Joshua Cohen is a principal at Fat Pencil Studio
For manufacturers of architectural products, SketchUp's 3d Warehouse has become a robust platform for getting accurate 3d components into the hands of designers. You can now find featured catalogs from manufacturers such as Delta plumbing fixtures, NanaWall folding glass walls, and Satori Japanese wall finishes, among others.
The challenge in creating useful SketchUp models for architectural products is to include enough detail to faithfully represent the product, while optimizing the file size of the component for fluid model performance. The designer wants a lightweight (low-poly) component so she can freely use multiple copies of it a 3d model. The manufacturer, however, wants a component that displays all the elegance and highly-considered detail of the product's design.
Working with greenscreen®—manufacturers of an adaptable trellis system customizable to be freestanding or mounted on different surfaces—we used two different approaches to model their line of clips, brackets, screens, and accessories. Low-poly components are used to represent the product while testing layout concepts in the design phase. More complex high-poly models were created for use in architectural renderings and installation training.
Frequent screen-share meetings allowed greenscreen to give valuable input at every stage of the project. When 3d modeling turned up ambiguities in the 2d detail drawings, we were able to resolve them quickly. When it came time to make decisions about how the components would be organized on greenscreen's web site and in the 3d Warehouse, the visual meetings made it easier to collaborate.
greenscreen's product line is modular and can be ordered in a variety of sizes. To avoid making a separate 3d model for each option, we created a dynamic component to represent the most common configurations of their wall-mounted trellis. Designers can use a pull-down menu to vary the size, trim, and presence or absence of foliage.
The SketchUp 3d Warehouse component shown below is one of the detailed models. Use the Shift Key (Pan), Left Mouse Button (Orbit) and Scroll Wheel (Zoom) to interact with them. greenscreen® uses similar iframes on their website as a way to augment product descriptions and as a reference for onsite installation.