SketchUp models from photographs – FineWoodworking

During one of the live Q&A sessions for the SketchUp Fundamentals of Furniture Design we did in June of this year, a student asked about how to practice working in SketchUp to build skills. I suggested modeling furniture you have in your home as a good place to start. This way, you can take all the measurements you want from the piece and you have it available to compare your model to. Another thing that I like to do is work from photographs. Sometimes they are photos I’ve taken during a visit somewhere and sometimes I work from photos I find online. In this video, I’m doing the latter.

The video shows a couple of ways to get a photo into SketchUp. The first uses the Match Photo feature. The second involves inserting the image to stand up in the background as a reference. The Match Photo feature requires an uncropped image with horizontal lines clearly running off toward vanishing points on the horizon. This isn’t so difficult to do if you are using your own photos, but it can be challenging to find images online that have not been manipulated. When I am modeling from photos, I usually just import the image as an image and go from there. I forego the Match Photo option most of the time.

With either method you’ll need to employ your “calibrated good eye” and some common sense to sort out many of the dimensions. Neither of these methods are very good, at least on their own, for making faithful and accurate reproductions. But it’s a great way to get you started thinking about your own furniture design process.

Give it a try and see how you get on.


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