Merge Content

This page describes the way I use SketchUp to merge the content for a tile. There's a lot going on in this page. Here's a brief summary, to get us started:

  • Begin with a dimensionally accurate, multi-level template
    (e.g., MPT.skp, from the Create Template page).

  • Add tile-level braille (e.g., description) to the Cells layer
    Save as sample_a.skp, for use on other tiles in the set,
    but be sure to modify the tile numbers as appropriate!

  • Add set-level printed matter (e.g., QR code) to the Print layer.

  • Import feature outlines (e.g., paths, walls) to the Lines layer
    (e.g., sample_o, from the Import Data page).

  • Add braille (e.g., room codes and numbers) to the Cells layer.

  • Add text (e.g., room codes and numbers) to the Print layer.

Be sure to save often, in case something goes worng [sic]. Also, consider using intermediate file names and multiple directories, to reduce the likelihood of confusion.

Braille Usage

To save on space, we are using a very minimal form of braille: 6-dot braille cells, lower-case letters, no number signs, etc. Even so, I have had to adjust the height of some rooms. Finally, in order to shorten the annotations, we have adopted these conventions:

  • three letters are used for classrooms, e.g: bcd (234)
  • two letters are used for other rooms, e.g: st (stairs)
  • one letter is used for corridors, e.g: b (2)
  • the letter r is used for card reader exits

I'm currently using "HBS-8-Braille Taktil" as a 3D braille font. This font follows the Computer Braille Code (aka EuroBraille) standard, so a number of details don't match common usage in the United States. For the moment, therefore, I'm avoiding capital letters, numbers, and punctuation. This is rather awkward, so I'm looking for a better solution.

Annotate Tile

The top row of rectangles in each tile contains assorted annotations. The outer two rectangles contain the tile number; in some cases this may also indicate the floor of the building. The inner two rectangles contain tile set information, in braille and print. The braille description is limited to a single line of 14 cells; the print area can hold two lines of about 30 characters each, plus a QR code (used to look up the tile set's web page).

Setup

  • open MPT.skp in SketchUp
  • save as sample_a.skp
  • dismiss any existing Fonts dialog
  • zoom in to the annotation rectangles

Braille

  • pan to the far-left rectangle
  • using Tools > 3D Text, bring up the "Place 3D Text" dialog
  • using the Fonts button, bring up a Fonts dialog
  • select HBS-8-Braille Taktil / Standard
  • enter 3/8" as the size
  • enter the tile number in the text area
  • using the Place button, generate the braille
  • position the braille in the rectangle; save

  • pan to the far-right rectangle
  • annotate it with the tile number; save

  • pan to the left-center rectangle
  • annotate it with the set description; save

  • select all the braille cells
  • move them to the Cells layer; save

Print

  • pan to the right-center rectangle
  • using Tools > 3D Text, bring up the "Place 3D Text" dialog
  • dismiss the Fonts dialog
  • using the Fonts button, bring up a Fonts dialog
  • select Arial / Regular
  • enter 3/16" as the size
  • enter the set description in the text area
  • using the Place button, generate the printed text
  • position the text in the rectangle; save

  • select all the printed text
  • move it to the Print layer; save

QR Code

Although QR codes can hold a lot of data, this can also increase the needed print resolution. Fortunately, we only need to store a reference URL, e.g:

http://cfcl.com/Utiles/QR/<location>/<building>

Having selected our URL, we only need to generate and place the corresponding QR code image. There are various ways (e.g., applications, web sites) to generate QR codes. I'm using goqr.me, a free and convenient web site:

  • navigate to goqr.me
  • click the icon for the URL type
  • enter the URL; generate a QR code
  • download the image in JPEG format
  • move and rename the image file, as appropriate

  • drag the image below the right-center rectangle
  • scale it to (roughly) the rectangle's height
  • position it in the right end of the rectangle
  • delete the enclosing rectangle; save

  • select the QR code
  • move it to the Print layer; save

Wrapup

  • Camera > Zoom Extents
  • using the Paint tool, fill bucket with black
  • paint all 3D Text (braille and print)
  • make all layers visible
  • Camera > Zoom Extents
  • save sample_a.skp

Add Features

The incoming features might be derived from a floor plan, a map, etc. For a floor plan, we want to provide some space around the features (e.g., walls), so we scale and place them within the inner rectangle. In the case of a map, the features (e.g., roads) will extend off the tile, so we scale and place them within the outer rectangle.

  • open sample_a.skp in SketchUp
  • save as sample_m.skp

  • open sample_o.skp (outline); copy
  • switch to sample_m.skp
  • paste and scale, as appropriate
  • make sure it's on the Lines layer
  • remove inner rectangle
  • save sample_m.skp

Add Braille

If a braille annotation doesn't fit within the enclosing room (etc), it's OK to move (really, redraw) some lines to make room for it. As long as the result maintains roughly the same topology, most users will be able to accept minor dimensional changes.

  • switch to sample_m.skp
  • using Tools > 3D Text, bring up the "Place 3D Text" dialog
  • dismiss the Fonts dialog, if any
  • using the Fonts button, bring up a Fonts dialog
  • select HBS-8-Braille Taktil / Standard
  • enter 3/8" as the size
  • rinse, repeat

  • select the braille annotations
  • move them to the Cells layer; save

Add Print

  • switch to sample_m.skp
  • using Tools > 3D Text, bring up the "Place 3D Text" dialog
  • dismiss the Fonts dialog, if any
  • using the Fonts button, bring up a Fonts dialog
  • select Arial / Regular
  • enter 5/16" (or 1/8", if need be) as the size
  • rinse, repeat

  • select the printed annotations
  • move them to the Print layer; save


This wiki page is maintained by Rich Morin, an independent consultant specializing in software design, development, and documentation. Please feel free to email comments, inquiries, suggestions, etc!

Topic revision: r14 - 10 Dec 2015, RichMorin
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