These are REALLY good tips on having a better workflow in SketchUp. And a better workflow means faster completion and typically happier modelers!
His tips are include how to work through a process using SketchUp, his favorite plugins/extensions, and keeping your models organized.


In the coming posts, you will see some of the best plugins available for landscape, site design, and construction. At the top of the list are the many plugins that Vali Architects have made for SketchUp. A recently revamped Instant Site Grader is a amazing way to take topography and match it to a building’s foundation. So if you have a walkout basement on rolling terrain, this plugin will make it easy to combine the two. There are also ways of adjusting the topography so that it is less rigid looking. The plugin costs $15, but it is worth it! There are other plugins on the Vali website that will be featured, but feel free to look around.

Trimble has released a plugin for SketchUp Pro that is very compelling.  They have a plugin that directly brings in Trimble 3D scan data into SketchUp to make models.  This was just released yesterday, so I’m still studying it.  Here is where you can pick up the plugin:  It seems to take the scan information to set up construction points and lines in SketchUp that can be used to draw the model.  It seems to make for an accurate measured model in a short amount of time.

A video on what it can do and how to use it is below.

If you have downloaded the new SketchUp, you will need to reinstall your extensions (plugins) due to changing to the Ruby 2.0 language that SketchUp now uses to run the extensions. Though this is a good thing with new plugin possibilities, there will be a lag before all extensions are available for SketchUp 2014. Personally, I’ve only found a CompoSpray and gcodeimporter/exporter as non-compliant (as of March 6, 2014).

Here is where you can go in the Extension Warehouse to see a list of just the SketchUp 2014 Extensions.

The SketchUp team unveiled the 2014 version this morning! There are lots of fixes with this version but the most interesting change is a revised and improved 3D Warehouse. The look of the warehouse has improved immensely, but the model collection is also better. There is now a products catalog with better organization. There is also an ability to showcase your models with an orbit and zoom feature over the web using a WebGL browser.

If you have a Pro version with a maintenance release, the upgrade to 2014 is free and readily available. Their blog post about getting on the maintenance program can explain any further questions you may have about upgrading.

I don’t mention it often enough, but there are some powerful plugins for SketchUp. One of the more powerful ones is Vertex Tools. It is a paid plugin(free 30 day trial), but well worth it! In the video below, you can see how easy it is to level out terrain for a building pad for instance. The colors on the vertexes shows how much manipulation the vertex will receive. You can control how wide an area is affected or how powerful the change will be. It is what makes this a useful tool.

SketchUp Helper put together a good video showing three methods to swapping out components with other geometry. (A poor man’s xref.) The first method is Cut and Paste. The second is Reload. And the third is Replace Selected. Watch the video to see exactly how to use these methods.

Eneroth3 has made some wonderful plugins for SketchUp. It is amazing to see what she has done as a programmer. This past Fall she put out a new plugin called Fractal Terrain Eroder. It subdivides terrain and then “crunches” it down to create a much more varied terrain. In the end the terrain looks more natural and it doesn’t take much time for the user to create it. And the plugin in listed in the SketchUp Extension Warehouse so it is easy to load. Try it out!

SketchUp Texture on Facebook has some compelling textures and 3D vegetation available for free download. Their page is always interesting and the work is international. It’s well worth your time to check out.

SiteScapes has added SketchUp Components of their recent site furniture on their website at Enjoy and have a great holiday!

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