SketchUp 7.1 for Architectural Visualization: Beginner's Guide

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SketchUp 7.1 for Architectural Visualization: Beginner's Guide
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Table of Contents
Sample Chapters
  • Create picture-perfect photo-realistic 3D architectural renders for your SketchUp models
  • Post-process SketchUp output to create digital watercolor and pencil art
  • Follow a professional visualization studio workflow
  • Make the most out of SketchUp with the best free plugins and add-on software to enhance your models

Book Details

Language : English
Paperback : 408 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : April 2010
ISBN : 1847199461
ISBN 13 : 9781847199461
Author(s) : Robin de Jongh
Topics and Technologies : All Books, Google, Other, Beginner's Guides, Web Graphics & Video

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Quick Start Tutorial
Chapter 2: How to Collect an Arsenal Rambo Would Be Proud of
Chapter 3: Composing the Scene
Chapter 4: Modeling for Visualization
Chapter 5: Applying Textures and Materials for Photo-Real Rendering
Chapter 6: Entourage the SketchUp Way
Chapter 7: Non Photo Real with SketchUp
Chapter 8: Photo-Realistic Rendering
Chapter 9: Important Compositing and After Effects in GIMP
Chapter 10: Walkthroughs and Flyovers
Chapter 11: Presenting Visuals in LayOut
Appendix A: Choosing Rendering Software
Appendix B: Suggested Basic Toolbar Layout
Appendix C: Pop Quiz Answers
  • Chapter 1: Quick Start Tutorial
    • Can SketchUp really produce pro visuals?
    • Modeling the room
    • Time for action – model the room in SketchUp
    • Composing the view
    • Time for action – setting up the camera
      • Saving the camera view
    • Time for action – setting up the sun
      • Add simple ceiling lights
    • Materials
    • Time for action – timber flooring materials
    • Modeling the window
    • Photo images
    • Time for action – setting up the scenery backdrop
    • Time for action – hanging digital art
    • Exporting to the render application
    • Modifying materials in Kerkythea quickly
    • Time for action – Kerkythea materials
      • Diffused light
      • Reflective floors
  • Rendering in Kerkythea
  • Summary
  • Chapter 2: How to Collect an Arsenal Rambo Would Be Proud of
    • If it's not free, it's not worth having
      • Don't be beholden to your software
        • How is free software so good?
    • Google software
      • Google's component bonus packs
    • Time for action – restoring the collection to its rightful place
      • Google Earth
        • Geo location toolbars
        • Why do I need Google Earth?
      • SketchUp Pro, LayOut, and Style Builder
        • Additional import formats with SketchUp Pro
        • Additional export formats with SketchUp Pro
      • SketchUp's hidden features
    • Time for action – enabling the organic modeling tools
    • Your image processing studio with GIMP
      • Why do I need a professional level image processor?
      • The importance of layer masks
      • Grabbing a copy of GIMP
    • Become a movie making genius—almost
      • Why can't I just use raw AVI output from SketchUp?
      • VirtualDub
    • Time for action – installing VirtualDub
      • MPEG Streamclip
        • Obtaining MPEG Streamclip
      • Unlimited upgrades: Ruby plugins
    • Time for action – how to install Ruby scripts
    • What rendering software?
      • Podium, IRender, and Twilight
      • High end rendering software
      • Kerkythea: preparing to go photo real
        • Why are we using Kerkythea in this book?
        • Downloading Kerkythea
    • Time for action – downloading and installing extras for Kerkythea
      • The marvel of SketchUp to Kerkythea
        • Installing the SU2KT plugin
    • Summary
  • Chapter 3: Composing the Scene
    • The importance of planning
      • How to begin with the end in mind
      • Think like a film set designer
    • The four ways to set up an arch-viz scene
      • Using a site photo
        • What you need for a Photo-Match photo
    • Time for action – setting up a scene with Photo-Match
    • Time for action – 3D drawing in a 2D photo
      • Setting up a real world location and sun position
    • Time for action – real life sunlight
      • Checking North location
      • Setting up time and date for shadows
    • Starting with a CAD site plan
  • Time for action – setting up a CAD site plan
    • Setting up a Google Earth plan
  • Time for action
  • Time for action – using a Google Earth / Maps screenshot
    • Sketch plan
  • Fleshing out your site plan
  • Time for action – massing
  • Setting up the camera to challenge and impress
  • Time for action – changing the field of view
    • Think like a pigeon
    • Other useful perspective tricks
      • Orthographic and parallel projection
      • Two point perspective
    • Smoke machine effects (fog)
  • Time for action – obscure with Fog effects
  • Saving days of toil with ready-made scenery
    • Creating billboard scenery elements
  • Time for action – how to create billboard elements
  • Framing the scene with entourage
    • The specifity trap
    • The answer is rough place holders
  • Time for action – inserting entourage place holders
    • Printing a test view
  • Summary
  • Chapter 4: Modeling for Visualization
    • Time for action – creating the basic building shape
    • Time for action – swapping high/low resolution versions
    • Carving out the detail
      • Three ways to model the building
    • Time for action – modeling detail from CAD elevations
    • Time for action – modeling from a photograph
    • Low polygon modeling techniques
      • What's low poly?
      • So what's the big deal about low poly modeling?
        • Will I see it?
        • Can I replace it with 2D?
        • Can I reduce the number of segments in an arc or circle?
    • Time for action – low poly curves and circles
    • Using components to increase productivity
      • How to benefit most from using components
      • Using the Outliner for easy access
      • Why you should name components
      • 3D Warehouse components: Problems to be aware of
    • Time for action – purging 3D Warehouse components for your own use
      • Default material
  • Taking it further: Challenging modeling tasks explained
  • Time for action – windows and doors
    • Roof
  • Time for action – flashing in a flash
  • Time for action – modeling ridge tiles
    • Copying the tiles
  • Curtain walls
    • Creating large glazed areas
  • Roads
  • Time for action – realistic roads and pavements
    • Masonry features
    • Landscaping with sandbox: Watch your polygon count
  • Modeling for realistic highlights in interior scenes
    • What's the problem with sharp edges?
  • Time for action – how to add corner detail to your model
    • Easy edges with free plugins
  • Summary
  • Beginning with basic photo textures
    • Starting with Photo-Match textures
    • Textures from the photo modeling method
    • Using basic tileable textures
  • Time for action – applying Sketchup's own textures
    • Scaling textures
    • Colouring textures
  • Using Google Street View
  • Time for action – travel the world for real textures!
    • Moving on from basic texturing
  • Applying whole photographs as textures
    • Where to find texture photos
  • Time for action – set up a fake room
  • Using, finding, and creating tileable textures
    • Manipulating textures
  • Time for action – exact texture placement
    • Free Pins mode
  • Creating your own tileable textures
  • Time for action – correcting perspective
  • Time for action – tiling method one
  • Time for action – tiling method two
  • Time for action – importing a texture into SketchUp
    • Saving a material to a library
  • Time for action – saving the texture
  • Advanced image considerations
    • Texture size
    • File type
    • Compression
    • The way forward with size and compression
  • Modifying textures in GIMP for added realism
  • Time for action – telling SketchUp to link to an image editor
  • Time for action – making unique textures for surfaces
    • Editing textures in GIMP
  • Time for action – adding some muck and variation
  • Time for action – how to add extra elements to a texture
    • Know when to call it quits
  • Summary
  • Chapter 6: Entourage the SketchUp Way
    • The "notice hierarchy"
      • The first aim: Don't be bad!
      • Be the marketing exec
    • Choosing entourage
      • At which stage do I introduce entourage?
      • What's my acquisition strategy?
        • What about subscription sites?
      • 2D or not 2D, that is the question
    • Furniture
      • Accessing the 3D Max furniture back-catalogue
      • List of websites
      • SketchUp furniture models
    • People cutouts
    • Time for action – how to create 2D people components
      • Scaling the person
      • Tracing the outline
      • Applying the photo texture
      • Checking for halos
  • Time for action – creating the Face-Me component
    • Switching between PR and NPR versions.
  • Vegetation
    • Non photo real sketchy trees
    • Want an automatic veggie maker?
  • Vehicles
    • Watch out for fussy models
    • 2D vehicles
  • Summary
  • Chapter 7: Non Photo Real with SketchUp
    • SketchUp's native output
    • Time for action – editing SketchUp's built-in styles
      • Saving 2D images in SketchUp
    • Time for action – 2D graphic export
    • The Dennis technique
    • Time for action – setting up the Dennis technique in SketchUp
      • Color wash
      • Lines only
      • Lines and shadows
      • Exporting the scene tabs
  • Time for action – setting up GIMP for the Dennis technique
  • Using layer masks in GIMP
  • Time for action – using layer masks for the Dennis effect
  • Time for action – using a sky image in GIMP
  • Time for action – creating the vignette layer
    • Modifying the final composition with new SketchUp output
  • Richard's sketchy pencil technique
  • Time for action – setting up Pencil sketch technique
  • Time for action – creating pencil shading in GIMP
    • Add some grunge: the Dirty Hands layer
    • Finishing touches
  • Summary
  • Chapter 8: Photo-Realistic Rendering
    • The learning feedback loop
      • A learning strategy despite long render times
      • Photo or hyper, what's the difference anyway?
    • Setting up for photo-real rendering
      • The SketchUp - Kerkythea rendering process diagram
    • Step 1: Checking integrity and the modify/test-render loop
    • Time for action – the modify / test loop
      • Common import bugs and how to rectify them
    • Step 2: Inserting extra entourage
    • Time for action – test rendering models in Kerkythea
    • Time for action – manipulating entourage in Kerkythea
    • Step 3: Defining the lighting
    • Time for action
      • To change the intensity/colour of the sky
      • To change strength of the sun
    • Step 4: Refining materials
      • Modifying SketchUp materials for render
    • Time for action – adding specularity and reflections
    • Time for action – controlling reflections in glass
    • Step 5: Testing the production render
    • Time for action
      • Can I simplify materials to reduce render time?
    • Step 6: Production render
    • Time for action – settings for a render using only sunlight
      • Saving the final image
    • Step 7: Post production renders
    • Time for action – the Depth Render
      • Mask render
    • Time for action
    • Artificially lit indoor scenes
    • Time for action – creating spot-lights in SketchUp
    • Time for action – switching off sun and sky lighting
      • Changing light parameters in SketchUp
      • Adding light-emitting materials
    • Time for action – radiant materials
      • The final indoor render
    • Advanced materials techniques
    • Time for action – applying Alpha transparency to face-me components
      • Creating bump map materials
    • Time for action
    • Summary
  • Chapter 9: Important Compositing and After Effects in GIMP
    • Part 1: Tweaks and lighting levels
      • Adjusting levels manually
    • Time for action – the levels dialogue
    • Time for action – adjusting light quantity
      • Correcting individual color channels
      • Removing unwanted image noise
    • Time for action – find a way of removing noise
      • Light bloom
    • Time for action
      • Simulating depth of field
    • Time for action – depth of field using a depth render
      • Lighting effects
    • Time for action – adding light effects in GIMP
      • Using a vignette layer to finish the image
    • Time for action – fade out the edges with a vignette
    • Part 2: Compositing multiple images
    • Time for action – using the Kerkythea mask render for windows
      • SketchUp window reflections without rendering
    • Time for action
      • Using Paths to mask photos
    • Time for action
    • Summary
  • Chapter 10: Walkthroughs and Flyovers
    • The same principles for stills and animation
      • Rome wasn't built in a day
    • Making a start: Sketch it out
    • Time for action – write out your itinerary
      • Generating the story board
      • Dealing with detractions
    • Time for action – the storyboard
    • Animating in SketchUp
    • Time for action – a simple walkthrough
      • Animation settings
    • Time for action – getting the timing right
    • Time for action – adding individual timing to scenes
    • Creating flythroughs from paths
    • Time for action – smooth transitions
      • Fine tuning with camera controls
    • Let's put it together
    • Authoring video sequences
      • High resolution animation from SketchUp
    • Time for action – animating with Kerkythea
      • Why save individual frames for animations?
    • Compositing in VirtualDUB
    • Time for action
    • Compressing and preparing for web use
    • Time for action – preparing an MP4 video with MPEG Streamclip
    • Creating the final video composition
    • Summary
  • Chapter 11: Presenting Visuals in LayOut
    • Getting started with LayOut
    • Time for action – customizing a page border
    • Displaying SketchUp models in LayOut
    • Time for action – displaying a SketchUp 3D view
    • Multiple views of the same model
    • Time for action – orthographic views in LayOut
      • Orientating a view using SketchUp Scenes
    • Time for action – align the view using a face
    • Displaying SketchUp sections
    • Time for Action – creating sections
    • Slideshows and presentations
    • Time for action – creating a presentation
      • Adding further elements to enhance LayOut pages
    • Exporting and printing
    • Time for action – exporting images from LayOut
      • Exporting a PDF document from LayOut
      • Output for print
        • Controlling the line-weight
    • Summary
  • Appendix A: Choosing Rendering Software
    • Am I outgrowing Kerkythea?
    • What should I look for in a renderer?
      • Interoperability with SketchUp
      • Global Illumination rendering quality
      • Training, support, help forums, and user-generated content
    • Rendering software tables

Robin de Jongh

Robin de Jongh is the author of several books on professional workfl ows with SketchUp, GIMP, and Unity3D. He has worked for many years in the construction industry as a CAD designer and at one time ran his own architectural visualization company using SketchUp as the main presentation tool. He now works as an acquisitions editor for Manning Publications where he mentors new authors, and publishes books on Open Source technology topics. You can find him blogging at

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Sample chapters

You can view our sample chapters and prefaces of this title on PacktLib or download sample chapters in PDF format.

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What you will learn from this book

  • Render ultra-realistic soft shadows from multiple light sources
  • Master low polygon modeling techniques that you need to adopt for visualizations
  • Work with texturing techniques utilizing PhotoMatch and your own digital photos
  • Enhance your models by adding depth of field and other post-process tricks in GIMP
  • Learn and implement a fool-proof visualization workflow
  • Devise movie-set scenes to digitally photograph your projects
  • Enhance your SketchUp scenes by adding lamps, sun, and sky lighting
  • Add smooth camera paths for airborne and walk-through animations
  • Learn all of the simple tricks to ensure great-looking models when rendered
  • Benefit from SketchUp's mind-blowing features and clear your mind of any preconceptions

Here is a brief summary of what each chapter covers:

Chapter 1: Quickstart Tutorial – Photo Real Gallery Scene – This chapter is an immediate fix for those who are impatient to get photo-realistic rendered SketchUp scenes. Straight away you will learn how to model the gallery scene, fix up lighting, add materials, add a photo background, and finally render in Kerkythea.

Chapter 2: Plug in and Gear Up – Did you know that by downloading a few free plugins and other software you can turn SketchUp into a free fully functional 3D visualization and animation suite similar to high end commercial software? Follow this chapter to obtain all the goodies.

Chapter 3: Composing the Scene – In this chapter you will learn how to take the hard work out of modeling by setting up your scenes prior to starting work. You will learn how to start from CAD plans, site images, or Google Earth and build the scene optimized for quick rendering or animation later.

Chapter 4: Modeling for Visualization – SketchUp is so easy to use that we're tempted to jump right in and model everything. But this can lead to ineffective presentation later and large polygon counts, which slow the computer. This chapter leads through some of the professional modeling methods you need to learn to save you time and hassle, and to make photo-real rendering a cinch.

Chapter 5: Doing It Up (How to Apply Materials and Photo-textures) – Most visualizers are crazy enough to use the materials bundled with rendering software. But this methodology was developed during the ice age! Now that we all have digital cameras and access to unlimited free online image resources, we have a far more effective way of "dressing" the model. The tutorials in this chapter show you how to use SketchUp's unique photo and material handling tools to create ultra-real textured models mega easily.

Chapter 6: People, Trees, Furniture, and Things – Now that you've created the scene, modeled the buildings, and applied materials, you can add life to the scene with Entourage. Learn how to find the best free people, foliage, vehicles, and furniture online, and better still learn how to easily create your own with the foolproof methods in this chapter. In no time you'll be able to build up a comprehensive library to use or give/sell to others.

Chapter 7: Artistic Techniques – Exporting images from SketchUp is not the end of the process. Combining several image layers in GIMP, a powerful free photo editing suite, you will learn how to simulate sketchy pencil and watercolor styles. Fans of these methods will be pleased to know the famous Dennis Technique is presented in this chapter along with Dennis's own creations.

Chapter 8: Photo-realistic Rendering – Here the amazing Kerkythea introduced in Chapter 1 and 2 is explored in more depth, giving you the skills and confidence to tackle any rendering project. A hassle-free method of working is introduced along with proven best settings for test renders and final outdoor and indoor scenes. This chapter covers everything you need to get professional photo-realistic renders from your SketchUp model that you'll be personally amazed with.

Chapter 9: Image Compositing and After-effects – The rendering process isn't the end of the line, because there are lots of subtle but important after-effects you can apply to make the image even more effective. This chapter covers how to add reflections without rendering, creating depth of field effects from a depth render, adjusting levels for realistic daylight scenes, and compositing real and rendered images.

Chapter 10: Animated Flyovers and Walkthroughs – The crowning glory of your visualization project is likely to be a rendered or artistic-style animation. The tutorials in this chapter will take you through this step by step, showing you how to create storyboards, set up cameras and paths in SketchUp with extra plugin functionality, export test animations and final renders. Photo-real animations are then composited to make a simple show reel.

Chapter 11: Combining It All in Layout – Layout is bundled as part of SketchUp Pro and is introduced in this final chapter for those who wish to explore the free trial before committing to Pro. You will learn how to bring together SketchUp models and artistic or rendered output into a screen presentation or printed portfolio, adding borders, text and dimensions.

In Detail

Google SketchUp, the most popular architectural software package, is used by millions of architects and visualizers throughout the world. But what you may not know is that it's also the most powerful 3D design software on the market. With this book in hand and patented technology such as the PhotoMatch, Push-Pull, and Face-me components you can produce commercial quality photo-realistic or artistic output of your designs.

This book shows you how to master SketchUp's unique tools to create architectural visuals using professional rendering and image editing techniques in a clear and friendly way. You'll be able to get started immediately using these SketchUp tools and open-source rendering software. The book shows you how to create architectural visuals from your SketchUp models. In no time you'll be creating photo-realistic renders, animated fly-overs, and walkthroughs. You will also create composites of real and rendered images, creating digital and paper presentations to wow clients. For the impatient, a "Quickstart" tutorial is provided in the first chapter to get you rendering a photo-realistic scene immediately. The rest of the book builds on this knowledge by introducing in-depth concepts, tricks, and methods in an easy-to-follow format through quick tutorials.

Using easy step-by-step explanations, this book opens the door to the world of architectural visualization. With no prior visualization experience you will quickly get to grips with materials, texturing, composition, photo-compositing, lighting setup, rendering, and post-processing. You'll also be able to take SketchUp's unique sketchy output and add the artistic touch to create pencil and watercolor scenes. With this book you'll be able to get started immediately using the free SketchUp download and open-source rendering software.

This easy-to-follow beginner's guide shows you how to use SketchUp as a full featured professional rendering, animation, and visualization tool.


Written with a fast-paced but friendly and engaging approach, this Packt Beginner's Guide is designed to be placed alongside the computer as your guide and mentor. Step-by-step tutorials are bolstered by explanations of the reasoning behind what you are doing. You will quickly pick up the necessary skills, tips, and tricks for creating successful SketchUp visualizations with practical examples that help you to learn by experiment and play.

Who this book is for

This book is suitable for all levels of Sketchup users, from amateurs right through to architectural technicians, professional architects, and designers who want to take their 3D designs to the next level of presentation. SketchUp for Architectural Visualization is also particularly suitable as a companion to any architectural design or multimedia course, and is accessible to anyone who has learned the basics of SketchUp.

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