Watch Site Modeling In SketchUp Tutorial Video

A lot of professional 3D modeling work relates to architectural projects. For large scale developments, there is usually a site development or campus development element in addition to the buildings and other structures. Good site modeling is critical to creating an acceptable model for client projects because the environment needs to complement the structures.

This video comes directly from SketchUp & walks you through the steps to create a site model. Some highlights are how to use a mix of Google Earth & Google Maps views to understand the site; modeling new buildings from scratch; and creating utility scenes for studying.

You expect an official SketchUp tutorial to be pretty sweet and this one doesn’t disappoint. If you’re not into architectural rendering, then this may not be that fun to you, but I think most people doing models will appreciate the techniques and how he shows the capabilities of SketchUp.


If you haven’t already, then make sure you subscribe to the SketchUp YouTube channel.

Watch How to Create Thai Temple Model in SketchUp Pro 2015

Building architectural models from the ground up takes imagination, an eye for detail, and a solid understanding of your tools. In this video, we see a Thai Temple developed in SketchUp 2015 with the addition all the shapes, dimensions, spacing, materials and textures shown.

The video, from JMsketch04’s YouTube channel. It’s longer than most of the videos we share (38:03), but it’s worth the time.

I especially like the order of the modeling with a good use of library assets and a consistent workflow. If you’ve ever tried building a complex models or ones with lots of assets, then you know that you need an efficient process to make sure everything comes together and avoid having to redo work later.

If you’re new to SketchUp modeling or want to learn how to build models more efficiently, then checkout this video.

Where to Find .SKP Files

Regular SketchUp users probably already have a big archive of .skp files to draw on for projects, but sometimes you need something new and it helps if you can grab one rather than building from scratch. I did some wandering around the web and found some sources for .skp files. Some are free and some cost a bit, but the nice thing is that these sites are reliable — you can bookmark them and come back whenever you’re searching.

3DWarehouse – https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/
No surprise you’re going to find SKP files at 3DWarehouse, but it’s worth mentioning that they have a fun mix of models including architecture, people and products.

SketchUp Texture – http://www.sketchuptexture.com/p/3d-sketchup-model.html
SketchUp Texture has several collections of room and furniture models in the SKP format. I liked a lot of the stuff in the Houses and Villas collection. It also never hurts to have furniture models when you’re figuring out interiors.

TF3DM –
These guys have a little bit of everything. The quality can vary, but it’s worth checking out. I’d definitely check here for military vehicles.

SKPWizard – http://skpwizard.com/freeblocks.php
SKPWizard carries a good selection of office furniture models. They also have some vehicles, construction supplies, and electronics. I’ve visit here before starting on an office interior project.

TurboSquid – http://www.turbosquid.com/Search/3D-Models/free/skp
I’d say their free .skp offerings are mostly related to furniture or home decor, but TurboSquid also has some human and animal models, as well as, some building models. Check them out for starter models to practice on.

GrabCad – https://grabcad.com/library/software/sketchup
I’ve found some gorgeous building models here along with a variety of furniture, mechanical, and other objects. If you’re doing product or industrial design, then make sure you check here for things like gears and motors too.

David Hier – http://www.davidhier.co.uk/freemodels.html
Let’s take a moment to thank David for sharing some of his models for high-end designer furniture. He shares a lot of his stuff on TurboSquid, but make sure to check his site for goodies. His models might be good for a hotel room or lobby project where if you’re going for a contemporary look and feel.

Creative Crash – http://www.creativecrash.com/sketchup/
Creative Crash’s marketplace has a lot of goodies. The quality and prices will vary a lot and some models are a bit pricey, but you’ll find plenty of well done vehicle, electronics, exterior and environmental models to work with.

Nomeradona SketchUp, VRay Resources – http://sketchupvrayresources.blogspot.com/p/free-sketchup-scenes-and-models.html
There is not a lot here, but the few models are well done. I especially like the sofa and padded material models. Hopefully, they’ll keep adding to the site, but I’d pick up the sofa models now to have handy.

SketchUp4Architects – http://www.sketchup4architect.com/sketchup-components.htm
There is a good selection of models here with an emphasis on architectural components (rooms, doors, windows, floors, stairways, etc.). You’ll also find some people, furniture, and vehicles mixed in. This is a good resource for assets to construct rooms or other basic architectural modeling tasks.

SweetHome3D – http://www.sweethome3d.com/importModels.jsp
SweetHome3D offers several collections of models, some with hundreds of files included. In some cases, you’ll be directed away from the site, but I didn’t find anything shady — just more models. Pay attention to the licensing rules.

Modlar – http://www.modlar.com/information/3d-models/
Modlar is the place to get manufacture approved models of appliances, tools, industrial equipment and more. It’s heavy into sinks, faucets and other kitchen and bathroom models, but you also have industrial, furniture and flooring. A good site for anyone doing kitchens and bathrooms, or looking for some well done pieces to refine home models.

TruStile – http://www.trustile.com/design-planning/3d-cad-symbols/sketchup
This is vendor site so you won’t find a variety. That said, TruStile gives you models for about 40 different styles of residential doors. I suggest picking them all up and keeping them as resource for any residential housing project.

Popular Woodworking – http://www.popularwoodworking.com/sketchup-for-woodworking-models
Every model here is for something wooden. Fortunately, you can use wood almost anywhere. A decent selection of models though you’ll see a lot of tables and cabinets. Worth browsing for touches to add to a rustic cabin or home. You might also use the benches for parks or other outdoor settings.

Kolbe – http://www.kolbe-kolbe.com/architectLibrary/index.cfm?pcID=7&pID=169
Another vendor site. This one is focused on Kolbe windows. The models are well made and done to work well with any architectural models. Like with TruStile, I’d grab as many as you can now so you have the for later.

That’s it for now. I’ll keep looking and adding as I discover new sites. Leave a comment if you want to share some of your own models or let us know about some good sites.

Feature image: Asus P6T6 3d model by 3DRegenerator

Cool Video on the Merits of HDRI for 3D Rendering

The images you use as sources and output have a big impact on the realism of your renders. This video from dimensiont on YouTube looks at the value of using HDRI images when doing renderings. I think the video could use a different soundtrack, but the examples given are convincing.


In the video, you’ll see the difference in colors, shadows, lighting and reflections between high dynamic range images and formats like jpeg and png. The video does a great job of making the difference in contrast and detail obvious. It also gives you some hints to the value for different lighting environments though I’d say the video could use more lighting examples.

Watch this video if you’re working on placing made objects and people into real-world environments or struggling to fine-tune a render.

3D Rendering Animation of San Francisco Mission Bay Arena

I live in San Francisco so I’m probably more psyched about this than most folks. Found the video on the Golden State Warriors YouTube channel. It’s not the most stylish, but it gives us a look at the design of the proposed arena for the Mission Bay area of San Francisco.

The video provides a tour of the arena starting with the exterior, connected parks, and streets where we can see theaters, nearby office buildings, and a great looking concourse connecting the different outdoor spaces. The interior tour ends in the arena where it looks like a Warriors game is about to start.

I won’t say this is the coolest rendering I’ve seen, but it gets the key points across: green space, mixed commercial in the area, and an arena with plenty of seating.

My only real complaints are the crappy music and the people that look like they were taken from a 90’s SIMs game.

Worth watching if you live in the Bay Area and have been following the Mission Bay developments. Also, worth a watch if you’re looking for inspiration for your own architectural rendering video.

Cool Video: See How Rendering Works in Games

Found this video on the HappieCat YouTube channel. This video is focused on rendering in games, but it does a great job of explaining the basics of 3D modeling including the different technologies and math behind it.

I work for a 3D rendering and visualization company, but my background is in marketing. While I’ve learned a lot working with FluidRay, this was actually a great video for me to learn a little more about the concepts behind modeling.

I definitely suggest this video to anyone looking for a very straightforward explanation of what goes into modeling, especially if you like video games.

Awesome Architectural Rendering Animation by Studio Aiko

Found this on the CGBros YoutubeChannel. It’s an animation of a Hilton Project in Poland. I don’t know if it’s going to get built, but I’d stay there if it looks anything like this.

Studio Aiko is an Israeli outfit that works across TV, movies and games. This project shows their skills.

Notice the light reflecting off the of buildings and the streets. You also have to appreciate the realistic textures of the wet ground and metals like the streetlights. The interior shots of the hardwood, glass in frames, windows, and furniture all speak to an eye for detail.

Weekly Rendering Roundup 09062015

Another week, and we’ve seen a lot of cool rendering and design related content come out. Here’s our picks:

20 Futuristic Transformers-Like Furniture Designs by Jane Clark

Honestly, Jane had us at “Transformers”. This collection of animated gifs highlights 20 furniture designs that save space, save time or give you flexiblity.

Our favorites:

#6, The Fusillo Bookshelf:

A modular shelving system that doesn’t have to take up a lot of space, and can be re-configured depending on your needs. One of the big problems with apartment living is finding a way to store everything with limited closet space. I could configuring the Fusillo to hold my bike, a few jackets, a my mail by the entryway.

#15 Trick:

This convertable, table/desk/bookshelf combo looks good and gives you 3 essential furniture pieces in one. I can’t seem myself switching between all options regularly, but it would definitely be cool as a desk and bookshelf.

#18 Chuck:

Chuck seems like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. The flexible plank system lets you configure a number of different shelf sizes and lengths based on the weight and height of the items. I could see this being a great conversation piece, though I’d be very nervous about putting more than a few books on it.

The Black Desert House by Oller & Pejic Architecture via ideasdecoracioninteriores.com

You’ll need to visit the site to see more because they’ve got some image DRM thing happening, but here is a peak.

If you like desert landscapes and ultra-modern design, then you’ll fall in love with this house by Oller and Pejic Architecture

That’s it for this week. Yes, there was a lot of other stuff out there, but these are what caught our attention.

Where to Find .3dm files

You can build your own .3dm files but it takes time and you may not get the best results. If you’re like us, then you’ve probably got a few spots you check for models, and you’ve also probably bought some sets over the years. But you always end up needing something you don’t have, and having to look around.

I did some snooping through my lists of sites to find ones that offered a good mix of .3dm models. Not all the sites are free or have large selections, but they are all dependable. Take the time to browse through a few of them when working on a project and you should be able to find what you need.

TF3DMhttp://tf3dm.com/3d-models/all/1/3dm
This site has a good selection of models, but they range in quality from high-end to beginner. You can find anything from full buildings to Black Hawk helicopters to a T-Rex. Prices vary a lot, and you need to be careful to check which license is available for each model.

CGTraderhttp://www.cgtrader.com/free-3d-models
A library of free 3dm models, heavy on automotive but you can find some animal, environment and product models if you look around for a bit.

GrabCadhttps://grabcad.com/library/software/rhino?per_page=20&query=3dm
Not a very large selection, but there are some nice ones here & the site has good search functionality.

AD-3D http://ad-3d.com/free-rhino-3d-nurbs-models/
This is a free collection — available for both personal and commercial use (but not reselling) — from Aleksandar Dimitrov. Mostly furniture models, but some exteriors like fields thrown in.

FlexiCadhttps://www.flexicad.com/download.php?lang=de&misc=1300
Honestly, it’s only 4 models here but its worth going to pick up the Audi TT model.

Aversishttp://www.aversis.be/3dmodels/
Not many here, but they are all decent quality. Click the links labeled “Rhino” to get the .3dm files.

Turbosquidhttp://www.turbosquid.com/
You’ve probably come across this site before. Big selection of models. You can search subject and then filter to get models compatible with Rhino. Pretty much everything here is high-quality, but you’re going to pay for it: prices range from US $5 – $500. Fortunately, you can filter by price. If you need a model for work, then this is a good place to look, but not sure its the right place for a student.

Craftsmansspacehttp://www.craftsmanspace.com/free-3d-models
If you’re looking for free geometries and pattern 3dm files, then I’d check here. Nothing to fancy is available, but you can use these models for things like fencing, icons, wall art without too many problems.

Yobi3D – https://www.yobi3d.com/
It finds 3D models on the Internet with simple keyword search. The models can be previewed in 3D right on your browser.

This list is a work in progress. If you’d like to have your model site, set or file added, then leave a comment.

Weekly Rendering Roundup 08232015

Another week and another batch of cool rendering-related content from around the web. Enjoy!

Stephen Hill’s big list of SIGGRAPH 2015 links

This list is awesome! Hill provides a single stop for links to papers, courses, talks and more that went on at SIGGRAPH this year. It’s a great resource. Here’s his 2014 list as well.

Volcano Mapped by Drones and then Rendered – Wired

There is so much to love in this story: futuristic technology, a passionate geek, Mother Nature reminding us how badass she can be, and some really amazing renders.

Apple Files Patent for “Depth Rendering” – Patently Apple

I’m not sure how much to care about this. I’m an Android guy, but the technology patent filed with the U.S. Patent Office describes taking 2D images and video and creating the illusion of 3D depth.

Not sure when this will come into the market, and it sounds a lot like RealSense that was unveiled by Intel recently. But I’m all for advancements in how images and video are rendered. It would be cool if this technology made it to phones and tablets in the near-future.

That’s it for this week. If you’ve got something you think should be covered, the add it in the comments.