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SketchUp 7.1 Architectural Visualization 62

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
dango0 writes "SketchUp 7.1 for Architectural Visualization – Beginner's Guide is a detailed guide that will figuratively take you by the hand and teach you how to make stunning photorealistic and artistic visuals of your projects with free software and free resources that you can find all over the Internet." Read on for the rest of Dan's review.
SketchUp 7.1 for Architectural Visualization: Beginner's Guide
author Robin de Jongh
pages 113
publisher Packt
rating 5
reviewer Dan Farcas
ISBN 1847199461
summary Create stunning photo-realistic and artistic visuals of your SketchUp models
Robin de Jongh is a consulting engineer and designer who has successfully used SketchUp for multi-million-pound new developments, and a whole bunch of smaller projects, from steel staircases to new product prototypes. He previously ran an architectural and product visualization company. Robin holds a degree in Computer Aided Product Design and is a professional engineer registered with the Institution of Engineering Designers in the UK. He writes a blog about SketchUp for design professionals.

Frankly, when I saw that the book has 400+ pages, I thought "this thing is full of fluff and will bore me to death." But to my pleasant surprise I found a lot of descriptive pictures, and that's exactly what a visual-based guy like me understands best. So, without further ado, I'll make a brief presentation of the chapters that will enlighten your path to fast, easy and breathtaking presentations of your projects:

Chapter 1 – Quick Start Tutorial

This chapter is a fast forward for those impatient to get to the realistic sketchup scenes. Here you'll find out how to model the scene, fix the lights, add textures, background, and make a quick render in Kerkythea.

Chapter 2 – Plug in and Gear Up

You will find that with a couple of free plugins and some other software you can turn SketchUp into a fully functional 3D modeling, visualization and animation suite similar to . let's say 3D Max!!! (well the truth is this part made my jaw drop)

Chapter 3 – Composing the scene (free sample available)

This chapter will teach you how to make modeling a less hard work by setting your scene prior to starting work. Here you'll use CAD plans, site images or even Google Earth to build the optimized scene for quick rendering or animation. (I know you will love this part of the book, so I got a sample of this chapter from the publisher for you guys – See it Here)

Chapter 4 – Modelling for Visualization

The pro modeling methods you can learn here will save you both the time, and the hassle of working with large polygon counts that can slow down your PC considerably, and at the same time will show you how to make those photo real renderings we all love in a blink of an eye.

Chapter 5 – Applying Textures and Materials for Photo-Real Rendering

Since the world evolved really fast lately, we have at our disposal a lot of free online image resources, professional digital cameras, and so a really effective way of bringing the "model" to life. The tutorials you'll discover in this chapter will show you some unique photo and material handling tools to create surreal, mega easily textured scenes.

Chapter 6 – Entourage the SketchUp Way

Now you have a scene, with modeled buildings and applied textures, and the next step you wanna take is to make it shine with some Entourage, like cars, furniture, and of course trees and bushes and other nice things. In this chapter you'll learn how to find the best libraries, and also to create your own (that you can give to others, for FREE or CASH).

Chapter 7 – Non Photo Real with SketchUp

Some other free software that you will learn how to use is GIMP, a powerful photo editing photo suite, that can simulate sketchy pencil and watercolor styles. And yeah, almost forgot about this, you will learn the AWESOME "Dennis Technique".

Chapter 8 – Photo-realistic rendering

Some in depth presentation and step by step introduction into Kerkythea, the amazing free rendering software, with proven best settings for test renders and final outdoor and indoor scenes. This chapter amazed me, because it covers everything you need to know about getting professional photo-realistic renders out of a simple SketchUp model.

Chapter 9 – Important Compositing and After Effects in GIMP

We all know that the rendering process isn't the end of the line, because there's lots of subtle but important after effects you can apply to make the image even more effective. This particular chapter covers how to add reflections without rendering, creating depth of field effects from a depth render, adjusting levels for realistic daylight scenes, compositing real and rendered images.

Chapter 10 – Walkthroughs and Flyovers

Here you will find tutorials that will show 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 showreel.

Chapter 11 – Presenting Visuals in LayOut

This final chapter I really enjoyed since I like to play with layouts. The layout module 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.

I'm an architect, and I've worked with paid software before, but I gotta tell you, the free applications are most of the time way better than the paid ones, for the simple fact that they're made by passionate people who upgrade and tweak things all the time. If you want to learn how to use free software that delivers results time after time, please check out this book. I guarantee you won't throw your money away; the price for this book is way too low for the knowledge it shares and the results you can achieve.

You can purchase SketchUp 7.1 for Architectural Visualization: Beginner's Guide from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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SketchUp 7.1 Architectural Visualization

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  • by Itninja (937614) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:05PM (#32667054) Homepage
    There is also Google Scatsup. It's exactly the same in every way, but is spelled differently for some long forgotten reason. Also, it's total crap.
  • by gsgriffin (1195771) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:21PM (#32667296)
    I do architectural design and SU is not the answer to every problem. If you're doing multi-million dollar designs, heck, spend a couple bucks and use programs that are easier and more powerful. Sure, it can be fun to try to learn and navigate your way through the program, but give me my architectural design software with ease and simplicity and powerful photo-realistic images in a fraction of the time of SU. Play with free. Work with paid for programs.
    • by Voytek (15888) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:28PM (#32667392) Journal

      True, but you are not the target market for this tool.

      • Hmmm. Title to this article "SketchUp 7.1 Architectural Visualization". I must be misreading something. My apologies.
      • by Dynedain (141758)

        True, but you are not the target market for this tool.

        Ahh, but the GP is the target market for the book (as am I). And those in the target market know that Sketchup is the wrong tool. Therefore the book is a bit of a waste as it's advocating the wrong tool for the job.

        That said, Sketchup does have a very valuable role in the architectural design process, and can be a useful tool for archviz, but really as an intermediary step, or for schematic uses.

        • Sketchup does have a very valuable role in the architectural design process, and can be a useful tool for archviz, but really as an intermediary step, or for schematic uses.

          I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with this too. While I agree all architects, not just the poor ones, are the target market for this book, people just need to stop using SketchUp, period. If you have access to quality design/BIM software such as Autodesk's Revit, SketchUp can only slow down and complicate your process. When I do space/mass modeling in a true architectural software, I get real time area and volume updates. I can apply materials to the walls that display properly on the face as well as showin

          • by Dynedain (141758)

            Oh, I agree, Revit/Archicad are much more robust solutions. But in early massing phases, they're waaaay too much overhead for what's needed.

            And believe it or not, there are a lot of firms out there not using BIM (like mine, but that's a whole different story), and for them Sketchup is the way to introduce digital 3D into the workflow.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TopherC (412335)

      Of course, just because a program costs thousands of $ doesn't mean it's any good either. I'm short on examples, but in my experience the more expensive the software the worse it is. AutoCAD and ClearQuest are the only ones coming to mind now, as I think I've mentally blocked out the worst experiences. There are exceptions to this of course. Fluent is pretty good.

      But I agree in general that if you're doing professional work, your software choices are expanded because cost is not an issue.

      • Except that as bad as AutoCAD is it's still better than the freeware tools.

      • I'm short on examples, but in my experience the more expensive the software the worse it is.

        I can give a good example where $1000 is well worth it. I've been using Chief Architect for almost 13 years. It is stunning. It allows me to design real working drawings and do what SU does but a whole lot more and a whole lot easier. The article is correct in saying that SU can making a great looking image with a "simple design", but it will take more than a little bit of time to do the same with a complex design.

        Ultimately, Google designed this so people would help populate their 3D Earth with build

        • Ultimately, Google designed this so people would help populate their 3D Earth with buildings...

          Not to nitpick or anything (ah heck, who am I kidding, I love to nitpick) but Google bought SketchUp when they acquired @Last Software, they didn't design it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Theaetetus (590071)

      I do architectural design and SU is not the answer to every problem. If you're doing multi-million dollar designs, heck, spend a couple bucks and use programs that are easier and more powerful. Sure, it can be fun to try to learn and navigate your way through the program, but give me my architectural design software with ease and simplicity and powerful photo-realistic images in a fraction of the time of SU. Play with free. Work with paid for programs.

      Sometimes, you only need to create a design once, even on a paid project. For example, I was recently creating three dimensional views of an object for a patent application and used Sketchup because it was quick, easy, didn't need to be textured, and wasn't worth the purchase of a commercial program that I'd only use once.

      Of course, your mileage may vary - doing many architectural designs like you do would quickly pay for the expense of a commercial program.

    • by jackbird (721605)
      I've seen plenty of multi-million dollar designs at major firms that started in SketchUp (I work as a freelance architectural renderer, and am often handed said SketchUp files as part of my reference material). Yes, at some point you have to make a construction set and/or BIM, which SketchUp is not capable of, and when things start getting really detailed and the major strokes are locked down you probably want to switch to CAD or Revit, but for concept development, and to a lesser extent design development
  • by oddTodd123 (1806894) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:31PM (#32667426)

    Robin de Jongh is a consulting engineer and designer who has successfully used SketchUp for multi-million-pound new developments, and a whole bunch of smaller projects, from steel staircases to new product prototypes.

    When did they start describing buildings by weight? Because those are certainly some heavy buildings.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by smooth wombat (796938)
      When did they start describing buildings by weight?

      Pretty much since we started doing the calculations. The Empire State Building [newyorktra...tation.com], Sears Tower ( now Willis Tower) [visit-chic...linois.com] and the CN Tower [worsleyschool.net] (ok, not a true building in the strictest sense) all have weight measurements.

      Because those are certainly some heavy buildings.

      Considering the Empire State Building weighs 730,000,000 pounds, those are small buildings.

      And yes, I get the whoosh.
    • by jank1887 (815982)

      when they're trying to figure out if the library will sink with and without the book load.

    • by DCstewieG (824956)

      My fellow Americans are so stupid. This is a British thing. We measure buildings by stories, they do it by weight. The better question is why doesn't the summary say multi-million-kilogram?

      • We measure buildings by stories

        Are you the same fools who start counting your floors at 0 instead of 1? (The first floor in America being the "ground floor" in Britain.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Unless the submitter is this author, this review has been plagiarized from this site:

    http://archtopia.com/2010/05/22/book-review-sketchup-7-1-for-architectural-visualization-beginners-guide/

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Hint: They are the same person.

      • by mattdm (1931)

        I also like how the one comment on that blog post is a link spammer, and the author doesn't even notice and instead posts a pleasant reply.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Its probably actually the books arthur spaming it all over.

    • by roothog (635998)

      It's plagiarized from the Amazon product description (which is probably taken from the back of the book or something), as pointed out by dalerb in a comment below.

  • by mattdm (1931) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:54PM (#32667732) Homepage

    What we've got here is a table of contents with a few sentences giving a teaser-style description of what that chapter contains. And then a conclusion literally (in the literal sense of the word literally) begging people to buy the book.

    Or, to put it another way, a review of this review:

    Frankly, when I saw this article has 10+ paragraphs, I thought "this thing is full of fluff and will bore me to death." But to my surprise, it could be skimmed so quickly that I didn't have time to be bored, and that's exactly what an ADHD-type guy like me understands best. So, without further ado, I'll make a brief presentation of the review that will enlighten your path to fast, easy and breathtaking... moving on to other things.

    Introduction:

    There's a badly formatted section that tries to give you the technical details about who wrote the book and stuff.

    Chapters:

    Then, one by one, as if filling out the required length in a book report for 7th grade, each chapter in the book is described, but not in a way that tells you any more than what you'd get by just reading the titles.

    Conclusion:

    I'm a Slashdot reader, and I've read book reviews here before, but I gotta tell you, even though most of the time they're really poor, this one is exceptionally weak, for the simple fact that it tells you less than you'd get from simply looking at the book's entry on the publisher's web site. Or on Amazon, for that matter. If you want to learn whether this book is worthwhile, please check somewhere else. I guarantee you won't throw your money away; because I know you, and you're not the kind of person to just go and do that with your money on a whim. Right?

    • by rhizome (115711)

      Slashdot book reviews have been weak chapter-by-chapter "synopses" for years now. They simply do not have any standards beyond (perhaps) word count. Best just to exclude them from your front page.

  • RE: (Score:3, Funny)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:57PM (#32667770)

    !'m an architect, and I've worked with paid software before, but I gotta tell you, the free applications are most of the time way better than the paid ones,

    You do realize the second half of that sentence makes it clear the first half is a lie ... right?

  • Try trueSpace (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I still think the best 3D modeling software is trueSpace, which is now available for free at CNET.com.

    They used to charge over $500 for the software, but Microsoft bought them out and released it for free. You can get it from http://download.cnet.com/TrueSpace/3000-6677_4-10187286.html

  • by dalerb (935786) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:17PM (#32668040)
    • Holy crap, I was expecting some similarities, but you're right: the author just ripped-off the whole thing.

      Summary:

      Chapter 1 – Quick Start Tutorial

      This chapter is a fast forward for those impatient to get to the realistic sketchup scenes. Here you'll find out how to model the scene, fix the lights, add textures, background, and make a quick render in Kerkythea.

      Original:

      Chapter 1: Quickstart Tutorial

      Photo Real Gallery Scene - This chapter is an immediate fix for those who are impatient to get photo-rea

  • First, the reviewer writes he was reluctant to read through "400+" pages of fluff; Amazon's website says it's 408 pages. So why does the summary state it's 113?

    Second, if the reviewer guarantees the book is so worthwhile then why does it only have a rating of 5/10?

  • Other people have already pointed out several ways that this review is, to put it nicely, lacking. I'd like to mention two more important points.

    1. Hyperlinks...do you use them?

    Reviewer writes

    (I know you will love this part of the book, so I got a sample of this chapter from the publisher for you guys – See it Here)

    Yeah, see it where? Did you (reviewer and/or editor) do the most cursory of read-throughs to see if there were any blatant instances of "click on this text that's not a hyperlink but really

  • by Colz Grigor (126123) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @01:17AM (#32674010) Homepage

    Hang on... I checked the "Disable Advertising" checkbox which Slashdot conveniently provides "As our way of thanking you for your positive contributions to Slashdot."

    Why did this article still show up?

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