Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #088 – Skyscraper

I took a break from the challenges for a while to focus on my entry for the Design It: Shelter competition which is co-sponsored by the Guggenheim and Google.  It was coming along nicely so I decided to do the Skyscraper challenge in the meantime

Here’s my entry for Challenge #088 – Skyscraper. I have designed it to stand 5280 feet tall (1 mile). The skyscraper would be zoned for mixed use including office space, retail space, restaurants, apartments and condominiums. This would likely be the largest structure on Earth if it were built and would be the showpiece for the city it resides in. There are a total of 395 floors on the main tower with 132 floors on each of the 4 sibling towers for a total of 923 floors. There is an immense spire that extends from the top of the sibling towers to the top of the main tower then extends a quarter mile above that. The footprint of the pedestal base is more than 6 1/2 acres in area and the tower would sit on a 10 acre city block.  See the model here and see the image gallery below:

Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #085 – Submarine

For the submarine challenge I had the idea for one that had wings designed for underwater with the propulsion units built into them.  I had been thinking about designing a modern jet with the engines inline with the wings but when this challenge came up I decided I could do the same with the sub.  Below is the description I wrote for the 3D Warehouse:

This submarine is modeled to resemble a fish. Its propulsion system features large propellers contained in ducted cowlings that are designed to create a vortex enabling the sub to travel at high speeds through the water. Each propeller housing is attached to a wing that pivots up or down to ascend or descend in the water. When the wings move in opposite directions they allow the submarine to roll and turn much like an airplane does. Varying the speed of each propeller also assists in turning mobility.

Take a look at the gallery below or download the model.

Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #084 – Art Adaptation

This week’s challenge was difficult because we had to recreate a well-known work of art in SketchUp.  I chose to do Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks oil painting.  Big mistake as it turns out.  It’s looks great as a painting but if you go trying to recreate it in 3D and take care in dong so, it is practically impossible.  It’s just that the physical perspective of the painting does not translate to any form of reality.  If I was recreating a photo, then no sweat, but a painting isn’t a photo, it’s an impression of someone else’s perception of something real.  Had Edward Hopper traced a photograph onto canvas it would have made it easier but that’s not his style. I didn’t have enough time to add all of the details and definitely not the time of the capability to model the people.  To match the painting perfectly I would have had to put way too much work into it.  Did I do it justice?  You be the judge.



Tutorial: Export Multiple Scenes Quickly

I just finished creating my first SketchUp related tutorial.  It has been posted to the SketchUp page of my website.  I discovered an easy way to export multiple scenes using the animation exporter so I decided to share what I found.  Please leave comments on the tutorial page if you have something to add.

Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #083 – Concept Vehicle

For this challenge I designed a two-seater two-wheeled car. It balances on its two parallel wheels in the same fashion as a Segway scooter. The vehicle is driven by 2 large efficient electric motors (one for each wheel) allowing one wheel to move independently of the other allowing for greatly enhanced maneuverability. The car is powered by either the solar cells in the roof during the day or by the hydrogen fuel cell in the floor during the night or other low light conditions. The large wheels surround the entry doors which open by rotating backward on an offset axis allowing for a spacious opening.  It is designed to have a minimalist interior free of a cluttered dashboard.  In place of the dash is a large translucent view screen that rises out of the floor when the vehicle is on.  The view screen provides area to display it’s virtual gauges as well as controls for the navigation system and media player.  The vehicle is controlled by two joysticks on the armrests of both seats.  Both passengers have the option of driving the vehicle with either the left or right palm joystick and controlling the rest of the car’s functions with the opposite joystick.  There is also a generously sized cargo area in the back that expands for additional space when needed.  Take a look at the gallery below or download the model for a closer look.

Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #082 – Energy Saving Item

I decided on this challenge to create a virtual replica of the Moisture Vaporators seen on the Lars family moisture farm in Star Wars.  I normally create something completely unique so perhaps this time I took a short cut by modeling something real.  Okay, not so much real because it’s only a prop.  And if it were real we would need a droid who could speak it’s language just to get it working.  C3PO isn’t real either… hence the real problem.  If c3PO were real then people wouldn’t waste time yelling at inanimate objects when they don’t work, they would just have their custom programmed protocol droid do it.  Anyway, there are real machines that work just like a Moisture Vaporators and thankfully they don’t use binary brain units.


Star Wars Crawler

I decided it would be a challenge for me to recreate the Star Wars Ep.IV opening prologue crawler in Google SketchUp and I think I pulled it off.  There is no music playback and the timing isn’t perfect (yet) but it looks very close to the real version.  At first all I wanted to do was the crawler text but ended up adding the Star Wars logo that zooms and fades out to it.  Once I added the logo I realized I didn’t have the opening text that says “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” so I added that.

When I went to compare it to the original I found it was very close but with one major mistake.  I initially had the crawler text fading out in the center of the screen, however in the movie it rolls all the way to the top as it fades out.  So, it went from moderately tedious to hard just like that.  It took me a little while to figure it out.  Instead of having the text flat on the “ground” I had to tilt it forward by 30 degrees and adjust the field of view from the standard 57mm to 43mm to get the proper perspective.


The eventual scrolling effect was created through the use of multiple scenes using the same perspective repeated but positioned slightly lower on the screen per each scene.  After I had the entire text image in proper perspective and zoomed to its extent.  It then involved creating rectangles spaced apart approximately 6 seconds apart each.  I’m sure you’re wondering what I mean by that because seconds aren’t even a unit of measure in the program.  Basically I determined the scrolling should take 78 seconds until the fade out.  With the scene transition time set to 6 seconds, I needed to use 13 scenes for the scrolling.  I created the yellow text on a black background in Photoshop using Franklin Gothic as the font and imported it into SketchUp.  I then tilted the imported text image downward 30 degrees and zoomed to the extents of the image with the front view selected and changed the POV to 43mm to create the proper perspective.  I then created a rectangle the same size as the text image as a group at the same angle and moved its bottom edge to the top edge of the text image.  I then made a line from the top of the rectangle group to approximately the center of the text image and divided it into 12 segments.  I then copied the rectangle group and positioned its top left corner one segment on the line down.  I repeated the last step until there were 13 total rectangles spaced apart by one line segment.  I then created a scene for each rectangle using the perspective I created earlier by zooming to its extents of each rectangle at the 43mm POV.  I put the rectangles in their own layer and turned off the layer to hide them.  I then updated each scene with the style I created with the star watermark and the last scene with a style that had an all black watermark with the star watermark on top to create the fade out.

As I finish writing this blog post, I have decided to write a full tutorial on creating this.  It will be posted on this blog when it’s ready.

Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #079 – Cordless Phone

My entry to this weeks challenge was inspired by the design of the Phillips ID555 Slimline cordless phone. I chose to model a slimline one because they are the latest in cutting edge technology. This one is just 7/16″ thick and not much bigger than the typical TV remote but not too uncomfortably small to hold. Moveable parts have been kept to a minimum to maintain durability. The buttons do not depress, rather, they work like a touch screen interface found on some mobile phones. A phone like this wouldn’t be complete without Bluetooth technology which allows the use of any Bluetooth compatible headset. Through Bluetooth, it also allows the user to pair the phone with their mobile phone to initiate and answer their mobile line.  Check out the image gallery below:

Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #077 – Camera

This challenge was fun for me.  I decided to model/design a camera setup that would be suitable for me to use from my wheelchair.  I came up with a robotic camera mount that would fit any standard camera with a tripod socket that would allow for 360 degree hands free aiming.  I added in the ability to transmit the video output of a capable digital camera to a separate display that would also house the controls for the 360 degree gimbal and a place to attach the optional remote for the camera.  Of course you must use a camera that has a remote control option in the first place.  The only other option would be something that physically presses the cameras buttons using tiny modular solenoids or actuators that could do it.  Take a look below in the image gallery:

Poor Neglected Blog

I completely forgot to post my last SketchUp Challenge entry to my blog!  I will do that next.  In the meantime, here are some updates:

I kind of fell off the apple cart when modeling challenge #075 which was an RV.  I got most of the outer shell finished but ran out of time to post it before the deadline.  Then I skipped #076 because I had no interest in modeling a weight machine.  I did #077 – Camera but never posted it to my blog.  I’ll post it next… really, I will!  Then I helped out my mom and dad in helping them visualize a plan for our future vegetable garden.  Still in progress.

Since my last blog post I’ve been contemplating starting my own SketchUp challenge… Where everything is made up and the points don’t matter.  That’s right, it’s like giving the Queen of England an iPod.  All joking aside I plan to make it unique from the Google SketchUp 3D Challenge and I’ve been thinking of ideas to make it unique.

I just started on the latest challenge, #079 – Cordless Phone, which should be easy… should.