SketchUp plugins serve as one of the best ways to augment SketchUp’s 3D modeling ability.  [Plugins use a programming language called Ruby Scripts so you may hear the term “rubies”.  The files end in .rb.  They are still referring to plugins.]

Jim’s SketchUp Blog will show new beginners how to download and install plugins.

A list of must-have plugins

Daniel Tal’s basic list include – Simplify Contours, Color By Z, Component Spray, Drop, Joint Push Pull, Tools on Surface (Look for the yellow Download image). You may need to install Progress Bar, Offset, Fredo, TT_Lib, or TT_Lib2  to get these to work correctly.

Selection Toys (Select Edges, Faces, components, layers… Can’t live without it! )

Extrude Tools (Extrude by Rails can take curved linework and turn it into a surface)

Scale and Rotate Multiple (which includes a randomizer)

Cleanup (optimizes and cleans up a model/component which is really good when importing models to SketchUp)

Make Faces (makes surfaces out of coplanar linework like CAD)

Rotated Rectangles (rectangles at any rotation)

FredoScale (scale, shear, bend, twist, stretch…)

Simplify Contour (makes longer lines out of contours from CAD – use before

Other Plugins to consider

SketchyFFD (deforming a group of surfaces using points/corners)

Curviloft (curved linework to a surface)

Plan tools (Generate buildings from imported Dwg’s – especially from converted GIS shape files; there are other cool features too)

Plugins with a free trial, but worth purchasing

Artisan (organic modeling tools: many ways to manipulate topography) $39

Vali Architects Instant Road (insert roads, paths, streams into topography with medians, curbs, sidewalks) $25

Vali Architects Instant Site Grader (SketchUp’s Stamp tool plus: merge terrain and objects that aren’t coplanar) $15

Repeat Copy (Select components like trees give them a range of heights then place them on topo randomly) $8

Vertex Tools (Manipulate vertexes along a surface with various selection and manipulation tools) $20

A larger list of plugins


or (some free, some to purchase: support the programmers!)

A visual list of the plugins in action