SketchUp, Woodworking Plans in Progress
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An Update to “Old World Dining Table”

Since I published my 15th woodworking plan titled You Can Build an Old World Dining Table, several factors fell into place which led to an update. Whether it’s building a piece of furniture or creating a woodworking plan, if I know it can be better, my conscience bugs me until I make it right.

With Old World Dining Table, a few comments led to a realization that the table didn’t look old world enough. In a post I wrote about the design of the table, I mentioned playing around with gothic arches in the leg assembly. I omitted these arches because with chairs in place, said arches would be hard to see. Also, adding them to the woodworking plan would make explaining the construction process much more difficult and equally difficult to pull off in the workshop. I am treating these arches sort of like floating panels, so they fit in grooves with other joinery close by…

Multiple joinery within a single leg. The groove highlighted in red is new.

But, not having the arches bugged me. It’s like my conscience was telling me, “Jeff, put the arches in already!” So I did and the plan went from 18 to 20 pages, many of the images had to be re-worked, yada, yada, yada.

I had an original goal of making the images as simple as possible meaning little or no Photoshop work. About the time I was putting finishing touches on the plan, I ran across a YouTube channel called The SketchUp Essentials by Justin Geis. I watched a few of his videos on combining image output from SketchUp into Photoshop and how to create different effects (example here).

When I say I had to re-work many of the images, it is some work. A goal I had in this update was to make better use of textured backgrounds as well as find ways to control shadows better. Justin has a few videos concerning combining SketchUp and Photoshop which led to testing a few ideas I had concerning shadows. Take a look…

New image for page 5.

Close-up. Note mild shadow and pencil edges.

What you see is a combination of four images. SketchUp gives me the ability to adjust how dark shadows are, but more specifically, I can remove shadows from the ground and separately from component faces. So, I exported an image with no shadow, shadow on the ground only, shadow on the component faces only and then the sketchy edges which provides the pencil look. I can then layer these images in Photoshop and blend the shadow effect to my liking and then add the pencil effect. SketchUp includes an option to export .PNG files with a transparent background which is important in this process and I then have to layer the images in the correct order to get the desired result.

I repeated this process on many of the images where shadows impacted construction information.

I also updated the cover image. While I was pleased with the textured image of the original cover, at SketchUp’s Instagram feed, I saw a cool image which was created to have a pencil look…

I began a new model with the goal of creating a dining room with related furniture, chairs, etc. all colored light grey, and then feature the old world dining table in color. The idea was to emphasize the table, but have a more appropriate background…

The dining room model seen from above.

A lot of what you see was downloaded from the 3D Warehouse. I did the table and the large hutch. I got the image for the rug from my company’s website. The window, Ficus tree, curtains, chairs, plates and cups are all available online.

First image, sort of dark.

The table with a white background.

Blending the two makes everything washed out except the table.

Inserted into page 1.

Most every image was lightened and made more vibrant in Photoshop and that was it. A lot of work really, but I like the end result and I hope the arch in the leg assembly is more old world looking because I am not going to rework this plan again. 🙂 See the updated plan here.

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Have a question or comment about this post? Leave me a comment below; but I also like email. Use my contact form to send me an email (click here).



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