Tricky Bunny by catamountain     
Tips & Tricks   
 A Tips & Tricks collection from many sources to help get the job done...

 SketchUp Basecamp


Lots o' tricks and techniques at Basecamp 2008

  • SketchUp and Layout Tips & Tricks  The namesake inspiration for this page is the Session featuring Aidan Chopra, Chris Fullmer, Susan Sorger, Jean (Johnny) Lemire, and Gaieus (Csaba Pozsárkó)
  • YouTube Channel  for all sessions - standard and high quality video options
  • Special After-Site  for all sessions - includes special download handout links


 Nifty Bits

  • How do I make SketchUp run faster?  There are enough of these tips to have its own page.
  • Camera > Previous restores your last camera positions.  It's so useful that it deserves to be added as a keyboard shortcut.
    • Use it if the camera gets 'trapped' inside a model while orbiting to go back to the last good location
    • It's also good to set the identical camera position for multiple Scenes.  Adjust the camera and save/update the first Scene in the Scene palette.  Select the next Scene tab.  If the camera moves to some other location, select Camera > Previous to restore the camera position of the first Scene.  And be certain to update the Scene to save.
  • Use Section Cuts to examine the inside of a model for unnecessary geometry to delete.
  • If a text leader needs to be repositioned, select it and switch to the Move tool.  The Scale tool also can be used.  Tug on the bounding box handles to reposition the leader.
  • While working with any tool, move the tool over any geometry you want in the middle of the workspace and double-click the middle button - the scroll wheel.  
  • Convert your SketchUp models to PDF format using free software  DigitalThumb - Group discussion on making PDFs for the SketchUp free crowd.
  • To soften harsh shading, open the Shadow Setting window and move the Light slider to a darker value and the Dark slider to a light value.
  • Group a Line - You cannot make a group or component by selecting a line, right-clicking and choosing the option on the context menu.  But you can use the Edit menu option or a keyboard shortcut for making a group or component.
    • Make an image, like a landscaping element transparent PNG, a component by selecting a line with the image.  Go into edit the component to remove or hide the line.  An image does not have edges, so this will help lower model geometry.
  • How do I open skb files  Four ways to open the backup file in SketchUp. xxxx [dead link]

Change Thumbnails


Add Geographic Locations to Model Info

  • TaffGoch - The default longitude/latitude data is stored in a DAT file in the program directory.  In Windows, open the DAT file in Wordpad (Notepad will not work) to add more default city location data.  In Mac, open the DAT in TextEdit.
    • Windows - C:\Program Files\Google\Google SketchUp 6\Resources\en-US\locations.dat
    • Mac - /Applications/Google\ SketchUp\ 7/ 
  • SketchUp Sage article  |  Group thread

 Attribute Reporting  

Within SketchUp...
  • Note that the report generated by the Model info>Statistics window can be copied and pasted into another program like Excel as a tabbed list.
  • You can check "Components only" to get a list of components - check Show Nested Components, if your items are buried in other components or groups.
  • SketchUp 7 Pro added Dynamic Components, which among other things will allows a variety of attributes to be added to a component.  Along with that feature is ability to send model attribute to a CSV or HTML file for Pro users through File > Generate Report.  

There are several other ways to write and generate attributes:
Note: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon.  
  • AttribReporter  Ashley Joyce - Web dialog plugin which allows you to write attributes to selected items.
  • Attribute Helper  SketchUp team - Displays all the attributes attached to a component. Open source project.
  • Attribute Inspector  Aerlius - A viewer and editor for entity and model attributes.
  • Attribute Reporting  An introduction to SketchUp's attribute function through the Ruby API - create custom bill of materials, etc
  • Automated SketchUp 2 Excel  farazforoozan - Automate SketchUp through MS Excel.
  • ComponentReporter++  TIG plugin which sends model info to two CSV files - Instructions are included within the RB file.  Open the file with a plain text editor, like Notepad, to review the instruction text at the top of the file. - Free 
  • dataexporter  Uli Tessel - Exports information about edges. - Free
  • Eneroth Attribute Editor  Eneroth3 - Advanced attribute editor supporting classes like arrays, vectors and points, and entities like definitions, layers, materials and models. Includes tool to pick points and vectors.
  • FredoTools::ReportAreaLabel  Fredo6 - Several services about area, exports CSV file. - Free
  • General Locator  Moris Papasmadov -  Link 3D models to Google docs online Spreadsheets.
  • model_report  Didier Bur - Export a text file or an Excel sheet with information of the current model. - Free
  • Product Connect  Igloo Studio's designer/builder product plugin for the 3D Warehouse with an easy way to add model attributes.
  • SpaceDesign  Render Plus System add-on - Windows
  • Links Manager  Didier Bur - Set,Get,Edit and opens URL for any object in SU model. - Free
  • YouTubePlugin  Moris Papasmadov - Associate YouTube video with each selected SketchUp  entity by pasting the "Embed:" text provided by YouTube. - Free
  • More on working with spreadsheets for SketchUp. xx


 Back to the Basics


Plain Jane, Patent drawing-like Style
  • Enjoy 3D modeling in SketchUp with whatever style is comfortable.  Using a style with some face shading, like the default Architectural style may even help you 'see' and execute the model.  and set up Scenes with specific camera projections and style attributes for final presentation.
  • Eliminate shading/shadow
    • Open Shadow Settings: Window > Shadow
    • Shadows off
    • Use sun for shading
    • Putting the Light slider to 0 and the Dark slider to something like 80 seems to make the materials come nearest to the Materials browser swatches. It may depend slightly on your screen. The Light slider flattens the lighting and then the overall brightness is adjusted with the Dark slider.

  • Save a Template: If this set-up is done often, save these settings (everything: shadows, Styles, Scenes, Layers...) as a Template through File > Save as Template.  Access templates through Window > Preferences > Templates.  Of course, you should delete/purge all models/components, styles, layers, materials you do not want to clutter up your next project before making the template.  To purge: Window > Model Info > Statistics > Purge Unused.
  • If you do not want to bother with a template, save most of the settings (sans shadow settings) as a custom Style.  Open the Style browser, Window > Styles.  Create a new style by clicking on .  A new style will appear In Model,  In Model .  After any changes/adjustments, update the style,  Refresh .  To save the Style for future use, open the second Styles browser, , and drag the new Style to one of the existing Styles through the collections drop down list or create and save a new collection through the options under the details menu, .
  • Axo + Iso View  TIG - Plugin to change current view to the axo/iso format desired and model-extents are zoomed.
  • For more on hatch patterns, variety of line weights and dashes, try SketchUp Pro's LayOut.  For more CAD-like options and useful plugins for SketchUp, including dashes and line options see more below...  xx

For a true, isometric drawing use LayOut, a companion program which comes with SketchUp Pro.
To get an 1:100 iso view where the axis directions are to scale, you must use 1:81.6497 as the scale. See the attached isoscale.skp for why.


 Modeling Methods

Dynamic Components



General Tips

  • Axo + Iso View  TIG - Plugin to change current view to the axo/iso format desired and model-extents are zoomed.
  • Eneroth Axonometric Projection  Eneroth3 - Distorts a group or component to resemble an axonometric projection when viewed from above.

Face Me Components

Shadow Studies

Determine building height from Google Earth satellite images
  • Highness of Buildings  Determine building height from images. 
  • The energy analysis plugin OpenStudio has a tool to help calculate the effect of shadows from surrounding buildings. 

Depicting Shadows

  • Exporting just shadows from 3d city  Anssi goes over some internal SU settings in order to export only shadows.
  • Exporting shadows without lines
  • Another method is to paint the model with a completely transparent material. Make a model with default colors. Paint only the faces you want to see, like the building footprint, a color. Make the model a group. Paint the group with the completely transparent material. To turn off edges: toggle off Display edges and Profiles in the Styles palette, Window (SketchUp in Mac) > Styles > Edit > Edges.
  • The World Clock  A good internet site for finding time zones.

Dynamic Components (DC)

  • SunTracker  Requires the plugin scenes.rb to see the component change orientation during an animation with scene changes.  (Open a plain text file, on Windows use a text editor like Notepad, and paste in the text.  Name the plugin scenes.rb and install in SketchUp's Plugins directory.)
    • TIP:  The code snippet for scene.rb needs to be added and saved in a plain text editor (like Notepad, Notepad++ [Windows]). Add the file to SketchUp's Plugin directory. Reload the program if SketchUp was already running. This plugin runs in the background, it will not be listed in any menu. The main value of this plugin is if a scene animation video was created with SketchUp.
    • TIP:  A DC needs to be added to SketchUp without losing its outer component wrapper. Try downloading the DC to the desktop then importing it into an active SketchUp workspace if there are any problems with the DC working as expected.
    • To make this DC react to time/date changes, use the DC Interact tool,.  First make sure the DC extension is active. Go to Window > Preferences > Extensions and enable Dynamic Components. Select the DC in the workspace. Switch to the Interact tool through the DC toolbar (View > Toolbars > Dynamic Components or Tools > Interact. Change the time/date through the   Shadow Settings window or toolbar, then click on the DC with the Interact tool to update the component's position.
  • True dynamic sun tracker  Also requires the plugin scenes.rb to react to scene changes.


Note: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon. 
  • 1001SkyRatio  Goh Chun Hee
  • 1001Shadows  Goh Chun Hee
    • Ambient Occlusion  qpik - raycasting plugin to add soft shadows.
    • Archelios Pro  Cythelia - An all in one solution for photovoltaic simulations.
    • camera_parameters  Bakbek - Set camera parameters using viewpoint, target, elevation.
    • LSS Chronolux  Kirill Bannov - Tests insolation duration and SVF (sky view factor) at any point.
    • Face Sun  thomthom - Set faces in a selection to face the sun.
      • LightUp  Integrated renderer which can perform realtime solar analysis. City Solar Analysis video.
      • LightUp Analytics  Daylight, sunlight and skylight modeling tool for building development.
      • map_sun  Jim Foltz - Plots sun position over a 24-hour period.
        • Modelur  Parametric urban design tool with a sun illumination simulation - pre-beta - Windows, Mac
          • param_camera   Didier Bur - Exports camera information to an external file.  Original forum thread.
            • Position_shadows  honoluludesktop - Fine tune shadow position.
              • Rotate to Altitude and Azimuth  Gabriel - Rotate either an object or a face to match the user's selected altitude and azimuth
                • Shade Analysis Tool  Martin - A plugin
                  • SHADING Tools Plugin  Abraham Yezioro and Tali Gutman - Calculates the (Geometrical) Shading Coefficient of any selected surface.
                  • Shadow Analysis  Tomasz Janiak - Simple tool for analyzing daylight conditions. Demo, Fee - Windows, Mac
                  • ShadowProjector  TIG - Shows shadows cast on selected faces by objects and other shadow display options.
                  • Shadowtex  Renderiza - Paints or textures all faces that are in shadows automatically.
                  • Simple Solar Study  dfwlarch - Calculates amount of sunlight falling on faces.
                  • Skelion  Insert solar panels on roofs quickly and find out tilt and azimuth.  Windows
                  • sunposition  Gabriel - A plugin that draws the sun path over the course of one day.
                  • Sun Tool Preview  Jim Foltz - Beta sun studies tool.
                  • Trnsys3D  TransSolar - Open/save Trnsys3d file to work with TRNSYS 17 simulations. 
                  • Architectural plugins  More relevant links on the SketchUp Sage's Resources page  xx
                  Sun path - Geo explains how to set the correct sun path in his SketchUp Sage Article.
                  • Pro 7 Sun Orientation  Original Group thread
                  • North Question Redux  Original Group thread
                  • Shadow and Nightfall  Original Group thread
                  • Set North in SketchUp Free/Make  Didier Bur - Set the North angle without having model Geo-location - compatible with ALL version of SketchUp [for Free/Make users].
                  • Scene North Angle Tool  Aerlius - It appears SketchUp does not render the north angle that is set per scene. | This tool allows you to set the north angle per scene. In SketchUp Pro it uses SketchUp's fancy graphical North Tool to set the angle.
                  • Solar North  SketchUp Team - Provides tools for you to set and display the solar north angle.  SketchUp Pro required

                  The Shadow knows...

                  There's actually a 0% opacity, transparent PNG inside the square.  Right-click on the image to save it you your hard drive or use the drag and drop method to drag the image into an open SketchUp session.

                  Some uses for this include architectural shadow studies and special shadow faces for low-poly 2.5D landscape components.
                  TIP: Image-misers can re-save the image down to 1 pixel.

                  Creating Terrain


                  Helical forms - spirals, screw threads and more


                  Cars - and other fast stuff

                  • With so many body style options only limited by the imagination, take advantage of making custom, component libraries.  For example, with a car, model a body half to a good stopping point.  Make it a component and drag that component into a custom library.  That way, when you want to make a new - but similar - car body style, bring in that original component body and rework it.  It saves a lot of time by eliminating the initial modeling set-up steps.
                  • To rework the same component in the same file, right-click the component and select Make Unique.
                  • Scroll down this section to the Organic - Sculpture sub-section for another list of useful plugins.

                  Woodsy Stuff

                  • Crown & Rake Molding Study  Tutorial on the changing crown proportional when it goes up a raked eave.  Also useful for some classical cabinetmakers.
                  • compound curve  Tutorials on modeling a compound curve in a manner similar to how compound curves can be fabricated in wood. xxxx [dead link]
                  • Tricky problem~  Desk with tapered, rope legs  xxx [dead link]
                  • desk leg question  Several methods to make a cabriole leg.  There are a few more cabriole threads if you search the Pro group.
                  • Molding Profiles  SketchUcation thread with many classic moulding profiles for a component collection.  Join forum and logon to download.
                  • Dynamic Door  Eric Schimelpfenig - Video of a snazzy way to control cabinet door style, size and placement - model

                  Woodsy SketchUp Sites

                  Note: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon.
                  • CabinetSense  Paul Verhelst - Readies cabinet models for production and processing with CNC, CutList Plus and SimLab.  Fee
                  • Cutlists
                    • Cabinet Vision  Version 5 will import SKP files. Fee - Windows
                    • CutList  CaptPanic, Vendmr - The original version of CutList as it first appeared.  New updates by Steve Racz.
                    • CutList  Steve Racz - The latest incarnation of this popular woodworker's tool.  Wiki page has tutorial links.
                    • CutList Bridge  Chiefwoodworker - Plugin to export SketchUp data to the program CutList Plus fx.
                    • Cutlister  ishboo - Original code based on CutList, currently developed by Steve Racz, but with different features.
                    • Mozaik Software  Cabinetry design, material list, cutlist and CNC applications and sends rendering data to SketchUp.  Fee 
                  • Eclate_Displace  Pilou - Create exploded parts.
                  • ExplodeImplode  Todd Burch - Creates exploded parts.
                  • GKWare Door Maker  Garry K - Style and rail cabinet door plugin.  Free, Fee
                  • K2WS_Tools  ktkoh - A joint set. 
                  • Milling Tools thomthom - Creates dog-bone fillets at corners of faces.
                  • Mortise & tenon tool for woodworkers  ktkoh - An earlier version of K2WS_Tools.  Links to video tutorials.
                  • ProfileBuilder   Whaat - Follow Me on steriods - quick-change profiles.  Fee, Free
                  • TIG.splitsausage  TIG - Adding edges at molding joints after extruding a Follow Me molding profile.
                  • Wood working rubys Update  jhoutman - Quickly add parts and pieces common to woodworking projects.
                  • Wudworx  Woodworking plugins and tools for SketchUp.


                  Companion engineering plugin resources on the SketchUp Sage.
                   Gear Animation by Jim Hamilton - click on GIF for YouTube video

                  • Drawing gears in SketchUp  Capolight Electronics Project - Guide for designing gears for 3D printing.
                  • DXF import plugins  SketchUp Pro can import DXF files, but the free-crowd would need an import plugin. xx
                  • gary's clocks  Gary Mahony - Engineering wooden clock gears - DWG patterns - AND great practical advice on engineering gears in general.
                  • Lujdvik Cejp  Artsy 'clock' pieces with lots of gears to admire and inspire.  From both an artistic and engineering perspective, this fella's work is fantastic!  Many of the pieces have a mouseover button or video to show the animation.  German | English
                  • GearDXF  Spur gear generator.  Free
                  • Gearotic Motion  DXF, CNC output.  Wide variety of gears.  Fee
                  • Gear Template Generator  Free online gear generator creates several different types of gears, animates two gears and exports a vector PDF (several conversion steps for SketchUp to import.  Inkscape can convert a vector PDF to DXF.  The DXF file can then be imported).  Program exports SKP, Fee
                  • 3D Printing and CNC  SketchUp options.  Check out the new STL exporter from the SketchUp developers to help streamline the 3D printing process. xx
                  • Me-Bac  Online, involute spur gear calculator.  Exports DXF files.  Free

                  More on the gear train animation by Jim Hamilton...
                  Video of the gear train being assembled.  While a little blurry, nonetheless you can almost hear the 3D printed pieces being snapped together in this silent video.

                  • ANSI Sprocket  Sam D Mitch  - Create standard ANSI sprockets as used on bicycles and motorcycles.
                  • DHgear4  Doug Herrrmann and Jim Hamilton - Involute gear generator, with and without a key slot.  Jim's video of his 3D printed gear train using an early version of this plugin.  Free
                  • Involute Gears  Cadalog - First SketchUp gear plugin.  Idea:  Use the resulting gears as a template for other gear shapes.  Free
                  • HypocyloidCam  Dan Rathbun - Plugin to make hypocycloid cams for cycloid reduction drives.  Free
                  • SimFonIA  Animation, numerical simulation plugin for virtual prototyping gear function, etc., includes transformation processor, keyframe editor, exportation options, and bullet (physics engine.) Windows - Fee
                  • SPGears  jgrundman - SketchUp plugin to create spur, helical, bevel, and beveled helical gears with involute tooth profiles.  Free

                  Grid Nuts

                  While LayOut, a companion 2D document program with SketchUp Pro, can have a grid background, there is no native grid in SketchUp.  That feature can be added through plugins.
                  • Grid Tool  SketchUp team - One of the first sample plugins created for SketchUp, dating back to version 4.  And it's still one of the best, basic grid plugin because it is maintained and parametric.  Meaning after you make a grid, r-click on the grid group and select Edit SketchUp::Samples::Grid::Grid from the context menu to change grid-size at will.
                  • Combine Editor  WikiiMove, Scale and Rotate using an onscreen manipulator that displays rulers and protractors.

                  If you love grids in your model space, then consider adding one to a Template.  
                  Avoid inadvertently moving the grid by locking it in place by r-clicking on the grid > Lock. 


                  Note: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon.
                  • 1001bit tools  Goh Chun Hee - Plugin tools for architectural modeling.
                  • 3D Doors Windows Frames  RubySoft - Adds doors, windows and frames.  Fee
                  • BeamTools  Cadalog - Parametric, industry standard C, I, H, L Angles, T sections.  Free - Windows
                  • BuildEdge Plan  Parametric building modeler.  Fee - Windows, Mac
                  • BuildingStructureTools  tak2hata 
                  • ConDoc Tools  Create construction documents based on "The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture" by Michael Brightman.  Fee - Windows, Mac
                  • Create Section Drawing  tak2hata - Tools to create and work with multiple section cuts and export section DXFs.
                  • Doors and Windows
                    • 3DRubyWindow  RubySoft - Tool for drawing frames, window and door components.  Fee
                    • Didier Bur - Cut through double-sided walls - Cutting Windows (Windows)  Cutting Windows (Mac)
                    • DoorMaker  Paul Russam
                    • DoorsSK  Сергей К. - Create and manipulate doors opening and closing.
                    • GKWare Door Maker  Gary K - Style and rail cabinet door plugin.  Free, Fee
                    • Windowizer3  Windowizer4  Smustard - Automates window-making - Free and Fee
                    • Window Studio  Andersen Windows - Generates detailed SketchUp  components of Andersen Windows & doors plus other CAD support. Scroll down a bit for this downloadable design tool.
                  • Generate Ceiling Grid  sdmitch - Written for tile size 2X2' and 2X4'.
                  • Instant Script Extensions  Chuck Vali - Several extensions to automate the creation of different architectural details.  Yearly subscription.
                  • Hole Punching Tool  TIG - Tool for glued, cutting components to cut through several faces.
                  • HouseBuilder  HouseBuilder  There are 3 flavors of this useful plugin for homebuilders - Video Tutorial
                  • Lamella Roofs  timwarner - Creates lamella roofs.
                  • Lines to tubes  Didier Bur - Extrudes arcs, curves along selected lines.
                  • Sam D Mitch has quite a few plugins on his blog page as well as on the SketchUcation PluginStore.
                  • SketchUp Ruby Plugins  Francis McShane - Several plugins to help create buildings.
                  • Stairs
                  • SUperPlan   Automated construction schedule simulation and sequence validation tool.  Works with Microsoft Project.
                  • Timber Frame Design  Timber framing plugins
                  • Tomot  Windowtools, doortools, bookshelf and bifold door plugins - Free and Fee
                  • TubeAlongPath  TIG - Extrudes tubes and cylinders along selected path.
                  • Wikihouse  Open source construction set - print your own house (link may not work in IE8.)

                  Google Earth

                  • Modeling a City  
                  • Fudging below terrain modeling  matthiasbasler
                  • display issue: burning through  olaf troubleshoots overlapping transparent PNGs burn-through.
                  • Faux 3D window  Show building interior with an image
                  • Tip:  To bring the highest resolution image from Google Earth, go to Window > Preferences > OpenGL and check Use maximum texture size.  This will bloat the file and quite probably/possibly slow down the modeling process, so use judicially.


                  Note: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon.
                  • KML LineString Importer  Aerilius - Track path with GPS > Convert to KML in Google Earth > Import KML path into SketchUp.
                  • KML Tools  Aerilius - Imports and Exports KML files into SketchUp - bring almost any feature from Google Earth to SketchUp and back. 

                  Organic - Sculpture

                  To read some specific tips on how to tweak/sculpt models with the native SketchUp tools, review the information on  the  Tweaking Tool Tips pages.
                  • 3D human figures in Google SketchUp  YouTube video.
                  • mousey  Gully Foyle - A computer mouse - Intersecting top and side profiles and finishing top with the script curvestitcher
                  • Growing a leg  catamountain - Extruding a human leg from a circle.
                  • need help making a tap  How-to layout and make a faucet handle.
                  • Tufted Cushions
                  • bar stool  Egg-shaped seat back.
                  • Organic Modelling  A SketchUcation sub-forum.
                  • rockwork  Extruding a rocky face with Push/Pull and a few other SketchUp friends.
                  • ruined arches  Making architectural structures look craggy, rocky and aged.  Look for the tutorial in the thread.
                  • twe posing  Takuji Hagihara - two human posing rigs.  SearchSearch 2 the Pro group for her beautiful human models.  xxx [dead link]
                  • SketchUp Character Building  monsterz3rO blog with some figurative SketchUp work. | YouTube tutorials.
                  • sketchup-skel  mattscar - This module makes it possible to create and animate bones (essentially components) within a skeletal hierarchy.  (Quite dated.  needs an update to run in the latest version of SketchUp.)

                  Note: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon.
                  • Artisan   Dale Martens - Subdivision modeling with additional sculpting and soft transformation tools. - Fee
                  • AutoSmooth  thomthom - Automatically softens and smooths autofolded edges created by the native tools.
                  • BezierSpline  Fredo6 - Bezier curve plug-in on steriods.
                  • Bezier Surface  thomthom - WIP
                  • Bitmap to Mesh  thomthom - Generates a mesh from a given BMP image. - Free
                  • Blend  kirill2008 - A lofting tool.
                  • Boolean tools
                    • BoolTools  Whaat - Boolean tools for the free crowd and pre-SketchUp 7 Pro.  Fee
                    • OSCoolean  oscarlok - Boolean tools for the free crowd.
                    • Solids Trim and Keep (Pro)  Jim Foltz - Trim a Component and have all instances update as well.  SketchUp Pro-only plugin.
                  • BTM Sculpt Tools  BTM - Suite of sculpting tools, updated for 2014, 2015 compatibility.
                    • CleanUp  thomthom - Many model cleaning options.
                    • Control points  kirill2008 - Adds control construction points to curves and groups with faces for 3D model manipulation.
                    • Curviloft  Fredo6 - Loft and skinning.
                    • ExtrudeTools - Zippered Set  TIG -  Extrudes a faced-mesh group along various polyline rail-curves.
                    • Ferrari Sketch  Ferrari Architecture - Tensile forming - More options than Soap Skin & Bubble.  The plugin used to be available on the Ferrari website.
                    • FredoScale  Fredo6 - Scaling on steroids.  YouTube
                    • HoverSelect  Fredo6 - Multiple selection of lines.
                    • JointPushPull  Fredo6  - 3D Push/Pull tool.
                    • Make Fur  tak2hata - Adds hair, fur,...
                    • Point Merger Tools  BTM - Merges multiple edges.
                    • Projections  Didier - Projection/extrusion tools.
                    • RoundCorner  Fredo6 - Makes fillets/chamfers.
                    • Shape Bender  Chris Fullmer - Bends a model to a curved path.
                    • Simple Loft  Chris Fullmer - A alpha version loft script  
                    • SketchUp Loop Subdivide Smooth Plugin  Guitar List.  Free
                    • sketchup-skel  Matt Scarpino - Creates animated bones (essentially components) within a skeletal hierarchy for 3D people. These bones are animated with keyframes that define the local axis and duration of each rotation.
                    • Sketchy FreeForm and Deformation - Chris Phillips - Deforms a model, original developer - version by gbabcock
                    • SketchyPhysics  Anton Synytsia,  Chris Phillips  SketchyPhysics  original code site and SketchUcation forum.  (Anton Synytsia took over development from Chrish Phillips.)
                    • Stick groups to mesh  kirill2008 - deforms groups to match a sculpted, mesh surface.
                    • Subdivide  Smustard - Apply a Catmull-Clark subdivision to selected surfaces.  Free
                    • SubdivideAndSmooth  Dale Martens - Organic modeling toolset with a Push/Pull-like workflow.  Precursor to Artisan.  Fee - Windows, Mac
                    • Tensile Structure
                      • Bezier Surface  ThomThom - Create bezier surface from bezier patches.
                      • FerrariSketch  Serge Ferrari Architecture - Tensile structure forming - more options than Soap, Skin & Bubble.
                      • Jacob Samuel has several bezier surface manipulation extensions on the Extension Warehouse.
                      • MeshMaker  Sam D Mitch - Creates a regular triangulated network on a selected face.
                      • Soap, Skin & Bubble  Josef Leibinger - Tensile Structure.  Donationware - to keep the plugin around, donate.  Pro Group thread with lots of tutorials. xxx [dead link]
                    • Tools On Surface  Fredo6 - Toolset to draw shapes on proxy models to help influence how Artisan will subdivide. 
                    • Teapot  thomthom - It makes parametric teapots.  But more seriously, the plug-in is an investigation of bezier meshes.
                    • Tgi3D  Free-form 3D modeling softwares - Fee - Windows
                    • Tools on Surface  Fredo6 - Support drawing shapes/offsets on top of 3D mesh surfaces.
                    • triangulateFaces  TIG - Newer version of Triangulate Quad Faces.
                    • Triangulate Quad Faces  TIG - Triangulates surface faces.
                    • Vertex Tools  ThomThom - Selection tools for organic modeling. - Fee

                    Odds and Ends


                     Match Photo / Advanced Camera Tools

                    Bit of SketchUp History



                        (Pardon the mess.  This is a new topic under construction after 2014 SketchUp Basecamp conference session.)

                        General, introductory instructions for Match Photo and Advanced Camera Tools (Google Doc) - a SketchUp Pro extension from the SketchUp team - do not cover all possible uses of these two powerful tools.  ACT can be used for more things than the film and television industry.

                        Photogrammetry is the term used to measure physical space from photographs.  

                        Joshua Cohen of Fat Pencil Studio presented his company's use of used both Match Photo Match and Advanced Camera Tools (ACT) to recreate a time-stamped accident scene during SketchUp Basecamp 2014 showcasing his SketchUp photogrammetry work to help TriMet Case Settles.   The 2014 SketchUp Basecamp Photogrammetry Workshop files to examine (note that the football field example has less reference lines in the image and relies more on setting the scene with Advanced Camera Tools.)  Fat Pencil Studio YouTube home with more examples.

                        Setting up a custom camera in Advanced Camera Tools:
                        Note, to obtain accurate information from digital photograph meta data is to use the unaltered (uncropped) size of the digital image being used.  A cropped images should not be used as that may adversely affect the results.  Meta data is information 
                        Finding the data

                        Focal Length is found in the image meta data.  In the viewer IrfranView, look for Focal Length under Image > Information > EXIF Info.

                        Camera Sensor width in mm is the value to use as the Image Width in the ACT custom camera properties.  Depending on the camera, it can take more effort to find this measurement.  Most common camera sensor sizes can be found on Wikipedia.  Find the camera model under the EXIF meta data.  Look for comparative charts of real sensor size, like this one for the Nikon that took this picture.

                        From Wikipedia

                         Entering the data

                        Add a camera.  

                        With a Scene selected, r-click on the workspace to open the edit camera menu.

                        TIP:  If you plan on using the same camera often, add the camera specs to ACT by editing the cameras.csv file.



                        Tip: controlling the extension overruns
                        It's not easy to find, but here's how you can control the length of the extension overrun (from the SketchUp developers):
                          1. With the Select tool, double-click on the dimension to enter the dimension 'manipulator'.
                          2. Select one of the extension lines.
                          3.  In the Shape Style panel, click on the End Arrow dropdown, and select a smaller point size. The extension's overrun should get smaller.
                          4. Select the other extension line.
                          5. Repeat step 3. 

                        To create dimensions like this every time you use the dimension tool:
                          1. Pick the Style tool.
                          2. Click on the dimension you just modified. This will sample the dimension's style.
                          3. Pick the Dimension tool and create a dimension. It will use the sampled dimension style.

                        It's possible to change the dimension line style so it's different from the extension lines:
                          1. With the Select tool, double-click on the dimension to enter the dimension 'manipulator'.
                          2. Select one of the extension lines.
                          3. In the Shape Style panel, choose a new stroke color, dashed pattern, etc. The extension line will show the new settings.
                          4. With the extension line still selected, go to Edit -> Copy Style.
                          5. Select the other extension line. 
                          6. Edit -> Paste Style. The two extension lines should match now.

                        To create dimensions like this every time you use the dimension tool: 
                          1. Pick the Style tool.
                          2. Click on the dimension you just modified. This will sample the dimension's style.
                          3. Pick the Dimension tool and create a dimension. It will use the sampled dimension style.

                          Tip: Cropping Images Imported Into LayOut
                          The picture frame cannot be used for cropping, LayOut is a bit limited that way.  But there is a way to do it: draw a rectangle (or any shape) to define your cropped area over the image, select that and the image you want to crop, right-click and select "Create clipping mask" from the context menu. SketchUp Sage Anssi

                          Tip:  To get proper dimensioning on scaled pages, set the scale in two places in LayOut:
                          1. To change the dimension scale, select the dimension tool, open the Dimension Style panel, and set the scale nest to the 'Auto Scale' button.
                          2. To change the SketchUp scale, select the skp model, open the SketchUp Model panel, and set the scale next to the 'Ortho' button.
                          3. More dimensioning tips from MasterSketchUp author, Matt Donley. 

                          Tip:  Many of the plugins listed below, developed to replicate the 'CAD' look, can be very helpful in setting up Sketchup Scenes for LayOut export.  xx



                          There is a glitch in SketchUp that makes image exports of, say, more than 3000 pixels wide or high to fail if antialiasing is turned on. This varies from computer to computer and nobody quite knows why. Also, the antialiasing quality in SketchUp is nothing to write home about, so re-sampling with a good algorithm (like Bicubic in Photoshop) gives you better antialiasing than what SketchUp is capable of. and it also makes the visible edges thinner in relation to the whole image.

                          Want a high-quality image?
                          There is a glitch in SketchUp that makes image exports of, say, more than 3000 pixels wide or high to fail if antialiasing is turned on. This varies from computer to computer and nobody quite knows why. Also, the anti-aliasing quality in SketchUp is nothing to write home about, so resampling with a good algorithm (like Bicubic in Photoshop) gives you better anti-aliasing than what SU is capable of. and it also makes the visible edges thinner in relation to the whole image.

                          So, to get a high-quality image, from SketchUp, export the highest pixel level (9999 px is maximum in SketchUp) and import the image into Photoshop and down-sample. 

                          Try LayOut to export.

                          Plugins and Programs

                          • Export 2d with Alpha  thomthom - A plugin which allows a PNG image export with a transparent background.
                          • Sizer  Windows utility program which will resize your window to match 2D output.  Windows

                          Vector Printing (Mac)/Use High-accuracy HLR (PC)

                          Note: printing with the "Vector printing"(Mac) or "Use High-accuracy HLR" (PC) print setting turned on? They switch printing to pure vector mode, so textures and shadows are not printed.

                          If this isn't the case, you should try updating your graphics card driver or turning off OpenGL Hardware Acceleration (Window menu>Preferences>OpenGL) while printing.

                          Print to Scale

                          • CutePDF to 'print' a PDF using parallel Camera and check "Use high accuracy HLR" setting in SketchUp's Print menu. Davereap goes into detail (beginning with post #893) about getting a scaled PDF file with CutePDF with SketchUp for radio-controlled planes.  Then Inkscape, an Open Source vector graphics editor, can save a DXF or SVG for other applications.
                            • Print to Scale  Chiefwoodworker's Blog topic
                              • Printing to Scale  Jean Lemire instructs how to set-up printing to scale
                                • How to print to scale without losing scale  Look for the "fit to page margins" option in PDF.  Set "Page Scaling" in Adobe Reader to none. 
                                • Print to Scale  George Knowles - SketchUp Sage artlicle
                                • QuickScale  Program which scales PDFs. - Fee


                                 Watercolor, Painterly and Rendered Effects



                                Post-modeling pretty stuff

                                Plugins and Programs

                                Note: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon.
                                • Animated textures
                                • Blackout  thomthom - Plugin to make a material mask for post processing by turning all materials black, except the selected face(s). 
                                • Canvas  Renderiza - Plugin to interactively paint groups and components in spray type manner.
                                • Export 2d with Alpha  thomthom - Plugin to export the current view with transparent background option in SketchUp 8.
                                • FixAspectRatio  Rick Wilson - Removes the gray bars added through plug-ins like tt_vray_Toys linked above.
                                • FredoTools:ThroughPaint  Fredo6 - Plugin which extends the native paint tools, like not needing to open a group/component to paint the inner geometry.
                                • JS Background color  Plugin which adds a horizon color to the sky.
                                • Munsell Color Maker  Didier Bur - Creates SketchUp materials based on the Munsell colors naming convention. 
                                • NightSky  Smustard - Adds sunrise and sunset effects to the Shadow Info slider.
                                • Rain  Renderiza - Creates animated rain effect.
                                • Rendering Favourites  Trogluddite - Plugin creating a toolbox and to store and recall parameters of a model appearance.
                                • RpImageFilters  Render Plus - Apply Photoshop-like filters to SketchUp image exports from inside SketchUp.
                                • RpTools  Render Plus - The Alpha Images wizard will convert a color to an alpha channel AND export an image with the background transparent.  NprTools will create non-photorealistic renders.  Fee - Windows
                                • RpTreeMaker  Render Plus - Plugin to create custom, 2D face-me trees inside SketchUp.  Standard tree library in the 3D Warehouse which can be loaded in RpTreeMaker and customized.
                                • Sizer  Windows utility program which will resize your window to match 2D output. Windows
                                • SKMtools,MaterialTools,ImageTools  TIG - Plugin can create animated textures.
                                • [SU]Ch  Renderizia - Exports several rendering channels for photo-editing post-processing.
                                • ThruPaint  Fredo6 -  Extends native Paint tools, includes several UV options.  Bundled with FredoTools.
                                • UV Mapping
                                  • Probes  thomthom - Tools for inspecting normals and UV mapping.
                                  • SketchUV  Dale Martens (Whaat) - The Pro version of UVTools - Fee
                                    • Blender  3D program with UV mapping program for complex forms supported by SketchUV.  Free
                                    • Roadkill UV Tool  UV mapping program for more complex forms supported by SketchUV.  Free
                                    • Ultimate Unwrap 3D Pro  UV mapping program for more complex forms supported by SketchUV.  Fee - Windows
                                  • UV Toolkit²  thomthom - Suite of UV mapping tools.
                                  • UVTools  Dale Martens (Whaat) - A SketchUp plugin for simple image mapping (use a projected texture.)  Free
                                • V-Ray_Tools  thomthom - Despite the name, the plugin has several tools for people who do not have V-ray like adding gray bars which frames out the SketchUp workspace to match your 2D exports and alpha exporter more advanced than his earlier plugin, Export 2d with Alpha.

                                Tip:  Photoshop CS4 can import a KMZ file from SketchUp.  The model surface can be painted in Photoshop, then returned to SketchUp as a KMZ import.  In Photoshop CS4, export the file through 3D > Export 3D Layer.

                                Is there a way to COLOR lines to make them appear softer?

                                In SketchUp, Click ... Window (PC) > Styles > In Model > Edit > Edge Settings > Color: By Material

                                Then use the Paint Bucket tool to paint the Edges.

                                Textured materials can be painted on in addition to solid colors.  But to help avoid blotting the SKP file size, make sure the materials you use have a small file size.  Also, if you purge your SKP file of 'unused' materials and wonder why some materials cannot be deleted from the home menu, those materials may still be painted on some edges.


                                Renderers  Rendering options listed on the Resources page

                                SketchUp Styles


                                Note:  Some of the techniques listed below, using skydomes and cylinders mapped with a sky image, became a bit dated since SketchUp introduced image watermark styles in version 6.  But the techniques may still be useful in the right context.
                                • Cloudy Sky  Using a transparent PNG cloud image.
                                • NightSky  Smustard - Plugin to add sunrise and sunset effects to the Shadow Info slider.
                                • SketchUp Skydome  How-to neatly map a sky image on a dome and making a textured globe - off-site tutorials
                                • Ultimate Unwrap 3D  Image mapping program - Fee - Windows

                                Quick and Dirty

                                Sites with styles ready to go - but you still need to find what you want...  There's no such thing as a free lunch...


                                 Artificial Lighting

                                Playing with transparency and shadow 

                                 Fake spotlight test model by Daniel81
                                These tutorials detail some lighting tricks that can be accomplished by exploiting basic SketchUp settings.

                                Rendering Plugins & Add-ons

                                SketchUp is not designed to handle the math required to depict the appearance of realistic lighting. More realistic lighting effects need to be done with ray tracing renderers.  Renderers can even use special files from lighting manufacturers to recreate specific light fixtures.  

                                There are several renderers that work inside of SketchUp and other external rendering programs can import models made with SketchUp.  See the Renderers section on this site's Resources page.


                                 Audio-Video Animation & Web Animation



                                Plugins and Programs

                                Presentation  sub-section on the Resources page
                                Renderers  As time goes on, renderers have been adding real-time animation. 


                                 Scene Animation Round-Up

                                Scene Animation Set-Up

                                You can create the illusion of an object moving by creating multiple copies of the object positioned incrementally along the intended path of movement.  In many ways the method is akin to Flip Book animation.

                                • Each instance of the object is assigned to a unique Layer.
                                • The visibility of each Layer is controlled by the Saved Properties of each Scene you create.
                                • Camera Location remains static from Scene > Scene.

                                Open the Layers browser (and/or Entity Info and the other control panels like Shadows and Outliner) while reviewing the scene animation tutorials below in order to study the changing visibility of different elements in the model.  Slideshow animation settings are located at Window > Model Info > Animation.  Right-click on a Scene tab and select Play Animation to run the slideshow.  

                                • How to Animate an Object  Alan Fraser presents a comprehensive overview of several Scene-changing techniques and other people add additional examples.
                                • Animate the rotor blade  A 'fluttering' effect with rotor blades - and Olle Bergman's fluttering leaves are really cool.
                                • Animation - show time  Adding time to a sun study slideshow animation.
                                • Animation tutorial  Changing layer visibility animation.
                                • Animated Fountain  Look for Yasser Malaika's Animated Fountain.  
                                • Chord Trammel  George Knowles,
                                • Creating Animated Movies with SketchUp  Joel Metzger  SUWiki tutorial.
                                • Exploding Table Animation  Look for Bryce's table.  It relies on Hidden properties.
                                • Sqirlz Water Reflection  Add animated water reflection to spiffy-up a model image export. - Free
                                • TV Mount  George Knowles, SketchUp Sage - Use of Groups, Layers and Scenes to articulate parts.
                                • tent_bb3  Create a slideshow animation by placing geometry on different layers and changing layer visibility on each Scenes, animation shown below.  (Quite a few of the models shown in animated GIFs on this website - and the Scene set-up to create the animation itself - used a variation of this method.)
                                Tips: Anyone who may want to set up a scene animation will end up loving the plugin Add Hidden Layer by Jim Foltz.  The plugin lets you add content to a new layer which will be invisible by default on existing Scenes - a big time-saver on files with many scenes as you will not have to update Scene layer visibilty every time a new layer is added.

                                 Edit > Paste In Place
                                The SketchUp option of Edit > Paste In Place is quite useful for people want to scene animate grouped (or componentized) bits and pieces of geometry as it is easy to see and judge the relative position of the copy to the original as the copy is move.  Copy a group then use Paste In Place.  Move that copy into a new, secondary position.  Then adjust the visibilty of each copy on different Scenes by putting the copies on different Layers (and changing Layer visibility) or simply hiding the groups you don't want to see on specific Scenes (be sure to refresh the Scene each time a Scene change is made.)

                                Section Cut Animation

                                • Buildings! grow!  old Pro thread  xxx [dead link]
                                • Door Animation  old Pro thread
                                • Section Cut animation tips  SKP tutorial featuring the lovely cubes shown in the animated GIF to the right.  (Click the Scene tabs in the file)
                                • Section Cut Plugins
                                  • Animate Sections  CMD - This plugin automates the process of applying animating sections to groups. 
                                  • DoorsSK  Сергей К. - Create and manipulate doors opening and closing.
                                  • Eneroth Cut Surface Organizer  Eneroth - Places cut geometry on its own layer so it can be hidden when the model as a whole is shown.
                                  • Create Section Drawing  tak2hata - Export Sections as drawings in SKP and DXF format with Entity Info annotated to drawings.
                                  • Section By Camera  pgarmyn - Creates realistic internal shadows when section cuts are active from a plan or section view.
                                  • SectionCutFace.rb  The script makes a face at the section cut.  Alternatively, paint the backface an unobtrusive color to 'disguise' the backface.
                                  • Super Section  Clark B - Places an existing section cut on its own layer and it's own scene, and aligns the view.

                                Post-processing in an animation program (Camtasia Studio, for example) can adjust animation speeds of select scenes or try some of the plugins listed below.


                                Presentation sub-section on the Resources page
                                Renderers  As time goes on, renderers have been adding real-time animation.  

                                Note: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon.
                                • Add Hidden Layers  Jim Foltz - Very useful plugin to set newly added Layers as invisible in all Scenes.
                                • Animated textures
                                • BZ_Animation  Fredo6 - Customize the segment intervals on a polyline flightpath.
                                • SSB animationCreate image  sahi - Save a series of images of selected rotating parts to assemble into an animation.  Upload the image series into a Picasa web album to make a swiveling image, like the preview image in the 3D Warehouse. 
                                • PresenationBundle  RickW - Plugin Suite to control scene transition speed and camera location.  Plugins can be obtained individually.  Fee - version 1 of FlightPath is Free
                                • Keyframe Animation  regular polygon - Add movement to any number 
                                • of objects in your model. - Fee - Windows, Mac
                                • proper_animation  Moris Papasmadov - Free
                                • SimFonIA  Animation, numercial simulation plugin for virtual prototyping, etc., include transformation processor, keyframe editor, exportation options, and bullet (physics engine.) - Fee - Windows, Mac
                                • SketchUp Animation using mover.rb  cmd
                                • SketchyPhysics  A video capture program is needed to record the animation
                                • Soap Skin & Bubble  Reverse some SSB mesh skin faces and run the plugin animation for 'water' effect, rotor blade and more.  Hunt through attachments by PavAks (Juri), catamountain and others in this Pro forum thread.  (ReverseFaces plugin demonstrated in the animated GIF.)
                                • SU Animate  Keyframe animation.  Fee - Windows, Mac



                                 2D & 3D Text and Fonts


                                • Title Block  Pro thread covering the use of custom-made fonts.
                                • Text component  Pro thread on using the Dimension tool to make editable text components that glue to any surface.
                                  • 2D_text dimension | more  Using the Dimension tool to make text components that glue to any surface.
                                  • FlatText FREE  David P Editable, US ASCII text components.  Limited fonts, but more can be added.
                                • Funny Dimensions  Wo3Dan's tutorial SKP on dimension text tips and more, like replacing the dimension value with <>  if you edited the dimension to add text and you want the dimension to maintain dynamic behavior and using \n to add lines (Windows).  The hyprid text tool forum thread.
                                • Problems in the marking of TExt  Wo3Dan labeling tip with the Dimension tool. [broken link]
                                • Tutorial video on hiding dimensions and adding text to dimensions.
                                • Driving Dimensions  Plugin to make parametric, dimensional changes to the model.  Fee - Windows, Mac  [broken link]
                                On a Mac, for multi-lined dimension text, use Ctrl+Enter to create a new line and <> in place where you want the dynamic dimension to appear.


                                • Dims/Text Visibility  TIG, Defisto - Toggles dimensions on/off (hidden/shown.)
                                • Dispatch Objects  Didier Bur, Rich WilsonIsolates all texts, dims, construction lines/points and section planes on a separate layers.
                                • find and replace text  Didier Bur
                                • FlatText  Editable, US ASCII text components.  Limited font selection, but more can be added.  International character support may be added at a later date.  Fee
                                • FlatText FREE
                                • import note  Didier Bur - Imports an ASCII text file as a block or line by line.
                                • import text  Didier Bur - Imports an ASCII text file as a block or line by line.
                                • pick import text  Didier Bur - Imports and places an ascii text file as a block or line by line.
                                • TextTag1.4   TIG - Plugin to create 2D, editable, geometric text components - which can be extruded. 
                                  • Instructions are at the top of the script.  Open the script in a plain text editor like Notepad to avoid the possibility of adding bad formating.
                                  • Windows-users can add the code \n (do not add a space before or after the code) to add line breaks in the plugin's single line text field.  Mac-users try Control+Enter to add a line break.  The plugin does have left, center and right text alignment options


                                • High-Logic WinFontLab  Win Mac - Font creation programs - also they allow you to insert special symbols into existing fonts, add signatures, etc.
                                • Elefont and Spiralizer  Before 3D Text tool was added to SketchUp 6 and the other text plugins were developed, these were the favored programs among SketchUpper to create 3D text.  Elefont converts system fonts to 3D DXF.  Spiralizer spirals fonts. DXF plugins for SketchUp Free. - Free
                                • Font managers  Allows for better font management (like temporarily loading fonts and more viewing options) than the built-in system utility.  In XP, the system font viewer is hiding at Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map.
                                • WhatTheFont  Web resource which identifies font from an uploaded image.


                                • 2D text  Effects with the 3D Text tool    
                                • 3D Text Editor  thomthom - Plugin to create and modify 3D text geometry.
                                • 3DTextTool  Smustard plugin - editable 3D text.


                                 Working with CAD and Other Programs

                                Prepping CAD imports/exports

                                File preparation is the key to success.  Import only what you need, comprised of elements SketchUp can recognized.  An often used strategy in preparation for import is to work with a sacrificial copy of the CAD file.

                                Look into what’s actually in the files you are trying to import.  Here are just a few of the things to consider when CAD import problems occur:

                                What’s in the file in terms of unsupported* CAD elements?
                                DWG/DXF Supported CAD Elements
                                Was the file properly prepared for import? How should I prepare a CAD file for import into SketchUp?
                                Were the Import Options set correctly? The Import AutoCAD DWG/DXF Options dialog box

                                Tip:  To get a clean, 3D export of true geometry (ie, true arcs), delete all faces before exporting.  Using 2D Tools also makes clean geometry exports.

                                When you import a DWG or DXF into SketchUp Pro, you should check in the import options (Options button on the Import File dialog box) that the import unit is set to the same unit that was used when creating the file. The default import unit is Feet. SketchUp does not read the unit from the file automatically, and the import unit is set independently of the unit you use when modelling. Also, when importing DWG/DXF files exported from SketchUp into some other application, note that the SketchUp exporter has a small bug that leaves the unit factors that are embedded in the file to wrong values (except if you are using inches) so also in other applications the import unit should be set "manually".

                                When you export 2D views from SketchUp to DWG/DXF, note that you can only define a scale if the view you are exporting uses Parallel projection (Camera menu) instead of Perspective. A scale relation to reality is impossible and irrelevant to a perspective view.

                                Another thing that causes crashes or missing geometry is the import unit (see what is behind the Options button on the Import dialog box) being too small. If the file has very small triangles, it may even be necessary to import using a larger unit than originally used to model the thing, and to scale the model back down when imported.

                                If you made it with AutoCad Architecture or some other "vertical-market" version of AutoCad, the 3D objects like walls, roofs etc. are in a proprietary format that cannot be imported directly into other software. AutoCad Architecture has an "Export to AutoCad" function that converts these objects into standard AutoCad 3D geometry.

                                If AutoCAD files are older than version 12 (released about 1993 or 1994), some problems might arise. You can convert old files (from release 10 or newer) to newer formats with the free DWG TrueView from Autodesk. Note that SketchUp cannot import the latest (version 2013) files yet. Usually the reason why DWG files won't open in SketchUp is that they contain objects that are not supported, like AEC objects (like walls and doors created in AutoCad Architecture).

                                After the DWG/DXF file is imported, a SketchUp dialog will list ignored items.

                                AutoCAD Entities Ignored:

                                    Empty Blocks:    1
                                    Zombies and Others: 5162

                                The "zombies" the report refers to are most probably an indication that the file consists mainly of just the kind of proprietary objects. Zombie objects are proxies that refer to objects created in an application that is missing.  Standard AutoCad can display them with the help of so-called "Object enablers", but to convert them into something that SketchUp can read you need the full originating application and its "Export to AutoCad" function.


                                CAD-ish convention for SketchUp modeling

                                • Dashed Lines
                                  • Draw line > select line > right click > Divide into many small segments > hide every other segment with Eraser + Shift.
                                  • Draw line segment (or rectangle with hidden edges for added width/color options), select it then make a linear array with the Move tool.  Group the geometry.
                                  • Use one of the plugins listed below.
                                • Hatches
                                  • 120 Skalp materials  Free hatch patterns from Skalp
                                  • 2D Tools  TIG - 2D drawing options similar to those found in CAD, includes hatching patterns tool.  User can add more textures.
                                  • AutoCAD hatches  Jim Patrick - 43 popular hatch patterns to be used as SketchUp materials.
                                  • Concrete Hatch  klog1947 - 3D Warehouse model. Save the embedded materials in one or your own collections through the Materials browser in SketcUp.
                                  • Hatchfaces  jolran - Hatch-making plugin - real geometry hatches.
                                  • Hatch patterns  Gully Foyle shares some hatch patterns.
                                  • Skalp  Extension which includes special hatch patterns that work like materials inside SketchUp but will export as geometry to CAD applications.  Fee
                                  • Search the internet for AutoCAD hatches to be used in SketchUp as materials.
                                • import CAD drawings(dwg) into sketchup pro, text and dimension is missing.? how to retrieve?  George Knowles goes over converting text and dimensions to edges to import into SketchUp.
                                • PDF to DXF (note: Macs will natively import PDF vector files, but Windows requires a file converter.)
                                • Poché 
                                • Title Blocks
                                  • Matt_Cartouche  Matt666 - Plugin to add a basic title block.
                                  • Rich Text  Render Plus - Wizard on RpTools to create editable image with rich text, images, more.  Fee - Windows
                                  • Title Block  Pro thread covering the use of custom-made fonts
                                  • Watermark Add a background or foreground image with the title block information.
                                • Relevant Plugins
                                  • Note: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon.
                                  • 2D Tools  TIG - 2D drawing options similar to those found in CAD, including hatching patterns and dashes.
                                  • Add Layer  Jim Foltz - Controls and edits Layer visibility in Scenes while setting up Scenes/Layers or after.
                                  • Angular Dimension  slbaumgartner - Draws angular dimensions.
                                  • Architect Tools  thomthom - A suite of tools to work with imported DWG data.
                                  • AreaTextTag  TIG - Adds 3D text tag component of face area glued to face.
                                  • Axo + Iso View  TIG - Sets camera for axonometric or isometric view with appropriate zoom extents.  
                                  • Break Edges
                                  • CADLayers  Exports layer states from AutoCAD and import into SketchUp.
                                  • CADup  TIG - Makes line drawings views of SketchUp Groups and Components for CAD programs.
                                  • CleanUp  thomthom - Variety of model cleanup options.
                                  • CloseOpens  Todd Burch - It helps to clean up sloppy imported CAD models - a cleanup script.
                                  • Construction Lines
                                    • Construction Line  Clark BConverts selected edges to construction lines.  Context menu plugin.
                                    • Construction Line Styler  TIG - Style guide lines via context menu with various patterns.
                                    • Construction line tool  Jim Foltz - Draws guide lines line as easy as using the Line tool.  Several line styles.
                                    • Guide Tools  thomthom - Set of tools for creating construction points.
                                    • Xline  Rick Wilson - Convert edges to construction lines.  Context menu plugin.
                                  • Convert DWG Layer Names to Materials  Al Hart
                                  • Create Section Drawing  tak2hata - Tools to create and work with multiple section cuts and export section DXFs.
                                  • Dashed Lines
                                    • 2D Tools  TIG - 2D drawing options similar to those found in CAD, including colored, dashed lines (the dashes are actually arrayed, painted faces.  This will add a lot geometry to the model.)
                                    • ChrisP_ColorEdge  Chris Plassaiis - Make colored edges and dashed lines.
                                    • DashedLines  Todd Burch - Converts regular lines to dashed lines.  Fee
                                    • dashes  Didier Bur - Creates dashes on roads, starting from a selection of connected lines
                                    • Polyline tool Wizard in the toolset RpTools by Render Plus.  Fee - Windows
                                  • Dibac for SketchUp  Iscarnet - Draw in 2D and get 3D dynamically.  Nice auto-fill section cutting too.  Free trial, Fee
                                  • Dim/Text Visibility  TIG, Defisto - Control the visibility of dimensions and text.
                                  • Divide Angle  TIG - Bisect an angle.
                                  • Double Line  Didier Bur - similar to dline.lsp
                                  • Double LIne 2  Didier Bur and Jim Foltz
                                  • DrawArcs  Didier Bur -  Different methods for drawing an arc.
                                  • DXF_In  Importer (alpha) by honoluludesktop.
                                  • Edges/Construction Lines Converter  Michaelv - Interchange edges and guide lines.  Change line/edge color.  
                                  • Edge Tools²  thomthom - Edge tool collection to help clean up CAD imports.
                                  • EditInPlace  Opens another SketchUp session to work on small details of larger models.  Fee - Windows, Mac
                                  • ElevTag  TIG -  Adds elevation tags to model.
                                  • ExtendCloseLines  Todd Burch - A CAD cleanup script.
                                  • Face Flattener  cerevellum - Flattens selected geometry to a single plane - retains face.
                                  • Flatten  Todd Burch - Flattens 3D objects to 2D.
                                  • Flatten and Extrude  thomthom
                                  • Hatchfaces  jolran - Hatching is geometry. It will get detected in other CAD-programs (hopefully) through export.
                                  • LandF/X  LandF/X - A landscape architectural add-on to create planting and site plans from AutoCAD plans.  Free
                                  • layers_materials  Didier Bur - Convert DWG layer names to materials.
                                  • MakeOrthoViews  Jim Foltz - Copies a Group to create Orthographic Views for 2D CAD export.
                                  • Milling Tools  thomthom - Creates Dog-Bone fillets on the faces you click on.
                                  • Parking  Rick Wilson - Draws parking lot lines.
                                  • Plan Tools  thomthom - Tools to help fix DWG data imported into SketchUp.
                                  • realSection  GWdyouw - Create real sections with different materials.
                                  • RotateView SketchUp God, aka r - Rotates workspace orientation.  Works in Top View only.  Plugin menu.
                                  • RpTools  Render Plus - Toolset adding things like inserting 2D rich text documents and exporting PDFs with custom line attributes, creating proxy components, etc. Fee - Windows 
                                  • Skalp  Sections and patterns.  Fee
                                  • StrayLines  Todd Burch - Label, Select, Delete or Show all the open-ended line segments in a drawing.
                                  • TECLA  bomastudio - Tools for insert walls, floor, columns, like in ArchiCAD, AllPlan etc.
                                  • Text
                                    • Dims/Text Visibility  TIG, Defisto - Toggles dimensions on/off (hidden/shown.)
                                    • Dispatch Objects  Didier Bur, Rich Wilson - Isolates all texts, dims, construction lines/points and section planes on a separate layers.
                                    • find and replace text  Didier Bur
                                    • How to create shortcuts for degree and diameter symbols?  Lively discussion on existing options to display special symbols.
                                    • import note  Didier Bur - Imports an ASCII text file as a block or line by line.
                                    • import tex Didier Bur - Imports an ASCII text file as a block or line by line.
                                    • importDXFtext  TIG - Imports 'flat' DXF text to match imported DXF geometry.
                                    • pick import text  Didier Bur - Imports and places an ascii text file as a block or line by line.
                                    • RpTools  Render Plus - Tool set which includes a 2D rich text wizard to add editable Face Me document components. Fee - Windows
                                    • TextLeaderOverride  Todd Burch - Adds two more options for default text leader text.  Fee - Windows, Mac
                                    • ToDoList  Rick Wilson - Adds a to-do list.  Fee
                                  • thicklines  Rick Wilson - Creates multiple edges close to each other to make a thicker looking line.
                                  • VisTools  Dana Woodman - AutoCAD-like visibility tools.

                                Bypass - or co-ordinate with - CAD applications by using LayOut (included with SketchUp Pro)
                                • What is LayOut  Official SketchUp video
                                • Building a Presentation from Start to Finish with LayOut  2008 SketchUp Basecamp video using LayOut beta from SketchUp 6 Pro (LayOut 2 from SketchUp 7 Pro is MUCH better than this dated, but useful, but instructive video indicates.)
                                • SketchUp and AutoCAD  2008 SketchUp Basecamp video.  Sexy LayOut techy, schematic drawings with some 3D detailed callouts by Mitchel Stangl around minute 53 in the video - High Quality version.  A case study by Mitchel Stangl with more LayOut drawings.  The other case studies accessed through the link at page top also may be useful.
                                • Construction Drawings  viewsion - Projects drawn with SketchUp and LayOut, hosted on Picasa (note: the viewer may need to sign in to Picasa to view images.)

                                'Other' Modelers  A sub-section on the Sage Resources page which lists some CAD programs that play nice with SketchUp.


                                ArcGIS to SketchUp and Back  New workflow on working with ArcGIS 10 and SketchUp.


                                Adobe Stuff



                                Tip: On Macs, save the CSV file for Windows CSV (which is used to move files to Windows/XP) to make the Cloud plugin work. 

                                • More tips on using SketchUp with spreadsheet data for terrain models.
                                • Plugins
                                  • Note: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon.
                                  • Cloud  Didier Bur
                                  • Construction Guide Context Tools  TIG - Context menu tools to help manage all those guide points.
                                  • Connect the Dots sdmitch - Reads a CSV file with one x,y,z coordinate per line and draws lines between them. 
                                  • Coords Text Tag from Datum TIG - Import a CSV coordinates file with option to mark the locations with a guide point and text tag.
                                  • Curviloft  Fredo6 - Loft and skin a model using the contours generated in SketchUp from the imported cloud point data.
                                  • Curvizard  Fredo6 - Interactive tools to work on the contours generated from the imported cloiud point data.
                                  • Export Cpoints to CSV  TIG
                                  • Export Vertices to CSV  TIG
                                  • Extrude Tools  TIG - Extrude a model using the contours generated in SketchUp from the imported cloud point data.
                                  • gsi_importer  Jim Hamilton - Will import Leica TXT data (in feet) into SketchUp model (using FEET units) from Leica model Builder 100.
                                  • Point Gadget  CMD - Import, create, visualize and export points.  More features than Total Station Point Importer.
                                  • pointools  Plugin to work with large point cloud models.
                                  • points_cloud_triangulation  Didier Bur
                                  • Triangulate Points  TIG - Alternative version to points_cloud_triangulation.
                                  • Total Station Point Importer CMD - Places points in SketchUp from total stations and other precision measuring devices CSV and txt files. 


                                 Navigation Devices


                                Not all mice are created equal...

                                • Logitech Performance Mouse MX  This mouse has a cordless laser engine with "programmable" buttons.  In other words, you can assign several keyboard shortcuts to the mouse - like Undo and Redo to the Forward and Back thumb buttons.  It even has a plugin called uberOptions to expand the functionality of its SetPoint software. 
                                  • One of the noteable advantages of going to the bother of installing uberOptions is that it will save your mouse button preferences when updating the mouseware.  Follow the upgrading instructions on the uberOptions web site.
                                  • The batteries are built-in, no swapping with your own rechargeable batteries.  Maintenance has meant dusting the laser lens and connection terminals in the recharger for continued good performance. 
                                  • Shop around for best price and good rebate.  Other multiple button mice are out there too.
                                • 3Dconnexion has several navigators for the left hand.  It lets you pan, orbit and zoom with one hand while using another SU tool with the right mouse.  Go-2-School has a video demonstrating some uses of the Space Navigator.
                                • CadRemote  Maide - iPhone / iPad app which will act as a navigator for SketchUp on Mac and Windows.
                                • FPS Nav  Alan Chatham - First Person Shooter Navigation. Use arrow keys, WASD and Numpad to navigate.
                                • Maide Control  3D control input device on an iPad for SketchUp installed on either Windows or Mac - something like the 3Dconnexion navigators.
                                • Got a tablet? Here's a complete set!  Dany0 shares his Macro Key manager for Genius tablets - Optimized for F610.
                                • Remotix  VNC remote access tool for iPhone and iPad to touch/control your SketchUp model on Mac, Windows and Linux.
                                • Sandiotech  3D mouse with drivers for Goggle SketchUp and Google Earth (but you still only do one thing at a time).
                                • Wiimote  Used for presentation - Alex Schreyer

                                Remap apps

                                • AutoHotKey  Remaps keyboard and mouse keys.
                                • xpadder  Reconfigures a gamepad.
                                • GlovePIE  Reconfigures joysticks, gamepad, 3Dconnexion navigators, Wiimotes, etc. to work in many programs.  A SketchUp Group discussion by Patrick on what he accomplished with this program to-date.
                                • JoyToKey  Converts joystick input into keyboard input (and mouse input).
                                • KeyPad+  Map virtual keyboard on iPhone/iPad/iPod. KeyPad for SketchUp, Fee. - Windows, Mac, Linux
                                • X-Mouse Button Control  Remap mouse buttons.

                                Mac Stuff



                                 Virtual Machines and Network Management