I have been experimenting with some old-school plan oblique illustrations. This was one of the first 3-dimensional views I learned to draft by hand in school. What is great about these types of illustrations is that they can be used as scaled measured drawings in 3 axes. This is possible because the plan (x and y axis) is not distorted but is parallel to the viewing plane. The z axis is also drawn to true length meaning this can be measured as well. Sketchup cannot generate this view directly within the program. However, with a few tricks, a little geometry know-how, and Photoshop, it is possible to recreate the drawing. Overlaying textures and colors on top of this view can produce some really unique imagery that can set your stuff apart.


This first part will describe how to generate a true plan oblique view. Later posts will describe the methods I used to add color and texture.



1) First, create a square surface and then extrude it a little to create a cube. Then select all of the cube surfaces and create a group so that everything can be rotated easily.


1 draw and group




2) Next, rotate the cubes 45 degrees around the z axis. The surface of the cube will be used to set the view. Essentially, you want the cube at this step to be at a 45 degree angle to your model. This will make more sense later on.


2 rotate




3) Rotate the cube up along the x axis so that the front face is slanted at a 45 degree angle as shown below.


3 rotate




4) I need to switch from perspective to parallel projection. To do this, go to “Camera>Parallel Projection”.


4 parrallel projection




5) With the camera set to parallel projection, I now want to align the view to the surface of the cube created earlier. Simply double click to enter the cube group, select the front surface, right-click and choose “align view”.


5 align view




6) Go to “View>Animation>Add Scene” to save this view.


6 save view



7) I now need to export the model as a 2D image to continue the process in Photoshop. Choose “File>Export>2D Graphic”. I typically save the image as a JPEG at a width of 4500 pixels.


7 export 2d




8) Open the exported JPEG in Photoshop. Right-click on the background layer and “Duplicate” the layer.


8 duplicate



9) I will be stretching this image, so I need to increase the canvas size to make room for the larger image and avoid having the line work go off of the page. Go to “Image>Canvas Size”. In the dialogue box, increase the height to about double of what was originally there. I went from 25 to 50, however, your image may be different. It is not necessary to increase the width.


9 canvas size




10) In the layer palette, select the duplicated layer. Then go to “Edit>Transform>Scale” at the top.


10 transform




11) At the top next to the “H”, change the number from 100% to 141.42135%. The image should now be an almost perfect plan oblique drawing. Why 141.42135 you ask? If you look at an isosceles right triange, the ratio of the sides are 1 : 1 : . The square root of 2 equals 1.41421356. Turn that into a percentage, you get 141.42135%.


11 stretch




Below, the final plan oblique image.


12 Final Orthographic image


One thing to note is that the above image is still not to any particular scale. However, this can be achieved by exporting a scaled image of the floor plan from a program such as AutoCAD or Revit, then scaling the plan oblique image to match the exported plan in Photoshop. Check back later for the final post processing of this image involving adding color and texture.




alex hogrefe axon large stretched websize 2