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Several times throughout this website we've made mention of 3D modelers and have identified that SketchUp is the modeler of choice for our staff. Qualified design professionals who later used SketchUp quickly found they could draw by emulating the feel and freedom of working with pencil and paper in a way that was not possible with their usual modeling application . Whether you're a professional modeler who's used high-end 3D software or you've never modeled before you'll find SketchUp is intuitive and convenient to use.

The size of everything in a 3D modeler is expressed in units, and with SketchUp being no different the first thing we’d need to decide is in which system of units we shall work.

The units used in RCT3 are:

Metric; meters and centimeters,

Imperial; feet and inches, and

SI (International System of Units); meters.

The SI system can be simply summed up as a meter-based version of the metric system so there are actually two systems of measurement available to us in our modeler, those of course being the Metric system and the Imperial system.

In RCT3, terrain tiles are either 4 meters by 4 meters or 13.12 feet by 13.12 feet. Items are raised in increments of 1 meter or in increments of 3.28 feet. Adult males are 2 meters tall or 6.56 feet tall, and child males are 1 meter tall or 3.28 feet tall.

As it's obvious that the base units in RCT3 have been designed around the metric scale, the most convenient system of measurement to use in SketchUp is metric. After that, modeling is simply a matter of scaling our creations to a 4 meters by 4 meters terrain tile, or to a 2 meters tall adult.

SketchUp Express

With a new SketchUp document opened we're going to quickly make some simple models. The sizes and shapes you draw need not be at all exact. Our video clearly demonstrates how to go about getting the results as they're being achieved during each step. Easy to understand instructions are given at every stage of this video presentation:

Video Thumbnail: SketchUp 101. How To's: Our Fast-Track Tutorial

To give an idea of the knowledge you'll be gaining during our tutorial, an synopsis of each lesson is listed below.

  Lesson 1 - Drawing Shapes

Use the Pencil tool and touch three times to draw a triangle.

Use the Polygon tool to make a polygon.

Use the Circle tool to draw a circle.

Use the Rectangle tool to pull out a rectangle.

Use the Freehand tool and draw a random line.

Right mouse click and reverse the face of the triangle then do the same for the rectangle. Right mouse click + CTRL to select both the hexagon and the circle, and then reverse both those faces in one go.

After the shapes are drawn in Lesson 1 you'll make additional adjustments to them and become more knowledgeably introduced to SketchUp's further capabilities.

  Lesson 2 - Manipulating Shapes And

                   Basic Painting

Use the Arc tool to modify the triangle. Then use the Eraser to clean up your shape.

Use the Arc tool and the Eraser again on another side of the triangle.

Left mouse click on the face in your shape then right mouse click and delete the face.

On the inside of the line making up this shape, draw a small, upright rectangle. Hold down the , , or keys to direct your pencil strokes along the required axes.

Use the Follow Me tool to drag the rectangle you just drew along the line that makes up this shape.

Use the Offset tool to make an opening in the hexagon, delete the center, and then use the Push/Pull tool to convert it into a 3D shape.

Use the Push/Pull tool to pull out one side & push in another, and then use the Eraser tool to clean up your shape.

Use the Scale tool to convert the circle into an oval and then use the Freehand tool to draw a curved line across it.

Use the Push/Pull tool to convert one side into a 3D shape and then use the Eraser to clean up your shape.

Double left mouse click on the same shape to select it and then use the Rotate tool to turn your shape.

Select the Eraser tool. While also holding CTRL move the eraser over the hard edges to make them smooth edges.

Left mouse click on the freestyle line to select it, then select the Move tool, press and hold CTRL to duplicate, then drag a duplicate freestyle line nearby.

Use the Pencil tool to enclose both ends. Then right mouse click on the face you just drew and reverse the face.

Use the Move tool to pull a 3D shape from the 2D curve you’ve drawn. Observe that the shape may be pulled down or up.

Left mouse click on the rectangle to select it, then use the Move tool to move it into another position.

Use the Pencil tool to draw a few straight lines across the face of the rectangle.

Open the Materials tab and paint each of the rectangle’s divided faces any color of your choice.

And there you are, course done.

If you've launched SketchUp and have yourself completed all the steps above, you've just fast-tracked your way into a good grasp of SketchUp basics! Do remember though that after you've accomplished this the only way to become proficient in SketchUp is to get busy making models.

We've created a SketchUp article which includes links to downloads for various versions of SketchUp Make that are useful to our community, and for the two known RCT3 PlugIn Packs. Our SketchUp page is here.