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HAPPY AT 90 MILES » Sketchup for comics
Aug
14
2009

Sketchup for comics

Google’s 3D modeling application Sketchup is what a good tool should be: Intuitive to learn, easy to use and best of all; free!

I’ve found Sketchup to be a huge help in imagining environments and as a guide for drawing. In the example of the visiting hall of Canaleta prison, I had Jorge describe the place for me. From his information I gleaned the approximate dimensions, the open air nature of the room with the chain link fence screens and the benches.

In under an hour I had the room built in Sketchup, using readymade elements such as the chain link and benches from the Sketchup “warehouse“, a user generated depository of items you can download. No sense in building a bench if 3 other people have already done it.

The model of  the visiting hall

The model of the visiting hall

The purpose of using this tool is not so much the tracing, but the great help in determining “camera angles” when an environment’s relation to the subjects is important. I could get the job done using perspective lines but with this there is also a level of accuracy you get which is reassuring to me.

Here is an example of picking an angle in Sketchup using stock models, and basing the drawing on it.

camera is placed at 2ft, with a 35 deg. angle lens

camera is placed at 2ft, with a 35 deg. angle lens

The drawn version

The drawn version

Warning, it can give you a false sense of security… after finishing the second page of the conversation in the visiting room, I realized I had switched off my brain between pages (from drawing so much chain link, no doubt) and had switched the positions of Jorge and his mother from one page to another. Aaaaargh! (I shouldn’t be telling you this, I should just pretend I have this under control.)

Thankfully I could remedy the problem by using Photoshop (the golden God-king of tools!) to switch the position of the sitters in page one, so it all made sense. Whew! I almost blew that one.

Before

Before


After

After

See, now it lines up with what I’d done on the following page:

Notice how Jorge is to the right, but previously I had him sitting to the left.

Notice how Jorge is to the right, but previously I had him sitting to the left.

Sketchup has unleashed creativity all over the place, people who had previously been intimidated by 3D modeling are picking it up and doing great things, from designing movie sets to a home addition. Some people are going to town and modeling versions of great architecture and placing them in Google Earth. Why don’t you give it a try? Good tutorials are provided on the site.

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Written by IPH in: Behind the scenes,Updates,comics |

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