Student Video Tutorial + Frequently Asked Questions

Hey Students. Do you have questions about how to use

This video tutorial provides an overview of the website, explains how to create a new student user account, and walks you through the process of uploading images and text to your own design project.

Frequently asked questions about your account, uploading images, file types, and file sizes can be found here.

If you have other questions not listed below, please feel free write Jen at the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Problems logging in to DiscoverDesign
Forgotten password
Changing password
Changing username
Design process steps
Images (uploading, number, file type, size, troubleshooting)
Google SketchUp (exporting views)
Videos (uploading, file type, size)
AutoCAD and DWF files (exporting from DWG files, uploading)
Portfolio cover image
Changing the name of my project
Deleting my project


I registered for a new user account but I never received an email confirmation message so I could log in. 
First, check the spam folder in your email account.  A message from "" may have gotten caught there.  If you still haven't received a message, it's probably because you entered an email address that wasn't valid or you mistyped something in a hurry. Just register again for a new account using a valid email address.

Help! I've forgotten my password.
Exhale. We all forget this stuff now and then.  As long as you remember your DiscoverDesign username or the email address where you created an account, we can send you a temporary password. See the Get Started section.

How do I change my password?
Once you're logged in, go to the "My DiscoverDesign" tab found near the top right of your screen.  Then click on the orange edit button above the 'Information' box on the right.

How do I change my username?
Unfortunately, once you've created a user account, you cannot change your username.  If you really want to change it, we can reset it for you.  Just drop us a note and give us the information on your existing username. 

You can edit any other information in your account (city, school, teacher, password, etc.) Once you're logged in, go to the "My DiscoverDesign" tab found near the top right of your screen.  Then click on the orange edit button above the 'Information' box on the right.

In my design project, do I really need to do all five steps of the design process?
Yes! The architect / engineer mentors, your teacher, and other students want to see how you've solved the problem and how your ideas have changed over time.  They want to see more than just your final design.  You'll want to be sure to keep re-saving your digital model (with a new file name each time) as you work through the steps.   Keep uploading new versions to your project account without deleting the old files.

a) Overview    
b) Collect Info    
c) Brainstorm Ideas   
d) Develop Solutions    
e) Final Design

How many images can I upload?
You can upload a maximum of 7 images, videos, or digital models for each design process step. 

What types of image files can I upload?
The system allows these image file types: JPG, GIF, or PNG. 

My image won't load.  What's wrong?
If you're having trouble uploading images, reduce / compress the file size to 3MB or less. Remove any special characters (such as # or &) and spaces from the file name.

Why does the image I've uploaded look strange?
Try using a horizontal image instead of a vertical one.

What is the correct size for images I can upload?
The maximum pixel size for the horizontal view is 640 pixels wide x 360 pixels high.  The closer you can resize and crop your images to this size before uploading them, the clearer (and more accurately) your images will be shown.

If you're working on a PC, you can easily resize and crop images using Microsoft's Picture Manager tool on your computer.  From your list of image file names right click on the image > Open with > Microsoft Picture Manager.

To resize images: Picture > Resize
To crop images: Picture > Crop

How do I export views of my Google SketchUp model?
Rather than simply saving a screen capture of your Google SketchUp model, you can export any view and save it as a JPG.  You can then upload this image to your design project.

a)  In Google SketchUp, go to 'File' > 'Export' > '2D graphic'
b)  From this drop down list, change the export type to JPG
c)  Save as a JPG file and upload to your design project

What kind of video file can I upload?
Your video file needs to be saved as a FLV file with an aspect ratio of 16:9.  Maximum width and height is 640 pixels wide x 360 pixels high.  Upload a video at any step of the design process. 

Why should I upload a video?
You might think about creating a short video for the Collect Info step (example: a crowded bus station at the end of the school day) to illustrate the problem you are trying to solve and redesign.  You can also create a short animation / fly-through of your Google SketchUp model. 

What are DWF files and how do I create them? How can I use them in my design project?
If you are working in AutoCAD you can upload DWF files to your design project.  These are very cool and function sort of like 3D PDFs.  Viewers can rotate/orbit all around the model but they can't modify it. 

To save DWF files from your AutoCAD model:

a)    Open your 3D model in AutoCAD
b)    From the main toolbar > File > Export
c)    Export window appears > 3D DWF (.dwf) > Save file
d)    If you'd like to view the new DWF file immediately you'll need to install AutoDesk's Design Review installed on your computer.  For free download of this viewer, visit

How do I change my portfolio cover image?
You can stand out in the Student Gallery by changing your portfolio cover image as your keep working on your project. Change your portfolio cover image in the Overview step of your design project.  Click on the small orange "edit" button.

How do I change the name of my design project?
Unfortunately, once you've started a design project and given it a name, you cannot change it.  If you want something changed, you can write us with your username and the link to your project and we can edit it for you.

How do I delete my own design project?
a)    Log in to your account. Click on "My DiscoverDesign" tab. Click on the project you want to delete.
b)    Click on the "Overview" tab.  Click on the small orange "edit" button.
c)    When the grey popup box appears, scroll to the bottom and click on "Delete My Project".

Any other questions or problems?  
Just ask Laura at the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  We're happy to help!