This tutorial describes how to make a different architectural models, like a house. Rather than describing strict dimensions to follow when creating the building, you will free-style and create your own building!

In this lesson you will learn: 

  • The basics of sketching
  • How to pull 2D sketches into 3D objects with "Extrude"
  • How to hollow objects with the "Shell" tool
  • How to create holes (and subtract objects from each other)
  • Finishing touches like textures

Getting Started:

First, make sure you are signed up and logged in. If you previously created an account, you can log in by pressing "Browse Designs" or navigating to and pressing the menu button in the top-right:

Then press "Login:"

Once logged in, press the button in the bottom-left to start a new design:

Once the 3D modeling interface loads, you should see the interface. 

You may also see the tutorial. You can go through the tutorial and return to this one, or just close it and complete it later:

For navigation: Left-click and drag to rotate the camera, and right-click and drag to pan the camera, and scroll to zoom in and out. 

If you get lost, you can re-orient the camera using the camera controls in the bottom right. Just single click the camera and click "Fit View:" 

Step 1: Starting a Sketch 

Hover your mouse over the center, and single left-click the bottom, blue plane:

Then click "Sketch" 

This is sketch mode, where you will create 2D sketches that you will pull into 3D objects. By default, the grids represent 1 square centimeter (cm). These settings can be changed in the menu in the top-right.

Change units to ft (or m) to work in larger, building-sized units: 

Press the checkmark to close the settings:

Now you should be in sketch mode with a large grid: 

Along the bottom, you'll notice the sketching toolbar: 

The checkmark on the left accepts and closes the sketch. Next to that is the cursor for the "Select" tool, which is used to select and modify the sketches. You can enter this mode by pressing esc on your keyboard twice:

Next to that are the tools to sketch lines, circles, and arcs: 

Step 2: Sketching the Floor Plan

Select the "Line" Tool and begin sketching the floor plan. Each line will represent an outside wall. I like to start with sketching and dimensioning a single wall, to get a sense of scale:

Sketch a rough estimate of the buildings outline. Make sure to close the loop (connecting the last point to the first):

Enter select mode by pressing escape twice (or clicking the select tool). Now you can select lines (walls) and set their lengths:

Once you're finished sketching the building outline, press the green checkmark to close the sketch. 

Note: If your sketch won't close because it says to "close open loops," it is because you likely sketched too many lines, or lines with points that connected with themselves. You can try to drag the points in select mode to find which lines are not connected. 

Step 3: Pulling the 2D sketch into a 3D Model

Single-click the building profile, and press the "Extrude" button. Enter 15 in the magnitude box (or however tall you want the building to be): 

Now, select the top plane of the new 3D object. We will hollow out the building by pressing the "Shell" tool: 

Enter "0.5" ft in the input field, and press the green checkmark. You should then have a shell of a house: 

Step 4: Sketching the internal walls

Select the floor of the house, press the sketch button, and again use the line tool to sketch out the internal walls of the building: 

I like to keep sections of the walls separate, so they are easier to move and adjust later: 

You can always add more walls and details later.

Once finished, close the sketch:

Again, you will be pulling the different 2D sketches into 3D objects. You can select multiple sketches by holding Ctrl (or Command on mac): 

Press "Extrude" and enter "10" ft into the field (or however tall you want the internal walls to be): 

If you need to reduce the height of a surface--like in the case of this counter--you can select the top surface, and subtract length from the top (making sure "cut" is selected): 

Before continuing, it's probably a good idea to save your progress this far. That way, you can always come back to this point in the model.

Press "Publish," give your design a name, description, enter tags and press "Save":

Step 6: Adding windows and door cuts

To add windows and door cuts, select the wall you would like to start with, and press sketch: 

Use select mode to set the various constraints (select various lines and points). 

When finished, close the sketch by pressing the green checkmark.

Select the sketch and pull it beyond the thickness of the wall: 

To cut the pieces away from the building wall, double-click the wall THEN double-click the door or window cut, and press "Cut." If you want to keep the window cutting block, you can toggle "keep tool" to the right. Otherwise, press the checkmark to accept. 

You can select the building by double-clicking it, then hold ctrl (or cmd) and select multiple windows at once to perform multiple cuts at once. The end result will be holes for the windows or doors: 

You can repeat this process around the house for various doors and windows--reusing shapes multiple times to cut multiple windows:

Step 7: Creating a roof

To create a roof that covers the perimeter of the building, we'll first sketch the perimeter, then the top point. Once we have the two surfaces, we can use a tool called "Loft" to generate a shape that connects the two, resulting in the roof shape.

Start by selecting the bottom face of the building and pressing "Sketch": 

To pull points from the perimeter in, hover your mouse over the corners, and press "Project on sketch." This will help with drawing the roof perimeter:

Connect the dots to trace the perimeter, creating whatever shape you want for the roof: 

Now you will add the shape of the top of the roof: 

Close the sketch and extrude both pieces a small amount 

After the pieces are extruded, move them a distance above the building by selecting them and pressing "Translate:"

Move the smaller piece above the larger one:

Now, single-click the top of the bottom piece, and hold ctrl (or command on a mac) and single-click the bottom of the top piece. The goal is to select the areas between the two surfaces. 

Then press "Loft" 

When you press the green checkmark, you should see something approximating the shape of a roof:

You can now delete the two pieces used for construction. 

You can scale the size of the roof up so there is overhang over the edges (double-click it and press "Scale), or change the sketch to account for overhangs. Either way, you can move the roof to cover the rest of the building: 

Step 8: Adding Materials and finishing touches

Double-click the roof, then select "Set Material" to add textures and materials to the buildings: 

In the tab on the right, you can select various textures--like roof shingles:

The default color shade is a light blue. So in the "Settings" tab, you can adjust the colors:

Press "Save Material" to apply the material:

You can repeat the process to add materials to the walls: 

You can zoom in to select internal components. Zoom into the roof to check out the attic:

I ended up changing the roof structure:

Added some stairs, doors and windows:

Can create some great walkthroughs with by zooming in:

Remember, you can also add parts from the Orchard library to your scene. You can also upload objects. So you can furnish your new house with tables, more detailed doors and windows, etc.

Remember to periodically publish your changes!

If you have any questions or feedback, let us know by clicking the green button in the bottom-right. 

Happy building! 

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