Sunday, April 7, 2013

Google SketchUp: 2 Versions of Turrets and Towers

I am a self-proclaimed software junkie, and fairly consistently recognized as one of the more speedy SketchUp users within my program.  Do I know how to do it all? Of course not.  But I am pretty good at getting where I need to be.

Last semester we had a huge SketchUp model to do in a class, and there was a building downtown with a turret on top.  I loved the building.  I HAD to do this building.  It took a lot of time the first round, but it helped me develop a good system for both round and square towers and toppers.  Square is ALWAYS simpler, which I imagine is true for building as well.  But if you have a little patience you can do either.

Start by making a small square from one corner of your building back towards the center.  Use the end point on that square as the beginning of a larger square directed away from the center of the building.  You will likely need to type in the dimensions on the second square if you cannot get it to hover out on the right axis.  I used a 2'10 square for the small one and about a 5' square for the larger.
Use the Push/Pull button to bring the square to the bottom of your building.  Next, use Push/Pull to bring the square up an extra 5' or however tall you want this particular thing to be.

Starting with a back corner, use the rectangle tool to draw a 3" or similar width rectangle around each side.  This will help make a ledge.

Next, use the line tool to draw an X from the corners of the top square to make 4 triangles.

Using the push/pull again, bring the ledge out a couple of inches to form the base of the top.  Using the eraser tool, erase two of the top corners (I do ones next to each other not across), which should eliminate all but one side and one top triangle.

 Using the line tool, start at the point of the remaining triangle and draw down to the corner of the interior top square (not the corner of the ledge).  Do this on 3 sides.

Erase the top triangle and remaining vertical side, and your final panel should be under it. 

Additionally, not shown in this picture, you can use the offset tool to create details in each triangular panel.  This can be really interesting visually, and if you are modeling a real building may be essential. 

Finally, add color as desired and remaining features for your building.

Here is the finished little building with a basic flat roof.

Next we will work on a round turret.  Start out using the circle tool.  From the corner of the building at the top, pull a circle towards the center of the building, however large you want the tower to be.

Do not erase the lines within it yet. 

Using the push pull tool, pull the circle down to the base of the building to create the tower.

 Under "Draw" you will find "polygon".  Click the polygon draw tool and type in "12" and hit enter to make the system draw a 12 sided polygon. This is what I use for tops that I want to look kind of close to round.

Pulling along one of the sides of the building, draw the polygon so that there is a little overhang.  This will create the base for the ledge.

Draw a very small (I used 3 inch) second polygon on the corner again, dragging the same direction as the larger polygon.  This will ensure that your lines line up in the end.

Using push/pull, pull the sides of the large poly up a few inches. Erase the lines in the ledge made by the sides of the building after the pull.
 Erase any extra lines within the small polygon and pull it up as high as you want the top to be.

If you want there to be a part of the top sticking out above the panels you will put in, use the line tool to draw all the way around the top of the pole as far down as you want the top of the panels to be.

 Draw from the top down to the base of the ledge, it should snap to an "endpoint".  Make a second line down from the next connection of the top and then add a third line to complete the panel. 

This does leave a sliver of space between the bottom of the panel and the ledge (due to the tower being circular and the ledge not) but this is easily hidden with paint.

Keep making the panels all the way around, add color and remaining features, and enjoy your cute little turret.

I completely love SketchUp and have had a BLAST learning how to do different things in it.  My best advice if you are trying to tackle something you are unsure how to construct is to just break it down into its basic shapes and go from there.  Every complex feature is a series of very simple ones, you just need the right combinations.

Happy crafting!

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