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The Usual Suspects

At the SketchUp Hub, we take pride in the standard of our training and the quality of the final drawings that we produce, whether it’s a technical floor plan:

Or a watercolour illustration:

We know that one of the reasons people choose our online SketchUp courses, is because of the high standards we adopt and the pride we take in our work.

Our students know that accuracy and precision is given top priority in all of our course content.

Which is why we place certain standards and expectations ON OUR STUDENTS too!

If a student shows us a drawing that he/she has created and we spot an error or discrepancy we WILL draw this to the student’s attention, because we place so much importance on accuracy and the finer details. We know it might seem ‘fussy’ but in the long run, it’s important for your own business, (especially if you use SketchUp to assist in your design process), that your drawings are accurate and professional looking.

The SketchUp Hub is approximately six months old, and we’ve had quite a few students come and go in that time.  Which means we’ve also seen the same errors and mishaps presenting themselves, so we decided to list the most common to help you guys focus a little more when creating drawings or illustrations.

We know that it takes time to become competent when using SketchUp and that mistakes will happen, but we’re committed to making sure that you reach your full potential.

Without further ado, here’s our list of The Usual Suspects!

  • Following The Video Tutorials (for the first time), and Trying to Create a Different Floor Plan or Elevation 

We know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking that you’ll save a bit of time by combining your SketchUp learning, with the creation of a floor plan that you need for a client commission.  To ensure you fully grasp all of the new skills and processes you’re learning, it’s so much easier (and effective) to create the floor plans and elevations used in the course, instead of trying to apply these VERY new skills to a different layout/space. This is even more crucial if you make a mistake, as it’s easier to backtrack to find the source of the problem (and yes, you’re going to make LOADS of mistakes and that’s ok).

Don’t try to run before you can walk, stick with the course content!

  • Wonky Lines

This little error happens a lot, and will gradually disappear as you continue to use SketchUp.  Lots of newbies take their eye off the ball and start drawing straight lines without making sure they are following the green or red axis.  The green and red axis ARE YOUR FRIENDS and you MUST use them religiously! Who wants wonky lines, right?

Can you spot the wonky line?!

  • Rounded Corners Not Being The Same Size

This is only applicable when at least two rounded corners are supposed to be the same size.  In the floor plan above, the rectangular coffee table has FOUR rounded corners that are the same size. Unfortunately, on occasion, new SketchUp users will fail to use the dotted axis guides, to make sure the arc they are creating is the same as the original.

Wonky rectangle, anyone?

  • Positioning Furniture Awkwardly

You kinda need to decide if the piece of furniture is going to be illustrated on the floor plan as being right up against the wall, or a few inches away from it.  In the very first floor plan above, you can clearly see that the bookcase has been shown as right up against the wall, whereas the sofas are a few inches from each of the respective walls (and they are also the same distance).

In the floor plan below you can see that the bookcase is actually overshooting the internal wall, and the sofa at the top has been positioned too close to the wall (and isn’t the same distance from the wall, as the other sofa).

  • Using Poor Quality Textures & 3D Models

Your final floor plan or elevation, whether it is illustrated or not, is only as good as the textures and 3D models (if applicable), you use.  When importing JPEGs into SketchUp to use in your floor plan or elevation, it’s important that you make sure they are a suitable size.  If they pixelate once you’ve chosen the correct scale/dimensions, then they are too small (don’t forget to choose the correct scale!). Taking a little bit of time to search for a texture in Google will ensure you find a texture that is just right.  Including poor quality 3D models in your drawing, will hinder its overall appearance.  Don’t choose the first thing you see in the search results! Take the time to find the right 3D model for your project.

  • Incorrect Placement of 3D Models for Elevations

When positioning 3D models, always make sure that you use the green and red axis as a guide.  This will ensure that the object is at the correct angle from the wall, in the elevation. Don’t forget that elevations do not have any perspective, therefore if the sides of objects are visible on one side, the object is most likely not sitting parallel to the wall, at a 90 degree angle.

  • Inserting Images of Furniture to Floor Plans or Elevations When Creating a Watercolour Illustration

We don’t condone the insertion of furniture JPEGs into a floor plan or elevation when you have reached the stage of creating the watercolour illustration.  We feel that the integrity of the scene and the final illustration is being compromised by doing this.  We recommend that all furniture for a floor plan or elevation, whether it is 2D or 3D is created in SketchUp.  This will ensure that the final result is a convincing watercolour illustration.

  • Applying Shadows to Different Areas of Furniture 

This happens A LOT and we stress in our video tutorials, that when you decide on the direction of the shadows, you must apply this to ALL pieces of furniture for an overall convincing look.  You can’t have an elevation with shadows at the bottom on some items, and shadows at the top on others.

No, sir.

  • Being Heavy-Handed with the Brush Tool

We know it takes time and a few attempts before the watercolour technique starts to look convincing and resembles the illustrations used in the video tutorials, but we find that many students are a little too heavy-handed with the brush tool and if they adopted a lighter, more liberal, approach they would see better results.

Remember, it’s not a race.  PACE YOURSELF and AVOID TAKING SHORTCUTS.  Your drawings will thank you for it.

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