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Architecture, design, and media professionals all over the world are using Google SketchUp to create detailed 3D models efficiently and quickly. In Google SketchUp 6 Essential Training, design expert George Maestri teaches the foundations of SketchUp's drawing, design, and rendering tools. He covers the fundamentals of the application, the interface, and the Sandbox extension, which is used to create realistic organic shapes and terrain. George also discusses how to model and texture objects from existing photographs and export models to Google Earth to visualize how buildings fit in a real landscape. Exercise files accompany the course.
We have been working with cameras and changing the perspective and angle of view of the scene, but there are also some additional tools that allows us to change the way the scene itself looks; change the textures and the rendering of the scene. These are found in the View menu. Now, we have Shadows, Fog, but the ones we are going to look at right now are Edge and Face Style. Now, before we get into this, we need to know what an edge and a face is. An edge is essentially a line. So, I am going to zoom in here and I am going to highlight an edge. I am going to hit my spacebar to go into Select mode and then just select one of these edges, and this blue line here is an edge. An edge is a line. That's an edge, that's an edge, that's an edge. Edges are lines. Faces are surfaces; they are the area between the lines. So, they are essentially planes. So, that's a face, this is a face, this is a face, this is a face. So, through the edges and faces view menus, we can change the way that these look when we view the scene.
So, let's go to the View menu and change our Edge Styles. Well the first one is whether or not we display edges at all. Let's go ahead and turn off Display Edges and this gives us some much more naturalistic view of the scene. It gives us kind of almost like a rendered view of the scene with no hard edges. It looks more photographic than it would when we turned edges on. This looks a little bit more sketched. Now, we can change the way that these edges look by changing some of the styles. One of the first ones is called Profiles. Now, what Profiles does is it makes a dark line around any outside edge. So, notice how this inside edge here is lighter than the one that's on the outside of the building. Now, these actually change if I orbited my camera around, notice how this line here goes to a less heavy line when it goes inside the buildings there. So, when it's on the outside, it's a heavy line; when it's on the inside, it's a light line. So, this is pretty much automatic.
So, this is actually kind of nice. It's nice to show the outlines of the building a little bit more heavily, but it also can help you in visualizing where your external edges are. I am going to turn that off and the next one is called Depth Cue. Pretty much as the menu tells you is that as it gets further away, it gets lighter. So, the closer edges are heavier and the further away edges are lighter. This is really good for large projects. When you have something receding into the distance, you don't want a really heavy line on it because you want to be able to see some of the detail. So, this can help you visualize that. I am going to turn that off.
The last one is a real drawing kind of trick, it's called Extension and when we turn this on, look at how these edges come up. When you do extension, you can probably see it most clearly on this chimney here. What it does is it basically overdraws the lines; it draws the lines pass the intersection. So, you can see that right here. It's kind of like a nice drafting trick. A lot of people like to do that and it really is a visual style that you may or may not want on your final render. So, let's go ahead and turn that off and let's go to Face Styles.
We will just go down the list here. Wireframe turns off shading and it just shows the edges. So, as you can see, this is a wireframe. Anybody, who has worked in other types of 3D applications, will be very familiar with wireframe drawing. Wireframes are nice because you can actually see how the entire structure works. You can see through walls and that sort of thing. For example, you can see how that top of the chimney only goes down so far in the way that this was drawn.
The next one is called Hidden Line. Let's turn that on. And what that does is it creates a wireframe drawing, but any wires that are behind a face, it doesn't draw them. So, it's almost like a shaded view but without the shading. So, it is a nice, real, flat way to look at things. I like the way it looks. After Hidden Line, we have Shaded and what Shaded does is it gives you a colored view of it. So, it actually is nice shading with color, gives you a sense of how it will look when it's actually colored and shaded and that sort of thing.
The next one is Shaded with Textures. Now, in SketchUp, we can apply photographic or drawn or whatever types of textures, we can apply image files as textures to objects. In this case, we have bricks and stone and wood and so you can get a real sense for how the scene will look or how your final object will look. So, that's textures. And we also have Monochrome, which is what we have been working with. Now, I'd like modeling in monochrome because sometimes when you have textures or shading turned on, you really can't see what you are modeling. I think sometimes having just a plain, white object gives you the best sense of form that you can. So, I typically model with Monochrome turned on.
Now, the last one is called X-ray. When we turn on X-ray, the X-ray works with all the other modes. So, let's turn it on with Monochrome mode. X-ray allows you to see the shading, but it also allows you to see through the model. In this case, we can see the back wall of the building. This can be very handy because sometimes when you are in Wireframe mode, it's hard to discern what wire is going where. If you have a little bit of shading, your eye gets a clue as to where things are at. Now X-ray mode also works with any of the other mode. So for example, if I wanted to do X-ray with Shaded, I could do a shaded X-ray and I can also do a Shaded with Textures X-ray. In fact, you can even do Shaded Wireframes, but that's pointless because you don't have anything to shade. But it does work and you can also turn off X-ray and go into our standard mode.
So those are some of the ways we can shade and view our edges. So, let's move on to some additional viewing tools.
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