Remodeling the Model

What is SketchUp’s problem with letting me easily make a sphere?

How do I still not own a protractor after years of math classes?

And why am I spending hours modeling my house when google will do it automatically, for free and in less than a second?

These were all questions that I struggled with while using SketchUp to create a scale model of my home.

My journey though the modeling process began almost immediately when I realized that I have no intuitive understanding of how large any part of my house is. So as a long time computer wrangler, my first response was to google the problem.

Google Earth is a beautiful piece of technology. I’ve procrastinated on many assignments by playing with it’s many features and trying to zoom in on my location without the help of any labels (although not successfully to date). But in this case Google Earth provided me with a beautifully laid out image of my house.

Google Earth Image
Google’s better model of my house.

Seriously, if you haven’t played around in Google Earth recently take some time to explore it. I can’t believe how good it’s become.

Mount Rainier
Google Earth’s 3D view of Mount Rainier from my hometown.

From Google’s model, I painstakingly measured out each edge of my house with a ruler on the screen in order to scale my own model appropriately. Then after a painfully long time, I realized that Google will calculate all of those measurements for me and with far greater precision.

One way or another, I finally had enough data to start SketchUp and being the modeling process. All went smoothly until I came to the roof.

Our house doesn’t just have a simple roof. It has like four different parts of roof that are all partially blended into each other at non-perpendicular angles. I started to run into problems with getting SketchUp to create 3D objects out of the lines I was drawing and it seemed like each attempt was worse than the last.

I wish I could say that I persevered and overcame this obstacle. The reality is after about half an hour I settled on a mediocre but functional two step solution:

  1. Draw additional lines until SketchUp recognized the roof as a 3D shape.
  2. Ignore all of the messy clipping and inaccurate angles that this caused.

So the result? A very well scaled but otherwise unfinished model of my house. The real test, of course, is whether or not your parents understand what it is that you’ve made. So when my Mother’s first observation was that it kind of looked like our home, I decided to consider this project a stupendous success.

model of my house
Models of my childhood home.

2 Replies to “Remodeling the Model”

  1. What were you wanting to use a sphere for? I too briefly entertained the idea of making a couple spheres because there is a bronze(?) spike on the point of my roof. The google-result explanation seemed daunting considering I only needed to use one. >,<'

    1. I’d intended to use spheres to model some really simple trees around the perimeter since the house is basically in a forest. I actually did end up getting the spheres to work too, I just forgot to add them to the model.
      If you are interested, I found making the spheres so annoying that I wrote a quick guide on it on my personal site.

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