Doing artwork to scale

Hello. I am hoping for some advice. I have been learning SketchUp for designing theatre sets. I have been making my model for the 3d elements and then exporting a jpg of an object’s outline to then do the artwork in Leonardo. My problem is that the only way I can get the artwork included in a scale drawing in layout is either to put as a texture (which is not great quality) or faff around enlarging the artwork as a PDF in Photoshop. I think I am making life hard for myself. Can anyone explain what I should be doing or maybe point to a good tutorial?
The reason I need the quality is that I give drawings to the builders and the scenic artists, both need scale drawings. I also print the images and use them to build the real life model that gets shown to the performers and creative team.
Is there a drawing program that better suits working with scale? It may just be that I need to use higher res images as textures? …if that is the case I think my next questions will be about buying a better computer as what I have is struggling as it is.
Thank you in anticipation.

What is it you do with the SketchUp elements in Leonardo. Perhaps you would find it better to send the SketchUp file(s) to LayOut and if you are making views in Parallel Projection, setting the scale for the viewports in LayOut. If you need to do further artistic post process in Leonardo, export image files from LayOut instead of SketchUp.

The builders would most likely rather have direct, clear, and concise information to work from rather than something that looks like a painting so maybe you can skip Leonardo altogether.

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Hi Dave.
I do the drawings without artwork for the builders. It is the painters who I need to give the drawings with artwork. I worked out how to put the images into surfaces in the model but when they are high enough quality for sharing with the painters my computer starts to slow down massively. I also need the artwork to look it’s best when I print the surfaces to go on the real model.
I have a nasty feeling I just didn’t buy a suitable computer to handle the file sizes. Should I be able to have high res images in my SU model?
Did you have a nice time in blighty by the way?

Oh and I was wrong when I said I export outlines from SU I do send to layout then export as pdf, then do all the artwork drawing and import drawings back into SU as textures. I use Leonardo at the moment as I am getting on well with it on the tablet with stylus.
Doesn’t help that my printer has been printing colour badly so having to artificially adjust colour in Photoshop to get good colour (but that seems to be another can of worms to do with screen / printer calibration)

The graphics card you indicate in your profile is well known as a low performer unfortunately. It would have been better if you’d gotten one with a good graphics card. The Nvidia Geforce cards have historically been the ones to have. Something in the GTX 10xx range now.

As for high res images in SketchUp, they won’t go huge but they can probably appear better than what you have. At least while you’re working in SU, you could leave those textures by using the Monochrome face style which would help the performance.

Blighty? Is that Palm Desert? If so, yes, I had a great time. Were you there?

I see.Perhaps after you’ve made your texture images and imported them back into SketchUp, you can go back to LO with them to make the required output. I’d love to see one of your LO file and the results you are getting now.

It was easier when you could just get out your watercolors and paper… :slight_smile:

Blighty is a nickname for England.

Am at home on phone so can’t share any files right now. Will try and remember to post something up.

I think I will be looking for a computer just for SketchUp as my tablet was not the right choice in hindsight. At least it works well for artwork. Do often think I should revert back to pens and paint but when the Director wants changes it is a lot faster on the computer.

Thank you for the spec tips, will be sure to get something suitable this time.

Will also have a go with the monochrome face style. Thanks

Ahhh… That “Blighty”! :smiley:

I had a very good time indeed. Thank you for asking. Wish I could have stayed longer to see more of the place.

If you don’t want to share your files publicly, send them to me via PM.

Glad you enjoyed your trip.

Will pm something, probably Tuesday as I have a funpacked day of meetings tomorrow.

Thanks for your help and advice again.

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There are a lot of people using a SketchUp to Photoshop work flow quite well. Liam’s work is a good example. (See his gallery thread here.) Using Leonardo in place of PS doesn’t matter, it’s the same process if you’re trying to get to those painting tools for final results.

I have, at least with Match Photo, inadvertently run into limits with SU on image resolution size; the native 24 mp images from my Nikon D7100 were too high for SU to cope with and caused bugs. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could hit frustrations trying to work with high resolution images the way you want.

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Using these programs for theatrical design is something I often do and can only speak to my own workflow, so by no means is this the “correct” way to do it, as we all have our own systems.

You may be asking too much of SU/LO to provide both a 3D model and scale drawings with hi res graphic content in one go. I think for the most part, architecturally, having hi res images on a working drawing isn’t always necessary, and a proxy is often sufficient with notes relating to final finishes, after all these are in themselves; scaled drawings and a final finish won’t likely come off this page. I think if you have sufficient resolution in the SU model to prove concept as a 3D design/model and presentation then that’s probably enough for that stage (pardon the pun).
Then, producing working drawings in layout for construction from that same file is also likely good enough, with those proxy images and additional notes showing enough detail to build and the broad strokes for scenics.

Most scenics will grid a wall or backdrop (unless using projection) and then grid the reference artwork to transpose it to the scenery. So it is likely enough that you take your various elevations from LO into photoshop/Leonardo and scale them to the best resolution and finalize any art there. These HI-Res images can then be printed out much bigger for the scenics to see and transpose and they will be correctly proportioned to the built elements. If these were digital graphics to print and apply to scenery I would suggest a similar route, but scenics are painting by hand and are themselves creating the final resolution and are using your artwork as accurately as possible to transpose it to the set.

If these were digital graphics, and I’m not sure of the content, then vector art is always good for scaling. But raster files get big, but they surprisingly may not have to be that big as there is surprising tolerance when printed large format if you consider from how far away in the audience it will be seen, it’s often good to work backwards from the final printing needs to avoid working on unnecessarily large files… So, rather than cramming these huge texture files into SU, it may well be better to produce your HI-RES work and duplicate a set at a lower resolution to more easily work in the 3D model and layout drawings, and only reference the hi-res for execution/painting/printing.


Thank you for your replies. It looks like I am nearly doing it in the best way. I just need to reduce the quality of the images for use in SU models. I was being hopeful that I didn’t need to in order to save a step or three.
Have been exporting the shapes of things into layout and then out as PDFs to use as templates and then doing the artwork. Unfortunately Leonardo doesn’t seem to keep the scale right so I then have to run through PS to overlay the image on a pdf that is the right scale. I think Leonardo can do pixels rather than paper size however that is where I got overwhelmed by the numbers.
Will carry on and try to be more careful to keep the sizes/resolutions suitable at each step.