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SketchUp Pro: Tools and Techniques shows professional users of Trimble's popular 3D modeling software how to create compelling 3D graphics. Author George Maestri focuses on the features available in Pro that make SketchUp a valuable design tool. He demonstrates the new Dynamic Components and shows how using them can add interactivity to a model. He teaches how to create custom Dynamic Components from models, which is a feature unique to Pro. He also explores SketchUp Pro's companion application, LayOut, a presentation tool that retains the editability of models even when they're embedded in documents. Last but not least, George shows how to export and import objects to and from other programs, such as AutoCAD and 3ds Max. Exercise files accompany this course.
One of the nicer features of SketchUp Pro is its ability to import and export a lot of different 3D and CAD formats. Now, one of these applications is importing things from say AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT and bringing them into full 3D within SketchUp. Let me show you how to do that. We are going to go to File > Import. So if I pull this menu down, you can see we have a number of different options. We can do 3DS files. We can do AutoCAD, SketchUp. Let's do AutoCAD files and we're actually looking for .DWG, which are drawing files, and I have one here called House_Plan.dwg.
Now, before I open it, let's go ahead and take a look at some of the options. We have options for DWG and DXF. Now DXF is a 3D format, DWG is a 2D format, and if we import these, we can actually merge coplanar faces, orient faces consistently. Actually we want to keep both of these checked and then also what units we want to use and also whether or not we want to preserve the drawing origin. So we are going to hit OK and let's go ahead and open.
Now, one of the things you may have a problem with when you import an object is Scale. Now, I actually had that same problem with this particular object. If you notice here we still have Sang in the scene but the house really is pretty darn big. So we can actually resize this to the proper scale just simply by using the Tape Measure tool. All I have to do is select the Tape Measure and then I know that this house is 26 feet long.
So all I have to do is just measure the outside edge. I am going to go ahead and click here on the far corner and then on this corner here and you can see the house came in at 312 feet. Well, I don't want it to be 312 feet. All I have to do is type in the new dimension. You notice it comes up here in the bottom corner. So I just type in 26 feet and hit Enter or Return, and now SketchUp will ask me, do I want to resize the model? And yes, I do.
So now I have a model that is actually properly scaled. Now, this is something that you may encounter when bringing in external objects and you want to make sure that they are the right size. Now that I have this in SketchUp, I need to be able to actually use this. But typically, things such as drawings and that sort of thing, they come in as lines. They don't come in as objects, and so what we need to do is make this into something that we can use within SketchUp. Now typically, the recommended procedure for this is to actually just use these as templates and then just draw over them.
If we are at the house, it's usually rectangular walls. So that goes fairly quickly. So first thing I am actually going to do is I am just going to go ahead and delete Sang out of the scene so we have just this model. And I am going to go ahead and select this model and this should be grouped. Now, what I'm going to do is I am actually going to trace over this. Now, before I do that, I just want to set up some layers. So I am going to go into Window > Layers, and you'll see that this object here is actually on Layer 0.
But I am actually going to make a new layer here and let's just call this Layer 1 or you can even call it house and that's what we will actually be using to model the house itself. So what we can do is we can make this layer, House, the active layer, and that way we can just toggle the plan on and off as we draw over it. Now, before I actually start drawing I want to go ahead and lock my template. So I am just going to go again. I am just going to go Edit and Lock and you notice how that turns red, and then I can just toggle that on and off, and I want to make sure that my House layer here is active.
So now all we have to do is just use this as a template to trace over. Now, because we have Snapping turned on, we can actually snap to points in this, so we can actually have an exact replica of this. So I am just going to start with the Rectangle tool and then just trace out the footprint of the house. You can see how that kind of just fills right in. Now, I want to get these outside walls, and I can do that by either drawing another rectangle, or if I want, I can use the Offset tool as well.
Again you notice how that will snap to that outside wall. We can use either way. Let's go ahead and take a look at what we have now. So now what I've done is I have actually created the outside perimeter wall of the house, and now I can also just use the Rectangle tool to start drawing the inside walls. So for example I could draw all of these inside walls. I could again just by using the Rectangle tool, you can see how I am basically just sketching in the house.
And again you can see how this works and this actually goes fairly quickly. Then again what I'm doing is I am just tracing out the openings of the house. For example, for the doors, and I could do that here as well. And you can see I have those openings. Then once I have all of my opening setup, all I have to do now is just use my Eraser tool and start erasing those lines that I don't want.
And again all I am doing is just going through here and getting rid of these unwanted lines. So now you can see I have an actual floor plan of my house. Now once I have that, now I can use this to actually push and pull the walls to actually create the house itself. So all I have to do is hit P to use the Push/Pull tool and then I can hold this up.
So for example if I want a 9 foot high wall, all have to do is type in 9 feet, and I've got this particular wall. So now I have the basics of this particular house. So as you can see, pulling in drawings from something like AutoCAD is best used as a template, and then you can use those to create objects within SketchUp.
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