Sketchup Writeup

This time of year as we wrap up a few last projects, it gets harder and harder to get things done.  Our piles of mulch and soil have a layer of frost that takes a few hours to thaw, its more difficult to dig in the ground, and our fingers and toes do not fare much better.  I start to begin to set my eyes on what we like to call “winter projects”. These are the things we’ve not had time for that better our company, teach us something new, and beef up our marketing and goals for the next season.  This last week at a seminar, I was able to get a great preview into a program that many companies have begun to use called Google Sketchup.  The program allows a designer to create 3-D and 2-D images of structures and has become increasingly helpful is giving visual life to a landscape design.  Take a look at some of the cool things you can do.

1.  Create Realistic Structural Images

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Not only can a house look realistic, but this view can be changed to a wide variety of angles, depending on what view is more important.

2.  Added Color and Texture

As can be seen in the picture above, adding real texture to the roof, or siding to a house, will give you a real visual that can be true to the actual house.  Our instructor, Sean Kelley, was able to search through a wide database of brick patterns and add a brick texture to a home that mimicked the actual brick on the house.  A pretty neat tool in helping to illustrate house certain patio brick or plants might look in contrast to the house.

3.  Give Life to a Plant Design

The program contains countless images of plants of all shapes and sizes in 2-D or 3-D.  The plant material can have life-like textures to see how ornamental grasses might look next to a boxwood or how tall a serviceberry might be next the scale of a house.

4.  Show Shadow Patterns

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I add shadows to my rendered drawing to give the plan a 3-D feel.  The shadows that can be created in Sketchup are on steroids. They are created by locking in the coordinates of the house or building.  From a panel of options you can select a month and time of day to give the exact shadow pattern.  This gives the most definitive answer that during August at 2:00pm, a pergola will indeed shade the table on the patio, or a shade tree in the backyard will keep a south-facing window in the shadows. Probably my favorite tool I’ve learned so far.

5.  Animated Walk Through Landscape

Besides 2-D and 3-D snapshots, there is an option to create a walk through animation of the landscape.  The visual gives a real feel of how the space will feel once the project has been completed.

I’m excited to spend the winter further exploring the use of the Sketchup.  If you are interested in being my guinea pig please send a shout out on the blog.

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