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Placing Vegetation Components Exercise

5.3 _Placing:Distributing Vegetation Exercise

0:01 In this lesson, we’re going to take some different tree types and explore a variety of different ways to place and distribute vegetation components throughout your model...

0:11 ...which, if you remember, is the fourth major challenge to working with vegetation in SketchUp.

0:18 For this lesson, we’ll be using the ‘Placing Vegetation Components’ SketchUp file that was included with your exercise files.

0:25 We’ll start with the good old linear array.

0:29 We use this when we want to copy multiple components along a straight path at fixed intervals.

0:35 We can do it two ways: The first way uses the ‘Move’ tool with the modifier key, and enter a distance between trees…let's say ’30 feet’...

0:46 ...and then enter ‘X’ and the number of trees you want, say '8'…and enter...which give us 8 copies at 30 feet on center.

0:58 The other way to do a linear array is to assume we know where the first and last trees are placed and then split the distance in between equally to fill in the rest.

1:11 Let’s undo that last array and select the tree and using move and the modifier key again, copy the tree to the other side of the walk…

1:21 …and this time hit backslash (/)’’ and the number we want…say ‘8’ again and enter to complete the array.

1:33 Building on that last example, we can use the same copy and modifier key to array components in circles which is called a Polar Array.

1:42 This time we’ll use the protractor, or rotate tool.

1:46 Start by selecting the tree, then rotate from the reference point provided.

1:54 Now we’re prompted for an angle.

1:57 Enter ‘360’ for the angle and then enter…then ‘backslash (/)’ and ‘12’.

2:04 While the command is still active we can change the number if we want…try ‘backslash (/) 6’ this time to compare the difference.

2:15 The next copy and placement trick that we’re going to do uses an extension called ‘Copy Along Path’ – which does what its name suggests, it copies components along lines.

2:28 Let’s say this complex curve represents a pathway that needs to be lined with trees.

2:35 Since this path is made up of multiple curves, we need to join them together first using the ‘Weld’ extension.

2:42 Then select the line and find ‘PathCopy’ from your extensions dropdown and we’re prompted to select a group or component to copy.

2:54 Select the tree and then enter the distance between them…try '30 feet' again.

3:01 And like the other arrays, we can keep changing that spacing until we’re happy with the result.

3:11 Once we end the command it’s fixed so if we change our minds later, we’d have to delete the trees and do it over again.

3:21 Next, we’ll take a look at an extension that will help with manually placing components.

3:26 I’m sure at some point in one of your projects you have had to copy and paste one tree at a time across a large area, which probably taking a long time to do so.

3:37 The extension we need here is called ‘Repeat Place Component’ by ThomThom.

3:41 Start by select the component you want to copy and right-click and select ‘Place Component’.

3:49 Then you can just click down to place as many copies as you want.

3:57 Moving on, let’s say we’ve already placed a bunch of tree components but later we change our minds and decide we want a different kind of tree.

4:06 It’s easy to swap them out at any time.

4:09 First, we have to make sure that we’re only replacing the ones we want and not all of the trees.

4:17 If we only wanted to change out some of the components, then we’d first need to make them unique.

4:24 Then we copy the new component that we want and go into one of the other tree component…

4:31 …and before deleting or pasting anything, it's helpful to draw a small reference line from the trunk center point.

4:38 This prevents us from losing the component after deleting its inner contents.

4:43 So then delete everything except the little reference line and then paste the new tree in and align to the center axis and then delete the line and we’re good to go.

4:58 This method comes in handy when you need to use the 2D vegetation while you’re designing and then, when then you’re ready to render, swap the tree out with something more detailed.

5:09 Up until now, we’ve primarily dealt with just placing components.

5:14 This next step is to introduce some variety to begin to break down the repletion and uniformity that comes with placing a bunch of the same component.

5:23 Just a side note here, no matter how good your design is or how nice your vegetation components are, the repetition of components can create a static composition that can be distracting to the viewer...

5:36 …given that in nature, we see all kinds of variety between plants of the same species and maturity.

5:46 So starting with native tools, let’s review a few quick little tips to reducing uniformity.

5:52 We already mentioned ‘making unique’ components when replacing them with 3D.

5:57 We can do the same technique without replacing them, but just changing them instead.

6:03 Here you can see we have two of the same component.

6:06 Let's make one unique…which then allows us to go inside of it and then we can change the colors to introduce some subtle variety.

6:17 Next is the simple flip or mirror.

6:20 This can be down by either right-clicking and selecting ‘flip along’ an axis...or by scaling horizontally and entering ‘negative one (-1)’ as the scale factor.

6:38 Lastly, we can use non-uniform scaling to stretch the component to make it either taller or wider.

6:50 You can see here by this grouping to the right how I’ve introduced a bit more variety and looseness just by scaling and stretching the same component..

7:02 Let’s now look at another extension that introduces variety by scaling and rotating multiple components randomly.

7:11 This is a free extension by Chris Fullmer called ‘Scale and Rotate Multiple’.

7:16 We’re going to use it on this grid of trees here…which as you can see, looks pretty uniform as it’s just the same tree copied over and over.

7:26 All we have to do is select all the trees at once and from the ‘Extensions’ dropdown, select ‘Chris Fullmer Tools / Scale and Rotate Multiple /'…then 'Scale and Rotate Randomly’.

7:41 Then enter a minimum and maximum scale factor and rotation angles.

7:46 I’ve found that ‘0.80’ and ‘1.20’ work well for scale and ‘30’ to ‘300’ works well for the rotation.

7:55 Then hit ‘Ok’…and we can see that the difference here is subtle but that’s fine.

8:02 Little changes like this add up and go a long way at the end of the day to make your vegetation feel more natural and therefore, more believable to the viewer.

8:19 We have one more extension to look at for placing vegetation components, which we’ve already reviewed when placing our furnishings earlier. Once again, this is called ‘DropGC’.

8:31 You can see here that the same tree components were placed in two ways above our terrain.

8:37 The first used the same CAD block swap technique that we used with our benches, while the second, used an illustrative plan for reference and just placed the trees manually.

8:51 Once laid out, we can just select all the trees and right-click and choose ‘Drop at intersection’ to place them all in their right spots over our terrain.