accurately. So I'm going to go ahead and draw these with the Freehand tool. So I'm going to select Freehand and I'm going to start on this inner contour because it's the smallest, and then I'm just going to go ahead and trace this.

Now I'm going to try to be as accurate as possible, but just so that you know, SketchUp isn't going to follow these exactly, it's a little rough. So if I don't get them exactly right, it's not going to affect it too much. So once I get towards the end here, I want to make sure that I overlap the end here and close that, so that way I get a face. So let's do this on this one again, let's do the next one. And again, sometimes I find that tracing more slowly gives me a little bit more accuracy.

But again, I'm just going to do this fairly quickly because I don't want to waste too much time doing this. So here we go very quickly. Now I want to make sure that I get that endpoint closed. Okay. Now once I have these, I want to go ahead and delete the inside face. So each one of these has a face, so I'm going to go ahead and delete that, and that way I get this outside edge. I'm going to do same for this one. Now I'm going to show you a little secret here, and that is I actually created some of the other outlines, so we don't have to do them.

So under layers, go into Window>layers and just turn on Contours and you'll see that I already have the rest of these contours drawn. So let's go ahead and zoom out and I'm going to go ahead and rotate my camera, make sure I'm back in Perspective mode, and let's take a look at the contours that I've drawn. Now this map can go away because I don't really need it now that I have the contours drawn. So I'm going to go ahead and do Edit> Hide, so now all I have are my contours. So what I need to do is bring these contours up in equal amount.

Now the map that I have was a lot larger than the scale I'm working with here, so we can just create our own scale just for demonstration purposes. So what I'm going to do is select the inside lines here and then just move them up one foot each. So I'm just going to select my Move tool and then go ahead and move them up along the Blue Axis, and then I can just type in 12 inches, so each one of these is going to be 12 inches apart in this particular scene. So I'm going to go ahead and move that up, and again, I can type in the number 12 and it should snap exactly to where I want.

And then select the inner two, move this up. Again, I'm holding the Up Arrow so I can snap to the Blue Axis, and then just type in the number 12 to get 12 inches. And then let's go ahead and get this last one here, and again, holding the Up Arrow, moving up, and then just type in 12 for 12 inches. So now I have all of these contours and they're equidistant apart. Now all we have to do is use the Contours tool to turn those into a surface.

So all I have to do is select all of them and then just select From Contours, and it will create my terrain. Now notice how on the edge it didn't fall over this outside contour exactly, it will kind of approximate in some respects. So just understand that as you work with it. Now once we've created this terrain, notice how this is actually a separate object. So if I click on the terrain itself, it's a grouped object, so I can actually move that off of the curves.

Now these curves, once they're used to generate the surface they're not attached. Now in some 3D programs the curves would still be live and you can manipulate them and manipulate the surface, you really can't do that in SketchUp. So it's basically just select the curves regenerate the surface if you want to change something. But let's take a look at the surface and how it's constructed. Well, first of all it starts off as a group. If we want we can explode that group and see what the surface looks like on the inside. So if I go into Group>Explode, you'll see that the surface is really just a triangular network, and what it does is it takes the contours and it tries to triangulate that.

Now if you want you could technically go in and change those edges. If I wanted to I could turn on Hidden Geometry and see all those edges, and if I wanted to I could select an edge and move it or scale it or do whatever. Typically, I find that with these complex terrains that's not going to happen because these are so interwoven; if you move one, you kind of mess up the whole thing. So I'm going to go ahead and turn off Hidden Geometry so we can see that. But this is a pretty accurate terrain to the contours that we created.

So as you can see, we can use contours to create terrain within SketchUp. Now we can use this tool for other things as well, and let's take a look at that in the next lesson.

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