Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

Technical Skills- Sketch Up


In todays session of technical skills we began to learn the basics of sketch up. Sketch Up is the program that was used to build the buildings on Google earth and also was used for a lot of the environment of the game Uncharted. So this for us as 3d games designers could become a very useful software to get the hang of for such things as: level design, environment art and even concepts.

So Sketch Up the basics was the lesson, we learnt pretty much all the basics in one lesson it was just using our own creative minds to create a building or a car or anything you can visualise as long as you piece it out step by step. Today wasn’t about amazing buildings or extreme detailed missions though it was about the basics and getting us Sketch Up beginners to get a grasp on the program. To utilise the program properly you needed a good understanding of the basic tools. These tools were Orbit (rotate camera view zoom in and out with scroll), line/ shapes (draw your objects using the guidelines), select (drag to select certain parts to modify), move (move shape or a line in a shape), push/pull (make the objects 3d in or out) and rotate (rotate object or a line once selected). These are as I say the basic tools needed to begin with sketch up. Other tools such as follow (stretches shape into all sorts of things), paint bucket tool (add colour/texture/ transparency to your object) and even animate (create a small guided tour of your project using scenes) were all tools which just added onto the basics.

Another thing you may want to get used to is having an idea of scale, when you open Sketch Up you have many options of scales e.g. millimetres or inches etc. this is useful to know as when you try to enter this into another project that may be to life size scale your little project may be way out of scale.

You can also go into the Trimble Sketch Up Archives to upload other peoples exported projects onto your own project and use them for inspiration or even dismantle their work to add to your own its up to you. I tried this immediately when I searched games design and a robot showed up it wasn’t elaborate at all I could see how it was done it just takes planning and vision to do so. So this was useful to me as a learning compound.

After learning the basics we began to experiment with the program. I began trying to build my statue upon which my eagle will sit upon in one of my other modules of 3D, so trying to kill 2 tasks at once really but what began as a platform I slowly built into a building with a sort of balcony level entrance through a tunnel. This immediate showed to me that one idea can easily grow into another and then another and you just keep building on your original ideas, I started with a simple cylinder with a circle platform on top it turned into a basic outline for a level in a game.

platform 1 build

platform 1 build

platform transform onto building

platform transform onto building

added colour and transparency to level

added colour and transparency to level

final product of first attempt with Sketch Up. Level 1 platform building.

final product of first attempt with Sketch Up. Level 1 platform building.

I was very pleased with my first attempt with sketch up, if anyone is interested in using the program the Pro version is free for 30days otherwise you can use the free version or pay for pro. Although we may not use this for 3D in the game itself it will be useful to me personally for concept design and modelling.

Here is a Getting Started video for Sketch Up with step by step help for beginners, for more help see the Sketch Up Learn Centre.

Author: Jason Pook 3D

Current student at Hull School of Art and Design studying Games Design.

3 thoughts on “Technical Skills- Sketch Up

  1. Pingback: SketchUp – The Basics (4/11/13) | Emerald Sword Gaming

  2. Pingback: Technical Skills/ 3D Realisation- Sketch Up Advanced. | PHASEgaming

  3. Pingback: Introduction to Gaming- Group Project “Alaskan Secret”. | PHASEgaming

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