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How to Render Like a Pro in SketchUp With 8 Simple Steps

If you are only starting out on a career in architecture, and curious how to do a 3D visualization of a building’s exterior, you’ve come to the right place! In this post we take you through the whole process, from start to finish, using SketchUp. To give you a rough idea of what the process will entail, you would have to do a simple drawing of the building, convert your drawing into a 3D model, and then render it. That’s just the basics. Let’s delve deeper!

1. Drawing your sketch

Firstly, you would need to grab a pen and your sketch pad to start mapping out your building. As a start, you have to identify the parameters and scale.

2. Giving some guidelines

Next, you need to draw in a grid that will provide guidelines on where the roof, walls, and floor would be divided and exactly where they should be lining up.

3. Get creative

This is a bit more fun than the first two steps – in this step you will add your signature design to the building itself. No extra details are ever too much, make your building as personalized and detailed as possible as this will influence the end product of your render. Include things like window designs, door designs, and any other extra exterior aesthetics that you envision the building should have. Remember to include all angles of the building when drawing up your sketch.

A key point to remember here is symmetry – everything must be to the tee (this is also one of the reasons why you included the grid and lines in the beginning stages of your drawing).

4. Build the frontside of your 3D model

Now that you have your sketches ready, you can begin working on SketchUp.

SketchUp is a free tool used by many architectural visualization artists and users all agree that this tool is user-friendly.

Working from your sketch, repeat the drawing and specs in SketchUp – you are able to use the pencil tool to replicate the lines on your drawing, and supplying your dimensions and specs will then allow SketchUp to do a wraparound of the rough draft.

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5.  Include the lines and aesthetics

Once you have your rough draft replicated on SketchUp, you are ready to start on the finer details of your building. This is not too difficult as you are able to set parameters which will automate things and allow you to draw freely without worrying too much about making a mistake and having to go back again. The push/pull tool on SketchUp is used to create depth afterward. Draw your windows and the details, and to save some time, you are able to simply draw one element and copy it.

6. Build the remaining sides of the building

For this, you need to draw a straight line from the front of your drawing to the side – in other words, draw from the bottom corner back up. Then, you just have to repeat step 5 by copying all the design elements you have already created for the front of the building.

7. Add real aesthetics such as materials

This is the fun part, where you move away from a sketch and get to see what the building could actually look like. You can either upload nice texture such as tiles that can be used for the roof or simply use SketchUp’s paint tool and manually detail each element of your building.

8. Render time

For the final step, you are able to upload a photo of the piece of land you envision the building to be built on SketchUp. The software will then automatically align all the features of your building with that of the vacant space. This functionality is referred to as Photo Matching. Keep in mind that you need to include some lines on the image in order for SketchUp to recognize and implement the correct perspective. You are able to use SketchUp’s own rendering tool, or download your image and do the rendering with another tool.

And now you should be able to have an idea of what your building would look like in a space you have envisioned it to be. Have fun playing around on SketchUp!

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