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News and notes from the SketchUp folks.

Updated: 2018-03-12T01:09:54.787-06:00


Farewell, Blogger


If you’re reading this, you’re officially missing out on new posts at the SketchUpdate blog’s new home:

Since 2007, the SketchUpdate blog has been using Google’s Blogger platform for publishing articles about SketchUp. It’s been almost three years since we’ve moved on from Google, so we figured it was about time to bring the blog over to our own website.

For the next few weeks (while our new blog is in beta), you’ll still be able to read posts here on Blogger. Pretty soon, though, we’ll be redirecting these articles to our new blog.

We’ve moved the majority of SketchUpdate posts to the new site, but not all of them. Over the years, we’ve had lots of posts about Google Earth and Building Maker, two products that are no longer part of the SketchUp family. While you won’t find posts about those products on the new blog, you can look forward to many new articles about SketchUp tutorials, 3D Warehouse content, extensions, developer tools, and a lot more. Thanks for reading and sketching with us all these years -- come on over to the new SketchUpdate blog to keep on scrolling!

Posted by Mark Harrison, SketchUp team


SketchUp gets extreme with skatepark designer Dug Ketterman


Dug Ketterman is a world renowned skatepark designer with an impressive resume of projects under his belt, including multiple X Games courses. Dug is an active member of the SketchUp community, and we spoke with him recently to learn more about his insane collection of skatepark and ramp designs. He also shared some modeling advice, so even if skateparks aren’t your thing, we still think you’ll take away some rad SketchUp tips.The 2012 X Games Street Course designed in SketchUp ProHow long have you been using SketchUp?Before SketchUp, I had spent years and countless hours drafting skateparks and ramps by hand. My dad uses SketchUp for woodworking and suggested I give it a try. This was back in 2006 and I’ve been using it ever since. The speed and no-nonsense way of modeling had me hooked. I’m attending the Art Institute of Portland for my bachelor’s in Industrial Design and have tried several big name 3D modeling softwares, but SketchUp seems to be the only one that works with my brain.What is important in skatepark design?There are many things that go into a good design, all of which cater to different types of skaters. Some enjoy transitions like pools and halfpipes, while others skate on flat-ground and never touch transition. However, the one thing that all skaters can agree on is flow. You need to be able to generate enough speed to take you from one feature to the next with a minimal amount of pushing and without running into other obstacles. As I am creating parks, I am constantly thinking about distances, heights, gaps, angles and materials to determine proper spacing within a given boundary. I refer to this process as 'Flow Analysis': the study of spatial relationships between skatepark elements.The 2013 Global X Games Street Course held in Munich, Germany is one of the riders’ favorite courses to date. They all thought it had great flow. Co-designers: Brian Harper & Ryan JohnsonHow does being a skateboarder and an architect influence your park design in comparison to an architect who doesn’t skateboard?There is something commonly referred to as ‘the contractor's kink.’ This refers to the worst placement of seams and uneven skating surfaces that general contractors and architects unknowingly design into skateparks. There are many nuances to creating a well-skating park. This knowledge can only be gained through experience skating a wide variety of terrain. Rail heights, ledge angles, grind edge materials, seam and joint placement: these are just a few of the things that can make or break a perfect skate spot.A perfect example of ‘contractor’s kink.’ No space for speed, a large seam in the concrete, and a handrail that’s too high. Photo courtesy of thrashermagazine.comOut of all of 'em, what has been your favorite project?It has to be the 2011 X Games Street Course held in Los Angeles, CA. I had free reign not only to design the park, but also to be on site to finalize every exacting detail, right down to the grass coming out of the faux cracks and the authentic graffiti tags decorating the brick walls. It was exhilarating working as an art director with a crew of 20+ talented concrete, wood, and steel workers to help realize a 10,000 square-foot sculpture that was about to be skated by the world’s best athletes on live television in front of millions of viewers.The 2011 X Games Street Course designed in SketchUp ProPhotograph of the nearly completed 2011 X Games Street CourseWhat are your go-to SketchUp extensions?The Super Section plug-in has saved me tons of steps when creating construction documents. It's a genius extension for creating layers and scenes in LayOut. Also, Bitmap to Mesh and Sandbox Tools are great extensions for creating mesh surfaces.How do you organize your models?Groups and components are king. I treat every element in my model as if it were a separate material in the real world: plywood, 2x4's, scaffolding, etc. Grouping each piece separately allows you to quickly scale and resize as you draw and make modifications. Components are gre[...]

New 3D Warehouse User Profiles — Because YOU Matter Most


We are so excited to announce brand new, more robust, user profiles for 3D Warehouse. We hope you’ll find that the revamped My 3D Warehouse page provides the features you need for promoting yourself, your interests and your business as well as improve your ability to connect with other users.To get started, you’ll first need to Sign In to 3D Warehouse. Then choose “My 3D Warehouse” from the User drop-down menu (see Fig. 1).Fig 1. Once you've signed in, choose My 3D Warehouse from the User menu.Your My 3D Warehouse page shows the information that is visible to other 3D Warehouse users. To edit your profile, click the button labeled “Edit Profile” (see Fig 2).Fig 2. Click Edit Profile to modify the profile information that is visible to other 3D Warehouse users.Profile InfoFilling out profile info like your user profile photo (Fig. 3-A), bio (Fig 3-E), web links (Fig. 3-F), links to your social accounts (Fig. 3-G), location (Fig. 3-H) and Profesional Info (Fig. 3-I) can be a great way to let folks know more about who you are and gives you the ability to promote yourself and/or your business. You’re free to fill in as much or as little information as you want — and select privacy controls (Fig. 3-D) for setting which fields are displayed on your public profile.Custom URLsAnother noteworthy feature included in this release is the ability to claim a custom URL (Fig. 3-B), such as: Custom URLs have to be unique, so hustle up and grab yours before someone else does!Contact MeThis release also reintroduces a feature that gives you the option to allow other 3D Warehouse users to contact you directly via the email address associated with your 3D Warehouse account. To take advantage of this feature, you’ll need to be sure to opt in by checking the checkbox (Fig 3-C). For more information about the Contact Me feature, please feel free to check out this Knowledge Center article.Fig 3. The new 3D Warehouse User Profiles are chock full of ways for you to share info about who you are and why you're passionate about 3D modeling.We know you work hard on your models! By sharing more information on your profile, you are now able to connect with and more meaningfully engage your fellow 3D Warehouse compatriots. So go ahead and upload that selfie or logo, tell us about yourself, and get social! We hope you have as much fun using these new profile features as we had making them.Questions, comments? Feel free to visit our Community Forums.Posted by Mike Tadros (Product Manager) and Alexandra Bowen (Community Manager) [...]

3D Warehouse Comments are back!


Commenting is the backbone of the Community — it’s a communication channel that gives 3D Warehouse users the ability to support and learn from one another. We feel a bit crummy that 3D Warehousers have been without commenting for a while, but we’re immensely proud of our new and improved system. Our sincere thanks to those of you who were patient enough to stick with us. It was really important to us to get this right, and we hope that what we’ve delivered was worth the wait.Fig 1. We #BroughtBackComments — replies are now threaded to help make sense of side conversations.Before you dive in, here are some things you might want to know about 3D Warehouse’s Commenting features:• We’ve migrated all the legacy comments from our old commenting system.• You’ll need to be signed in order to use commenting features.• Comments and replies are now threaded to help make sense of side conversations. • You can add a new comment, reply to an existing one, and even edit or delete your own comments.• You’ll notice a flag icon alongside all comments. If you find that a comment is offensive or abusive, (as shown in Fig. 2) click the Flag icon to alert our community moderators. Flagged comments will automatically appear in the state shown in Fig. 3 below until they’re reviewed:Fig 2. Click the flag icon to mark a comment as abusive.Fig 3. This is what a comment will look like once it's been flagged.• Comments are enabled for every model by default. If you’d prefer, you can easily disable commenting for any of your models while in Edit mode on the model details page (see Fig. 4):Fig 4. You can enable or disable comments for any of the models you've published on 3D Warehouse.• Lastly, we’ve introduced a notifications feature that will help you stay up to date on conversations. You can manage notification preferences on the new Edit Profile page (see Fig. 5).Fig 5. You can now receive email notifications when other users comment on your models, or reply to your comments.Now, more than ever, we’ve made it possible for you to connect with professionals and hobbyists of all sorts. We invite you to start a conversation with other 3D Warehouse community members who have shared their great modeling work for all to see and use.Of course, comment threads usually benefit from a degree of decorum. We hope you’ll engage in discussions that make 3D Warehouse an interesting and helpful place — and avoid those conversations that do not. So go ahead: give props, make suggestions, ponder polycounts or the future of the universe. 3D Warehouse comments are back, and we’re excited for the conversation to begin, again.Questions, comments? Feel free to visit our Community Forums.Happy commenting!Posted by Mike Tadros (Product Manager) and Alexandra Bowen (Community Manager) [...]

Smart modeling for building performance using SketchUp and Sefaira


A few members of the SketchUp team recently traveled to New York to spend a little time with the folks at Sefaira. Sefaira provides energy and daylighting analysis to help architects and designers drive decisions like form, orientation, and facade design with the aid of real-time feedback in SketchUp.

Together, we worked on a webinar called Smart Modeling for Building Performance. The focus of the webinar was to take a closer look at some of the decisions that drive building performance, as well as some SketchUp techniques that aid in this kind of modeling at early stages of design.

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Check out the recorded version of the webinar from Feb. 19, 2015. The techniques shown in this video are aimed toward the use of SketchUp with the Sefaira extension.

We also put together a list of resources and answers to questions that were presented during the webinar. You can access those here and find more information about Sefaira on their website or on the Extension Warehouse.

Posted by Josh Reilly, SketchUp Team


SketchUp Skill Builders: Model Smarter, Faster


Have you ever had that moment in SketchUp where you discovered something new and your entire day got a little brighter? We created a new video series that’ll hopefully add more of those moments to your month. Our new SketchUp Skill Builder videos are meant to be short (just a few minutes), so you can grab some morning coffee and learn something new in a few sips!

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SketchUp Skill Builders: Learn something fun and useful about SketchUp in just a few minutes!

As we release these videos, we’ll also create separate discussion threads for each video in the Tutorials category of our SketchUp Forum. That’s the place to go if you have questions about a technique, or an idea about how to model even smarter.

We’re planning to release a few Skill Builders each month, and we’d love to hear what techniques you’d like to learn more about or any of your own modeling tips you’d like to share with the SketchUp community. Fill out this form to suggest an idea for a future Skill Builder video.

Posted by Josh Reilly, SketchUp Team

What? You’ve never been to the SketchUp YouTube channel? We have lots of useful videos about modeling techniques, tools, and user stories. Search within our channel or subscribe to stay in the loop on our latest and greatest.


Ready, set... Maker Bench


Maker Bench is going to be an open source, CNC workbench for everyone. Sounds fun, right? Well, then, help us design a Maker Bench!At SketchUp HQ, we spend a lot of time thinking about how SketchUp works, and trying to make it work much or even just a bit better. Over the years, we’ve found that SketchUp users think a lot about how SketchUp works too.This got us thinking: It’s fun to think about how something works, especially when that something is used to make other somethings. We call this circular design task meta-making -- making the things that people use for making.So, we thought it would be great to spin up a new meta-making project with the SketchUp and maker communities: it’s called Maker Bench, and it’s a CNC workbench for everyone. (What’s that? You’re ready to start designing your own maker bench now? Jump into the SketchUp Forums to get going. Otherwise, read on!). Along with Eric Schimelpfenig at, we’ve been kicking the idea of a Maker Bench around for a few years now. In that time, we’ve built WikiHouses, Open Desks, geodomes, modirondack chairs, skpr bots, and lots of other things too. As part-time makers, we always seem to find ourselves retrofitting work spaces, jigs, and tools in new environments. What if it were really, really easy to design and build our own workspace, and then bring it with us? Last year, we came across Ron Paulk’s phenomenal workbench. We were impressed (not to mention full of desire), and we wondered what Ron’s project would look like if designed for makers, not professional carpenters.Maker Bench: standing or sitting? You decide!Our curiosity with this idea came to a point this past December, and we started asking ourselves, “what do makers need in a work bench?” Well, here are a few starting ideas:Accessibility: A Maker Bench should be accessible to anyone who makes anything. That means it should be simple to construct and be fabricatable using tools that are commonly accessible at a makerspace or TechShop. Further, Maker Benches should require an economical amount of material and minimal hardware.Portability: A Maker Bench should fit easily in your car.Storability: Maker Benches should work well in environments where there may not be a lot of space (a garage, a worksite, a shop, or a makerspace). Ideally, it should be easy to break down and store one or many Benches.Modularity: People have different workspace requirements or constraints. Maker Benches should be modular so that you have control over how much space you need.‘Retrofittability’: Along with modularity for dimensional workspace, a Maker Bench should be modular enough to accommodate specialized use cases. A few that came to mind right away were drawing, CNC work, soldering, and 3D printing.The top of each Maker Bench is removable and customizable. We’ve designed this one for use with ShopBot’s Handibot.As we mentioned before, we’re only part-time makers, so another requirement for the project is that the designs for Maker Bench should be open for anyone to customize.With that in mind, our first major step in actually making a Maker Bench is to ask you for help. What should a Maker Bench look like? What else should it be able to do (or help people do)? How can we make it better?Jump into the SketchUp forums, and join our Maker Bench conversation. Tell us what you want to see in a Maker Bench. Better yet, download the starter-models and start tinkering. We hope to spend the next two months modifying the design, and then fabricate our first set of prototypes at Maker Faire Bay Area in May. Along the way, we’ll share our conceptual and as-built models, our good ideas, our bad ideas, our cutting files, and our build photos. Please, join us! We’re aiming to meta-make a workspace that’s practical and useful for people who tinker and build, and we’re planning to have some fun while we’re at it.Posted by Ma[...]

SketchUp Multi-Tool Personalities: Part One


Did you know that many SketchUp tools have alter egos? You might think you know your SketchUp tools pretty well, but many have supplemental functions revealed in the status bar at the bottom of the SketchUp window that most folks don’t notice. What’s that? The Eraser tool leads a secret life as a quick way to hide or soften/smooth geometry!Keep an eye on the status bar for other modifications on standard tools.The information in this status bar changes when different tools are selected. For example, when the Eraser tool is selected, you’ll see two key modifier hints in the status bar: hold Shift to hide edges instead of erasing them, or hold Option (Ctrl on PC) to Soften/Smooth edges. All of sudden, one tool gives you access to three.However, there are a handful of tool abilities that are not communicated via the SketchUp interface. If you didn’t know about these extra options – it’s kind of like finding a $20 bill at the bottom of your drier. Take a look at the Arc tool, for instance. There’s a useful hidden feature here that was introduced in SketchUp 2015: you can automatically trim corners with the Arc tool by double-clicking immediately after drawing an arc. Here’s how:Select the Arc tool and click on one edge of a corner to start drawing an arc.Hover your cursor over to the adjacent edge; notice the “Tangent to Edge” indicator that appears.As you continue to hover along the edge, look carefully for the arc to change color from cyan to magenta. The magenta color indicates that you’ve located the point that is equidistant from the corner relative to your initial point (arc is tangent at both edges).Double-click when you see the arc change to magenta and SketchUp will automatically trim that corner.If you’d like to continue trimming corners at that same radius – simply double-click near other corners. Need a visual? Check out the animation of this in action below.Automatically trim corners by drawing a tangent arc at a corner and then double-clicking with the Arc tool. Check out this Knowledge Center article for additional information about these methods.Now let’s explore the Position Camera tool. It may not be used often, but it’s worth taking out of your tool belt once in a while. If desired, you can review this tool in our SketchUp Training Series: Position Camera / Look Around video. When you’re ready, try this in your current SketchUp model:Select the Position Camera tool; notice status bar informing you to “Select the camera position.”Click once on a point in your model where you wish to set the camera position.SketchUp zooms into the viewpoint you chose. The status bar now states, “Drag in direction to turn camera.” Note that your cursor now changes to the icon for the Look Around tool. This allows you to adjust your view as if you’re turning your head; the camera position is stationary, but you can swivel to look around.In Step 2, we clicked and released the mouse button. If you click and drag, the status bar indicates: “Select a point that the camera is aimed at.” You can now release the mouse button over a location in your model where you wish to look. One use of this is to perform a line-of-sight analysis where you want the vantage point from a specific location and the view aimed at a specific point in your model.Position Camera lets you pick a vantage point in SketchUp and create a view looking towards a specific location in your model. (Models shown found via 3D Warehouse: Star Trek TOS Crew, USS Enterprise NCC- 1701- G, & 40 Acres "Mayberry" Sets)We’re sure you’ve noticed that SketchUp will snap to specific inferences as you draw with certain tools. The Arc tool snaps to a half circle proportion. The Rectangle tool snaps to square proportions as well as the Golden Section (Golden Ratio). A dotted line with a Golden Section tool tip will appear when you’re[...]

Taking a ride with Connor Wood Bicycles


Yup, you read it correct: Chris Connor makes bicycles out of wood. We did a double-take too when we met Chris at the 2013 AIA National Convention in Denver. At first, we weren’t sure why a bicycle builder was exhibiting at an architecture trade show, but without a doubt Chris’s ridable wooden bikes share the functional beauty of a well-designed building.

After having logged many hours designing the base geometry of his custom bikes with paper and pencil, Chris turned to SketchUp to streamline his design process. We visited his workshop in Denver to learn more about how he creates these timber two-wheelers.

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Introducing 3D Warehouse Detailed Collections


Remember Component Bonus Packs? 2D and 3D trees, furniture and accessories, wood joists and roof details: these components, authored by the SketchUp team, have been a consistent staple of 3D Warehouse for years. With the release of SketchUp 2015, we’ve greatly expanded and improved SketchUp’s standard component collections.As of today, more than 2,800 individual detailed pieces of new SketchUp-authored content are available on 3D Warehouse. As you browse the new Detailed Collections, you’ll find that many standard components, like this theater light, have been improved with a much greater level of detail.Find more Film and Stage models here.Similar to their predecessors, the updated and improved components are generic in nature. These new, detailed components have been uploaded alongside the simplified counterparts; the titles of new components end with “Detailed.” For example, the search result for “HMI Light 4000Watts with Barndoors” will display both the simplified and detailed versions of the component. It’s important to note that these new detailed components are typically more “geometry heavy” (a.k.a. higher polygon count), which means you should consider how they’re used in your SketchUp model. You may consider using simplified components as proxies and replace those with the detailed versions when appropriate (just take note of component insertion points).Several side-by-side examples of the simplified generic content vs. their detailed counterparts.(Note: 2D Crocodile Hunter tribute model, by 3D Warehouse user jw_n_mo, not actually included in detailed glass door component.)You can access this treasure trove of content by browsing 3D Warehouse Detailed Collections via SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse window (File > 3D Warehouse > Get Models) or via your web browser. You can find all components and collections created by the SketchUp team by visiting our 3D Warehouse profile.In addition to visual improvements, these components are also jam-packed with all sorts of useful information, including IFC attributes. Try exporting to Tekla BIMsight or Trimble Connect – both accept IFC files. You’ll see that the IFC metadata transfers too!Detailed version of a 2 inch ball valve showing IFC classification data in the Entity Info box.The release of this content provides a great excuse to browse 3D Warehouse in search of new components to include in your projects. We’ve taken special care to include relevant tags in each component so users can search and find exactly what they need. There are collections for Seating, Electronics, Jibs and Cranes... and many more! We hope you’re able to take advantage of this new content and that it helps you more quickly and more accurately express your ideas.Keep tabs on recent activity by following 3D Warehouse on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+Posted by Ryan Ghere, SketchUp Team [...]

Reimagining the Veterans Memorial Tunnels


Jon Altschuld is a landscape designer for THK Associates in Aurora, Colorado. THK developed the aesthetic design for the Veterans Memorial Tunnels, a major highway infrastructure project currently being constructed along Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs, CO. (If you’ve skied in Colorado, you’ve probably driven through this stretch of highway). We talked with Jon about how SketchUp was used in this project.One of the final renderings of the proposed tunnel design – SketchUp model rendered with Vue.Tell us a little more about this project.These tunnels (formally known as the Twin Tunnels) were originally built in 1961. This project focused on improving mobility within the I-70 corridor by widening both tunnels to three lanes with wider shoulders. The project also focused on addressing safety and creating unique features to serve as gateways for the area.The previous design of the tunnel portals created a feeling of driving into a headwall, which caused motorists to brake and slow down when approaching the tunnels. The new design resolves this problem by integrating a spiraling tunnel portal that welcomes motorists into the tunnel gradually. These spiraling tunnel portals are the result of evaluating multiple design options on a variety of criteria.Did you work with any data that was imported into SketchUp? Yes, most of this 3D model was based on imported data. The existing terrain information was collected in the field with LiDAR, and the LiDAR data was converted into a TIN (Triangulated Irregular Network) mesh in Microstation. Microstation was used because that’s the main software the transportation engineers use. The Microstation mesh was then exported to AutoCAD .dwg files as both a mesh and as contour lines. We were able to import the mesh file directly into SketchUp, and the contour file was used to create proposed grading files in AutoCAD. The proposed grading files, as well as the plan view geometry (road layout, tunnel layout, retaining walls, etc.) were all created in AutoCAD and the .dwg files were imported into SketchUp. Once in SketchUp, the proposed contours became meshes via the From Contours Sandbox tool, and they were then combined with the existing grade meshes.How did SketchUp help in the decision-making process? This project used a Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) approach, which involves creating and evaluating a number of options based on a variety of criteria. SketchUp was used to arrive at the final options that were evaluated in the CSS process, and for evaluation during the actual CSS process. Leading up to CSS, over a dozen different design options were created and explored in meetings. For these meetings, SketchUp was more useful than final renderings because we were able to look at any view in real time, as well as make design changes to explore additional options. During the CSS evaluation, SketchUp was used to compare four options side-by-side.One of the west portal options in SketchUp. The pinkish area is existing terrain, and the purplish area is proposed (the big wall of purple is a large cut where rock was blasted away to create enough space for the wider tunnels).How did you communicate or collaborate with other colleagues and consultants? We used one main SketchUp model with multiple groups and layers. I’m a bit of a grouping (and components) fanatic; it keeps models organized and the file size down. I mainly use layers for separating visual options, which was perfect for this project. One little trick was to place 3D text with the name of the design option in a visible place in the model (as seen in the image above) and put it on the same layer as the geometry for that layer. Whenever Option B was being shown, “Option B” text was visible; this helped reduce confusion.I think the SketchUp [...]

The Value of "Clean Modeling"


David Heim is a veteran book and magazine editor specializing in woodworking. After a 28-year career at Consumer Reports, he moved to Fine Woodworking magazine. David has been writing about and teaching SketchUp for over four years, and says he never begins any project until he has previewed it in SketchUp first. This is one of several upcoming SketchUpdate guest posts from David on modeling principles for woodworkers.I first heard the phrase clean modeling from Dave Richards at 3D Basecamp 2014. As Dave explained it to me later, clean modeling is a simple concept that basically means, “learn to sweat the small stuff.” If the model isn’t “clean,” small flaws could interfere with the changes you or someone else may want to make in the future. Let’s take a closer look at clean modeling principles via a Shaker trestle table I did a few years back. It looks pretty good, right? Actually, it’s a good example of why clean modeling is important.Although this model of a Shaker table looks pretty good, it actually contains a number of flaws; finding and fixing them is what clean modeling is all about.Missing Faces. I thought enough of the trestle table model to share it on the SketchUcation woodworking forum. Someone quickly cut me down to size, pointing out that my turned legs were missing faces. It’s a good thing no one looked closer. In fact, there were several problems with the model. Let’s begin with the missing faces. It happened because I was working with small geometry at a 1:1 scale. I could have saved face, so to speak, if I had scaled up the leg profile before extruding it.The blue areas (left side) show where faces were not created properly. The right side shows the successful result of the scaled up Follow Me technique.You can heal these faces by tracing over some of the edges with the Line tool, but it’s better to scale up certain components before using Follow Me or running Intersect Faces. Dave Richards typically copies a component to be extruded or intersected, scales it up 100x or even 1000x, and then edits the copy. After that, he deletes the copy; the original will show the edits properly. Generally, I’ve found this scaling method ensures a model won’t wind up with small missing faces.A closer look. Inspecting the bottom of the arched feet reveals more small problems. If I run ThomThom's Solid Inspector extension, it shows me a stray line at one corner. It’s only about 1/64” long, but it shouldn’t be there. The same goes for a sliver of a stray face on the opposite corner. Extraneous lines and faces like these can pop up sometimes when performing certain tasks — like Intersect Faces mentioned above. These little lines are hard to see, of course. I could say, “So what? No one will ever see them.” Maybe, but I need to get rid of them if I want a clean model.Ed. Note: ThomThom recently released Solid Inspector². Also, try “StrayLines.rb” from Solid Inspector extension reveals a minuscule stray line at the base of the foot. This extension is a useful tool for identifying extraneous geometry that could be erased.Orient faces. Obviously, visible faces must be oriented properly. But the same goes for faces that aren’t meant to be seen: the sides of holes, recesses, mortises, and the like. As you create those elements, take the time to be sure the correct face is showing. If a surface is facing the wrong way, you can right-click on it and choose Reverse Faces.Soften/Smooth curved faces. Often, when you Push/Pull a shape that results in a curved face, you’ll also create edges separating the facets of the curve. You can hide those edges, but the face will still look faceted. It’s better to eliminate the edges with the Soften/Smooth Edges technique.Hiding the [...]

Goodbye Aidan. Hello Bitsbox.


Ten years. That's how long I was a member of the SketchUp team. I spent that time starting this blog, teaching classes, writing the For Dummies book, hosting 3D Basecamps, and a thousand other things. But the thing I'm most proud of is helping to establish the SketchUp for Education program: working with kids, parents and teachers to make 3D modeling a part of their lives.The @Last Software team on July 6th, 2004, the day we launched SketchUp 4When Scott Lininger (the co-inventor of Dynamic Components and lots more) approached me about leaving SketchUp with him to start a company that teaches little kids to code, I knew I'd found my (next) calling. I've been trying to learn how to program for years—what if I'd had the chance to learn when I was six? As a creative person, there's no single skill I've spent more time wishing I had. I don't want to be programmer; I want to be a person who can code. I want my kid to be a person who can code. What parent doesn't?So I talked it over with my wife Sandra (you know her as the LayOut Product Manager), and we decided I should go for it. It wasn't an easy decision: The SketchUp team is my extended family, and this community has been the kindest, most generous and humble mob of people I've ever had the pleasure to know. And I love SketchUp. I LOVE it. (I still dream in SketchUp sometimes.) It's part of my DNA.About 10% of the SketchUp shirts I've collected over the years.Scott and I left the team to work together full-time in June. In the time since then, we've created Bitsbox: A free website where kids can build apps that work on real devices (like phones and iPads), and a box full of app projects that gets delivered to our subscribers' kids every month. The video we made for our Kickstarter campaign explains it: frameborder="0" height="394" scrolling="no" src="" width="525"> Other good news: Last week was Computer Science Education Week, and over 200,000 kids built apps with Bitsbox online. You can, too. We were featured in very nice articles in TechCrunch and GeekDad, and we were the Kickstarter Project of the Day on the 11th. And we're just getting started.Aidan and Scott at Bitsbox World Headquarters in BoulderIf you'd like to support a couple of ex-SketchUppers in our effort to make coding less scary, or you'd like to pre-order Bitsbox for some kids you know, please do. At the end of the campaign, when we ask you if you know any Super-Secret Codewords, put in "SketchUp" and we'll include something special in your first box. Maybe a hair from John Bacus's magical beard. Maybe something even better.THANK YOU for ten amazing years. It was a pleasure. Maybe we'll see each other at the next 3D Basecamp. Reach out if you like: I'm Onwards!Posted by Aidan Chopra, SketchUp Evangelist (Emeritus) [...]

Introducing Paid Extensions in Extension Warehouse


Today, we're pleased to announce that Extension Warehouse has just crossed into the realm of fully functional app store. This means that in addition to the hundreds of fantastic SketchUp extensions that are freely available, you can now purchase and install paid extensions directly through Extension Warehouse, in just a few clicks.Now, Extension Warehouse lets you purchase and install paid extensions from SketchUp developers.We hope that enabling the sale of paid extensions will be a game changer for SketchUp users and developers alike. Users get direct access to awesome paid extensions that streamline modeling workflows. Developers get an awesome E-commerce platform with access to millions of customers who are looking for great modeling utilities and add-on tools. Win-win? We think so.It’s worth noting that credit card transactions are processed securely by the same store platform we use to sell SketchUp licenses. And we’re using the same licensing platform that SketchUp uses. Each extension is still carefully moderated by the SketchUp Extensibility team to ensure quality and security. So, the purchase process for extensions is as smooth and safe as buying SketchUp Pro.Initially, you’ll find the following paid extensions now available through Extension Warehouse:Trimble - MEPdesignerWhaat - Profile Builder (Pro)s4u - to Componentss4u - Panels4u - Transformers4u - SliceKirill B - LSS ArchStéphane O - Oob LayoutsWe're adding new free and paid extensions every week; keep tabs on the newest extensions by following SketchUp on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, or by browsing Extension Warehouse for new products from your favorite developers.If you are a developer, our new E-commerce platform means that instead of spending a major portion of your time implementing your own licensing system, maintaining your own store front or worrying about how you’ll process your transactions, you can focus on developing great tools for SketchUp. For more information on distributing extensions check out our developer center.Posted by Bryce Stout, Product Manager [...]

What are Fast Styles?


Let’s say you’re presenting an idea in SketchUp, but perhaps you’d prefer a loose conceptual look or a hand-drawn visualization — you’d rather not show what you’ve created in a way that makes it feel finished or final. Styles in SketchUp control the display settings which alter the way your model appears.You can choose from a collection of predefined Styles, mix attributes of various Styles to make your own unique Style, and assign Styles to Scenes for handy access. The thing is, some Styles render faster than others. Because of this, you may want to use certain Styles (or Style settings) in certain situations during modeling and presentation work. The Style shown above is called “PSO Vignette”; you can find it in the “Assorted Styles” category of the Styles Browser. This Style looks great, but it’s meant for illustration — not navigation. (Mountain Lake Retreat model by MB Architecture via 3D Warehouse)This led us to the idea for Fast Styles: a combination of Style settings that won’t slow you down while modeling. In SketchUp 2015, you’ll notice a small green stopwatch icon in the bottom right corner of a Style thumbnail that meets the criteria of an official “Fast Style.” SketchUp now auto-detects Styles that use less processing power — this earns them the new badge. These Styles are Fast Styles; note the new green badge.To create your own Fast Style, you’ll need to get your hands dirty in the Styles Browser. When creating a Fast Style, you should avoid Style choices that will cause performance decline as your model complexity increases — settings like Sketchy Edges, Profiles, and Watermarks. Check out our Knowledge Center to learn more about these settings and Fast Styles, and remember to save the changes to your newly configured Styles!However, a Fast Style doesn’t mean a boring Style. We whipped up a few custom Fast Styles and tossed them into this SketchUp model. Go to Window > Styles and jump into the "Select", "Edit", and "Mix" tabs to see what's there and mix some new Styles of your own. This Style was created by simply changing the edges for the default “Blueprint” Style. The white Edge Setting from the “Camo” Style was applied to a copy of the Blueprint Style to create this new fast version.A Style like the Fast Blueprint above might be a good choice when you want to present your SketchUp model in a stylized fashion, but you’d also like the benefits of smooth navigation and Scene transitions. Of course, you can still use Styles that have not earned the Fast Style badge — the benefit of working with Styles and Scenes together is that it’s easy to jump from a Scene meant for illustration to a Scene you might want to interact with. Now, with Fast Styles, you've got another trick up your sleeve for working and presenting quickly in SketchUp.Posted by Josh Reilly, SketchUp Team [...]

Who is Steve Oles?


Whenever I teach someone SketchUp, the first thing I like to do is introduce our scale figure. Functionally, these 2D face-me components help orient you to a model's scale and perspective. More personally, the scale figures we’ve chosen for our default templates have always been members of the SketchUp team. For us, it’s a fun way to recognize someone who’s helped make SketchUp what it is.

In SketchUp 2015, our default scale figure isn’t one of our great colleagues, but one of our great friends: Steve Oles.

SketchUp 2015’s default scale figure “Steve” rendered in the PSO Vignette style that he helped create.

If you’ve come to a 3D Basecamp, you may have met Steve or even sat in on one of his unconference sessions about hybrid drawing for architectural illustration. The name might also be familiar if you’ve ever used one of the PSO styles in SketchUp (Steve is short for Paul Stevenson).

And if the PSO styles are familiar, we’re guessing you may have come across Steve’s book at some point in your architectural studies. Steve has been a source of inspiration for our team for some time now, and as we’ve gotten to know him, we’ve really enjoyed learning about his career too. So, in our 2015 update for SketchUp, we decided it was about time to introduce you all to our friend, Steve Oles…

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Posted by Mark Harrison, on behalf of the SketchUp team


SketchUp, Trimble Connected


Trimble Connect is a collaboration platform for building construction projects. It plugs into SketchUp via a free extension that lets you pull down and publish models, as well as work with reference models in your own project.This week, at Dimensions, we launched Trimble Connect -- a new website for architects and those who work with them to collaborate on building construction projects of all levels of complexity.You can sign up for a Connect account today (single user accounts are free), but don’t stop there. We're also releasing a Trimble Connect extension for SketchUp today which lets you work with Connect right inside the SketchUp modeling environment. You can install it for free from our Extension Warehouse.For years, SketchUp users have asked us to improve data interoperability and to offer better ways to collaborate with others. Using the new Trimble Connect extension, coupled with a subscription to Trimble Connect online, you can publish your work for others to use, as well as reference their work back into your own SketchUp models. Reference data from Connect can be updated as changes are made without fuss. And you can coordinate models from multiple contributors using all kinds of different software together on one common space — and offer comments and requests for additional information all from one convenient interface.SketchUp is only one of a collection of Connected applications announced today. You can also share models with Tekla Structures, Vico Office, Trimble Business Center and many other applications as well. In addition, we are now Connected with other products outside the Trimble family, including Bentley ProjectWise CONNECTED edition. And because Connect is built on GTeam (a product we recently acquired from Gehry Technologies), it already works with Rhino, AutoCAD, and IFC files. We've always said that your data belongs to you -- with Trimble Connect, it's easier than ever to work with that data in the tool or your choice.Trimble Connect is still a young product, and we have grand plans for its future. But I think you’ll already find much in it that is useful to you and the folks with whom you collaborate every day. Come on in and take a look around -- and let us know what you think. Special note for Makers: we built Connect with the construction industry in mind, but there's plenty of useful stuff in there for folks that work on projects of all different kinds. Single user accounts will always be free... and we support a bunch of file formats that you're going to find useful in your work, too.Posted by John Bacus, SketchUp Product Management Director [...]

Sharpening SketchUp for 2015


We have some news to share today -- SketchUp 2015 is available for download now -- but first we’d like to share something that’s a few weeks old.Here at SketchUp HQ in Boulder, we have a team dedicated to answering the phone and email questions that customers send us every day. Recently, we received these two emails on the same day:Thank you for replying to my mum. I'm Marius and I'm 8 years old. I really like SketchUp and we have it in school. In art school, I made a factory with my best friend. -- Love, Marius XXXAnd then, just a few hours later:I'm a detective for the Ottawa Police Service. I specialize in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis and was introduced to your software while collaborating with university students. Using online tutorials I was able to quickly create 3D plan drawings for our crime scenes. The quality of the visual evidence produced was above and beyond what our court system was used to.-- Det. Ugo Garneau, Ottawa Police ServiceWe get emails like these all the time, and we always think it’s incredible that so many different kinds of people can learn and be productive with SketchUp almost right away. On the other side of the spectrum, we regularly hear from seasoned modelers who have mastered SketchUp to make building things more efficient. We’re incredibly proud that SketchUp helps all of these people be successful -- and have some fun while they’re at it. So when we plan updates, our team feels a big responsibility to preserve the reliability and flexibility that makes SketchUp... well, SketchUp.In this release, we turned our focus to upgrading SketchUp’s performance infrastructure. In particular, we’ve updated SketchUp, LayOut, and our Ruby API to run as 64-bit applications. The least nerdy way to explain this change is that 64-bit architecture allows SketchUp to take advantage of more of your computer’s active memory. We’ve moved to 64-bit both to improve performance, but also to set up SketchUp to work better with the operating systems and extensions that people will be using over the next few years. So while this is a big modification to SketchUp’s technical backbone, we kind of hope you won’t notice it at all.Similarly, SketchUp 2015 includes new modeling and documentation tools that we designed to feel like you’ve been using them for years. Probably our favorite of these is the Rotated Rectangle tool, a way draw to axis-independent rectangles that’s both incredibly useful and surprisingly intuitive. Give it a try: we think it will remind you of the first time you used SketchUp.SketchUp 2015's official Rotated Rectangle Tool draws rectangles that don’t have to be perpendicular or parallel to an axes. It’s a simple idea that saves you about a dozen clicks to draw shapes like the cube on the right.There’s a lot more to explore in SketchUp 2015: fast styles... LayOut smart labels... a 3 Point Arc tool... simpler Pro licensing… full IFC compatibility to get more and more folks participating in information modeling… we’ve even linked SketchUp to Trimble Connect, a new collaboration platform for sharing, reviewing, and commenting on any kind of project file.You can download our latest version here, and if you have SketchUp Pro License, go ahead and use our license wizard to upgrade. If you work in SketchUp every day, we think you’ll really love this release -- after all, all we’ve done is make SketchUp work more like… well, SketchUp.Posted by Mark Harrison, on behalf of the SketchUp team [...]

Licensing in SketchUp Pro 2015


We’re very proud of the things we’ve added and changed in SketchUp 2015. One of the changes that I’m particularly happy about is a completely revised licensing system. Since when did licensing become exciting? Well, it isn’t. But the licensing system used for SketchUp Pro 2014 and older was very dusty, to say the least. It needed a facelift so that we could take advantage of modern technology and solve a number of long-standing issues. Now, let’s take a peek at what the new licensing can do...Cross-platform support. Microsoft Windows? Mac OS X? It doesn’t matter! Use the same license information on both platforms.30-day Trial. The 8-hour trial that SketchUp used in the past was quite sophisticated but not very clear. We applied SketchUp-simplicity to this one: 30 days. Simple.Centralized Network License manager. For those of you who happen to manage a network license, the SketchUp Pro licensing server is hosted in the cloud. No more creating a shared folder on a server, setting specific permissions, generating a network license, and so on. We’ve taken care of that for you.“Checkout” support (network licenses). Need to work on a plane or show a model to client in a remote location? Now you can check out a network license seat for offline use. Just be sure to do it before you go offline, though. WAN support (network licenses). Network licenses of old were more like LAN Licenses, because they only worked across a LAN. Now, with the network license manager in the cloud, your users only need access to the Internet.Changing seat count without generating a new license (network licenses). So you found out that a 20-seat network license isn’t enough and you need to add another five seats. Before, we would generate a new serial number and you would have to go out and update the license within SketchUp Pro. Now, we make the change for you on the server and you don’t have to change a thing!There’s one very important difference to note with regard to this new licensing technology: you’ll need to have an active Internet connection to add a license and remove a license from your computer. Drop a line to your IT folks that SketchUp needs access to the Internet via ports 5053 and 50530 just in case your network whitelists those kinds of things. You can add your single-user SketchUp Pro license to any two computers that you use. But you need to be the one using SketchUp Pro -- hence, single-user license. And only one computer can run SketchUp Pro at a time. If you need to install SketchUp on your third computer, you’ll need to remove a license on one of the other computers first. To remove a license, open SketchUp then select Help > Welcome to SketchUp... > License > Remove License...Lastly, if you see an error message while using the new license, check out this Knowledge Center article for some help resolving the problem. Or get in touch with us.That’s it! The goal of licensing is to give you access to your favorite SketchUp Pro features then get the heck out of the way. If that’s your experience, then we’ve done our job and earned a slice of Trimble SketchUp cake:Posted by Tommy Acierno, on behalf of the SketchUp team [...]

Using Trimble Vision images to create SketchUp models


Last year, Trimble (SketchUp’s parent company) introduced a kind of super-camera called the V10 Imaging Rover. The V10 captures and compiles images of large objects like buildings or bridges, then tags those site photographs with precise locations and orientations. Trimble Vision Total Stations also collect this kind of imagery, so here in Colorado we started wondering how geospatial professionals might use this location-aware data to create 3D models in SketchUp.Today, we are happy to announce that the latest versions of SketchUp Pro and Trimble Business Center now work together to export images and camera poses for direct use with SketchUp’s Match Photo tool.A bird's eye view of Trimble Vision images imported into SketchUp along with the resulting 3D model.We developed this integration along with improvements to Match Photo to make this kind of photo modeling simpler than ever before. There is no need to designate vanishing lines and prominent features on the structure to determine each camera pose. Instead, camera orientations are pre-loaded with the file import from Trimble Business Center (TBC). With as few as three points exported from TBC you can set up your axes and begin to create your model.To set up this workflow, we had to extend the TBC *.skp exporter to allow images and points to be included. This lets you leverage TBC’s ability to create photo points with precise locations. You can generate and export any key points that will aid the modeling process within SketchUp, including points for setting up your SketchUp axes and inference points for important architectural details.A Trimble Business Center station view with photo points visibleThe Trimble V10 includes a panoramic camera array. This means there are twelve cameras that collect images for a full 360-degree view. The multiple viewpoints are useful while you are processing the images in TBC, since you can generate tie points all the way around each of the photo stations to be used in the bundle adjustment. However, for modeling in SketchUp, you only need to export images that include the area of interest (e.g. building, bridge …). In TBC, you can easily create a polygon boundary around the area of interest. If you use a boundary, the *.skp exporter will include only the images with view angles that intersect it. This greatly reduces image clutter in SketchUp. TBC boundary around the area of interest, highlighting in purple the images that will be exportedTo further help filter out unneeded images from the exported *.skp, TBC allows you to include a subset of your photo stations. This lets you select only those stations which have images you need for modeling in SketchUp.The *.skp that TBC creates during export contains a separate scene tab for each image. This reduces confusion and provides easy navigation during modeling.After importing your imagery from Trimble Business Center, every image is automatically positioned in its own scene.Since the ability to move easily between images is important to efficient model creation, the “Igloo view” (keyboard shortcut “i”) has been improved to walk you through the images rapidly. You can see the adjacent images that provide context around the structure.Igloo view showing adjacent images for contextAfter exporting appropriate 3D points to SketchUp, their positions can be matched with pixels in the images, to orient the coordinate axes. If the structure is rectangular, this should only need to be done with one image using a few points, and then all of the images will be automatically orie[...]

Building a PVC Geodesic Dome with SketchUp


Here on the SketchUp team, we’re DIYers at heart -- we like solving design problems and building things. For a while now, we’ve had a big presence at Maker Faire. We go because we truly enjoy nerding out with fellow makers and dreaming up our own design-build projects. At World Maker Faire in New York last month, we decided to cook up a pair of large geodesic domes, because, well, why not?Who wouldn’t want to build a geodesic lair out of PVC pipe?You can check out our fabricatable project model and build instructions here on 3D Warehouse.Actually, the point of our exhibit -- besides being a practice run for a future Burning Man trip -- was to prove that SketchUp makes planning and building team DIY projects easier and more fun. We enlisted the help of our good pal Eric Schimelpfenig of and set out to turn a pile of PVC pipe into two huge geodesic domes and some comfortable furniture. Here’s how we pulled it off:After exploring geodesic designs on 3D Warehouse -- and a lot of discovery on Domerama -- we jumped into SketchUp for conceptual design. Satellite imagery for our site plan demonstrated that two twenty-foot diameter domes would fit perfectly, and a simple massing model proved that 3V ⅝ domes -- with their extra head room -- would provide plenty of height and floor space for people and furniture.Once we knew the defining characteristics of our dome, we churned out the strut lengths using Domerama’s geodesic calculator and then advanced the design using Dynamic Components to create a fabricatable model. From there, we employed generate report and some spreadsheet magic to crank out a cut-list for our PVC stockpile from Home Depot. Using the proportional math from Domerama’s 3V ⅝ dome calculator, we built a dynamic component that uses dome diameter and hub protrusion as inputs for automating a 3V dome. You can download this dynamic geodesic model on 3D Warehouse.As our fabrication captain, Eric got to turn our SketchUp model into a collection of ready-to-assemble parts. Using some simple jigs to speed up the cutting and drilling, he churned through 1,600 feet of pipe -- about a quarter-mile of PVC -- from his workshop in Massachusetts. Rounding out the list, he ordered up the awesome purpose-built connector hubs from Sonostar and grabbed a giant bag of nuts and bolts to keep things from sliding apart. With just two days to go before assembly, he loaded 152 connectors, 322 pipes, two ladders, and a dozen hammers into a van we’re pretty sure he had permission to borrow.Two geodesic domes and enough left-over pipe to spit out a few of these bad boys...On-site at the New York Hall of Science, the pipe-laden van was met by a jet-lagged assembly crew of SketchUppers who’d only ever seen the geodomes in our working model. Over the course of a few hours, we assembled the two domes according to these hilarious yet exceedingly clear build instructions, courtesy of Eric and LayOut.Banging pipes together at World Maker Faire. See more photos of our geodesic dome build here, or watch the time lapse of our build here.The next day, our team hammered together several pieces of SketchUp-designed PVC furniture (generously contributed by our friends at FORMUFIT), and fitted vinyl tarps to the roof. We had designed the tarps to be a modular shading system, so that we could leave some sections of the dome exposed or cover everything up in case of crummy weather.To derive the tarps from our SketchUp model, we drew out some basic gore-like polygons over [...]

Create instant photoreal snapshots with Visualizer


Simple, fast, fun: three adjectives we often use to describe SketchUp. They also fit pretty well for Visualizer, an extension that provides instant photographic previews of SketchUp models and exports fast, clean photoreal images. You know, delicious stuff like this:3D Warehouse model of the Sydney Opera House, processed in about 60 seconds with Visualizer.I’ve been playing around with Visualizer since 3D Basecamp 2014, so this post is a collection of my impressions to date, and a few tips I’ve picked up on.The first time you activate Visualizer, it feels a bit like turning on a photographic assistant inside SketchUp -- someone following your modeling work, quickly re-painting your sketches into polished scenes… while you’re orbiting and sketching. For me, it was a new -- and for sure, fun -- experience to tune into this instant feedback. (Incidentally, Visualizer costs $19.99 and starts with a 7-day free trial, so in a few clicks you can download it and see for yourself).You’ll notice right away that Visualizer makes it one-click simple to create slick photorealistic images. We’re not talking about jaw-dropping renderings that take four hours to process in a server farm. The Visualizer team hasn’t built a rendering engine here; they’ve built, well, a visualization tool.Visualizer’s controls are practical and simple. Click the lock icon at the bottom to prepare an image. Once it’s processed, click the camera icon to export. (Model: Arduino Uno by Engineer Zero)In fact, one of Visualizer’s more interesting uses is that it offers pretty quick photoreal previews of model compositions while you’re creating them. So whether you’re exporting images directly or planning to work up a high quality render in an entirely different (and probably more expensive) application, Visualizer is definitely useful for composing the SketchUp scenes you want to use and spinning up an instant photorealistic preview that may inform choices you make later on.Colors, textures, shadows: Visualizer has a knack for making them pop. (Model: Fish Pagoda by Sprucetree.)The Visualizer window scales to any size and can quickly match SketchUp’s viewport pixel-for-pixel. It’s tricky at first to figure out the best place to situate the window relative to your SketchUp model so that it doesn’t block your workspace. Ultimately, I settled on the upper right hand of my screen. I often choose to minimize Visualizer after locking the image for processing (more on that in a bit).Visualizer can pin to the top of your desktop, so you can neatly preview your image while composing it in SketchUp. (Model: Wine rack unit by PFritz)I can’t pretend to fully understand how Visualizer’s ray tracing technology works, but I can vouch for the nerdy brilliance of the Visualizer team. These guys are pretty much obsessed with making Visualizer as simple as possible, and I found that effort coming through while using it. (If you happen to be interested in what’s happening under Visualizer’s hood, check out this interesting post from their parent company, Imagination Technologies). Chatting with James and Suguru from Visualizer at 3D Basecamp, I got the sense that they were inspired by the camera app on smartphones (something almost everyone already knows how to use). And it turns out, that’s pretty much how Visualizer works. A simple click on the camera icon captures whatever’s on your screen and exports to JPG or PNG (with an option for transparent background). S[...]

Modeling with architectonic tile: a conversation with Tilelook


Based in the Veneto region of northern Italy, Tilelook is a technology services company that works with manufacturers in the bathroom flooring, coverings, and furnishings world. Now, as a 3D Warehouse content developer, Tilelook makes those products available to SketchUp designers around the world via 3D Warehouse. We spoke with Marco Rossi from Tilelook about their recent work building out the 3D Warehouse catalog for FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE tiles from the manufacturer Ceramica Sant’Agostino and designer Philippe Starck.Ciao, Marco. Can you tell us a bit about who’s behind the FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE catalog you recently posted to 3D Warehouse?Ceramica Sant'Agostino produces floor and wall products made of ceramic and grès, with a range that covers both interiors and exteriors for residential and public use. The company has a 50+ year history in the ceramic tile sector and a reputation for high quality, cutting edge technology, and respect for the environment.The collaboration between the creative genius of French designer Philippe Starck, and the immense industry know-how of Ceramica Sant’Agostino, has resulted in a project called FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE.The FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE modeling set by Philippe Starck (modeled by Tilelook)What’s unique about FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE?FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE represents a new vision in the tile world, brought to architects by an iconic designer. It’s a new territory, a different point of view: the wall tile leaves the two-dimensionality to “invent” the three-dimensional.The idea behind it is to move beyond the decorative nature of tile as simply a wall covering and use it a modular element that is part of the architecture. With FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE, the wall covering takes on a totally new potential: from customary decorative element to architectonic system.Who will be interested in the FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE tiles you’ve posted on behalf of Ceramica Sant’Agostino and Philippe Starck?SketchUp users who are professional architects and interior designers will definitely be interested in these tiles for their designs. Students who are studying architecture and interior design will also probably be interested in using these tiles in projects. Maybe even amateur designers who are looking to explore ideas for an upcoming project will like to use these too!Do you have any advice to SketchUp users who want to best utilize these tiles in their SketchUp model?As Philippe Starck has said, these tiles should be treated as more than just a decorative element. Unlike traditional tile represented as a SketchUp material, the FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE models give SketchUp designers the freedom to create their own 3D tile designs. Each element of the FLEXIBLE ARCHITETURE line is represented as its own SketchUp model, so designers can combine elements to create their own unique combination and apply them to their designs.Have you posted any other tile catalogs to the 3D Warehouse besides the FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE catalog?In addition to the FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE catalog, we’ve also uploaded the Folli Follie catalog by Ceramiche Brennero and Tavolato by Casalgrande Padana. We’re working on posting more content soon!Can you tell us a little bit more about your company Tilelook?Tilelook is both a technology and services company. The Tilelook web application is our main technology. Users of it can find over 60,000 tile and bathroom products by 200 well-known brands from 23 countries around the world[...]

Details, details, details: A conversation with the International Masonry Institute


The International Masonry Institute (IMI) is a partnership between the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) and their contractors, promoting quality masonry construction. The IMI offers quality training and professional education for masonry contractors, and free technical assistance to the design and construction communities. We spoke with Scott Conwell, IMI’s Director of Industry Development and Technical Service, about the 3D Warehouse collection of masonry details that he has created and shared for SketchUp modelers everywhere. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="350" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="border: 1px solid;" width="525">It looks like you know your way around SketchUp. What was your first reaction to SketchUp?I was amazed at how simple the interface was, and I loved how I could make value judgements in 3D very quickly. I only had one goal when learning SketchUp Pro: to draw masonry details. I quickly learned that SketchUp was the perfect tool for that. The type of views that SketchUp is capable of generating were ideal to show exactly what I wanted to show in my drawings. The scale of our masonry details is very appropriate for a SketchUp model. In other words, I can put as much detail as I need into my model -- wall ties, sealant joint at flashing overlaps -- and it all appears very clear in the final drawing.What was the catalyst for deciding to put IMI’s detail models on the 3D Warehouse, and give them away for free?There are lots of manufacturer details out there that have pretty good details; however, they are to the exclusion of other components. Masonry is a system. For example, you may find good brick drawings, but there’s more to a wall than bricks. We want to show the whole masonry system, and represent all components from a constructibility standpoint. These are reviewed and developed with input from master craftworkers that really care and are passionate about their craft; their hand is obvious in these models.As far as providing them on the 3D Warehouse for anyone to download; well, there’s no reason not to. Our goal is to educate architects and designers about masonry, and also to highlight the skills of the trained union bricklayers and contractors. The IMI technical team decides how to show certain components that best fit the particular detail, and thinks about how to compose the notes so they can be adapted for general use. These SketchUp models are an embodiment of ideas, and we wanted to put these ideas out there. If someone sees them, we hope they might rethink the importance of how the masonry components are put together, and who is skilled and qualified to build with these materials.How do these details compare to traditional architectural details? Why is 3D important here?We are not just providing a detail, we’re teaching someone how to design so an assembly can be constructed. The unique ability to modify and customize these details is powerful. For example, anyone can go into these models and copy/paste various components for use in another type of assembly.Additionally, you have the assurance that these can be built. Unfortunately, there are plenty of 2D details out there on manufacturers’ web sites and in their literature that are not constructible! In the IMI details, you ca[...]

Let’s have a discourse about SketchUp


“My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation...”Jane AustenThere’s something about SketchUp that activates people. From the early days, online SketchUp communities have grown and thrived. When new platforms for discussion and sharing pop up (such as SketchUcation, Google+, and Facebook), SketchUp users seem to flock to it, wanting helpful, friendly conversation. We’ve often wondered why SketchUp brings architects, artists, educators, and others from all over the world to engage in great discussions about this simple but powerful 3D software. My theory is that SketchUp is a creative tool where the output is as varied as the unique people behind the mouse. People like to share their creations with others, and that sharing tends to evolve the conversation into techniques and solving problems. A shared passion is born. During SketchUp’s time with Google we went through four forum platforms, each with their own set of benefits and challenges. We want to provide the very best home for the online community, but I don’t think we’ve cracked that nut just yet. That’s why I’m very pleased to announce the latest incarnation of the SketchUp Forums: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="295" src="//" width="525">After nine years of posting in our forums, I really think we have something special here. The new SketchUp Forum is powered by Discourse, which rethinks the way online communities interact with each other. According to co-founder, Jeff Atwood, “[t]he freedom to easily one-click install and run a discussion community for a topic you love is an essential part of the wild, chaotic, vibrant “let your freak flag fly” formula of the Internet that we've always known and loved.” The philosophy behind this new forum platform is about creating open, honest, and well-mannered discussions about whatever topics come up. The Google Product Forum for SketchUp which has served us well over the past four years will be put into an “archive” mode soon which means that no new posts or replies could be created. However, the forum will stay open as a read-only resource until mid-October. There’s a lot more that I can say about the SketchUp Forum, but I think the best way understand what’s new is to see for yourself. You’ll find many familiar faces from the SketchUp team as well as long standing members of the community. Come on over and say “hi.” Be sure to read the Welcome Post for help getting started. Tommy Acierno, on behalf of the SketchUp teamEd. note: Want to kick the tires on the new SketchUp Forums? Try cutting and pasting a 3D Warehouse URL into a Forum topic thread you're creating. It's always better to show than tell. [...]