Monday, December 19, 2011

Home Alone House

Check out this Christmas-appropriate model by DannyDijk. It's Kevin's house from the movie Home Alone.

The house is a real place located at 671 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, Illinois, USA. Looks like no one has modeled a Google-Earth version yet, amazingly! Any takers? Street View is available on that street, which will help.

I also found plans for the house as seen below which will help anyone with some spare time, a few 3D modeling skills, and a love of Home Alone!

Friday, December 16, 2011

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid

By 3D modeler peterX-- a Christmas treat! Who can forget Ralphie and his quest for a Red Rider BB Gun? Or Skut Farkus and his yellow eyes? So help me God, yellow eyes! Or "fuuuuuudge." Or the leg lamp?

If you still have no idea what I'm talking about you've probably never seen A Christmas Story. Click here to learn more about the movie, or here to learn about the actual house used in the movie!

See another version of the house here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Make Ideas Real

Make Ideas Real is an effort on Google's part to collect real-life stories of how people use SketchUp to make projects come to life. Response has been good; the intro video above has been viewed over a quarter of a million times!

What kinds of stories count? They could be about anything where SketchUp helped make an idea become reality-- architecture, furniture, products... In my case I used SketchUp in several ways to help me make lush watercolor and pencils illustrations for an historical fiction book.

Have you shared your story yet? Read more here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Donostia - Iglesia de San Vicente (2011) by Peterg

Starting today I'd like to use the blog to feature models I think are pretty cool.

After all I started off my amateur SketchUp "career" as a collector and organizer of models on the Google 3D Warehouse (I became known, apparently, as 'The Librarian' at the Google Geo office in Boulder, Colorado).

So the first model I'd like to feature is this one by Peterg aka gipuzkoa3D.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Address Is Approximate

This is cool, something Google Maps posted to Google Plus. It is stop motion animation made using Google Maps Street View (one of the resources also used within SketchUp to help texture building fronts realistically as in the models seen here, here, and here-- made by me).

Address Is Approximate is the title and it was made by Tom Jenkins. It's beautifully done. Check it out!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chadwick Stokes

Here's a catchy tune and beautiful video for you to enjoy. The singer is Chadwick Stokes.

Monday, October 31, 2011

SketchUp Halloween Entries

Aidan at Google has posted lots of images of entries to the first Google SketchUp Halloween Challenge (haunted house or carved pumpkin). Cool stuff!

Top three winners will be chosen and announced at a later date in the SketchUpdate newsletter. See all the images and Aidan's post here.

"Three Friends a Greeting" by Sebastian St.Troy of Austin, TX, USA (Image and caption from Official SketchUp Blog).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Halloween Contest!

A couple years back SketchUp Island hosted a pumpkin carving contest (using SketchUp 3D software of course).

I am pleased to see that Google is sponsoring a similar event this year! You can create either a pumpkin, a haunted house, or both! Read all about it on the SketchUp blog.

Check out the wild entries from our own contest in 2009 right here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Doop Doop

Couple weeks back I had a fantastic time at the PPL Park seeing my first professional soccer match. I'm hoping to go back for the last home game in two weeks.

I was pleased to find this great 3D model of the park in the 3D Warehouse by djwirth!

EDIT: October 30 first playoff game at home (PPL Park). Get tickets.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thank You

SketchUp Island has had nearly 100,000 views and viewer interest in our ads has brought in approximately $500 USD to the webmaster.

A big sentimental "thank you" goes to those who have made this possible!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Newest Model: It's Raw!!!!

Here's a preview of my latest model, still in progress. Can you guess what it is?

EDIT: People have correctly guessed that the model is of the Century Studios building in Culver City, California, where the American TV series of Hell's Kitchen is filmed!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Home Within A Home

Not a SketchUp item but of interest to modelers....

Check out this amazing building model art installation by Do Ho Suh called "Home Within A Home." It is on display at Lehman Maupin gallery in New York City 8 September until 22 October, 2011.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Look Back

Just a look back on the awesome Mapper Modeler Summit held by Google last year in Zurich, Switzerland. I was able to attend and had a blast learning more about Google Map Maker and sharing knowledge about geo-modeling.

Also it's pleasing to see many of the faces in this video, who now continue to be online "pen pals" of mine.

I won't be able to attend the upcoming meeting in Barcelona, but good luck and safe travels to those who do. You'll have fun memories of it, no doubt, as I do of Zurich!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Five Simple Texture Clean Up Tricks

I saw this on Google+. It's a very handy video showing how 3D modeler Beryl Reid cleans up, brightens, and sharpens Google Street View textures in her 3D models. It includes five simple and effective techniques, including some I have never tried before, but am anxious to.

Monday, September 5, 2011

9/11 Tenth Anniversary Remembrance

This Google Earth 3D model by "USS Voyager" gives a clear picture of the memorial in New York to open next week on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sebastian Sosnowski 3D Models

Geo-modeler Sebastian Sosnowski, with 114 3D models accepted to Google Earth, recently contacted me about his models for some of my collections. I noticed he had a beautiful and unique way of uploading the models with a parchment-style background. I wonder how it is done, as it is something I've never attempted.

Check it out!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Peter's Church Near Novi Pazar

Just a beautiful 3D model I found on the Google 3D Warehouse. Peter's Church near Novi Pazar is an important historic church in Serbia.

This Google Earth-ready 3D model was created by modeler Radmilo.

It is included in my following 3D model collections: *Favorite Thumbnails, Place of Worship

Friday, July 29, 2011

Overhauled Modeling Acceptance Criteria

One of my own rejected models on Google Earth

Big news! According to the folks over at SketchUp, the old acceptance criteria for user-generated 3D building models in Google Earth has been totally re-written.

New rules streamline the acceptance process and provide greater consistency.

Read more at the blog post here. See the new criteria here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some Fun with Modeling

Spotted on Google+. Some fun with 3D modeling. I'm not sure how this was created or if SketchUp was involved, but it's a pretty cleverly made commercial, and includes a few famous buildings modeled in 3D.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Machu Picchu

The ancient and abandoned Inca city Machu Picchu was seen for the first time by an American, an academic named Hiram Bingham, exactly 100 years ago today. What a find!

Enjoy the city in 3D with the model provided by 3D modeler pmolsen

This 3D model is included in my collections: Around the World in 3D, Ruins

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Birthday St. Basil

St. Basil's turns 450 today! Happy birthday to a building that LOOKS like a birthday cake. And check out Arrigo Silva's model of it-- possibly the awesomest model in the 3D Warehouse.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Redesigned 'Your World in 3D' Site

Check out the newly redesigned Your World in 3D web site. According to Nicole at Google Geo, it's meant to demystify why and how users like me and you create 3D models for Google Earth.

Included are too many good things to mention (and all nicely organized). I liked the community calendar, the photo album of community events, the link to the Your World in 3D YouTube channel, and the 3D geo-models gallery.

So again, check it out. It's fun, cleaner, brighter, and new!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Newest Google Earth Super Modeler: TANTUNNY

Please welcome TANTUNNY, aka Weiyu Chen, to the ranks of the Super Modelers! He was chosen by the Google Super Modelers group for recognition as an above-and-beyond geo-modeling enthusiast.

TANTUNNY's 3D models for Google Earth are not only numerous and accurate representations of real-life places, they are also beautiful and evocative 3D images with a distinct "mood." (See example above).

Congratulations TANTUNNY/Weiyu!

* "Super Modeler" is a term coined in the Google Geo group and designates amateur 3D modeling enthusiasts who create 3D building models for Google Earth.

Anyone in the public can easily learn to be a geo-modeler! Exceptional geo-modelers are often recognized as "Super Modelers." The Super Modelers group chooses new members. Super Modelers are an informal group allied with, supported by, and even rewarded by Google.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Abbottabod House in Google Earth

This model of Osama bin Laden's hideout is included in my following 3D model collections: House and Hotel, 2000s

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

"Mother Nature & Co. - Saginaw, United States of America" by r-t-h

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Empire State Building

Today marks the eightieth birthday of New York's most famous icon, also the place where King Kong went rock climbing when the building was almost brand new. The model above was created by Super Modeler Damo for April Fool 2011.

Coincidentally the first World's Fair occurred in London twice as many years ago today. Here's another model by Damo of the pavilion.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peter Olsen, Super Modeler

Please welcome the latest Super Modeler, pmolsen, aka Peter Olsen, of Australia!

Peter tends to model big things, like Mount Rushmore (seen above, pending approval for Google Earth-- let's hope it gets in because nothing's there now, and his version looks pretty good), and Machu Picchu. He even modeled the Great Wall of China in many sections. I'll leave it to you to find it on Google Earth although I've heard it's visible from space....

Anyway thanks pmolsen and welcome to the group!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bidding Bon Voyage to Blogger Bruce

This month we bid bon voyage, good luck, and thank you to someone who has worked closely with the geo-modeler community for the past several years, Googler Bruce Polderman.

He's not moving too far though-- Bruce is moving from the Google "Geo" group to Blogger (the Google product I use to create and host this blog).

He took time to look both back and to the future and to talk with the 3D modeling community during this transition.

Bruce, could you please tell us about your work with "Geo" at Google and elsewhere?
Bruce: I joined Google by way of the SketchUp acquisition in 2006, roughly 1,858 days ago, but who’s counting?

I’ve been a 3D Product Manager in Google’s “Geo” division throughout that time. While in Geo, I’ve worked on a variety of projects and initiatives, including the 3D Warehouse, the 3D Building Pipeline [the process that gets your user-created 3D models onto Google Earth], Cities in 3D, the Google Qualified Developer Program [Geo 3D], and of course the geo-modeling user community.

How about life for you after Geo?

I recently joined the Blogger team. Similar to YouTube, many people are unaware that Blogger is a Google product. What people also may not know is that it’s the one of the largest web sites on the Internet.

Ancient Rome in 3D  (image from
Google Earth website)
What's something you were proud of in your time working with Geo in Boulder (and then later Sydney)?

Bruce: I’ve had a number of proud moments, including incorporating Ancient Rome into Google Earth, and assisting the 9/11 Memorial organization to build and display a 3D model of the site on their web site to name a couple.

I’m proud to have established the Super Modeler community, as well as the Geo 3D developer community too.

But the proudest moments for me are really teaching people about geo-modeling. There’s nothing quite like seeing the light bulb go off when someone suddenly “gets it”. The geo-modeling workshop that we ran in the Philippines was quite memorable.

How is the weather in Sydney?

Bruce: Tropical! I have palm trees in my back yard, and wild cockatoo parrots that wake me in the morning.

COOL! What has it been like working with the UGC [user-generated content] community? Any funny or memorable moments?

Bruce: It’s been amazing. I’ve been inspired by the work the user community has been doing from the first day we launched the 3D Warehouse. The most memorable moments are easily the community events we’ve held around the world. [Like the Boulder and Zurich events I got to attend, both times meeting Bruce].

What is your super power and how will it help you at Blogger?

Bruce: I don’t think of myself as being “super” at anything very much. Super at being humble maybe? If I had one, it might be my passion to focus on our users. I try very hard to put the user first in everything I do. I think that companies who take an outside-in versus inside-out perspective are likely to be the most successful. I did that for 3D, and I plan to do the same at Blogger.

Bruce in Philippines
(from Official SketchUp blog)
Do you have any parting thoughts?

Bruce: I believe that what this community is doing is really valuable. Creating a digital record of our environment that Google Earth users around the world can enjoy today, and that our ancestors will appreciate in the future, is important work.

Some people write stories, others take photos or create video. That’s their legacy. 3D models are your legacy on this planet, and I think that’s pretty cool.

Thanks, Bruce, and happy blogging to you . . . 

Note:  As 3D Community Manager, Nicole Drobeck will be taking over many of Bruce's duties in our group.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Please welcome our newest Google Earth "Super Modeler," Damo! Damo, aka Damien McBarron, is one of the most prolific modelers of high quality Google Earth models, and one of the attendees of last year's Mapper Modeler summit in Zurich (who I got to meet in person).

Damo already made a cool thank you note in the form of a planet-sized message. Thank you Damo.

Monday, April 11, 2011

All the Buildings in New York

I spotted this very cool [non-SketchUp] video about an artist who is attempting not to 3D model, but to draw, every building In New York. Sort of a parallel to the Google Earth 3D modeling project where users across the globe attempt to model every structure that exists in the world.

James Gulliver Hancock is an Australian artist based in New York. See more of his incredible project and beautiful drawings here:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Beautiful Model

Check this one out. It's by Manolo and it is one of the coolest and most unique 3D building models (and buildings) I've seen!

I have added the model to these 3D model collections: Castle, Favorite Thumbnails

Located in Slovenia. Read more.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Strange Creatures Spotted in Google Earth

Actual screen capture of Loch Ness in Google Earth-- hoax or real?
In Google Earth Guangzhou China-- what's that on Canton Tower?
They're back? Grover's Mill, NJ gets un[Google-]earthly visitors for the second time in 73 years.

Seen in Mountain View, CA--???

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fort Duquesne SketchUp Model

Fort Duquesne SketchUp model rendered in Shaderlight

As part of a book illustration project I am working on, I created a digital model of the old French Fort Duquesne, formerly located in what is now downtown Pittsburgh, PA.

I'll use the digital SketchUp model to help me visualize the fort from different angles and eventually draw it as a pencil sketch.

For more information about the model, the fort, and the book project, check out the illustration blog here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Newest Super Modeler Welcome

In December and January the "Super Modelers"-- an informal, international group of Google Earth geo-modeling enthusiasts, of which I am part-- attempted a new polling system to add new members to their group. We got one new member, Tang Huang, but somehow the polling system got a few kinks, and we reverted back to a less formal acceptance process.

Please welcome Auquicu, aka Jorge de Albertis, winner of last year's Google Model Your Town Competition and the natural choice as our latest Super Modeler!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lucky Ride

Cool model of a lucky tram car by WardNL, one of the 3D modelers I met last year at the Google Mapper-Modeler Summit in Zurich, Switzerland. Why is the tram lucky? Click the Google 3D Warehouse link and find out!

I've added this model to the following 3D model collections: Awesome Models, Ways to Go

Monday, February 14, 2011

Shaderlight Contest Results

I won the Shaderlight "Winter Wonderland" contest I blogged about here! To be precise I won third place with the image seen above-- created in SketchUp and rendered in the easy-to-use Shaderlight program, available as a free trial download.

My prize was the full version of Shaderlight Pro and a 2GB wristband flash drive. Woo-hoo!! I'm going to have some fun with Shaderlight for sure.

Here are the other winners:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shaderlight Winter Wonderland Contest

How did I miss this? Enter the Shaderlight Winter Wonderland contest (deadline extended to January 31) and possibly win an gift voucher, SketchUp Pro, and Shaderlight Pro!

P.S. I am almost tempted to delete this post. I want to win. Seriously, I do. And by posting this for all of you, I decrease my chances. Hopefully my public statement does not affect my odds of winning adversely.

Sunday, January 2, 2011