Feedback on my first scene


I’m sure you guys know I am new from my noob type posts. Here is my first scene. I wanted something real to try and reproduce so I measured my computer desk and created the top, legs, and drawers. I also drew a simple floor and used a berber material since my computer room has berber anyways! The iPhone is actually a full model I made over the weekend and I placed it on the desk. Since I am really new at creating the object, I used the warehouse to place a stock monitor, chair, and tower. I also drew the glass of water this is sitting on my desk.

A few random questions:

It is a clear glass and it has kind of a square texture to it. I wasn’t sure how to recreate that, if I should make my own material or somehow draw square on it and then push/pull them a couple milimeters. the glass is also clear with some water in it but my only options for glass were tinted color glass. I also had real trouble drawing the glass. It is 3" round at the bottom and 3.5" round at the top and 4" tall. The only way I could figure out to do it was to draw a 3" circle and make an offset so that it would be hollow. I then push/pulled it up 4" and scaled the top part to 3.5" to give it the wider at the top look. It still doesn’t look quite right though plus it is a bit skewed. Is there a better way to draw that shape that I overlooked?

For the desk, I created the top first and then raised it 29" which is how high my desk top is. I then drew the 3 legs and then a face with some push/pull to kind of look like the draers. I guess this next question really applies to anything. Is there a general rule to follow for placing objects in my 3D world? What I mean is, I pasted my iPhone from that document and then spent 20 minutes trying to place it on the desk. I had to keep rotating my view and move it only to find out that is super far away on another axis. Same problem with the desk legs. It was very tricky getting them in the right place. On that same topic, is there a way to make things “snap” to a surface so that for instance the desk would be right on the floor instead of floating 2"? And make the glass and phone right on the desk instead of floating on it or set into it?

Lastly, I want to add a touch of relflectivity to the iPhone screen and monitor. I can’t figure out how to do it though. I want to keep the same color, just add a little reflectiveness to them. Is that something that is done in the renderer or Sketchup?


You’ve got an awful lot of questions there. Some of the answers depend on the rendering application you’re using.

A couple of things that you could do to improve the render would be to give the scene some walls, a ceiling, and a floor (more than just a little rug). These will help to keep the light in and give something for the glass surfaces to reflect. Look around you at stuff in the room. Pay attention to how reflections work. In your scene, you model is basically floating in space. There’s nothing for the surfaces to reflect except the one light. You can see the reflections of it in the parts of the chair. Notice how your glass is reflecting the desk a little in the highlight and there’s a very subtle reflection of the monitor on the desktop.

You might also want to take a look at how wooden things are made and adjust the grain direction to suit the parts of the desk.

You can see in this image how the glass is reflecting the light placed behind the model. I positioned it so it wouldn’t be reflected by the entire top because I wanted it to show as glass. There’s also a reflection of the rear light on the shelf. You can see similar things in this image, too. There’s a wall behind the desk to reflect light back into the scene.


Yeah, I know I looked back and see that I flooded the post with questions. Here is a newer render. I added the iPad I made and made the 2 screens reflective. Not sure if I did it right but it seems to have worked OK.

I am currently using Indigo for rendering as I seem to get the best results with it so far.

Yeah, I know I probably need a ceiling and walls, I just wanted to get some objects in there and start messing with rendering them.

I never thought about the direction of the wood grain. Is that even adjustable with the Sketchup built in materials?

I added a small desk lamp here too. is it possible to make the bulb in it actually a light source? I tried googling it but couldn’t find anything.


It’s been a very long time since I tried Indigo and I don’t remember if you can make things like light bulbs emitters.

Now you do have some reflections–you can see the chair in the computer monitor and a little of the lamp reflected in the iPad.

I would suggest you invest more time in working on the environment and not add so many items to render. It’ll make it easier to figure out what you’re doing.

as for adjusting wood grain direction, yes, it is possible if you apply the material to the faces in the model and not the component or group wrappers. It doesn’t matter whether it is native materials or ones you create.


How is this? I added walls and ceiling. I am still learning how light works since I guess Sketchup only uses sunlight. I added a window and tried to adjust the sun to come through it.

This is after about 3 minutes of rendering.


I think the chair is off the floor


I would say that you need to model the room and actually put the desk against a wall in the room. (The light source and the walls just don’t match: would work better if the light came from the left rather than the right with only 2 walls)
I would also add a light where the ceiling light would be (if it’s off-screen for the render, just use a light source in your render package)
If you want to turn the desk light on, you need to put a light source (from the render package) inside/in front of it AND use a “neon” or light emitting surface for the glass of the bulb. (looks a bit weird when dark bulbs produce light)

You could also do a few little things to the background that would make it stand out: put a daytime tree/city photo outside (behind the window), inset the window so that it has a cill, put a frame and glass in the window, put skirting boards on the walls, add a power socket to the wall, add a handle to the desk cupboard, …


It’s getting better.

A couple of casters have gone missing.


Thanks gadget, those are really great suggestions. I only just started last weekend so I am still a total noob.

Lighting is confusing me a little. In my research, I found that Sketchup doesn’t do any lights but only does sunlight. So, I have to do various tricks to simulate real lights. That’s why I quickly created the window and set the time of day so that the sun comes through it. What I wanted to try was have the whole room dark and just have the bulb in the desk lamp lighting the room. I’ve been using Indigo renderer the most because I like the quality. Visualizer does an OK job but the renders look grainy and unrealistic. I also tried KT but it rendered the glass as a sold grey and no reflections on the monitor, iPhone, and iPad. None of the renderers that I’ve tried seem to have any tools to place lights. What I hoped I could do was select the light bulb object and define it as a light but I haven’t found a way to do that. In this particular scene, I don’t want sunlight but I want the lamp to light up the room and give me some ambience.

I do need to do more with the window. I just quickly drew it with an offset and pulled it a little bit just so I could have a place for the sunlight to shine in. I actually still don’t quite get how to make holes for windows, doors, etc. I just lucky with this one. I drew a square on the wall, did the offset, pulled it back and then deleted stuff on the other side to make it open. What I want to do is add a couple of cross beams and actual glass in the window. Would I need to start all over on it in order to add that stuff?

When adding glass, what material would I want to use to make it look like a glass window? The materials in SU seem to be only tinted glass, safety glass, etc.

Placement has been really difficult for me. How are you meant to easily place objects in the 3D world? When I placed my iPhone model in there, it took me a long time just put it on the desk. I scrolled around and thought I had it on the desk but then found that it was way off depth wise. I also can’t figure out a good way to place objects ON surfaces. All the items on the desk I couldn’t figure out if they were actually ON the desk. Same thing with the chair. Is there some k keyboard shortcut or indicator that shows when an object is on the surface that you want it on?

I have a newer version at home that I did later last night where I added another wall on the left and I tried adding some blinds to the window.

As far as handles for the drawers, that will be challenging. Do you have any tips on drawing the irregular shapes required to make a handle? I’ve found that if I make any object touching something else, any movements or anything I do to it affects whatever it is touching. That is a bit annoying.


So you’ve given up on KT because you didn’t set the glass materials to create reflections? I’ve already tried to show you examples of renders done in Kerkythea that show glass with reflections.

Basically, you’re trying to run before you’ve learned to stand up. Before you invest more time in rendering, spend some time learning how to create and work with materials in SketchUp. Get the modeling bit down solid, too. Then move on to the rendering end.

This is a good example of this. You need to learn to use components and groups. that’s how you keep things from sticking to each other.

As for actually drawing the drawer pulls, there are many ways and the right way depends upon the pull. Here’s one way.


[quote=“pseguin219, post:9, topic:18086”]Placement has been really difficult for me
As DaveR said: learn to walk before you try and run.

  1. Geometry in SU is made up of edges and faces. SU dosn’t really like the void and will always try to snap to any bit of geometry your mouse is over.

  2. Raw bits of geometry will stick together and join with each other when the edges meet. To avoid this (and for ease of selection) you need to “group” geometry. Imported objects are a special type of group called “components” - change one and every instance of them changes.

  3. Learn how to use the inference guidelines when moving the mouse about a model; any time a tool tip shows up, that’s a point that you can easily snap to.

Render packages normally work with the texture fills you use in the model, but you can normally swap out a SU texture with a Render texture - this will have things like a surface texture, reflection, absorption, and loads of other variables that the plain SU texture won’t have. One of these will be a “neon” or “emitting” texture that will glow with light.

Render packages also have light sources that you can drop into the model (normally this is within the render package, but there are some SU specific renders that let you drop in a SU model for light sources)


No, I didn’t give up on KT at all. It give me really good renders. I am sure there is some reason why it wouldn’t render the objects properly like every other renderer. You’re right though, I am trying to run before I walk. I barely have a grasp on creating objects. However, it is hard to resist wanting to render what I’ve done and see what it looks like.


Here is a newer render. I added a ceiling and wall on the left. I also want to do my rendering without SU’s sunlight and use my own lights. I figured out how to make the bulb illuminated and also added a circle on the ceiling and made it a light. I kind of figured it out by accident. In Indigo, I went into the material editor and saw a section that says Emitter Attributes. I thought that might mean light emission so I changed “layer” from “off” to 1, checked the Emission box, and set Emission Scale to 300000 lumen. Seems to work pretty nice. I like the idea of controlling my lighting more than just u sing sunlight.


Newest one. Added floorboards, picture, outlet, ceiling light. Took out window since there isn’t one there anyways. Do you guys think it looks grainy at all?


No image in this last message. Would you be willing to share, and update your exact scene? That way we can try the same models in other renderers.


I see a little icon for the image, not sure why it’s not showing properly Here it is again. I added a door too. This is only after 3 minutes of rendering.


Alright. the rendering is getting better. Now improve your modeling skills.


Here is the scene file. As you look at it you will see that it is pretty much a mess, my first 3D scene though.!1836&authkey=!AMfTNE-TjhfAoZs&ithint=file%2Cskp


Thanks, I will. I need to think of something to model now…


Since you seem to be interested in furniture and interior stuff, try something like this. Or model some furniture in your house.