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Around the World with SketchUp

This month, we’re taking a trip around the world to celebrate all the places your projects are taking shape. From Barcelona to Bangalore (and everywhere in between) SketchUp users create noteworthy designs, often influenced by their unique surroundings.

We want you to share how your surroundings inspire your designs using #SketchUp_Global on social media for a chance to be featured. Here’s a round-up of our favourites. 

 

First up, Diyar Aydoğan imagines a tranquil escape from the bustle of London, UK.

 

 

Soaking in the southern hospitality. Ten Over Studio creates this 3D animation to capture a unique meaning of “home” in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA.

 

OPM Render Studio shares a glimpse of this snowy scene.

 

 

 

Step into this forest house, hidden away in the pristine hillsides of Peru. By Alets Alvarado.

 

 

 

Doig Architecture takes us to Melbourne, Australia with this design featuring gorgeous views out to Port Phillip Bay.

 

 

 

Onxy Design Collective has us daydreaming with this mountain getaway in Park City, Utah, USA.

 

 

An oasis in the city. Maria Alarcon designs a rooftop in the heart of Barcelona, Spain where the hardness of stone and wood blend with the freely growing greenery.

 

 

This southern California, USA home truly has no bad angles. Architect Steve Giannetti combines a worn, antique look with natural materials to create a timeless and fresh space. Animation by Voxl.Vision.

 

 

 

Nad Design transports us to this lush getaway on the coast of Indonesia.

 

 

Now that’s an office! We love this interior by Tacata Arts in Bangalore, India.

 

 

 

 

Up next: we’re highlighting Doddy Setiawan’s tropical home featuring gorgeous green accents, inside and out.

 

 

We’re wrapping up in Brazil with a bucket list kind of view from Marco Corrêa.

 

Thanks for joining our trip around the world! Remember to get involved using #SketchUp_Global.  

Stay tuned for our next design theme.

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!

 

 

 

Tom Kaneko Design & Architecture: Sketch, Design / Build in Practice

 

Tom Kaneko is an architectural designer and SketchUp ninja specializing in bespoke residential retrofits and extensions in the United Kingdom. In this conversation, we delve into his workflow and how he uses SketchUp to deliver value to his clients within the constraints of a tight budget. For Tom, ‘SketchUp makes the means of design & communication, with client and contractor, one and the same’.

 

Tell us about your background as an architect and how this influences your approach to design.

I’m drawn to the technical aspects of the profession and the site. Luckily I had a very hands-on experience at the University of Edinburgh that has served me well in practice. As a designer, you have to know your craft… knowledge gaps become apparent when you transition from design to construction, particularly when engaging in conversations with builders and subcontractors.

 

What was the “Aha!” moment for you with SketchUp?

It came in 2011 when I was working on Jemima’s House, an extension to a terraced Victorian house with big ambitions and a tight budget.

SketchUp model and photo of completed project showing view from dining area into garden at Jemima’s House, London.

 

To manage the budget, keep my fees down and still deliver value to my client, I had to be very efficient with my time. We wanted to create an interesting and functional space, using inexpensive materials in a considered way. This meant I had to rapidly iterate to test and discuss ideas with Jemima. Modeling the concept in SketchUp helped immensely during our conversations as I could quickly communicate my intent in 3D and also reflect changes easily.

For the retrofit and extension projects that I’ve specialized in, minute details like insulation thickness can affect the final usable floor area. Communicating these details clearly to builders is very important so that the client gets the most value.

In SketchUp, I create all the detail drawings we need, and virtually construct the entire building before we go on site. By doing this, I’m able to spot every mistake. Once I saw that I could go from concept design to construction details in SketchUp on this project, I stopped exporting my sections or details to other CAD software. Now I know that what I’ve drawn is what the builders will have.

3D details of extension frame construction.

 

The smooth transition from concept to the site is crucial for a successful building – How do you ensure this and how does SketchUp support your workflow?

I start every concept with hand drawn sketches. I focus on getting the flow of the plan right, whilst incorporating the client’s requirements and desires within the limitations of a typical London terrace.

Hand drawn early concept plan.

 

At the schematic design stage, I get a survey of the existing building done, and turn that into a SketchUp model. In terms of my model structure, each floor is its own component, walls and floors are separate, and furniture and people are on individual layers. Having a well organised model makes it easy for me to make changes or remove elements. I also set up all my key scenes and sheets early on in SketchUp Pro and LayOut… floor plans, sections, main elevations and perspective views of the main spaces.

One typical design challenge I have is to achieve a great sense of space in the interior with a higher roof line, whilst considering the shadows cast on neighbours. At this point, testing out ideas in section and 3D helps me arrive at a unique, contextually appropriate response.

 

Early concept model showing 3D image & sectional test of context responsive roof pitch.

 

The output from the model can be used for sunlight studies which might be submitted as part of the planning application documents.

 

Early sunlight studies showing the positive impact of a context responsive roof pitch. Shadows cast by the proposal do not negatively impact the neighbouring building

 

Once the plans and sections are agreed, I create a separate construction model to really drill down into the details. Some of the angles in the roofline mean we have very bespoke junctions and I have to be able to clearly communicate the construction and design intent to the builders.

 

Construction drawing sheet created in SketchUp’s LayOut showing an exploded perspective of a bespoke oak frame end wall and details of key junctions.

 

As the design progresses, I usually create a separate model for each key stage. A simple schematic model will have several iterations… changes can take five minutes or forty minutes depending on how big a leap we’re making. A big win is that I can quickly update the section views using Skalp for SketchUp, and LayOut automatically picks up the changes. The final proposal from LayOut is what I use for the planning application.

Next, I create a detailed construction model that takes us on-site. Instead of hollow walls, the technical construction model articulates wall and roof details.

I’ve found that showing builders assemblies and perspectives in 3D helps them really get behind the design intent. They have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve and why. In my experience, clear information leads to great relationships on the building site. Some really experienced builders on previous projects have told me my construction drawings from LayOut are some of the best details they’ve ever seen!

 

Image showing construction sequence. Dangan Road Project by Tom Kaneko Design.

 

What drawing standards and style templates do you use most in SketchUp and why?

My LayOut template is very pared back and simple. I usually place drawings on an A3 sheet, as it’s a good size to view things on the computer and in print. I use the font Helvetica for annotations and keep all sheets simple, legible and scalable. Over time I’ve developed my own set of revision clouds and drawing title blocks but my principle is to keep the graphics minimal so that the design can take centre stage.

 

What is your approach to rendering and visualizations?

I use Thea for renderings because it’s simple and embedded in SketchUp. It’s also a great design tool for lighting.

 

What keyboard shortcut could you not live without?

Hide rest of model without a doubt! “Ctrl + H” allows me to edit a tiny component within a vast space. Ed. note: Ctrl + H is a custom shortcut set by Tom. Make your own custom shortcuts, too!

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.