Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Interface basics , part of SketchUp 6 Essential Training.
Now, the interface on the Mac is a little bit different than that on Windows. So, if you are a Mac user, I would recommend that you first view the video in the last chapter on tips for using Google SketchUp on the Mac and we will explain the differences in that movie. Now that we have SketchUp installed and running, let's go through some of the basics of the interface. Now, the interface I am showing you is the default interface. If you have just installed SketchUp, this is pretty much what you will see. If you have been using SketchUp for a while, your interface may look a little bit different, but just follow with me and I will go through all the basics.
Now, the biggest window in the interface is the 3D window, it's the work area here and you can see it is 3D, so we can zoom and pen and do all of that sort of stuff. And this is where we are going to be doing all of our drawing and creating and design. Now, along the bottom of this window, you will notice, we have a status line here and it depends on what tool you have, but it will give you a little bit of help. So, for example, if I select the Circle tool here, it will tell me to select the center point of that circle and every tool will have its own help. Along the bottom right here, we have what's called the VCB, which is the Value Control Box, and really what it is is just a box where you can type numbers in. So, for example, if I was creating that circle, I could actually type in the dimensions of that circle to give a very precise size. So that can be a very handy box to know about.
Now, along the top, we have our standard menus here. We have our File menu, which allows us to open and save and import and export and print and do all of that. We have our Edit menu, which allows us to copy and paste along with some other things as well. Now, the next menu is called the View menu. Now, what this does is this allows us to view the scene in different ways. It allows us to turn on and off our toolbars, so we can see different tools. It also allows us to change the way we view the scene in the main viewport such as turn on Shadows or Fog, or as well turn on or off edges and change the way that the faces display in SketchUp and we will get to those as well.
If you are working on a Mac, you will notice that most of these toolbars are not available under the Tool Palettes option, but you can easily add all of them by going to Customize Toolbar and adding them in. We also have some Camera tools, which allow us to change the way that we view the scene, and this is where we can Orbit, Pen, and Zoom our camera so we can look at different objects. The next menu is the Draw menu and this allows us to draw 2D shapes such as lines, arcs, rectangles, circles and so on. These are flat 2D shapes. Now, once you have drawn a 2D shape, you can make that into a 3D object using some of these tools here in this menu. For example, we can push and pull objects into 3D and so on. You also have in the Tools menu, Move, Rotate, and Scale, which allow us to move things around in the scene, as well as things like an Eraser, which gets rid of stuff.
The Window menu basically just turns on and off windows that float above the scene and give you some more additional control. So, these are kind of like control windows. So, for example, if you want to look at your layers or the different materials in the scene, so if we wanted to apply a board texture to an object, you would find that in the Materials window. And of course, we are going to get you all of this as we work through all of our tools in the lessons. And finally, we have our Help and Google SketchUp actually does have a very good help. So, if there a command or question you have, then you can always look at up here. There is one thing I do want to show you and that['s how to] turn on and off toolbars within the Google SketchUp. Now, along the top here, we have what's called the default toolbar and this has a basic collection of tools; it has a Pencil tool and Rectangle, Circle and so on. But I like to work with more tools.
What we can do here is we can go into our Toolbars menu and we can turn on and off toolbars. Let me show you. Right now we have the Getting Started toolbar turned on which is this one along the top. If I click that off, you will see it goes away. Now, if I want to, I could turn on a different toolbar or any number of these toolbars just depending upon what I am doing. Now, I like turning on the Large Tool Set and what that is is that everything in that getting started tool set plus more. So, in addition to Rectangle and Circle, we also have Polygon plus we also have a lot of other tools that are commonly used.
Now, there are additional tools that aren't even on this toolbar and we can turn those on and off as well. For example, if I wanted to turn on the Layers toolbar, I just turn that on right there. If you click here, you can float a window and if you just drop it under the menu bar, you can dock it. So, for example, if I wanted to turn on say, a Shadows menu here, this would actually turn on Shadows for the scene, so I can change the way the shadows work. If I want to, I can move this toolbar off just by clicking on this little bar here and drag it into the viewport. Now, I can just position it wherever I want. So, if I am working on something and I need to be to close to it, I can have it here, or I can just drag it again up to this menu bar and I can just dock it wherever I want. Now, if I want to get rid of a toolbar, I can drag it off and close it, or if want, I can go over here to Toolbars and just click it off.
So, those are some of the basics of the Google SketchUp interface. Now, let's go ahead and look at some more tools that we can use.
- Using SketchUp's unique 3D drawing and modeling tools to create realistic objects and scenes
- Creating textures and materials to add additional realism and depth to scenes
- Creating libraries of components to make changes on multiple models within a scene
- Creating walk-through animations for presentation and final output
- Outputting 2D bitmaps to create realistic or stylized renderings for clients