What's your beginners tip?

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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby mitcorb » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:20 pm

@Dave R:
One of your best beginner's tips only recently mentioned elsewhere, is the use of an upscaled component instance to do intricate modeling which would be very difficult (empty faces, unresponsive inferencing, zoom clipping)with the object at its intended scale. Since scaling an instance does not affect the other instances, this allows great freedom. All editing done on the larger instance is immediately reflected in the smaller. When finished, simply delete the larger instance.
This one really stuck with me. I have pretty much stopped whining about the scale problem.
Salute :thumb:
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Dave R » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:37 pm

Thank you very much for that. And of course if you make an extra copy of the component and scale it up before editing, you can discard the large copy when you've finished. No need to worry about scaling it back down and getting it in the right location. Actually there are a number of cases where I will pull out a copy of a component to edit it rather than hiding the neighbors. And example of that can be seen at 5:20 in the video here. And I wouldn't think of just moving a component before editing with the intent of moving it back.

None of this is useful to those who prefer groups to components.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby jgb » Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:35 pm

Dave said "if you make an extra copy of the component and scale it up before editing, you can discard the large copy when you've finished. No need to worry about scaling it back down and getting it in the right location." :thumb:

For the less experienced SU modelers, you need to scale up the copy of the component OUTSIDE its bounding box BEFORE you edit it. If you edit the comp, THEN scale it up, all copies will scale up as well.

Anything you do to a comp on its bounding box, such as scale, rotate, apply material/color (and a few others) applies only to that particular copy of the comp. Anything you do to a comp IN edit mode applies to all copies.

If you need to make a change to the geometry of only 1 copy, make it UNIQUE first, then edit. However that isolates that copy from any changes to/from other similar comps.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby mitcorb » Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:58 pm

@jgb:
I think this is an important clarification. :thumb:
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby PDS869 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:58 pm

Clean up your AutoCAD files BEFORE importing into SketchUp. Dimensions, notes, symbology, extraneous linework.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Crankston Shnord » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:57 pm

Don't start with a big project: Do something simple as your first model. In other words, rather than trying to do an Abram's Tank as your first model, try a door or something.

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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Rich O Brien » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:00 pm

@Crankston

What's SetchUp?
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Crankston Shnord » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:13 pm

Ha, Ha, thanks Rich.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby SamuelSketcherupper » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:44 pm

A bit of advice on external issues that effects your work...
Get a good chair.
Sleep well.

The Google Sketchup for Dummies book helped me a lot.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby wheeljack » Sun May 01, 2011 4:21 pm

So a lot of hobbyists have been using SU to design various parts for their projects and printing them at shapeways.com

The exported .dea files out of the free version, which is what I have, seems to upload unprintable for some reason. I was able to solve this by downloading MeshLab and importing the .dea file into it and then exporting it again as an STL. the same file became printable. I'm not sure how this wizardry works but it does.

hope this helps someone out. this bit of info would have saved me a week of swearing! :lol:
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby mitcorb » Sun May 01, 2011 5:01 pm

That .dea would be Collada .dae, right? What I think I know is, dae can convert to obj(or they are the same thing), and some apps can handle either one.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby wheeljack » Sun May 01, 2011 6:27 pm

mitcorb wrote:That .dea would be Collada .dae, right? What I think I know is, dae can convert to obj(or they are the same thing), and some apps can handle either one.


yep, I messed it up. thanks for catching that. yes, it's collada .dae. sorry 'bout the f up. :)
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby StilTeg » Wed May 18, 2011 9:11 pm

My tip for a beginner : Never hesitate to try ... Even without plugins ... I did not use plug-ins for that view, but it may have been simpler with them ... I'm just not used to it ;)
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby jgb » Thu May 19, 2011 6:17 pm

All beginners with SU, will attempt some model that they have in mind to get the feel of SU, before committing to it. That entails using only the generic out-of-the-box SU. Nothing wrong with that.

Then they find that SU is way more powerful than expected, so they try more complex stuff, and not really knowing any different, get a bit bogged down in the details, which is all a natural part of the learning curve. It's when they start spending quite a bit of time and effort repetitively doing a common task that they start to ask for help from forums such as SketchUcation. We are quite happy to help. SU is not a closed club. In fact the best part of SU is its openness and plugins are the way that happens.

For all its might SU does have some limitations and omissions to its capabilities. And people want special additions to solve their own problems as well. That's where the RUBY magicians come to play.

They see and solve the problem, almost always for free, and with well developed solutions. Most plugins are specific to a special need, and will appeal to just a few users, while others are quite universal to all SU users, and perhaps should have been a part of SU from day 1. The SU user can decide what to plug in based on their specific needs.

In fact, many times a user (new or experienced, and that means me, as well) has suggested a need for "something" only to be directed to an existing plugin (or even an SU built-in feature) that does just that and probably more.

I'll present you with an example of how my experience with SU has been immeasurably enhanced with plugins.

I had been using ACAD for a number of years, and as a 2D CAD, it is very good. But I needed a 3D tool to visualize some airplane designs fomenting on paper for many years. I don't just draw the outside shape, I delve deeply into the structure and systems of these designs. Then ACAD came out with a 2 1/2D version, that over a few years I failed miserably to get a handle on. I tried all sorts of 3D apps, but they too had very steep learning curves and most simply lacked the tools I needed.

Then about 4 years ago I came across SU V6. I loaded it, and within 2 hours had the basic airframe defined on my big freighter project.
:sketchstatic: :sketchstatic: :sketchstatic: :sketchstatic:
In 2 solid weeks of using ACAD, I never got even close to that level of definition. I never turned on ACAD again. :puke:

My first foray into plugins was my dislike for the way SU starts up with the draw tool. Great for a blank worksheet, but less than useful when opening an existing model. My first "ask" to an SU users forum was how to default the startup to the select or pointer tool. Answer = Startup.rb. :thumb:

There are 2 major laborious tasks associated with airplane design (more really but I only will deal with these 2)... Weight and fairings. You need to have a really good handle on component weight, and for that you need to know the accurate volume of a solid object multiplied by the density of its material.

Determining the volume was a major task for some complex shapes, and involved a big EXCEL spreadsheet. I had to breakdown the object into simple shapes that could be computed mathematically, and aggregated into a final total volume then weight in EXCEL. And do it all over again if I made a change to the object in SU. So I asked and the answer was Volume.rb. However it had an error in calculating certain shapes, but was better than the manual way for the other shapes.

Then SU V8 came out with solids. I didn't need the Pro solids features, the Free version had accurate volume, but only for valid solids. My biggest bitch about SU is that it is smart enough to tell you that there is an error, :thumb: but quite stupid not telling you what the error is and where to find it, :twisted: so you can't readily fix it. The hours spent sleuthing a solid and then redrawing it to maybe solve it were numerous to say the least.
Solution = ThomThom's TT_Solid_Inspector.rb
There is no way I could manually locate a tiny "~0in long" line that prevented a solid. SI in 2 seconds.

Drawing fairings is a complex job to get an aerodynamic smooth curve that merges with multiple curved surfaces, ie: wing to fuselage. There are quite a few fairings on an airplane, some big, some small. For many reasons I could not use the SU Sandbox tools to get a good shape, and those very few I did get needed a lot of manual tweaking. It really was easier to do it all manually, but ether way, a moldline change meant the fairing was usually all toast and had to be redone from scratch. A big fairing took literally a few days to get right. Then I was directed to Fredos Curviloft.rb.

Now all I need to do is draw 3, 4 or 5 curves that define the fairings perimeter and a few control curves, and in less than a minute, I have a very good, very detailed fairing, in fact too detailed, but I am learning how to control that. Changing a moldline, or tweaking the fairings curve is as simple as scrapping the fairing and adjusting the control curves to create a new fairing in a very few minutes.

As a result I am now totally redrawing my big air-freighter fuselage using the new tools. I am now 3/4's through in less than a week compared to many weeks spent on the original before I had these tools.

I just counted, I have 27 plugins in my SU-V8 folder. Some I've had a coons-age (transfered from SU-V6), like Startup.rb, Weld.rb, Pipe-along-path.rb, Layer-manager.rb and a few others.

Added to SU-V8 are ThomThom's extensive tools library, Fredo's miraculous curve, joint and surface tools, Several plugins by TIG and a bunch of others. Some I use almost as much as the draw tool in SU, others I have forgotten about till I just looked at what's in the plugin folder to write this. :oops: Then there are a few plugins in my download folder waiting for the opportunity to load and test.

All this boils down to a simple fact. You can dig a ditch with a shovel or use a backhoe. Both will get the job done. So if you are doing a task repetitively, or with difficulty, or just can't figure out how, ask here.

Like Apples IPhone, there's a plugin for that. :enlight:
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby SketchUpNoobie » Thu May 19, 2011 6:28 pm

jgb wrote:Like Apples IPhone, there's a plugin for that. :enlight:

:lol: This should be TIG/Fredo/Thomthom/Whatt's slogan. ;)
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Mike Lucey » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:52 pm

Hi Newbies,

While learning SketchUp back in the good old days of @Last it was all new to me to. One of the problems I had was things 'sticking' together that I did not want to 'stick together'. Of course all I had to do was remember to 'Group' the items that I wanted to remain 'non sticky' by 'right click' then hit 'make group'!

I likened this to a teflon coated frying pan! So I got into the habit of saying to myself as I worked along .... 'Teflon coat it!' .... I still do :D

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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Gaieus » Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:55 am

Well, this reminds me that I am hungry. Will be back in a minute...
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby cheneymax » Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:30 pm

Come up with a project to work on. It doesn't have to be complicated. Maybe a simple 1-story house with a flat roof and 4 rooms. This way, you get a feel for what you can and can't do. It's best if you choose a project that you DON'T think you have the ability to do. This way, you have to learn Sketchup in order to finish the project. Don't forget to ask questions here on the forum. We are all here to help each other.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby mics_54 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:59 am

MY TIP is...when scroll wheel zooming you must be sure the curser is on an element within the drawing rather than on sky or other distant "plane". If the curser is not on a drawing element the zoom seems to hang up or only move minutely. I struggled with the scroll wheel zoom for years until today! I didn't see mention of this anywhere...surely this isn't unknown. :ecstatic:
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Dave R » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:01 pm

That's a good tip, mics_54. It is mentioned somewhere but I don't remember exactly where.

I wish I'd known a long time ago that was giving you trouble. I wouldn't have let you suffer so long.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby mics_54 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:40 pm

Hi Dave, the reason for the "zoom with scroll wheel" thing seems so obvious now that I figured it out, I don't know why I didn't get it before.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Roger » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:33 pm

Spend a couple hundred hours constructing perspective with T square and triangles and then rendering the results outside of a rendering program. Also take your camera and photograph buildings. As a result you will learn that if you don't know what your are doing and are relying on computer and camera to make up for lack of knowledge that you will continue to be disappointed.

I often see renders where the composition is bad or the lighting is bad of shadows from a building to in one direction and the shadow from entourage go the other direction. Computers increase speed which means you can get a good product faster or you can get a bad product faster.

Learn to see first and then learning to render will be much easier and the quality will be higher.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby mitcorb » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:23 pm

Tip. Elegant appearance does not guarantee elegant function.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Roger » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:35 pm

mitcorb wrote:Tip. Elegant appearance does not guarantee elegant function.


And elegant function does not guarantee elegant appearance. Its best to get them both right and then the thing is truly elegant.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby modelhead » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:49 am

Great story jgb. Thanks for that....and Mike, the Teflon memory trick is pretty cute I have a few of those..I can't imagine how badly we would screw up someones SU vocabulary. :D
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Dave R » Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:10 am

I use the analogy of a sandwich when talking about groups. Something like this.

You make a sandwich of a bunch of entities; bread, cheese lettuce, tomato, meat, etc. Then you try to pick it up by a corner and it falls apart or distorts. You lay one of those great big dill pickles on top of it and the juice soaks into the bread changing the sandwich. that's loose, ungrouped geometry, Picking the sandwich up is like grabbing it by the corner with the Move tool. Putting the pickle on it is the sticky nature of entities.

Now wrap the sandwich in transparent cling wrap. You can still see the sandwich and you can pick the sandwich up by the corner and it doesn't fall apart. If you lay the pickle on top, it's juice can't soak into the bread so it doesn't change the sandwich.

Suppose you want to put a slice of onion on the sandwich. You can lay it on top but it isn't part of the sandwich. If you really want the onion to be part of the sandwich, open the cling wrap and edit the sandwich. The same goes for applying materials or other geometry to a group or component.

Of course the analogy falls apart a little when talking about components. In reality you can't just open one sandwich wrapper to put on the onion and have it appear on all the other sandwiches. It's goofy but it seems to work with my students.

I like the teflon idea, too.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Gaieus » Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:26 am

Dave R wrote:open the cling wrap and edit the sandwich

:roflmao:

Next time I need something in my food, I will tell my wife to edit it. "Would you please, edit that bowl of stew and add some pepper, please?"
:lol:
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby jgb » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:14 pm

Dave R wrote:That's a good tip, mics_54. It is mentioned somewhere but I don't remember exactly where.

I wish I'd known a long time ago that was giving you trouble. I wouldn't have let you suffer so long.


Dave
That's commonly referred to as "Hyper-Pan" or "Hyper-Zoom" and has been a bone of contention since I started using SU years ago. Others have bitched about it too, and even John from Google-SU said he would look into it and get back to me. That was last year and no word yet.

There is a way to fix it inside SU. Simply maintain the original rate of pan/zoom when the cursor slips off the object, and only until the cursor is back on an object or any button/key or tool is activated.

At least that way you won't go off in space somewhere.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Dave R » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:19 pm

Yes. I'm well aware of that.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby david_h » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:43 pm

Gaieus wrote:
Dave R wrote:open the cling wrap and edit the sandwich

:roflmao:

Next time I need something in my food, I will tell my wife to edit it. "Would you please, edit that bowl of stew and add some pepper, please?"
:lol:


I tell my wife all the time to Hide Unused Basil . And she tells me to go Delete Myself. :mrgreen:
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