Sketchup, Pepakura, Inkscape, Gimp, et al...

Discussion in 'Gallery & Designs' started by bclemens, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. bclemens

    bclemens Member

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    The capability we have now is awesome. Sketchup is free and Pepakura is cheap. Between the two of them it looks like anyone (even me) has the chance to learn to design anything they want! I think these packages, coupled with a little common sense and an appreciation for the techniques the masters used in the days before computers, will allow any motivated person to design and create a fine paper model in any scale of any subject.

    Then there are the open source illustration and photo manipulation programs like Gimp and Inkscape that allow us to infill the design with photorealistic details.

    There is much to learn, but hey...it's all out there and available to anyone who wants it.
    Here is my first attempt at learning Sketchup...
    [​IMG]

    I really want to specialize in early jets- 1945 to 1965.
    I'll be Beta-testing my designs on this forum.
    Cheers!
    Bruce
  2. Lex

    Lex Dollmaker

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    ...Bloody awesome...! If that's your first attempt then we have much to expect from you!!!
  3. Dragos

    Dragos Active Member

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    Sketchup is indeed easy to use. After dioramas I've started to make space crafts, but I don't know how to insert the blueprints :confused::confused:
    Can anyone help?

    :mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen:

    Attached Files:

  4. bclemens

    bclemens Member

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    Dragos,
    in Sketchup, go to File > Import and when the dialog box opens you can choose image files of various types.

    I found a good set of plans for my Yak on the web and, using Paint, made 3 separate images; front, side, and top. After importing them into Sketchup as .jpg, I aligned each one into the proper coordinate and scaled the image to 1/33 of the size of the real airplane. When I switch between views I am looking at the correct image. Then I can build my model right over the top of the images.

    Cheers,
    Bruce
  5. OhioMike

    OhioMike Member

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    Easier said then done, what do you me by "proper coordinate"?
  6. bclemens

    bclemens Member

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    Good point, OhioMike-
    In sketchup, besides a 3-D view you can select 2-D points of view with buttons. There is Top, Left, Right, Front, and Back. When I imported the three views, I aligned them such that when you select top view, you'll see the top view of the drawing, and likewise for left and front.

    I did this by selecting each jpeg individually and, using the rotate tool, rotated each to the proper orientation.

    The practice still goes on...
    Cheers,
    Bruce
  7. OhioMike

    OhioMike Member

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    This is great...I asked a question somewhere else, if and how you can import 3 or 4 views into Sketchup for development and it still is unanswered. This tells me you can . Now, figureing out how to work them into a model?
  8. Dragos

    Dragos Active Member

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    Thank's bclemens
  9. B-Manic

    B-Manic Peripheral Visionary

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  10. bclemens

    bclemens Member

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    These are very helpful, B-Manic. Thanks!
  11. CJTK1701

    CJTK1701 Banned

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    This is all very interesting and very informative. I started a Google Sketch-up thread a month, or so ago and it's good to see this info.

    bclemens, did you buy the full version, or are you working with the free version. I ask because I was interested in purchasing this, but I was looking to hear from someone who had actually purchased it.

    Thanks.
  12. bclemens

    bclemens Member

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    I'm working with the free version. It seems to have all the tools necessary to do this.
  13. CJTK1701

    CJTK1701 Banned

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    Cool beans. I'm definitely going to follow your lead, thanks for sharing this and the link to the Sketch-Up for Dummies site. I can seriously use this. :thumb:

  14. bclemens

    bclemens Member

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    Yak Progress

    I've worked on the Yak design today. I'm juggling three different software packages and prototyping in paper. The learning curve is pretty steep right now ;)

    [​IMG]

    Above is my design in Sketchup so far...

    [​IMG]

    ...One assembly at a time goes into Pepakura for unfolding...

    [​IMG]

    Then that part is traced in Inkscape for the final print. Below the first prototype parts are mated- the intake ring and the turbine face.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This is a tedious process with lots of opportunity to screw things up. Going through this process really gives me a great appreciation for all the work that goes into the many fine model designs out there.

    Cheers!
    Bruce
  15. CJTK1701

    CJTK1701 Banned

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    Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant. Thanks a lot, I'm seriously taking notes!:thumb:
  16. Dragos

    Dragos Active Member

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    BTW bclemens, are you going to release the YAK after you will finish it ? :mrgreen::mrgreen:
  17. bclemens

    bclemens Member

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    If it comes out well, yes ;)
  18. Lex

    Lex Dollmaker

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    Nice work!!! May I ask why does the model need to be traced in inkscape? Is it for colouring?
  19. bclemens

    bclemens Member

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    Yes, that and crispness and scalability. It's the best way I have found so far. Pepakura only exports files as bitmaps, so the lines are pretty rough. It's best to get the final product into a vector based program so they can be scaled cleanly.

    Inkscape serves that purpose and in it you can add details and color. It has a very similar functionality to CorelDraw which I used a lot years ago so I have a moderate comfort level with Inkscape. The best part is that it is free! The final design can be saved as a .pdf.

    The one thing Inkscape doesn't give you is airbrush capability like Photoshop. I also have an open source Photoshop-like program called Gimp. It doesn't have the full functionality of Photoshop, but again it's free, and you can do all the airbrushing and photo effects you want.

    So ultimately the process will probably require
    1. Sketchup for the original 3-d design
    2. Pepakura for the unfolding
    3. Inkscape for the details, vectorization and scalability
    4. Gimp for the final finish
    The only thing that costs in the list is Pepakura, but it's a real deal at $39!

    If anyone has any suggestions on how to streamline this process, I'm listening ;)

    Cheers,
    Bruce
  20. Rick Thomson

    Rick Thomson Member

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    Sketchup for Dummies...well I meet the qualifications at anyrate.

    Just ordered it.