First SketchUp attempt at making the beauty bar
This was my first attempt at creating a space to be rendered in SketchUp as part of this exhibition. Using my physical models and sketches as a reference, I created a 3D scene in SketchUp Pro. I built it like a film set, so only half of the room was built, and the rest was left empty to position cameras and rendering lights. I quite enjoyed this approach as it meant I didn't have to worry about getting the whole room looking visually accurate, It just had to look ‘right’ from the angles that the cameras would be at. Creating the spaces was relatively straightforward as it involves drawing shapes and using the extrude tool to bring them to life in a 3D space. Using Trimble's 3D Warehouse of user-generated content and models, I was able to quickly import some essential elements such as furniture and products that would otherwise have spent several hours to make.
Using the ‘scenes’ feature in SketchUp, I was able to view my model from the exact camera angle that I would want the final render to taken from, and save that viewpoint as a scene that I could refer back to at later stages. This meant I had a few specific camera angles that the model needed to look perfect from. As the ‘scenes’ were saved I was able to zoom in edit materials, textures and shapes and tap the scenes button to see if it looks good from the camera angle. this tool was incredibly useful as the outcome of this model would not be a 3D model but rendered photo-realistic images, so making sure the model looks right from the camera angles was my priority.
To render the images, I used a SketchUp plug-in called SU Podium. It was fairly simple to use however took some mastering to get the exact look I wanted. It allows you to add lights into SketchUp and choose how materials reflected or refractive that light. This means you can place some spotlights in the ceiling, pick what direction they're pointing at and then select how reflective the floor or walls are to create the perfect look. Just like in the physical world, the final ambience of the room is dictated by the intensity and size of the lights. As I had nothing to refer the lighting intensity to, it was a process of trial and error to get the right look. The sky in Trimble SketchUp reflects a bluish tint onto the model which I was not aware of until rendering the image, so I had to change the sky to a bright white to create a more balanced rendering. This took me a while to figure out and lots of online searching as I couldn't at first figure out why my models were coming out blue. Some of my renders came out highly overexposed as I turned up the lighting intensity too high. I continued to experiment with the reflectivity of different materials and made the floor extremely reflective in one model to see how it looked. It ended up looking like the floor had been flooded or covered with a layer of oil, but this experimentation approach meant I could get it right in the final renders
Once I had built the core shapes of the room, I added textures and colours to bring the room to life. I changed surface materials or floors and walls and learned how to import and create my own textures. There were a lot of times I had to go online to learn how to create something. The learning curve was steep but once I had acquired that knowledge as able to apply it to make lots of different rooms of my exhibition. I learnt how to import my own textures, so I went online to find floor panels that I liked, made them into a repeating pattern using Photoshop and imported them into SketchUp to use them on surfaces. Once I had learnt how to do this I had a feeling of freedom as I could now use any surface material or colour I wanted making it much easier to create an art directed room.
At the time I was thrilled with my outcome, later I realised I needed to modernise the look and make it feel more magical however as this is my first attempt I am really proud of it, and the skills I learnt in this render were invaluable later on.