Lost my design MOJO

Hi all,

Can i get some advice how to keep the design mojo alive? i am starting to feel it becoming abit of a chore to open up AC and SU more and more.

I mostly use SU and AC for work doing construction projects as project engineer. I like the idea of doing extra designs at home etc ect but i always tend to have mind blanks on ideas.

I have a few little projects around the house where i think i could do a design for, but when i get down to it i just think, Do i need a design? is it just a waste of time rather than getting on with the project, for example building a built in wardrobe.

SU defiantly helps for work scheme and the guys doing the work appreciate the extra information from the 3D models.

How does everyone keep the spirit alive?



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I tend to look at things that are unrelated to my normal area of work. Model stuff just to stay in practice and try to be open to new design influences.


It happens! Fortunately, there is a solution!!

Design something that makes you happy.

Seems simple, but pick something, even something that does not, or cannot, ever be built, and spend you lunch hour modeling it. If you are a Star Wars fan model a ship or lightsaber. If you are a movie fan, pick a prop from your favorite movie. If you are a history buff, find someimages of a castle.

Find something that does not need to exist, and make it exist, simple because of the pleasure it will bring to you.

I find that the people I talk to who spend some time each day working on a model the WANT to work on are better modelers and less likelt to burn out or suffer from designer block!


Think of how happy a young kid would be if you showed them how to do, “construction projects as project engineer”. You can make what you do easier for other people to learn.

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I also suffer from a lot of impatience when modelling. Once I start, I need to get it done like now, so I get hyper-focused on it and find doing it for pleasure draws me in too much sometimes. I’m sure everyone also gets like this.

In my job role, I have programmed myself to be efficient with my time due to having to spin many plates sometimes, so my default is not being creative if im project managing. Doing designs for fun almost feels like a waste of time. I am currently studying part-time for a master’s in engineering, so I feel guilty about not being productive, if that makes sense.

It is a terrible dilemma…

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What do you mean? didnt fully understand.

“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t model impossible things.’

I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Only Aaron. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve modeled as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”


I’ve been having similar motivation problems the past few months. One way I’ve been trying to get myself out of it is a game called Hi-Fi Rush. I don’t actually play it, I just watch let’s plays and stream highlights because I’m absolutely terrible at rhythm games and don’t have an XBox. The game has a cel-shaded aesthetic that kind of looks a little like SketchUp’s default modeling style. It also features a lot of “under construction” assets like chain link fencing, shipping pallets, scaffolding, and crates. That got me thinking about how these various background assets get modeled, how size and space are at a premium, and how to most efficiently make that model with as few polygons as possible.

Frankly, when I look at anything anywhere, I try to think of how I’d model that in SketchUp, run through the moves in my head, then sit down at my Mac and bash it out in a few minutes.

That’s something also. Kind of a gratitude exercise, but in reverse. Think of how happy it makes you to give someone something they need, make their lives a little bit easier.

There’s nothing wrong with free practice. I’ve often heard this advice when it comes to writing: write anything, just anything at all, whether it’s what you’re working on or not. It helps you warm up, so to speak, and then once you start writing what you’re supposed to be working on, just delete the excess.


I get that, too… I am a “Get 'er done” type myself. I have found that, finding a way to slow down and enjoy the modeling to be a HUGE help in being a better designer. Having just one project that does not have a deadline… a model that you don’t even know how you will model… a thing that does not even have to get finished, but can, when you decide, is a great thing to have going on.

It’s hard and probably keys in one some psychology or something. One of the reasons I started our weekly love models was to give me a chance to just sit down for a couple hours each week and just model something. Had I not done that, I don’t know that I wouls still enjoy modeling in SketchUp as much as I do now!


Play, Doodle, Experiment… all these things are necessary to stay happy and healthy in our lives.
Designing impossible things helps you design possible things.
Playing with the tools teaches you more than just using the tools.

I know this feeling and suffered it for years. I even felt sitting reading a book was time wasted.
Make time for ‘Play’. It can only be good for you.
The things you learn by happenstance will stand you in good stead in your real work.
Have a look at @DaveR 's sleepless night thread for some doodling inspiration.


thank you all for the wise words

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It might be somewhat personality-dependent but the general idea is that helping people can be fun and motivating. Children are just one example. There are a lot of people out there looking to learn new things and you might be able to teach them.

Another motivation that some people have is making money. For example, I found a DIY kitchen table video that a couple made online. I then bought the plans for the material and cut list. Ditto for a work bench with a removable section for a miter saw and built-in stand for a table saw. They showed me how to make things I wanted and I then purchased the plans to save my own time so I could ‘just build’ (and I totally skip the ‘design stage’ all the time!). You may have an interest that you’d like to share or a problem you can solve for others. Does making tutorials appeal to your personality?

I’m not a good modeler like some of the people here but I put that out of my head and just do whatever weird thing comes to mind. For example, I started to draw on a 2d plane and then decided to use only Push-Pull to make a “SketchSquatch” that I could open with SU in AR. I then did dog faces using only Push-Pull and found that I could exaggerate these so they look like a skyline in profile view. Ridiculous. But there are no a priori rules to playing and having fun. Goof around if that fits you.

I also like to problem solve and work and will do things over and over trying to figure them out.

You wrote:

I’m in total agreement that 3D is vastly more helpful than 2D for design and -especially- installation/building/construction. You could focus on designing for ‘the crews’ instead of for the client as that seems to be an underappreciated area of construction management. Are there new niches there for you to explore (e.g., 3D takeoffs in LO, XR (VR/AR/MR) onsite solutions)?

You might even put examples here (in your own thread) as the feedback itself could generate MOJO.


Thank you. You have given me a lot to think about :+1:

Actually, my biggest time drag while drawing on the computer is the design thinking, not the drawing. “Hmmm, maybe it should be wider…or, I dunno, maybe not.” When @TheOnlyAaron models something live, he isn’t doing that. He’s not trying to invent the thing, just the best way to model the thing. I found myself doing that recently around a bunch of client choices of furniture, light fixtures and the like. It’s been kind of gratifying to do these little modeling assignments without having to design them, and the size modeling task to be completed is pretty short.


yup. the more useless the better. modelling my desk (twice) has been the best modelling I’ve made in years, even though many moments were just wandering in the dark trying bad ideas and finding stupid solutions that were actually solved by a plugin 10years prior. but who cares, I had fun.

the need to be efficient all the time is a big disease of the XXIst century.
If you choose to do it as a hobby, then it’s a hobby. It’s expensive and not cost-balanced. It’s not efficient, and you’re not supposed to make any money out of it. Too often these days I see people try to make some money out of their hobbies, because otherwise they feel like you do, that they are “wasting” time where they could be efficient.

who cares ?

you know why we (french) often take 1h - 1h30 at lunch ? it’s not efficient, we could gulp our meal in 10 min at our desk and be back to work, but no, most of us choose to sit around, eat and chat. because we enjoy it, it’s not efficient, it’s… it’s a hobby. Eating is a hobby.

having hobbies, taking breaks even when you’re in a high pressure moment is important, I’m talking mental health here.
take care of yourself first. and if that requires some un-efficient useless modelling, then do it! :slight_smile:

(and create a thread in #sketchup:gallery to show it to us. No kidding, if you need a ego boost, post something, see people dropping you a few likes, boom! :wink: )


Let’s take building a wardrobe as an example.

You can build it using sheet materials and timber pretty easily…a boring, simple and reliable wardrobe.

But what about sizing shelfs, hooks, drawers, etc to exactly what your items are?

What about a slim drawer with a secure lock that slides out and reveals half a dozen wristwatches?

A shoe and boot rack that fits the right number and sizes of his & hers footware?

A swing-out hat stand?

Once you’re in3d, then how about adding more detail… LED lights, ventilation, a powerpoint for a steam iron?
What about using fancy materials? See how much you can achieve with a single sheet of expensive veneer?

Play around with some bespoke knobs or handles.

That’s when 3d modelling is beneficial, the options, the details, the extra “dimension” of how you can construct it efficiently and customise it later.

You might just want a basic wardrobe. nothing wrong with that - You don’t need sketchup to model a really basic project.

Honestly just jump on Pintrest and check out 10000 amazing wardrobes for inspiration… ,…and then pick up SketchUp.


I have found building in SU architectural and furniture designs of things I admire from archidaily is both productive and enjoyable plus giving me insights on new creative solutions…

Also as Archidaily is a global reference and the projects are built I get an appreciation of how others approach practical design issues from a different perspective.

putting them on 3d warehouse sharing them with others in the community gives me a sense of not wasting my time!

Archidaily because it usually has great photos and architectural drawings as a reference

maybe there is a similar approach in your field?


I’ve being using AI’s the last couple of months to get inspiration, you should try it, it’s a lot of fun and you get a lot of ideas and inspiration for both work and personal projects.

is there a programme or site that you use?

Love this! thanks for sharing this insite.