SketchUp is one of the most popular 3D modeling software packages on the market. And there are always new tools and tips to learn. By installing helpful plugins or extensions, new apps or tools, SketchUp users can reduce production time and create more accurate, realistic designs.
To help simplify your workflow in SketchUp, we’ve rounded up six secrets that will help you use the software better.
1. Go Mobile
Download SketchUp’s latest Mobile Viewer, V3.0. V3.0 is a downloadable app for iPhone and Android that displays 3D models and performs a handful of commands right from a smartphone or tablet. Users view designs by clicking on files in 3D Warehouse, Dropbox, Trimble Connect or email attachments. In V3.0, users are then able to:
- Play scene-based animations.
- Use Section Planes, Edge Styles and Watermarks.
- Pull measurements with the Tape Measure tool.
Having mobile access to all SketchUp designs helps you make minor adjustments on the go and keeps your portfolio of work on-hand, no matter where you are.
Check it out here: SketchUp Mobile Viewer V3.0
2. Build with Trimble Site Contractor
If you’re an engineer in the construction, landscape or architecture fields, install the Trimble Site Contractor extension. This extension imports data and designs from your construction documents into SketchUp, making your work more accurate and less time consuming since you don’t have to manually enter this information.
With GPS technology, CAD professionals can accurately place their designs using Google Maps or another source. From there, you can estimate and forecast potential challenges and obstacles, like landscape barriers or neighboring businesses, for each model in that specific location. For instance, you can place features in their exact location, which helps you and your clients visualize exactly how a final design will look.
Check it out here: Trimble Site Contractor
3. Go Pro with 1001bit
The 1001bit Pro plugin gives SketchUp users 40 different design tools to better build architectural pieces, like stairs, windows and roofing. Some design tools include:
- Point on Face, which identifies distances between reference points.
- Align Selected Entities, which helps accurately place elements by defining basepoints and target points.
- Best Fit Face, which creates faces from non-coplanar points.
The plugin also includes plenty of editing tools, which help refine architectural elements. A popular editing tool included in the plugin is the Move Vertex, which allows designers to select an individual vertex in their model and adjust its location.
Check it out here: 1001bit Pro
4. Purge Unnecessary Elements
To work faster, use the Purge All plugin to remove unneeded items from your model. The Purge All plugin removes components, layers, materials and styles from the model, as specified by the user. SketchUp users determine which elements they want to remove and generate a report afterward to keep track of what exactly was taken out. By using the Purge All plugin, users can also reduce file sizes, which frees up storage space.
Purge All also enhances overall design speed. With a menu showing each component in a model, users eliminate the need to manually click through each design element.
Check it out here: Purge All
5. Create Realistic Client Presentations
Download the 3D Design Studio and Renderer plugin to create realistic and accurate renders. The plugin improves lighting, transparency, reflection, highlights and HDRi backgrounds, giving models and images that extra dose of reality for important pitches and presentations. The plugin also has the ability to create interactive PDF files for an easily shareable solution.
Check it out here: 3D Design Studio and Renderer
6. Take Advantage of Two-Handed Power
To make your design process easier, faster and more comfortable, invest in the SpaceMouse Enterprise (SME) Kit. The SME Kit is a package of CAD hardware and software tools proven to make design faster, more accurate and more comfortable. Included in the kit are the SpaceMouse Enterprise, CadMouse, CadMouse Pad, a twin-port USB hub and the 3DxWare 10 software driver.
The SpaceMouse Enterprise is the newest 3D mouse. It features a patented 6-Degrees-of-Freedom sensor and 12 application buttons with Intelligent Function Keys. The SpaceMouse Enterprise helps position your object, while the CadMouse selects and creates. The SpaceMouse Enterprise and CadMouse work together to give users two-handed power with commands at their fingertips. This minimizes hand travel, which ultimately cuts down on production time and also allows them to accurately position and edit their models.
Each piece of the kit is customizable with the included 3DxWare 10 driver. This software allows users to adjust their command buttons and different controls on their 3D mouse or CadMouse. With unique customization abilities, SketchUp users can choose the commands and tools they use most often. This makes a designer’s workflow faster and more precise with intuitive 3D navigation.
Check it out here: SpaceMouse Enterprise Kit
One More Way to Be More Productive in SketchUp
In today’s market, CAD professionals need to be more competitive than ever by sharpening their skills and enhancing their productivity. The CAD Professional’s Guide to Lightning-Fast R&D includes a variety of tips and tools to help boost your productivity when designing in CAD. Download it today to gain a leg up on the competition.
Image Source: J. Hendron