Thursday, January 16, 2014

Learning to Sketch

I'm interrupting the the stream of Christmas DIYs with something slightly different, but I'll finish recapping the Christmas presents next week I promise.

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to learn Google SketchUp, a 3D modeling software used by architects, designers, engineers, etc. There's a very powerful free version that I've played around with in the past, but I never really got the hang of it. This time I decided to really commit and watched a lot of online tutorials, which definitely helped me get over the hump. For anyone looking to learn, I really recommend the tutorials on YouTube under the name "SketchUp: A 3D ToolBox." Each tutorial is ~20 minutes long and covers a specific topic, from basics to way more advanced tools. Since I'm particularly interested in using it for modeling interior spaces, I watched the series of tutorials on designing a house, and that helped me master a lot of different techniques like windows and doors, moulding, cabinets, etc.

I decided that the best way to learn was to try modeling a place I know and love: my apartment. I thought that if I was modeling a fictitious space, it would be much easier for me to let the details and mistakes slide, whereas if I was trying to recreate a real place I would be fastidious about learning the techniques needed to get things as close to accurate as possible.

The cool thing about SketchUp is that you can build pretty much anything you want, but there's also a 3D warehouse full of items that other people have built and uploaded that you can download for free and then use/customize. So I built the structure of the apartment myself, but then was able to furnish it using a lot of models other folks had created (with a lot of customization of colors and textures). So without further ado, here's the 3D rendering of my apartment:

Living room:





And if you're curious what the empty rooms are, they're either closets (the very small ones), our kitchen pantry (right off the kitchen), or spaces outside of our apartment leading to the unit above (like at the front and back of the house).

I have to admit that I got a tad obsessed with it, especially when it came time to customize a lot of the furniture and artwork and it really started to look like home. But having so much fun with it definitely made it super easy to learn!

If you're interested in seeing more of the details that these snapshots don't capture, you can view it in SketchUp (which is free and easy to download) using this link to the file. Maybe it's a little creepy that I'm letting you navigate around my home in so much detail, but mostly I think it's pretty darn cool.


  1. Well done, Sage! This is exactly how I learned SketchUp--modeling my new apartment before I moved in. You nailed the details, though--I'm really impressed with those door frames in particular.

  2. Thanks Peter! It's pretty addictive! :)