SketchUp Licensing from Zero to Hero: All the questions that you want to ask but you didn’t

So you know what SketchUp is. However, after the many updates, changes, and policies users often get confused regarding the possible SketchUp versions and licenses. Why do I have to pay annually? What do I get from a licensed SketchUp software? Does SketchUp have a web version? Do I have to install SketchUp only on my local computer? Well, we’ve gathered all your questions and prepared a structured answer that you can check below.

One of the most popular 3D modeling software – SketchUp, has different types of licensing. However, let’s begin from the beginning.

There are two types of software.

  1. Web (online, runs through a browser) 

The available SketchUp web versions are SketchUp Free, SketchUp Shop, and SketchUp Pro.

  1. Desktop (installation file for Windows or MAC, runs by starting the program)

There is only one available SketchUp desktop version: SketchUp Pro.

 

Before we take a closer look at each one of them, it is important to remember: First of all, you need to create your own Trimble account to start working. Second, remember your email and password for your personal account. 

How to create your Trimble account

You’ll need a Trimble ID to log into any of the SketchUp online resources including, 3D Warehouse, Extension Warehouse, and SketchUp Web and Shop. You’ll also need this login within SketchUp Pro for your subscription, or in the SketchUp Pro classic to use any of the previously mentioned resources within the software

Once you’ve arrived at a Sign-in page, just follow the steps to create your account.

You can access the Sign-in page HERE.

Or watch our tutorial video HERE.

SketchUp Versions

Your favorite SketchUp comes with several versions that you can use depending on your personal needs and proficiency level.  

SketchUp Free version – only Web

The free version is entirely web-based called SketchUp Free. To use it you only need an internet browser and internet access. Go to the official SketchUp Free page and log in with your Trimble account to start modeling. You do not need to install the software. Its‘ interface is different from that of the Pro version. Here you have the opportunity to model and texture your projects.

 

SketchUp Free Interface 

 

SketchUp Shop – only Web

SketchUp Shop is an improved version of SketchUp Free. To use it you need a subscription (connection) for one year. This version runs via an Internet browser. Again, you need a Trimble account to log in. The differences in SketchUp Shop are several – you can model and texture, and additionally, you have at your disposal the entire 3D warehouse library. Also, you have unlimited Cloud Storage for projects to keep and support. 

SketchUp Shop Interface

 

SketchUp PRO – Desktop

This is the most popular version of SketchUp. You need a Trimble account to log in. There are two types of licenses – annual and classic. Both of those licenses do not require an internet connection and you can start your modeling process directly on the desktop.

  1. The annual license is a subscription (connection) for one year. This license can run for 28 days a month without using the internet. You need to log in to the license server periodically.
  2. The perpetual license is permanent. After the installation you have a perpetual license, you do not need an internet connection. However, have in mind that this type of license will be available only to the end of October 2020.

 

Both license types are Desktop, you need to download and install it from the SketchUp site after logging in to your Trimble account. You do not need a browser after installation. 

The differences with the Web version are huge. After installation, you get two more software programs that work perfectly with SketchUp. The first is LayOut, with which you can easily make the technical documentation of your project. The second software is Style builder. With it, you can easily create your own style of your project. You can upgrade the software by installing your preferred extensions.

 

SketchUp Pro Interface

 

Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Be healthy & happy Sketching!

A fresh, new update for SketchUp 2020

After introducing SketchUp 2020 in January and sharpening it in April, we’re pleased to announce an August update as well. These enhancements focus in on a few long-standing user requests. Let’s take a closer look.

 

Linear inference toggles for the Line tool in SketchUp

SketchUp inferencing comes in all shapes and sizes. One of the most distinct is the linear inferencing that allows you to snap or lock to the red, green, and blue axes. Linear inferencing makes SketchUp work, but it can also get in the way. For instance, if you are working with very small spaces or tracing images, we’ve heard from you that it would be helpful for inferencing to get out of the way.

To address this, the Line tool now features a modifier key [(ALT) on Win and (CMD) on Mac] to toggle linear inferencing on and off, so you can draw edges without being snapped to an inference. You can turn off all inferences, or leave only parallel and perpendicular inferencing on. Of course, you can still jump to a specific inference — red, green, blue, or magenta — using the arrow keys.  

 

 

Weld Edges in SketchUp

We added ‘Weld Edges’ to SketchUp’s native tools. This means you can join edges and arcs into a single polyline without installing an extension. If you haven’t used a weld extension, we recommend starting to weld edges for any face where you’d like a smooth push/pull extrusion. Select the edges you want to join, right-click and select Weld Edges.

 

 

Control line width, colour, and pattern by tag in LayOut

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about how LayOut users stacked viewports to create incredible 2D drawings. The biggest lesson: it would be great if you didn’t have to stack performance-impacting viewports to get drawings to look the way you want.

We’re happy to share that you can now control the line style of SketchUp tags in LayOut. Before this update, rendering a plan view with different line weights meant hiding a bunch of geometry, creating different scenes, and stacking viewports. Now, you can adjust the edge width, colour, dash pattern, and dash scale in one viewport by assigning and styling tags.

 

 

Whether you need control of line styles for architectural drawings, production drawings, and details, or general illustration, we’d love to hear your impressions… or better yet, see your work. Share some examples of the drawings you create (or would like to make) in SketchUp and LayOut using the hashtag #LearnLayOut 

 

Smoother operations in larger LayOut documents 

Good LayOut documents are an arrangement of viewports, images, vector graphics, and labels. As pages get complex and documents get longer, operating on selections gets slower. To help speed up larger files, we’re excited to share changes to how the move, copy, and scale operations work. Now, LayOut previews these transformations instead of drawing them in real-time as you work with a selection. When you complete a move, copy, or scale operation, LayOut then redraws your action. This is a subtle change, but it brings a new feel and a lot more efficiency to LayOut.

 

Get access to SketchUp Pro and LayOut here and explore these updates today! 

What is NEW in SketchUp Pro 2020

The waiting is over as new SketchUp Pro 2020 is already here. The new version is all functioning and officially available since January 28th. So let us dive deep and see what software improvements are hidden there.

Over the years, each SketchUp version has become more convenient to work with. Innovations are the result of numerous surveys conducted among a large number of users – interior designers, architects and landscape architects. Compared to last year’s versions, the number of improvements may at first seem small, however, their performance is high and will benefit enourmously your workflow. So let’s start exploring.

The layers have a new name. Tags

We start with the first big change – the naming convention.
No matter how hard you try, you won’t find the Layers tab on the Default tray. That is because they have a brand new name – Tags. By creating a new Tag, we can hide objects during work. You already know that heavy geometry is advisable to be hidden while modeling another object.

Improved Outliner

The improvements come with the addition of an extra button to hide grouped objects. This allows us to hide heavy models without even tagging them one by one. In this case, if we use a SketchUp rendering scene, it would be much easier to adjust the light, for example. After all our settings, we find easily the models and save a lot of time. Just tagging a grouped object creates a preview as hidden geometry is another enhancement to the Outliner.

Grips on Bounding Boxes

The most significant improvement is in the new facilities for moving objects. It has taken a long time to get to the point where our 3D model will stick. From now on we will do it smoothly and easier than ever. Thanks to the bonding points of the bounding boxes, when you press the down arrow, all points appear without approaching them. Even if we select a point on the back of the model, it automatically enters X-ray mode. This allows us to move it without turning the camera. Smart, right?

Hidden Geometry & Hidden Objects

The new version of SketchUp Pro 2020 already has a way of seeing hidden geometry only on objects in a scene. So far, each of the hidden objects has only appeared in the scene when you hide the geometry. This innovation takes SketchUp to the next level.

LayOut Improvements

LayOut is one of the best ways to make technical drawings on your project since it loads your SketchUp file. Choosing a template will add an interesting presentation. As we know, by now we had to manually hide objects from the work window. Well, this is over. Here comes the improvement that we already called Tags and easily hide tagged objects here.

Ready to explore even more? Now you get your FREE trial and unleash your creativity.

Happy Sketching!

How to Showcase Interior Design Projects with SketchUp

In part 1 of this series, we revealed how to create winning interior design options in SketchUp. Now that you’re finished modeling, what’s next? 

We show you how to present your vision to customers and blow them away with your designs. Pssst…sign up to watch a live demo of this workflow in our upcoming webinar.

A SketchUp Pro subscription includes a powerful ecosystem of products to help you communicate your creations. Let’s explore!

Add custom Styles to your design

Adding your personal style is an important part of showcasing designs. StyleBuilder allows you to create customised line styles using imported digital or hand drawn strokes. Think crisp pen lines, wavy pencil marks or marks from a fat stick of graphite. Combine line styles with unique textures, colours and watermarks to inject your creative flair into models, renders and animations. 

In SketchUp, you can create and edit styles. Apply your preferred style settings with a single click.

Create stunning 2D drawings and branded presentation documents

Now that you’ve added a style, it’s time to insert the model into LayOut. When you import a 3D model, a viewport is placed on the page. Good news, the scenes you set up in your SketchUp file are ready to use in LayOut. 

Combine model views with text and 2D vector illustration to present design details, materials and design options. Many of the tools in LayOut work as they do in SketchUp. That means you can quickly get to drawing, resizing, adding details, making copies and changing styles and scale. 

Present your ideas with SketchUp Viewer 

Are printed drawings or a pdf the only way to showcase your work? Of course not! SketchUp Viewer for Mobile gives you the power to view and share your portfolio on iOS and Android devices. Take advantage of Augmented Reality to evaluate design options in a real-world scale. Switch between scenes to showcase designs on the go while retaining your model’s style.

 

Model on the go with SketchUp for Web

Not all CAD tools are fully editable on the web, SketchUp is! Handy if you need to make on-the-fly changes when you’re away from your desktop computer. Let’s say you’re in a meeting at a client’s office and they want to see a project with a revised furniture layout. Open a model to SketchUp for Web directly from Trimble Connect on any web device to make the changes in real-time. Save the file to Trimble Connect for easy access back at the office. 

 

Create rendered images with Trimble Connect visualizer

We’ll wrap this up with something that we are very excited about. Rendering! With a SketchUp Pro Subscription, you can create simplified renders using Trimble Connect for Desktop and the brand new Trimble Connect Visualizer. Note: this feature is currently available for Windows only.

Step into AR/VR to experience designs before they’re built

Do you have access to a VR or Mixed Reality device? If your answer is yes, you can bring 3D models to life in mixed or virtual reality. Step into a powerful new way to explore, understand, and share your work. The best part? It’s part of a SketchUp Pro Subscription.

Remember to sign up to watch a step-by-step demo of this workflow in our upcoming webinar on December 11th, 4pm UTC.

How to Win Interior Design Projects with SketchUp

Pitching for a new project is one of the most exciting parts of the design process. Creativity needs to flow but deadlines are around the corner. You want to get ideas out of your head quickly and turn them into winning results that will wow your client, boss or team. 

Leverage the full power of a SketchUp Pro subscription at every stage of your creative process to deliver impactful concepts, quickly. Watch us do it live by signing up for our upcoming webinar (and keep reading for a sneak peak!) 

In Part 1 of this series, we’ll teach you how to start from scratch and create design options with ease. In Part 2, you’ll learn how to showcase those designs in their best light, leaving your audience mesmerized. The examples used are interior design focused but don’t worry, these concepts can be applied to almost any industry!

 


Get started with a 2D sketch, floorplan or photo in SketchUp Pro

There are a few different ways to bring your project into SketchUp right from the start. Don’t be afraid to use what you have depending on the project, whether a sketch, photograph (check out how to use Match Photo) or a 2D plan:

  1. Working from a hand-drawn sketch? Import the hand drawing as an image and start tracing with the Line tool to create a floorplan. This is an easy (and thus popular) way to bring a floorplan into SketchUp.
  2. Have a set of plans? Import a floor plan in CAD, image or PDF. Draw the outline of your project by scaling and drawing from the plan as a reference.

 


Bring the outline into 3D 

Once you have an outline, you’re ready to draw exterior walls. This workflow highlights how to use imported CAD geometry as your starting point


Create multiple design options using 3D Warehouse

It’s time to bring your space to life. Apply colors and textures with materials to add detail and realism to your models. Visualize your design ideas fast by importing real products from 3D Warehouse

SketchUp lets you quickly work through configurations and build upon the ones you like. Show off options for furnishings or add in various types of greenery to brighten the space and give your design some personality.

The key to showcasing and organising design options for your projects in SketchUp is use of Layers and Scenes. Layers help you organise your model, and Scenes help you present designs easily by adjusting layers, objects, styles and more! 


Save your project to Trimble Connect 

Now that you have your design options in hand, it’s time to save your project to the cloud. Trimble Connect offers you unlimited cloud storage with full version control. The best part? It’s included in a SketchUp Pro subscription

Part of a design team? 

Working together just got a little easier with Trimble Connect. Let’s say you’re working on the interior design at the same time another team member is working on the MEP design. 

You can import a reference model into SketchUp from Trimble Connect. You won’t be able to modify the model, but you can use it as context to more easily coordinate the project. This is useful when you have a team of designers working on different areas. 

Invite other people to your project, create groups with different permissions to control which files members can access. You can also utilize version control to track project history and progress.

 

Flying solo? 

Each time you upload a copy of your design file, Trimble Connect will keep track of the versions. Use version control to manage different iterations of your model and share those as design options with your client. Assign to-dos and quickly work through client feedback, all within Trimble Connect.

 


Sign up to watch a step-by-step demo of this workflow in our upcoming webinar on December 11th, 4pm UTC.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article to learn best practices for showcasing your design. 

I Come from 3ds Max, How do I Survive SketchUp?

Good question, my friend. And it is one asked often, even not always verbally, but we see it in the eyes of many faced with the challenge of switching from 3ds Max to SketchUp. There are many reasons for this switch. However, let’s focus on today’s discussion. 

Here, we will talk about what you can do, as a 3ds Max user, to make SketchUp more suitable for your needs and the workflow you are used to. 

Many 3d artists and visualizers with previous experience in other software come to SketchUp skeptical and unwilling to adapt. Although a misguided assumption, there is a serious belief in the industry that SketchUp is not as powerful or as versatile as 3ds Max for architectural visualization. Although in some cases this is the truth, many projects and visualizations can be done with ease and sleight of hand in SketchUp, sometimes even faster than the original platform used. Don’t get me wrong, everybody has his own way of working and there is nothing wrong if the results are good quality ones. But in 3D, like in real life, sometimes we are faced with a new platform and we should do the best we can with what we have. 

I also come from 3ds Max. I get your point, I understand you. That’s why I’ll present a few ideas and workflow tips on how to use SketchUp to its best ability from the perspective of a native 3ds Max user. And let me put a disclaimer here – all software is good if it gets the job done. These are personal tips that I came across from years of mixed pipelines, various artists and different projects happening on diverse platforms.

First things first…

Forget about poly flow. Or at least the way you are used to it. In the website Quora John Bacus (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jbacus/), one of the people behind the design of SketchUp, he describes the software’s modeling as “a polygon mesh modeler, using a winged-edge data model”. So there is the concept for a polygon in SketchUp, but it is definitely not the one you are used to as a 3ds Max user. There are no vertices and there is no need to add a couple of edges to extrude something. It is okay to just extrude. Really. It is. 

 

Second. A sphere is not a base SketchUp model. In fact, it is in a way complex next level model that you need to work for. Don’t go looking for it. The closer you will get to a sphere with a few clicks is a cylinder. Get over it. There are ways to do a sphere, so life will not be sphereless. 

Now, it is time to dive into SketchUp and see what we are presented with.

No matter the scale you chose, there will always be a character greeting you in the viewport. That is a Trimble inside joke and it is always somebody who works in the company. It’s a funny joke, and I’m sure that the person is flattered but after some time this puppet can become more annoying than anything. Especially if you plan on rendering at some point and are using V-Ray for that, the colors of the puppet will be read as V-Ray Materials filling your Asset editor with more unneeded info. This is because Marc (SketchUp 2019) is a component and a component is quite a big deal in SketchUp. I’ll go over that in a moment, but for now, I suggest you save a preset where this component is just missing.

And now when you open your preset it will be nice and clean. Sorry, Marc and everybody who came before and after you, it is not personal. We appreciate your presence anyway!

Next comes next.

Components. And groups. And layers. And the Outliner. And how SketchUp manages geometry.

Groups and components are part of the founding fathers of SketchUp. Without using them, the chances are you’ll end up in deep dark forest far away or worst – will have a really hard time editing anything that you have modeled. Since most pieces of geometry become one just by touching in SketchUp, by adding groups you put some boundaries between them. In other words – group every piece of geometry that you consider a whole element. Then come components. Imagine them as… instances may be. They are geometry groups which are linked together and if you change one you change all of them. Although, they cal also store materials, be written on the hard drive and easily imported in any new scene you have. I recommend these videos for understanding a bit more:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OuYsofGFQE 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOSRDBMC8rg

Layers work pretty similarly to any software with layers, with the only set back being that if you want to move something to a layer you have to individually place it in it. The Outliner is quite an advantage for the newer versions of SketchUp as it resembles even Autodesk Maya’s Outliner. Or, said in 3ds Max terms – the Scene Explorer. This is basic geometry management in your new best friend. 

You have the basics. Now, fill up with patience and let’s explore a few major tips that will save your nervous system from any unnecessary damage.

Shortcuts. Besides the basics that Google’s 1st page will provide.

A major one that most SketchUp users miss and it is quite native to 3ds Max is zoom to selection. There is a right mouse click menu option, but since 3ds Max offers the “z” key for that, it is a great idea to add it to SketchUp as well. You can add a shortcut from Window / Preferences / Shortcuts, but in order to have the option to add a Zoom to selection one, be sure to have something in the scene clicked on. Otherwise, it will not show as a possible shortcut function.

Another useful one is the fact that if you extrude a face inside SketchUp (shortcut is P) it will NOT create an additional edge. If you want that edge (as we said in the beginning, it is not necessary for SketchUp) you just need to press Ctrl while extruding and you get your edge.

And hey, you’ve noticed – there is no gizmo. No pivot you might call it. The main issue with that is how hard it can be to move only in a specific axis. This is achieved by a shortcut as well. After selection the object (group, face, edge, etc – works for anything) and starting to move it (shortcut is M) just press the arrow on your keyboard. Up is for the blue axis, Left is green and Right is red. Then, you are moving only in that direction. 

This also works when adding a loop on an already created piece of geometry, although that might be a bit more complex as there is no Swift Loop option. You need to select only the edges of the end face and move and copy them on the inside. This will create the extra loop in a way.

 

And speaking of moving and copying, nope, it is not Drag + Shift. It is Move + Ctrl. Of course, Ctrl + c; Ctrl + V work, and there is also the lovely option (which I hear AutoCAD users are familiar with) called Paste in Place. The best news here: works between different opened SketchUps as well.

And if you want to bevel an edge, just use Follow me…

Plugins, or in SketchUp terms – Extensions

After we have set our shortcuts, one of SketchUp’s major capabilities is the Extensions Warehouse. Imagine it as all plugins available for SketchUp situated in one place, available from the native interface. And even better – many of them are free. Thanks to those extensions SketchUp can really live to a great potential. Without extensions… well, I have tried it, and I would say I don’t recommend this approach. And again, many are free and work really well.

A few notable ones for dear old 3ds Max users:

Select’n’Isolate – https://extensions.sketchup.com/en/content/select-n-isolate – 3ds Max equivalent: Alt + Q, or Isolate selection

SUbD – https://extensions.sketchup.com/pl/content/subd – 3ds Max equivalent: Turbo Smooth Skimp – https://extensions.sketchup.com/en/content/skimp – Importing any universal 3d geometry like obj and fbx

There are many additional ones we can talk about and in the future, but let’s not get overwhelmed. I encourage you to go and browse yourself. And if you find some interesting, feel free to share in the comments! 

And… the cherry on top.

SketchUp has a library of many many models. It’s a part of the interface. Moreover, totally free.

The library is called 3D Warehouse and it is your new best best best friend. Have in mind that some 3ds Max users, even presented with wonderful sites like Evermotion and Turbo Squid still download models from the SketchUp Warehouse because it is convenient. So, enjoy. Here are the basics:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voI8Ex4GVg4

From then on, you should arm yourself with a lot of patience and most importantly – be positive and inspired to try new stuff. SketchUp is a very powerful software bringing 3D to many different people. It is great for beginners but can speed up and ease the workflow of seasoned professionals as well. It can be fun, very productive and especially easy for making corrections and managing different stages of a model. 

So, it is awesome. Have fun.

 

Author: Kalina Panteleeva

Announcing SketchUp 2019 Feature Updates

We are excited to share some of our favorite features and improvements in the latest product update to SketchUp Pro 2019 and LayOut. This release has made SketchUp more intuitive and fun to use with a focus on improvements to imagery exports, usability, and a seamless LayOut connection. Get ready — your professional workflow will greatly benefit!

New in SketchUp

Professional output enhancements

Exporting images Exporting 2D graphics, raster files, and animations just got better. You can now control the overall line thicknesses of exported images with our new line scale multiplier, found in the export options dialogs. Before this change, line weights stayed the same as the viewport which would make the line weight too small or too large. So, if you are experiencing line weights that are too thick, you can make those line weights thinner. Also, .png images now export with its transparency so you can see what is behind the material while compositing.   Customizable unit settings Have you ever needed to use different unit measurements for a model? Now your model can be customized to show different unit measurements for area and volume. For example, in a model of a room, you can use millimeters for the wall and meters for volume. Available unit types: millimeters, centimeters, meters, inches, and feet.  

Workflow improvements

Invert Selection It really is the small things that help your workflow. This new feature will allow you to select anything, then invert the selection of objects. This makes it simple to select items and then perform actions on their inverse. The keyboard shortcut for this will be: CTRL + SHIFT + I (Windows) or CMD + SHIFT + I (Mac).     Importing files The days of picking out your import file format from a long list are over. You can now drag and drop ALL supported file types directly into your modeling window. By default, you’ll now see all supported file types available for import. Additionally, the DWG and DXF importers now bring in fewer duplicate and messy edges. Eraser Tool Have you ever accidentally erased too much in your model? To make your detailing workflow a little smoother and seamless, we added alt & cmd as modifier keys to remove any unnecessarily highlighted lines that you may have accidentally captured during your modeling efforts.     Section Planes Cutting a model along a plane so that you can peer inside the model? We just made this way smoother. Section planes now ask the user to name them before placing them in the model. Simply place, then name. Send to LayOut You can now send your models directly to LayOut from the large toolset in the left-hand toolbar. If you haven’t used LayOut for 2D drawings before, start taking advantage of it now! Large Area Imports for Add Location You can now easily import large sites at full resolution. How can you take advantage of this new feature? Simply zoom out a bit, then select the level from which you want to import. Note that misusing this feature can adversely affect performance in your SketchUp model. Check out our help center to be sure you’re aware of how to best handle lots of data in your models.  

New in LayOut

Professional output enhancements

Isometric Dimensioning It is now possible to make linear dimensions align with an isometric viewpoint. This one is huge! Since an isometric drawing is a primary type of drawing in LayOut, we wanted to make it smoother and more straightforward. You can now control extension lines, gap distance, and align dimensions with isometric angles.   Auto-text Similar to “smart labels”, you can now add text to dimensions without breaking the automatic measurement. For example, let’s say you create a wall dimension. You can dimension a wall, add the word “wall”, and the dimension measurement will still update if the wall’s measurement changes. Pro tip: make sure your string has <> in it. For example, ‘Width <>’ will turn into ‘Wall 1.42m’.  

Workflow enhancements

Rotating dimensions Now, when you rotate your object, the bounding box is also rotated with so you can continue to scale in the right orientation. Quicker editing Staying consistent with SketchUp usability, in LayOut you can now hit the return key to edit model views, groups, dimensions, or labels! Just select, press return, and start typing! Ready to try? Contact your local SketchUp reseller to see for yourself how these updates can enhance your professional workflows.  

Making a door and window schedule in SketchUp

Let’s take a look at how you can combine Advanced Attributes and ‘Group By” aggregation in Generate Report to create door and window schedules.

To generate a schedule, we’ll start by adding a few attributes to the door and window components in my model. Specifically, we’ll add a Size using the new Advanced Attributes (access these through the “More” button in the Entity Info window). In addition to Size, there is a new attribute for Price, URL, Owner, and Status. These fields allow you to add information to any component, and they can also be called upon by LayOut labels (we’ll look at those a few paragraphs on)!

 

These attributes can be used to add data to components without creating Dynamic Components.

 

In addition to defining a Size for all components, we also want to make sure all components have an instance name. Instance Names are also defined in the Entity Info window, and are the data object we’ll use to create an aggregated schedule for our doors and windows.

In most cases, all instances of a door or window will have the same Instance Name, but in some cases (such as a door which can swing either left or right) a single component may end up having more than one Instance Name. In this example, we had one door component. Two of these doors swung left and were labeled D1. The third, a right swing, was labeled D2. Same component, but different real world thing: each real world thing should have a unique Instance Name!

 

The Instance Names will populate the labels once the model is in LayOut

 

Once the data is all set in the model, it’s time to run a report! In Generate Report, we’ll create a brand new template. Make sure to give your new template a name and save it (The guy who made the video below forgot this important step!).

The first step in creating the new report is to choose where the information will come from. In this example, we want to report upon the entire model and choose to report upon a specific nesting level. In this case, Level 3.

“What the heck is a nesting level?” you ask? Level 1 is the model, Level 2 is the buildings and loose components. Level 3 is the door and window components inside the buildings.

 

 

Now, we’ll set the Group By value. This is the attribute by which Generate Report will aggregate components. In this case, we want all components with the same name to get consolidated together, so we will drag Instance Name into the Group By field. Finally, we can add any additional attributes that we would want on the schedule. In this example, we’ll add Quantity and Size to the Report Attributes list.

 

Saving a template allows you to run the same report on other jobs in the future.

 

Now we’ll Save and run the report. Once I run the report, it looks like a door and window schedule. Success! The final step in SketchUp is to export the report, so that we can load a .CSV into LayOut as a Table.

 

All the data you want, and nothing you don’t need!

 

Over in LayOut, the report comes in as a Table, which means it can be edited and styled (so we can change the column heading from Instance Name to Label). Even better, we can use the Label tool to add call-outs to the Model Window for the Instance Name of each door and window. Since the Instance Name was a standard attribute from SketchUp, we’ll simply choose it as an automatic label from the label dropdown (we could also use the Size or Component Name, if we wanted).

 

It’s just that simple!

 

There you have it: A little bit of pre-work in naming and organizing components while modeling, and then you’re off to the races when it’s time to turn your model into a project. Happy sketching!

 

 

 

From concept design to construction with SketchUp

Northpower Stålhallar is a construction company based in Stockholm, Sweden that specializes in warehouse construction. They build industrial warehouses using SketchUp from concept design all the way to the construction phase, including LayOut for construction documentation.

 

Tell us about  Northpower Stålhallar. What do you do?

Northpower Stålhallar was started in 2006 by two brothers from the northern part of Sweden. We were something completely different from the company you see today. Our founders were sitting in a small office by themselves. Since then, the company has grown to almost fifty employees. Fifteen people work in the office, five people weld in our manufacturing department, and the rest are on our work sites building the projects.

Northpower Stålhallar’s office building. This includes a manufacturing unit, where many SketchUp designs come to life.

 

What was the company’s first experience with SketchUp? When did you first use it and why?

In the beginning, the two brothers were looking at other construction companies working in 2D and thought, “We don’t want to use 2D, we want to use 3D because you can visualize designs so much better”. They started to look around to understand what types of tools were on the market.

A company delivered a staircase to them for a project and one of the founders noticed it was drawn in SketchUp. He thought, “If they can do it, I can do it.” So he downloaded SketchUp and tried it. He found it to be fantastic. The cost is much lower than some of the other programs, so that was great too!

 

Can you talk about the space you are sitting in and its design in SketchUp? We’d love to take a virtual tour.

When you walk through the entrance, you have a view of our manufacturing unit. Everything made there is designed in SketchUp. You can see the steel being welded together. Northpower Stålhallar builds steels halls so our building is, of course, built with a steel frame.

Steel hall designs are a signature from Northpower Stålhallar

 

From the lobby, you can access the saunas (it’s a must in Sweden). There’s also a lunchroom, where we all sit and have lunch together. You can take the elevator up and that’s where we have our offices. When you come up, you’ll see a big open lounge area with sofas and TVs where you can sit and relax while waiting for a meeting. We also have table tennis, billiards, and an exercise room.

We modelled the whole thing in SketchUp. The painters were painting the designs exactly from the model. All of the furniture is inside the model too. This office is exact to the millimetre of its SketchUp model.

 

A lunchroom scene from the model of Northpower Stålhallar’s office

 

Walk us through a project lifecycle. How does SketchUp impact this?

In a typical project, our customer will have some idea of what they want to build. We sit with customers and discuss their needs. Our team will draw an initial idea live in SketchUp. We get a sense of the size of the space and we say, “Do you want a wall here or here? Do you need a window here or here?” That’s the best thing you can do with SketchUp—we decide everything directly and very quickly. If the client has a good sense of what they want, you can draw and deliver this initial idea in a couple of hours. It’s super.

 

A 3D SketchUp model allows the Northpower Stålhallar team to visualize what they want to build

 

It’s always interesting when you start working with a customer and they see the 3D models. In the beginning, they see how much you can model and how quickly. They are accustomed to doing sketches on paper and they have to erase, draw it again, and do it that way. And when they see how much we do in SketchUp they say, “Ah! I have to learn this too”.

Once we finish the initial design, we have to do the drawings. We use LayOut to present drawings to our customers. It’s easy to update our documentation with LayOut as we make adjustments to the model.

Our clients normally need to submit architectural drawings to the government for planning approval. These help the government understand our design. From these, we get permission to build. When a client gets that permission, we begin the construction drawings. Our engineers take another week or so to work on the construction documents. In the meantime, we order and begin sourcing materials from our suppliers.

A construction drawing created in LayOut

 

Can you talk about how you collaborate with your suppliers using SketchUp?

We always push our manufacturers to deliver everything to us in 3D. If you can’t draw it in 3D, we won’t buy from you. We’ve done this for a couple of years and almost everyone has followed. So today, when we order something, we send them our model and show them what we need. They look at it and can say, “We can deliver these parts for this price”.

 

For Northpower Stålhallar, everything is designed in 3D, including the screws and bolts

 

Once we agree, they send us the 3D model for specific parts, normally as IFC files. Then we’ll import the IFC file into our SketchUp model to see if there are any clashes. It’s much easier to look around a 3D model than 2D drawings with measurements, for example. All of this is checked in SketchUp directly.  

 

When you start a new project in SketchUp, do you start from scratch? Do you have any workflows that save time when working on a new project?

We implemented standard measurements that we apply to models as much as we can. It’s much easier for us to use SketchUp this way, like a grid system. We push customers to use these standards so that we can design it and build it more easily.

 

Northpower Stålhallar takes this design all the way to finished project using SketchUp

 

We also start most projects from a standard model. From there, we like to take solutions from previous 3D models. We copy solutions from project to project. When you’re designing in 3D, it’s so easy to pull these things in. We started a library in SketchUp to help with this where we collect the solutions that we’ve come up with before. Now, you can just drag it directly from the library to the model.

 

Copying solutions from project to project allows Northpower Stålhallar to save time when iterating through designs

 

As a company that uses SketchUp from concept design all the way to construction phase, can you share your take on using SketchUp to build a constructible model?

Before I started at Northpower Stålhallar, all I heard was people using SketchUp to design an idea of what something would look like; the outer shell let’s say. However, I learned that you can use it to design exactly what and how you will build. As engineers, if something is 3 millimetres wrong, it won’t fit. So for us, we draw everything down to the millimetre precision. We order components from our suppliers to the millimetre. For us, SketchUp does this perfectly.

 

This scene focuses on a warehouse’s steel frame; finding a clash here eliminates issues on-site

 

How do you use SketchUp models to work with your construction staff on site?

We share models with our construction workers. This way, they can look at them on-site using their laptops or phones. Every time we update something important, they see those updates to the model. We know they’ll look at the model, so it’s important for it to be up-to-date and accurate. We’ve noticed that the more our construction staff use the product, the fewer questions we get.

 

A construction team member navigates through a SketchUp model

 

Before, they would have questions about the measurement on a beam for example. Now, they’ll look at the model themselves and answer their own questions. For them, it’s easier to be able to access the information directly from the design.

Some of our construction teams have no prior experience with SketchUp. One advantage of SketchUp is how easy it is to learn compared to other programs. We sit with our staff, even just two hours, and they understand how to look around a model and access the important information.

 

Get everyone on the same page; collaboration makes for a smooth project delivery

 

What’s next for how your team uses SketchUp?

We’re trying to expand our use of ‘generate report’ to get more information from our models. We’re also trying to get more information into the models. What we want is as much information as we can get into our 3D models so that the model is the only thing we have to work from.

 

Extensions you can’t live without?

IRender, CleanUp, Cutlist, Auto-Invisible Layer

 

The Northpower Stålhallar team in SketchUp

 

Make (even) better drawings with LayOut

There’s more to SketchUp than 3D modeling. But you know that, right?

For presenting work to clients, planning boards, contractors — whomever — we still use 2D drawings to convey design and detail. That’s pretty clear.

And if you read this blog you’ve seen that LayOut is the most efficient way to turn SketchUp models into diagrams, drawings, CD sets, presentations, or even just scaled prints.

We have to say it… if you aren’t using LayOut, you’re missing out! Page courtesy of Dan Tyree

 

SketchUp Pro and LayOut are designed together to help you make phenomenal drawings. So why not take the next step and learn LayOut? We think you should.

Of course, you’re welcome to download SketchUp Pro 2019 to give LayOut a try. But if you are already working in LayOut, we invite you to read on and learn how to make even better drawings.

Create Scaled Drawings

A SketchUp model is not the only entity that has a scale in LayOut. LayOut’s tools to draw to scale in 2D. Sketch a detail from scratch or add scaled linework over your SketchUp models — directly in LayOut. Gone are the days when you’d have to go back into SketchUp to create a 2D drawing or eyeball the position of a dashed line to show an overhead cabinet.

Once you’ve created a scaled drawing, you’re free to re-set scales as you wish; your work will resize as necessary. And as you would expect, your scaled drawings are fully supported by LayOut’s Dimension tool.

Complement or sketch over SketchUp viewports with linework that can be drawn (and dimensioned) at scale.

 

For all the ways you draw…

Drawing heuristics are what we do. LayOut’s tool-set makes drawing details easier. Here are three of our favorites:

Use the 2 Point Arc tool to find tangent inferences. You can also use it to create chamfers and fillets with a specified radius.

 

When editing a line, you can select multiple segments and points while adding and subtracting entities to your selection.

 

Don’t want LayOut to automatically join new line segments with existing ones while you’re drawing? There’s a right-click menu item to toggle that off.

 

 

Group Edit and Entity Locking

To support scaled drawings, editing grouped entities in LayOut works just like it does in SketchUp. That means it’s way easier to modify grouped entities and thus, it’s much easier to keep your documents well organized. Bonus: you can also control “rest of document” visibility while editing groups.

Similar to group editing, locking entities is fundamental to how many people organize and navigate projects (both models and documents). In addition to locking layers, you can easily lock individual LayOut entities to cut down on accidental selections — just like in SketchUp.

Draw to the .000001”

Accurate dimensions are an obvious requirement for any drawing set. LayOut displays dimensions as precisely as SketchUp can model: up to 0.000001 centimeters.

By happy coincidence, this precision also allows you to dimension across distinct SketchUp viewports in order to create an excellent section detail like this…

Two SketchUp viewports with clipping masks; one accurate dimension string.

 

LayOut: A+, plays well with others.

Finally, we understand that not everyone works in LayOut. Your colleagues may use other CAD applications. You may use other CAD applications. So we introduced a DWG/DXF importer to LayOut. You can import files from your colleagues and your own existing CAD content — title blocks, blocks, pages, and geometry — all to a scale that fits within your LayOut paper size.

Because however you work — in and out of SketchUp — LayOut is here to help you make great drawings.