Quick Blender Tip.

Object visibility and layers.

If you need to have an object on several layers at the same time, no need to duplicate or make instances of it, just make it visible on each needed layer.

Objects don’t need to be on a single layer at a time :

Moving Layer 1

Just hit “m”

Moving Layer 2

and shift select all the layer on which you want it to be visible.

Moving Layer 3

Now, when you select that object, you will see a highlighted dot on every layer this object is connected to.

Moving Layer 4

This can be useful in many situations, for example if you want a quick render of one layer at a time, you could make your lights visible on all those layers without duplicating or instancing them and having your outliner full of lamp.001, lamp.002 etc. And if you make a change on that object, it will be visible on all layers.

To remove the object from a particular layer, simply hit “m” again and shift select the layer you want to remove it from or select a single layer to have the object on that layer only.


Making a medieval town and castle in Sketchup (part V)

I’ve been progressing slowly through the modeling of the town but the scale of the work is getting its toll on my dedication. I need to take a break and do something quick and easy that would stir up the motivation with an instant (or almost) gratification. All right, not instant, but within a few hours range of work. The kind of fairly quick work that makes you feel good about your own progress.

So, I set out to model a small part of the city defenses that stands out on its own, a fortress that is attached to the outer wall of the city, near the river. It’s a fortification that is supposed to be able to work independently of the rest of the wall fortifications so it should be easier to model it separately.

Continue reading Making a medieval town and castle in Sketchup (part V)

Making a medieval town and castle in Sketchup (part IV)

After a big diet, my Sketchup file went from 14+ megs to a mere 3.2 megs (see episode III). It allowed me to work much, much faster on my old and trusty PowerMac G5 Quad. So I managed to get most of the castle done. Pretty much everything is in place by now. I might come back to certain parts later on but for now, it’s time to concentrate on the rest of the model: the town and the terrain around the castle.

After selecting all the outside geometry of the castle’s base, I duplicate it and make it a surface to make sure all segments of the geometry are well connected.

Next step: after raising the whole model 10 meters from the ground (the castle is hidden to ease the manipulation of the base), I pull the base 10 meters down to the ground with a bevel effect (not too wide) to create the foundations of the castle. This stage needs a lot of cleanup work in the geometry because many of the angles of the base will create a bevel that overlaps and messes up the whole geometry.

Continue reading Making a medieval town and castle in Sketchup (part IV)

Making a medieval town and castle in Sketchup (part III)

Adding more details

After trying a few textures variants and fiddling with their size and position on the model, I went back to the business of adding details. First, I finished adding doors to all square towers (the easiest to modify since the geometry is flat).

Then, a proper doorway in the inner wall was built with a machicoulis. It’s a group that is simply stuck in front of the wall to simulate a entry, but it’s not actually going anywhere at the moment. I might add a real passage through the wall later on but for the moment it’s just fine like that.

Continue reading Making a medieval town and castle in Sketchup (part III)

Making a medieval town and castle in Sketchup (part II)

Entering the detail process

By now, most of the big structures had been built and the slow process of detailing was about to begin. This stage of modeling, while crucial for the quality and feel of the model is quite complicated by the fact that you need to set some limitation to the amount of detail you want to incorporate in your work. While a lot of detail will definitely make the model more believable and pleasing, it will also put a heavier burden on the software and the machine you use. I find it hard to determine the right balance between useful details and unnecessary anecdotes. This balance is also very much dependent of the conditions under which you plan to use the model. For this project, I don’t really have any targeted use in mind at the moment so I guess my machine’s performances and my time will be the most decisive arbiters.

As the pictures below shows, all towers are done, battlements are finished and the houses along the outside wall are roofed.

Continue reading Making a medieval town and castle in Sketchup (part II)

Making a medieval town and castle in Sketchup

How it all started

When I first bumped into Sketchup some time ago, it immediately got me hooked. Not that I was new to 3D, but its ease of use, intuitive interface and philosophy just impressed me to a degree that seldom happened in those past many years of my computer wandering. It’s just not every day that one can stumble in such a nice piece of software which by the way is free.

When some weeks ago my eldest daughter got an assignment in school to build a simple model with Sketchup, it enticed me to start a project to demonstrate my kids the possibilities of the program. Since I’m fond of medieval stuff and had already taken my kids to visit several European castles, which didn’t fail at captivating them just as it did with me when I was a small child, I choose to build some sort of castle.

Where to begin ?

So, I sat down at my computer and thought it would be nice to build a small city with fortified walls and a castle attached. For that I needed some kind of planning, a map would be great I thought and I started drawing a top down map of a fictional medieval city on a sheet of paper. A river was definitely a great feature to incorporate and here is the resulting sketch. Once finished, I scanned the drawing to use it as a reference in Sketchup.

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