When you’re modeling a small room, it can be a pain to see what’s inside. The problem is that the walls and ceiling get in the way. One solution is to lop off the ceiling and work in a top view, dollhouse-style. Other folks set up scenes from the interior corners and adjust their Field of View to something super-wide like 90 degrees.
Looking at a small interior space from the outside isn’t very rewarding.
Deleting the ceiling and switching to a top view is useful, but fiddly.
Standing in the corner and making your Field of View really wide is just weird. What are you—a housefly?
Both of the above techniques work—to a point. Personally, I think it’s like trying to read a book through a keyhole. By far my favorite method for working on small interiors is to make use of SketchUp’s ability to have faces with different materials on each side:
The face separating Susan and Sang is yellow on one side and green on the other.
Creating a completely transparent material and painting the green side makes it see-through.
The Entity Info dialog box shows that the selected face is yellow on the front and see-through on the back.
By painting the outward-facing surfaces with a see-through material—one whose opacity is set to 0%—I can see in from the outside. Super useful, super simple.
Here, I painted all of the outward-facing surfaces with a transparent material. Notice that the interior surfaces still look opaque?
Orbiting around my model, I can see through all of the walls. I can even see through the floor.
When it comes to instructions for building your first house, or your first bench, or your first Google Earth model, there is no shortage of available materials. But what happens after you’re a SketchUp rockstar? Where are all the tomes full of delicious inspiration for those of us who have mastered inference locking and nested section planes and scene properties? It’s all fine and well to read about how SketchUp works, but real progress comes from peeking over our peers’ shoulders to see what they’re working on.
And that’s exactly the concept behind Laurent Brixius’ brilliant new book Google SketchUp Workshop. Translated from the original “Créer avec SketchUp” (originally published a few years ago in French) this full-color volume presents sixteen beautifully illustrated case studies authored by expert SketchUp users from a multitude of different disciplines. Each one includes high-level workflows, tips and techniques for using SketchUp in a different field of design. Architecture, urban design, engineering, process plant design, woodworking, theater set design and architectural graphics are all represented.
Our friends over at SketchUpArtists.org conducted a nice interview with Laurent (the book’s editor) before the English edition came out. An architect, architectural 3D artist and author from Belgium, he’s done an amazing job of assembling a collection of projects that are pure inspiration. This is a book that belongs on the shelf of every SketchUp aficionado.