Symmetry and Repetition


In the last few weeks I've been experimenting with ways to increase productivity when using SketchUp. There are plugins, shortcut key commands, and other techniques that make modeling faster; however with practice I realized that a simple way to speed up SketchUp work is to find ways to minimize the number of things you have to actually model. Often many pieces of geometry repeat in a modeling subject and often they are almost or entirely symmetrical. This creates opportunities for modeling fewer parts that can later be copied, mirrored, or modified in order to create other objects and save time.

For this example we'll look at Andrea Palladio's Villa Rotunda: a very symmetrical building with four identical facades and components that are repeated on each side. I started to plan my modeling process by analyzing the reference files (plan, elevation). The key was to look for the least amount of geometry that could be modeled and that could be later copied and/or mirrored.

I organized the model to have three fundamental parts: half of a portico, half of a facade, and one quarter of the roof which I took from a warehouse model. After that, I only had to copy and mirror parts to generate the entire building. Because of the obvious symmetry of this building, it was fairly simple to work from the drawings, however the same principles apply to any modeling situation.

Sebastian Marticorena was an illustrator at Fat Pencil Studio from 2014-2016.