Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Pumpkin Mascot

SketchUp Island has a new Halloween mascot. His name: "Happy Pumpkin." Yes.

Enter the 2009 SketchUp Island Pumpkin Carving Contest.* Your winning entry will appear in the new header artwork of this blog, in a rendered style similar to "Happy Pumpkin" but even cooler yet.

The contest website includes tutorials on how to make a pumpkin and carve it, and cool stuff like stickers and note cards for FREE! You can't beat that.

And if you're bored... see if you can find Happy Pumpkin on this blog before Halloween. He's hidden deep, deep in the blog somewhere. Once somebody finds him, I'll move him again.

*Sorry! The contest site is closed. But, the wonderful pumpkin model collection can still be seen HERE.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

First Pumpkin Carving Contest Entry

SketchUp Islander MILO Minderbinder takes the prize for "First To Enter" in the SketchUp Island Pumpkin Carving Contest.

Check out his awesome creation below, and then enter the contest yourself!

SketchUp Island Pumpkin Carving Contest Is LIVE!

[Edit October 2010: the 2009 contest and sites are now closed, but you can still view the cool pumpkin models that were made right here!]

Carving a SketchUp pumpkin is as easy as 1-2-3. But what's more fun is making one and then carving it.

And then winning a contest!

Just follow this link to the new, official 2009 SketchUp Island Pumpkin Carving Contest website. You'll learn how to make your own SketchUp pumpkin* (for intermediate and advanced users), how to make your own carving tools, and how to create and upload an awesome pumpkin for the contest (or, just for fun).

Start now because Halloween is almost here! (deadline for contest entry is October 24, 2009). I hope to see the pumpkins rolling in soon!

* Beginners don't need to make their own pumpkin. Visit the contest site to learn where to download pre-made pumpkins you can carve.

New SketchUp Help Forum

Earlier this week a beautiful new SketchUp help forum was unveiled by Google with smarter, cleaner, question-and-answer formats. Readers will be able to vote for best answer for example and include rich content.

This replaces the old Google SketchUp Help Group which will become locked in early October 2009.

How To Make a 3D SketchUp Pumpkin

EDIT (October 2010): The virtual pumpkin carving contest was a lot of fun last year but as you can see, the site and various links associated with it are no longer live. Never fear! HERE is a link to the "Pumpkin Patch" 3D model collection and HERE is a link to "Pumpkin Making with Aidan [Chopra]" and HERE is the link to another tutorial. You can see the various winners and other entries and study the many creative approaches to pumpkin construction and carving that modelers invented! Have fun! Original post:

I just uploaded my first-ever YouTube video, which teaches intermediate SketchUp users how to make a 3D pumpkin for the upcoming Halloween holiday season.

And, more importantly, for the upcoming 2009 SketchUp Island Pumpkin Carving Contest!

st announcements are coming soon. In the meantime
check out the video and make your own 3D pumpkins! You might even get a sneak peek at the contest website (and a head start)  : )

EDIT: Contest website is LIVE. Check it out here and enter to WIN! (Beginners, you don't have to make your own pumpkin. Check the web site to learn how to download pre-made pumpkins you can carve).

Monday, September 28, 2009

SketchUp Island Blogged On Infrastructurist!

Check out this very cool blog post by Infrastructurist.

Jebediah Reed, editor at, responded to a comment I had made on his blog about the old New York Penn Station.

He kindly invited me to share my Penn Station SketchUp model on Infrastructurist, and he also blogged about the Monopoly City Streets game (for which the model was created in a design contest) and SketchUp Island.

Check out the post here. Thanks, Jebediah and Infrastructurist.

Monopoly Design Contest Extended

The deadline for the Monopoly City Streets game piece design contest has been extended to Tuesday, October 6, 2009, at 11:59 PM EST.

See the blog announcement  here. Time to make some models!!!

Penn Station Animation

Somebody named Colin Holgate has created an animation based on my Penn Station model. He describes it as what happens when Spider Man is late for a train and can't find a way in to the station. See it here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wizarding World of Harry Potter 3D Fly-Through

Still wondering if there will be a 3D Harry Potter theme park on Google Earth like Disney's parks are in 3D. Here's another 3D fly-through of the Harry Potter park, although pretty short... seems they are keen on the idea of 3D models, anyway.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Monopoly Ice Cream Parlor

My eleventh entry into the contest... I added to these 3D model collections: My Monopoly Buildings, Models By Zoungy

Tough Times Amusement Park

My tenth submission to Monopoly City Streets game piece design contest. I included it in the 3D model collections: Models By Zoungy, My Monopoly Buildings

Revolving Restaurant and Blimp Mooring Post

My ninth submission to Monopoly City Streets game piece design contest. It's a revolving restaurant and blimp mooring post. I included it in the 3D model collections: Models By ZoungyMy Monopoly Buildings

Monopoly Concert Bandshell

My eight submission to the Monopoly City Streets Design Contest... a little more humble than the train station, but its just a fun model. I included it in the 3D model collections: Models By ZoungyMy Monopoly Buildings

Friday, September 25, 2009

Disneyland Resort Paris In 3D

In case you missed it, way back in May 2009 Disney unveiled its beautiful 3D model of Disneyland Resort Paris on Google Earth.

The entire thing is in high-detail, colorful, 3D goodness with animated, musical, pop-up windows that can help you plan a trip or learn more about the park.

Link to the original SketchUp blog post:

Disneyland Paris in Google Earth

According to the post, 85,000 photos were used to re-create the park in virtual 3D form! That is mind blowing.

What looks good? The Sleeping Beauty castle is especially well done (of course). See the illustration. Also Alice's Curious Labyrinth, Swiss Family Robinson Tree, and well, basically everything. Does anyone know if they plan to do the rest of their parks? (Florida was done in 2008).

If you haven't seen it, I suggest downloading Google Earth and having a look around. Maybe you'll be inspired to plan your next vacation there!

Real Harry Potter 3D Animated Map

I would love to see Harry Potter in 3D on Google Earth, but in the meantime I found this very cool video.

It is a sepia-toned 3D map of the park (in the style of the Marauder's Map from the stories). The map is animated and gives you a tour of the park, with atmospheric music and conceptual art of the details.

Charlotte's House

My seventh submission for Monopoly City Streets design contest... a house based on the look and feel of the children's story "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Clement Hurd.

I included this model in the following 3D model collections: My Monopoly Buildings, Models By Zoungy

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Monopoly Masterpiece

Life seems so futile now that I've created my SketchUp masterwork and published it. *Sigh.*

This is my SIXTH entry into the Monopoly City Streets design contest. Check it out below, and be sure to rate the model if you like it! I included it in the 3D model collections: Models By ZoungyMy Monopoly Buildings

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Get Your Hairs Cut?

Here is my fifth entry into the Monopoly City Streets design contest: I call it "Shortcuts Barber Shop."

Happy Autumn

Happy autumn to SketchUp Islanders in the northern hemisphere, and happy spring to those in the south!

Since I'm up north I decided to share an autumn tradition with you all, which is pumpkin carving. Except of course this will be SketchUp pumpkin carving.

The plan is to make a tutorial on how to design your own pumpkin. Then I'll also upload several of my own. And best of all, I'll have a contest for the best carved pumpkin on the 3D Warehouse!

That is, if enough Islanders are interested. What do you think? Keep an eye out for an announcement and the rules for entry!

Lobster, Anyone?

My fourth Monopoly City Streets contest entry, named for a friend. What do you think? I've added this model to the following 3D model collections: Green-Colored Buildings, My Monopoly Buildings, Models By Zoungy

Too Cool For Pvblic School!

My third entry into the Monopoly City Streets design contest:

Let's Go To The Movies

Here is my second entry into the Monopoly City Streets design contest. What do you think?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tea or Coffee?

Some of the best submissions to the Monopoly City Streets design contest are by BerylDrue. Check out the teapot themed one below. When I made my coffee cup model I swear I didn't know about this one! I think it's much better than mine, anyway!

Joe's (Coffee Cup-Shaped) Cafe

My entry into the Monopoly City Streets building design contest:

Personally this is my favorite kind of coffee cup and I'd love to go to a cafe shaped like this.

EDIT: This style of architecture (buildings that look like objects) is called "programmatic architecture" or "mimetic architecture." Read all about it at Wikipedia.

Monopoly City Streets Contest

I've decided to enter the Monopoly City Streets building design contest!

It should be fun, and I want to take a "different approach" so I'm doing some object-shaped buildings. Just for fun.

If you want to enter you have until September 27 to do so. Wish me luck and good luck to you too!

Dear SketchUp Island: Model "Failed Processing"

Dear SketchUp Island: I know that every one of my model preview pages has a "3D Buildings Review" section at the bottom, where I am informed if my model has made it to Google Earth or not. Recently one of my best models was labeled with the words "failed processing." What does that mean? Did I do something wrong? --Failure in Florida

Dear Failure: Failure you are not! On certain occasions it is perfectly normal for a model to fail to be processed through the "3D Pipeline." Google is working out the kinks, but in the meantime there are some things YOU can do to reduce the chance of this happening to your model. Just follow this link to the Google SketchUp help pages!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dear SketchUp Island: Editing A Model; Rejected Models

Dear SketchUp Island: What is the appropriate way to edit a model I have already uploaded? Should I make a new model and delete the old one? --Perfectionist in Malaysia

Dear Perfectionist: It's great that you are re-editing your models to improve them. But please, don't do it the way you've been doing! This can confuse the 3D model acceptance pipeline (for Google Earth) and cause pandemonium for you and your models. The proper way to edit an already existing model is to download it from the 3D Warehouse using the "edit model" link found on your own model's preview page. Do your edits in SketchUp and then re-upload. Don't delete any models. Don't duplicate any models. Just download from the link, edit, re-upload. Hope that helps!

Dear SketchUp Island: My 3D Building is perfect but it has been rejected for use on Google Earth. What do I do???? --Frustrated in Latin America

Dear Frustrated: Smooth your furrowed brow and take solace in this advice. At the bottom of every model preview page is a "3D Buildings Review" section, where the status of your model is posted. This could be accepted to the 3D buildings layer, awaiting review, or rejected. The process is mostly accurate, but not always. If you feel the reasons for rejection were inappropriate, there should be a link called "Tell us why we're wrong." Click that and tell the Googlers what the mistake was. It should be remedied soon enough!

Dear SketchUp Island: Texturing the Model

Dear SketchUp Island: I'm new to modeling. How do you use textures? Are the pictures made by you or from other websites? --New In Town

Dear New: Certainly I will help you. To answer about textures and how I use them, I can give you an overview of what SketchUp can do with photo textures, and point you to resources that will teach you how to do it, too.

I only project a texture when necessary; otherwise I simply import the texture and stretch it over a face (using the pins found in the context menu)... then I choose "make unique texture" (also in the right click menu). This trims all the invisible parts of the photo, leaving only what is visible on the face, thereby reducing file size. For curved surfaces such as domes, I project textures (also found in the right click context menu). See my post about the Griffith Observatory model for an example of this.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Most Amazing Thing I Have Seen In A Long Time

As creative people you will appreciate this video. In SketchUp we re-create buildings, towns, and cities in digital paint. Performance and visual artist Kseniya Simonova creates these same things as moving pictures in sand.

Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist who won the 2009 Ukrainian version of  "America's Got Talent." Watch below as she interprets the German invasion and occupation of Ukraine. One of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Thanks to Redweather for pointing this out.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Little Competition For Disney

Earlier I reported on the 2012 opening of Disney's re-imagined Fantasyland in Orlando, Florida.

Disney's announcement coincides with Universal's opening (next year actually) of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which will include a replica of the famous Hogwarts castle, Hogsmeade Village, and various HP-themed rides.

The reason I mention it at all is because there is already a fully 3D version of Walt Disney World on Google Earth. I wonder if the models will be updated to reflect Disney's park expansion, and I wonder if Universal/Warner Brothers will be smart enough to create a fully 3D version of THEIR park to compete online as well?

Harry Potter in 3D on Google Earth? Wouldn't that be cool.

Extreme Makeover: Walt Disney World Fantasyland Edition

This week Disney announced a major "face lift" for its Fantasyland park in Orlando, Florida, to be completed in two phases in 2012 and 2013:

LA Times Article

I wonder if that means a major do-over of the virtual 3D Disney World found on Google Earth?

Changes to the park will include updated versions of old favorites, like the Dumbo ride, some new rides (including a "dark ride" based on "The Little Mermaid"-- click the illustration for enlargement), and a greatly expanded area with additional castles for other Disney princess characters (Cinderella's castle is the centerpiece of the Florida park).

The reason for the expansion is to compete with the Harry Potter theme park to be opened in Universal Studios Orlando in 2010. Maybe that will be yet another 3D Google Earth project?

Chef Ramsay and 3D

Lately I've been watching Chef Gordon Ramsay on both his "Hell's Kitchen" show and also "Kitchen Nightmares."

In the second show he helps ailing restaurants turn their business around, usually in small American towns. I thought it would be cool to use Google Street View and SketchUp to model some of these businesses. So far I have only identified one that has Street View images I can use to make a model. Check it out below:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gehry + 3Done = WOW!

Check out this amazing model by Super Modeler 3Done. It depicts MIT's Stata Center by architect Frank Gehry. lots of organic forms and tricky textures. Great job!

I've added it to these 3D model collections: My Favorite Models, 2000s

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Google Earth in the Year 3000

Hi SketchUp Islanders. Fellow Islander Lorenz Eisermann from Berlin (Germany) has shared a fascinating look into the possible future of Google Earth in the following video. Lorenz writes

Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I am checking frequently. Here I found something awesome you may like to report about:

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Hang In There, Baby" With Milo Minderbinder

Today's "Hang In There, Baby" column focuses on the work of MILO Minderbinder, whose main area of interest is Art Deco architecture in Miami, Florida (USA).

The purpose of this column is to give some encouragement (hang in there, baby!)-- particularly when you feel your first version of a model is not so great. Today MILO shares with us a model he made called "Colony Hotel" and a before and after illustration of the work he did on it.

MILO writes:

John Wilkes In the Dursley Gazette

John Wilkes from Dursley, England, sent me a print article from the Dursley Gazette all about his trip to the Boulder, Colorado, Super Modeler Conference.

The conference took place in Google's Boulder offices in August 2009.

Click on the image to enlarge and see a paper print version of the article.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

SketchUp Island Adventures #5: WMU3D (Jonathan Rumohr)

I was climbing the south face of SketchUp Island mountain on a crisp, late-summer morning, looking for a stream to quench my thirst. The sun was warm on my back.  I heard the distant sound of the clear, babbling brook. It grew louder as I climbed... But when I paused to catch my breath, sitting on a moss-covered Boulder, it grew louder yet. A helicopter?!

A helicopter was approaching me from the south-- Saved at last!-- It hovered directly above my head; I waited for the rope ladder to drop. But the helicopter just hovered there and then turned around and went directly north!

...You can imagine my profound sense of isolation. I fell to my knees and sobbed, whispering "Come back!" to the grass... 

Friday, September 11, 2009

Amazing Organic Model In Malaysia

Check this out. It's not easy to create believable organic forms and keep the file size small-- but SketchUp user "" pulled it off in only 2 MB using some visual tricks and components (repeating elements that help reduce unnecessary duplicate geometry).

The textures are applied skillfully too-- how did they do that?!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Gray Buildings Appear In Latin America

When we last heard the words "3D building" and "Latin America" together it was because 3D structures were disappearing from Google Earth.

This time it's better news: Blog viewer and SketchUp Islander NESUA informs me that several major cities in Latin America have been enhanced with a new gray buildings layer (buildings with geometry but no textures yet).

Click the illustration to see the gray buildings layer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Other cities with new building layers (according to NESUA) include Santiago, Sao Paulo, Caracas and México City. Check them out on Google Earth and check out this blog posting NESUA also sent (in Spanish):

Thanks, NESUA, for the heads up!

Mannahatta: A Wooded Manhattan Minus Buildings

SketchUp Islanders accustomed to seeing a built-up 3D virtual New York City on Google Earth may enjoy this look at another island. Manhattan Island, New York, was known as Mannahatta in its natural state prior to European arrival and settlement.

From the Museum of the City of New York web site (

When Henry Hudson and a small crew of Dutch and English sailors rode the flood tide up a great estuarine river on the North American continent on September 12, 1609, they were looking for a passage to Oriental riches. Instead, they found something much more valuable. Mannahatta's natural wealth—the old growth forests, stately wetlands, rolling hills, abundant wildlife, people who lived in tune with nature—was prodigious and deep...

Mannahatta/Manhattan: A Natural History of New York City uses historic artifacts, maps, and multimedia presentations to give viewers a sense of the development of Manhattan from its original state to what it is today.

The show can be seen at the Museum of the City of New York for just a few more weeks, until October 12.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

High-Def Historic Architecture Photos

SketchUp Islanders interested in history, photography, and architectural images might enjoy the Shorpy blog.

In the 1927 image above, notice details like the multiple layers of sign paint on the wall and goods in the shop window. Shorpy has thousands of high definition images like this.

Maybe some could be used to recreate lost places in SketchUp!

Monopoly City Streets Site Is Operational

Hi SketchUp Islanders!

This looks sort of fun. I checked the website for the new Google Maps online game called Monopoly City Streets and it appears to be working after today's earlier crash (because of high demand).

The home page has this funny animation and music, ending with the image you see above. Check it out at the official site: Monopoly City Streets

Also enter to win... create your own game piece in SketchUp and it may be featured as one of three new game pieces for Monopoly City Streets. Blog entry about that here.

EDIT: If it doesn't work for you then keep trying. I got it once then another time I didn't.

SketchUp / Monopoly City Streets Design Contest!

As part of the launch of Monopoly City Streets massive multi player game, everyone and anyone is invited to use SketchUp to design 3 new, virtual Monopoly Game pieces.

Newcomers to SketchUp and old pros alike are eligible to submit a design. You must be at least 13 years old. Don't know much about SketchUp or how to use it? See the links below. It's easier than you probably think it is.

Read all about it at the official blog here. See current contest design submissions on the 3D Warehouse here.

9/9/09: A Special Day

Today is a special day because toymaker Hasbro has announced the release of a new, massive multi-player version of its Monopoly board game.

Google Maps is the game board! It is called Monopoly City Streets and will be available for play for four months, beginning today.

Instead of traditional properties like Park Place and Pennsylvania Railroad, using Google Maps players will "acquire" real life streets anywhere in the world, and compete against other online players.

See the blog, called Monopoly City Streets, here. Read a BBC News article about it hereThanks to blog viewer Auquicu in Peru for pointing out this story!

UPDATE: Apparently response has been so good, that the servers crashed! They are in the process of fixing it. Once fixed you can sign up at the website which is In the meantime check out my other post involving a SketchUp design contest related to the new Monopoly game.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Hang In There, Baby" With Nick Oberg Part 3

And now for the final look at Nick Oberg's three-part "before and after" model series (unless Nick wants to share more), where Nick shows us the evolution of some of his best models on Google Earth.

Nick (aka SittingDuck) is one of the best geo-modelers for Google Earth in my opinion. He, along with fellow SketchUp artist Chris (KR=), photographs his SketchUp building textures in such a way that captures a consistent lighting pattern representing a single moment in time. Most SketchUp users have a more eclectic approach, photographing building facades at varying times of day, in different kinds of weather, the result being good models that nevertheless lack the kind of sunshine "punch" offered up in some of Nick's work. One approach isn't necessarily better than another; but it is easy to appreciate the realistic results seen here in Nick's example.

In the image below you can see how Nick began with a more varied set of photo textures, then unified them over time. The final result has the look and feel of a real building the way you would see it in real life.

Click on the image for an enlarged version.

You can use the search bar in the side column to see Parts 1 and 2 of Nick's behind the scenes look at his work. Or, click the tag below called "Keep Trying"!

Thanks Nick for sharing. Look for a future "Hang In There" column featuring the work of MILO Minderbinder.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Try Out SketchUp?

Just a very quick post inviting anyone who hasn't tried SketchUp to try it out, or "try it again for the first time." Alternately you can pass this along to anyone you've been encouraging to try out SketchUp.

Here is a guide to getting started quickly: Get Started

Here is a page from the guide specifically about getting started on basic SketchUp drawing techniques: Draw in SketchUp

And last but not least.... here is a page for downloading the actual SketchUp program (free...not a trial, just free): Download SketchUp Free

Oh, and Google Earth if you want that too for putting your building models on Google Earth: Download Google Earth

It's fast to learn and pretty fun once you've got the hang of it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

"Hang In There, Baby" With Nick Oberg Part 2

New to SketchUp? Looking to start your second or third model? Are you a Pro looking for some inspiration? Then look no further. Nick Oberg, geo-modeler extraordinaire and fellow SketchUp Islander is back from his Belgian coconut hunt. Here he offers us a second glimpse into the work process of a SketchUp genius. Nick has taken models that he was presumably proud of at one point, found faults himself, and improved them. Nick writes:

Hello, on the 3D Warehouse I am known as 'SittingDuck', but elsewhere I am known as "Nick". I make models in Antwerp, Belgium and when I started modeling I really sucked at it. Thanks to a lot of practice and some very helpful tips from friends and other modelers, I like to imagine that my ability has improved over the last 2 years. Here [is an example] of my models that demonstrate improvement:

Major improvements in each case were as follows:

  • Correcting height of the model using information from internet.
  • Fixed lighting by taking photos on sunny days at correct time.
  • Removed all 'paintbucket' textures.
  • Used Google Earth imagery for roof textures.
  • Added finer and more accurate detail.
  • Took more photos of model to make sure no face was missed out.
  • Moved model onto model footprint.

Notice in this model how geometric proportions have been re-examined and adjusted? Also textures have been cleaned up and unified. Higher contrast creates more visual interest and a believable "light source" in the details as well.

Thanks again, Nick. Get out your scopes and scan the horizon for the next boat. And if none are coming, at least we'll have part three of "Hang In There, Baby" with Nick Oberg to look forward to.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Junk Houses Are Beautiful

A friend posted this on Facebook and it caught my eye. These are beautiful (really beautiful and unusual) houses a man named Dan Phillips makes in Huntsville, Texas out of all sorts of junk and recycled materials.

Have a look at the article and slide show at these links: One Man's Trash (New York Times article by Kate Murphy, September 2, 2009) and a slide show.

Gouda City Hall (Netherlands)

MILO Minderbinder has sent me a beautiful photo-textured model of a town hall for inclusion in my 3D Warehouse collections. Check it out below!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Psst! Hey! What's A LiDAR?

At the Super Modeler Conference last month in Boulder I heard the word LiDAR being tossed around a lot. Not wanting to appear stupid, I whispered to my seated neighbor "what is a LiDAR and where can I get one?" It sounded quite important. As it turns out, I was right. Jonathan Rumohr, one of the Super Modelers also known as WMU3D, offered this whispered response:

"Put simply, LiD
AR stands for Light Detection And Ranging. Basically, what happens when somebody wants imagery for their area, they can hire a LiDAR flight. It's just a small plane that goes out with a fancy camera that shoots light rays (laser beams) down at the ground and bounces them back up. No, we're not talking any Star Wars photon beams or anything. Everything is up ultraviolet to infrared range. Of course, these light rays measure the distance from the ground, back to the plane. This, accompanied with the GPS on the camera, allows for the creation of a virtual "cloud" of data points

"Once back on the ground, these clouds are looked at, and combined using software into what is called a DEM (Digital Elevation Map). From there, you can get several different kinds of DEMS. Since there is so much that the light rays can bounce off of, they are able to pick up things from tree heights, building heights, and sometimes even dense clouds. Therefore, it is possible to end up with three different DEMs for an area. One that is a tree-line elevation, one that is a building elevation map, and one that is strictly a terrain map. Those different anomolies are all taken out by software gurus way smarter than me! Just think of someone dumping a bunch of points or tiny lines in SU, and then trying to determine what they mean! Doesn't sound fun to me!

"Once your DEM's are created, that's where the SU fun begins! From those DEMS, we can make contours which we can then model, and submit to Google Earth. Unless the individual user has some pretty pricey equipment, the average SU user won't have access to a raw DEM, even though that would be the format that Google would like most. That's where the cities and municipalities come in. Most cities have a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department these days. They would be able to submit that raw data for Google to use in large scale terrain maps!

I'm currently working with the University and the surrounding area on getting more of our recent DEMs to Google. Hopefully to them within the next month or so. It usually takes Google a bit longer to upload that data to GE, than the standard one week in the pipeline!"

hanks, Jon!

NOTE: In some cases apparently the LiDAR scan used in a municipality seems to be a low-resolution building elevations scan. In some cities this appears like gentle lumps scattered across areas that should be flat. Is that correct? Maybe a viewer knows.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SketchUp Island Volcano Erupts, Cools: Adds New Territory

Dear SketchUp Islanders:

The great SketchUp Island volcano has blown its top and now the lava flow is cooling down and solidifying in the ocean. As a result the Island is growing larger.

In the first week of SketchUp Island's existence there was an influx of visitors. Now we are at a steadier, more "loyal" pace, with still new visitors and castaways marooning on the Island but with return marooners coming more frequently and spending more time. (Apparently they escaped, not knowing that the evening tides pull them back, anyway).

"Hang In There, Baby" With John Wilkes

Welcome back to "Hang In There, Baby" with Nick Oberg-- a column about SketchUp modeling perseverance. Nick Oberg is out hunting Belgian coconuts for the day. Therefore today's column will be by John Wilkes of Dursley, England. John writes:

"The Evolution of a Model"
An early model was my local church in Dursley. I made the model first in an untextured version; then coloured it with 'paintbucket' textures. As more of my, fully photo-textured, models were accepted by Google, the church model looked out of place and in fact was removed from Google Earth. I then spent a day taking more photos and applying them to the church model. I think each of the three versions has a merit of its own.
Thank you, John Wilkes. If you would like to see more blog posts about John, please try the search feature located in the side column.
EDIT: John's university has featured an article about him. To read it while remaining on SketchUp Island, right click and open in a new tab here. Or just click it and leave me behind :(

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Hang In There, Baby" With Nick Oberg Part 1

Blog viewer and Super Modeler Nick Oberg shares with us a 3-part look at the evolution of some of his models. He calls the series "Hang In There Baby" why? Because it can be frustrating when you've only done your first model (third, tenth, etc.) and other people's models look so great, and it all seems beyond your own capabilities. So, "hang in there" and keep in mind everyone starts somewhere before they attain greatness. Now I'll hand it off to Nick:

Hello, on the 3D Warehouse I am known as 'SittingDuck', but elsewhere I am known as "Nick". I make models in Antwerp, Belgium and when I started modeling I really sucked at it. Thanks to a lot of practice and some very helpful tips from friends and other modelers, I like to imagine that my ability has improved over the last 2 years. Here [is an example] of my models that demonstrate improvement:

Major improvements in each case were as follows:

  • Correcting height of the model using information from internet.
  • Fixed lighting by taking photos on sunny days at correct time.
  • Removed all 'paintbucket' textures.
  • Used Google Earth imagery for roof textures.
  • Added finer and more accurate detail.
  • Took more photos of model to make sure no face was missed out.
  • Moved model onto model footprint.
Thanks, Nick. Viewers stay tuned for more "before and after" looks at Nick's models in the future. 

Viva la Evolution!

Blog viewer and fellow "Super Modeler" SittingDuck has sent in his response to the post where I displayed my first ever SketchUp model. In the illustration we can see the time and care that SittingDuck has put into this very first model of his.

SittingDuck writes:

Sending this in reaction to your post about your very first model: 
Being someone with very little patience I often finish off a model as quickly as possible, and as a result it always has one or two flaws left unaddressed. This leads me to making 2-3 iterations of any given model. I don't do that as much these days, but I sure did way back when. Observe the evolution of my first model in the first attached image. Unfortunately I don't have the very first version anymore, which, like your florist's shop, had no textures.
I have many more of these before/after cases if you are interested to see them, just say.
Good work on the blog, it has already become my favorite (no joke) to follow.

Thanks, SittingDuck! And yours are some of my very favorite SketchUp models. I'd love to see more of your before/after renderings and I'm sure others would too. Wouldn't they???

Mysterious Peruvian Buildings' Disappearance!

Several Peruvian building models have disappeared from Google Earth in Lima, Peru! What could be the reason? Some speculate that alien abduction is to blame.

Actually, a Googler informed me that the reason for the buildings' disappearance is due to lack of photo texturing. Please see this link for more details on this. (The real reason is aliens, we all know, but this makes a good alibi for the general public).

Are your building models disappearing? Do you need inspiration to go on? Look at this link and this one too. (Many currently accepted Google Earth buildings began as un-textured 'paint bucket' models, but went on to live long, happy, and successful lives as photo textured models).