Here are links to online tools, resources and examples.
The basic versions of these software tools and services are free to access or download and use:
- The Google Earth service to display aerial views of places: wiki – site
- Trimble (previously Google) Sketchup tool for composing 3D models: wiki – site – support forum
If you are studying or teaching, you may be eligible for an Educational Licence to SketchUp Pro. resellers – UK
- Google’s SketchUp Viewer for viewing 3D models: site – video
- Trimble’s 3D Warehouse service for storing 3D models: wiki – site – forum
- Google Maps with Street View (e.g. try SG6 3DE, “More”, “Street View”): wiki – map – site
- Google Earth for Mobile devices (Android & iOS): site – video
- SketchUp Components in the 3D Warehouse: site
For more information, add-ins, enterprise (“Pro”) versions and other 3D software, visit:
- The SketchUp Materials Library: here
- SketchUp 3D Trees collection site (charged for)
- A general list of 3D modelling software: wiki
- Ways of sharing your models from SketchUp: article
- Your World in 3D – a geo-modelling community: site
- Google Building Maker tool for collaging 3D models: wiki – site
- Trimble/Google SketchUp Pro version offers interoperability etc.: site
- Google Earth Pro service: 7-day free trial, webinar schedule
- IES, EnergyPlus and GreenspaceLive sustainability plug-ins for Trimble/Google SketchUp: here
- Google’s scheme of grants to provide enterprise versions of its software products to educational and non-profit organisations: here
There are guides, videos and courses in YouTube and elsewhere online, such as:
- How to model for Google Earth using Google SketchUp
- Building Maker Tutorial
- How to post a SketchUp model into Google Earth
- SketchUp Start Course (1-2 hours or so)
- Architectural Design with SketchUp: Component-Based Modeling, Plugins, Rendering, and Scripting (free online book, PDF format, 320 pages, 42 MB)
The 3D_lgc project celebrates initiatives to improve skills for learning, teaching, careers and hobbies, such as:
- Google for Students blog and Google Apps for Education (USA-based) here
- AJ Booker for SketchUP Suite etc., in Nottingham, providing tools, training and a free guide for teachers about to what SketchUp can and can’t do.
- Digital Design and Technology web site for schools, “… to develop a coherent support programme for teachers …”.
- NextGenSkills “for the UK’s education system to equip the next generation with the knowledge needed to grow this country’s digital, creative and high-tech economy.”
- Design8 who provide products, services and courses in 3D Google Earth, SketchUp and other design software; based at Tiel in the Netherlands.
- SketchUcation including The Daily CatchUp, based in Co. Clare in Ireland.
You can view an article by The Independent as to why you should study Animation.
Here are some of the academic courses in the UK that specialise in digital 3D design:
- 3D Digital Animation – University of Hertfordshire
- 3D Computer Animation MA: 3D Computer Generated Imagery: Modelling & Animation FdSc … at Bournemouth University
- 3D: digitise, deliver, discover – The John Rylands University Library, Manchester
- 3D Digital Design and Animation BA Hons – University of Greenwich
- 3D Design for Virtual Environments – Glasgow Caledonian University
- Brunel University, London: Advanced Multimedia Design and 3D Technologies MSc
Examples of 3D models and visualisations
- The web site of 3Dlinks in Canada has many 3D resources including software tools, free 3D objects, a gallery with animations etc. web site
- The creative agency Harmony Internet based in Biggleswade has agreed to match fund our main prize, the Google Nexus 7 tablet: web site – portfolio.
- Mike Tanti Design – associated with Digswell Arts Trust – runs one-day SketchUp training at six levels, of which levels 1 to 3 are essential here: workshops and gallery
- Virtual Viewing based in Milton Keynes. One of the company’s services is 3d modelling of products, retail environments and built environments, from single buildings to entire cities! web site and portfolio
- Siegeworks: 3D models of the Goldsmith Centre and the former Town Hall in Letchworth, also North Herts. College’s campus in Stevenage.
- Hitchin Google Earth 3D map (using the Google Earth plug-in, which may or may not work for you!)
- Download Hitchin Town Centre KML file(first install Google Earth and then import this file into My Places)
- CADVis is a computer aided design (CAD) bureau in Letchworth, including 3D modelling and visualisation.
- Tomorrow’s Garden City c/o Rowan Homes: a ‘fly-through’ tour video (2 minutes) of the new housing at Hartington Place, Letchworth: video (Select the 3D Video Tour link at the foot of the Gallery page.)
- London2012 Learning Legacy: 3D model creation and its use on Olympic Park: article (2 pages).
- The Google Earth 3D Cities Competition closed on 1st March 2012. You can see the 5 finalist teams’ entries in YouTube; the winner is: Geteria, Gipuzkoa, Basque country: announcement, collection
- SketchUpdate web log c/o the SketchUp team now at Trimble: with links to 3D modelling contests and competitions worldwide
- HolisticUrbanDesign, the research project of James Charlton at the Visualisation Centre, Northumbria University: ‘Toward an integrated approach to urban design’: Overview, 3D software, testing, preferred design
- 10k Design in Bristol, for 3D modelling & visualisation, especially with SketchUp: portfolio of projects.
- Severn Partnership‘s department 3D-Model.co.uk for 3D modelling and visualisation, based in Shrewsbury: 3D model gallery, 3D PDF gallery
- Landmark3D is a professional service in North Yorkshire, accredited by Google Geo-3D as a Certified Developer: warehouse.
- CADS 3D, based in Yarmouth: 3D modelling, visualisation, animation, and interaction including fly-through tours.
- The Planning Portal – an interactive house model.
- Westport, County Mayo, Ireland: a 3D model of the town (mostly actual in 2009, some not/not yet built): fly-through in YouTube (3.5 minutes, no sound); look it up in Google Earth.
- Wuhan, Hubei, China: skyscrapers in Google Earth and a research paper on Construction of a 3D Model from LIDAR and Image Sequences by Fei Deng and others, undated, here,
- Dassault Systèmes, Coventry and Paris etc.: web site – wiki – SolidWorks in Cambridge – demo library
- BBC TV‘s Countryfile programme on 3rd June 2012 showed vibrant ‘fly-through’ views of 3D digital reconstruction c/o the Northern Regional College: here and Peter McMullan’s examples here.
- Historical postcards in Margaret Pierce‘s collection, 1905-1960s, c/o Letchworth Garden City Society: http://letchworthgardencity.com/postcards/11.htm
- Virtual tours of premises in Letchworth Garden City:
- McCann Homes, MK re Ivel Court: http://www.mccannhomes.co.uk/contact/
- Letchworth Arts Centre – virtual tour: http://tour.letchwortharts.org/tour.html
- Surfin’ Cafe, Letchworth: http://www.surfincafe.co.uk/virtualtour.htm
- Mark Schuster, 2008, panoradiant; (Persepolis link is broken) e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Eye Revolution, London – portfolio of virtual tours: email@example.com
- Historical collections at the University of Maryland http://www.lib.umd.edu/NTL/gardencities.html.
- Zone1media motion graphics design, 3D animation and short films; time-lapse on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/16512849
- GreenspaceLive Ltd, energy & building related software and consultancy, University of the Highlands and Islands, Lews Castle College, Stornoway http://greenspacelive.com/
- Agility – Intelligent beam shaping (medical promotional use of 3D) Agility – Intelligent beam shaping
- Elekta virtual hospital (high resolution with pop-ups) http://evc.elekta.com/
- Animation of Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, on BBC news, Treatment Studios and D3 Technologies
- Cadtek, a product design company that uses and promotes SolidWorks: gallery – jobs – videos – demos – webinars – Competition 2011
- Sculpteo is a mail-order, 3D printing service in France: gallery – prototype printing from SketchUp files
- BBC News article about Ordnance Survey: “End of the road for paper maps?” – a video with sound, 2 mins. 44 secs.: here
- 3D Technologies R&D, London & Latvia: you can download the 3D interactive application from the web site – showcase on YouTube
- World in 3D who have modelled Harpenden’s town centre (screenshot attached) for the Harpenden Online Business Directory and a virtual Bus Tour!
- Royston Cave c/o Royston Town Council: a panoramic view and description.
Public facilities for 3D modelling
If you have access to the computers at a school, college or university, you may find that they have Google SketchUp installed and ready to use.
The Hertfordshire Library service does not include the use of SketchUp but you may access some of the tools listed above and more via an Internet browser as follows:
- Taking computer taster sessions. There is a moderate charge for this but you may be eligible for the fee to be waived – see the leaflet.
- Downloading of SketchUp and other software to a memory stick to install on another PC.
- Free use of Google Earth, 3D Warehouse, Street View and video tutorials.
- Visiting English Heritage’s site Images of England to search for 2D photographs of listed buildings, of which there are many in Letchworth; also British Listed Buildings.
Commercial sources of 3D artwork
These resell artists’ 3D models and components such as surface textures:
Many web sites contain historical images of Letchworth and environs. From the rainy day on which it was founded in 1903, this town has been intensively described, mythologised, mapped, illustrated, photographed and filmed! Note that permission may be needed for the use of the historical images.
- Images and films of many kinds are held in the collections of the First Garden City Heritage Museum: web site.
- Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS): web site.
- Historical postcards in Margaret Pierce’s collection, 1905 to 1960s c/o Letchworth Garden City Society’s web site.
History of 3D software
For the origins of 2D & 3D computer aided design (CAD) software, see for instance: