This is a new tutorial series aimed at beginner to Intermediate 3D users using Sketchup, 3D Studio Max. It will take you through the process of creating an Interior visual for a home improvement project for an existing living space. This is something that I did myself recently as I had my Kitchen and living room ripped out and rebuilt. The process of creating a 3D model and producing visuals allowed me to clearly

  • Communicate my ideas to the builder and my family
  • Test and evaluate different ideas and possibilities
  • Reach a consensus on changes and reach a decision effectively and quickly
  • Try out diferent interior designs

“In essence visualisation is primarily the ability to predict and evaluate the function and aesthetic of a construction before it is built.”

I have taught 3D privately in the past and also at various colleges and design Institutions and I really enjoy teaching but due to work commitments and lack of time it is becoming increasingly harder to help some friends around me who are tryign to learn skills to find work. I remember when I started out there were very few sources and there were not many people willing to pass on skills, so it took a lot of experimentation and failures, to get here. we are very lucky today as there is a wealth of tutorials and learning materials available. Sometimes this can become confusing though and without focus. These won’t be the only way to do things but just the way I have worked out through experimentation so feel free to go through the tutorials and ask any questions in the comments box below.


For this project I want you to pick a room, preferably your living room or main living space. The first step is to survey the room, simply draw out and record existing measurements. The quickest way to do this is to draw out a simple layout of the room and then walk around and take measurements with a tape measure or electronic measuring instrument. Take care to record any awkward or key features. Below is the survey I did for my living room.


Although we could build the 3D model in 3D Studio Max it would be faster and easier to create it in Sketchup. Each package has its strengths and weaknesses and the idea is to choose the quickest way. Using the above measurements start to build the base of the room. First set your dimensions, i prefer to use centimetres. Then use the built-in angle snapping to by moving the mouse to force the direction and then type in the measurements without mouse-clicking. You can review the process in the following video.

Next use the Push/Pull tool to create the height of the room, again just type in the values. I like to remove the ceiling and switch to x ray mode so that you can clearly view the space and start to add any features such as ledges, bulkheads, doors and windows. The key tool here is the tape measure as it allows you to create guides at certain measurements and then the ability to snap to these guides to create additional geometry.

because sketchup has a sticky building process where everything builds and cuts on top of each other it is necessary to group the room model so that it wont interfere with other models you will be creating later. This also means that to edit the room structure you will need to double click on the room entity to enter it and enable it to be edited. Each individual model should be grouped so they dont interfere with each other.


The great thing about sketchup is it allows you to make any of the common changes that vested parties require such as “what if we move the wall 20cm back” or “what if we get rid of those windows and put a door in” or “Will the furniture fit in to the space if we make these changes”.

Now the logic that dictates these decisions is a whole other lecture, but following are the changes that I made and the different iterations I came up with. Oh and once you have finished with the tape measure guides select Edit>Delete guides to get rid of them.

The next part of the tutorial will cover importing the sketchup file into 3D Studio Max and starting to texture, detail and render the scene.

Checkout Ramy Hanna’s blog for a great example of sketchup use for later visualisation in 3D Studio Max Here.