3 Very Simple SketchUp Tips

Pro Tips

We’ve put together a collection of 3 of our favourite simple SketchUp shortcuts and tips that we find extremely useful here in the Elmtec office that should help a lot of beginners out. We hope you find them as helpful as we do!

1. Use Arrow Keys to Lock to Axis

One of the most straightforward tips, but very handy!  If you’re having a hard time getting the line you’re drawing to snap or lock to a particular axis, use the arrow keys.

Left Arrow = Snap to Green Axis
Up or Down Arrow = Snap to Blue Axis
Right Arrow = Snap to Red Axis

This is particularly useful when moving an object in SketchUp; simply tap one of the arrow keys on your keyboard to lock movement along the desired axis.

You can also use the SHIFT key while aligned to an axis to lock it to that axis. Locking the axis also allows you to reference other points in your model to align your object to.

2. Keyboard Shortcuts are your friend!

Using keyboard shortcuts will save you a huge amount of time when modelling in SketchUp. All of the commonly used tools have their own keyboard shortcut:

Spacebar = Select Tool
R = Rectangle Tool
P = Push/Pull Tool
O = Orbit

We recommend looking up the shortcut key for the tools that you use the most. The great thing about SketchUp is that you can also create your own custom keyboard shortcuts. To do this, go to:

Window> Preferences> Shortcuts.
From here you will see all of the functions that you can set a keyboard shortcut for.

– Select the function that you want to create a shortcut for.
– Type the desired shortcut key in the ‘Add Shortcut’ box
– Hit the ‘+’ box to add this shortcut
– Hit ‘OK’

3. Make Multiple Copies

Copy and paste is not always the best option in SketchUp when moving or copying an object

First, select the object you wish to copy.

Then, with the Move Tool, click your mouse once to start the move

Next, tap the CTRL button on your keyboard. This tells Sketchup you want to make a copy. For multiple copies, equally spaced apart, tell Sketchup how many copies you want by typing “5*” (for example) to make five copies spaced apart the same distance as the original copy.

An Alternative SketchUp keyword shortcut; you can use the same method but to make multiple copies in between two points.

To do this press “/” instead of the “*” key. For example “/3” to create 3 copies in between the original copy.

Think you can create simplistic, realistic designs for your clients and save hours as a student on creating your clients dream masterpieces? Give SketchUp Pro a try for free for 30-days here!

SketchUp Pro 2018 is here…

SketchUp Pro 2018 is here. Deliver work you’re incredibly proud of!

Here’s what’s new in 2018…

Smarter Sections: 

Section Planes are essential to architectural composition, so there are some big improvements.

Named Sections​ – Just like components, section planes have names and symbols, making them easy to find, organise, and edit in Outliner. Now, it’s  easy to access and manage sections whenever you need to.

Filled Section Cuts – Filled Section Cuts are now baked into SketchUp Pro. Select a colour for your fills via the Styles dialogue and bake them into templates.

Fast Sections – SketchUp features improved performance for models that use section planes to hide large amounts of geometry. The more geometry you section off, the more you’ll benefit!

Make Better Drawings

Scaled Vector Drawing – Need to add linework that’s not in your model? Create a scaled drawing in LayOut and sketch over a 3D model to flesh out your project. Or draw from details to scale from scratch directly in LayOut

Got BIM?

Ultimately, ‘BIM’ is about using information in your model to make better buildings. The focus is to help users embed and manage information in a SketchUppy way.

Advanced Attributes – SketchUp now features Advanced Attribute fields for a component’s Price, Size, URL, Type, Status, and Owner. So now it’s even easier to embed projects with useful information.

Tip: Browsing and Downloading Materials

When all you want is a material (such as brick, tile, or grass); importing a whole component from the 3D Warehouse into your model can bloat the file with content you neither want nor need.

Fortunately, you can download only the material.

To find and download a component’s material directly in 3D Warehouse, follow these steps:

  1. Find the model whose material you want to download.
  2. Open the details page for that model, by clicking on the model.
  3. This will open up the stats panel. Click the Materials link.
  4. You then see a list of the materials along with a bit of info about each one, as shown in the next image
  5. When you find the material you want to use, click the Download link.
  • If you accessed 3D Warehouse from within SketchUp 2017, SketchUp then retrieves the material from 3D Warehouse and activates the Paint Bucket tool with the material loaded and ready      to go. Click on the surface that you want to apply the material to, and, you’re done!
  •  If you accessed 3D Warehouse through a web browser, the SKM file for that material downloads. You can then add the SKM file to your local SketchUp content folders.

To see the Materials feature in action, check out the following video



Introducing Enscape for SketchUp!

Enscape, is an easy to use, real time rendering plugin for SketchUp. There is no need to carefully adjust your perspective before rendering, just start Enscape and fly to the spots you like. It’s fully dynamic and a lot of fun to use, but most importantly, it will give you a fantastic rendered model to show your clients.


Features of Enscape include:

Live Update – All modifications in SketchUp are automatically shown in Enscape – even during Virtual Reality!

Material Keywords – Enscape uses a material keyword system to add detail to the SketchUp materials. In many cases, this works out of the box if your water is already specified as “water” in SketchUp

Section Planes – Use the SketchUp section plane to show interesting cross sections of your work.

Export Options – Enscape has one click functionality and updates your Enscape scene as you modify your project in SketchUp. You also have e export options such as 360° panoramas. Virtual reality functions for both Oculus and HTC Vive are also available with Enscape for SketchUp; and they are also accessible with a single click.

Have a look at how the different materials look in SketchUp when using Enscape:

Want to see what Enscape is capable of? Check out the gallery here

For more information, please email us at sales@elmtec.co.uk and we will be happy to assist.

A Look at SU Podium

SU Podium V2.5 Plus  is a photorealistic rendering plug-in for SketchUp developed to turn your SketchUp model into a photo-real image with realistic lighting, material properties, reflection, and refraction.

SU Podium exists so that anyone can create beautiful, photo-realistic renders from their SketchUp models without the pain and frustration of learning a complex program. SU Podium runs completely inside SketchUp from start to finish, and makes use of the SketchUp features that you’re already familiar with to achieve impressive results. SU Podium is intuitive to SketchUp users, easy to grasp for beginners, and the simple interface and versatile presets cut the learning curve to minutes instead of months.

Take a look at some of this fantastic SketchUp model, rendered with SU Podium (credit to Bernardo Arellano Dávalos)

Take a look at the SU Podium galleries here:
SU Podium User Gallery and Panorama User Gallery

Realistic Materials:  An essential part of creating SketchUp models is applying textures to faces. SU Podium can turn these plain textures into very realistic materials, quickly and intuitively via the Podium material user interface. Reflections, refractions, bump maps and other advanced properties can be applied to a specific SketchUp materials. When rendered these properties bring the model to life by reflecting light and the environment. You can use standard SketchUp materials as well higher resolution textures from a variety of libraries as well as Podium Browser content.

Lighting up exteriors and interiors:  SU Podium V2.5 has two types of natural lights. Sky and Sun. These are both “exterior” lights but will have a lot of effect on interior renderings if you are using windows and openings to the exterior.

  • Sky Light: – Sky light is an ambient light source applied evenly to the entire SketchUp background sky.
  • Sun Light – Sun light is a directional light source that uses SketchUp’s sky and shadow settings (SketchUp shadows must be turned on). The sun’s brightness, exposure, and shadow direction can easily be controlled by changing SketchUp’s time of day and year in the Shadows dialog. When sun light is on, you can use Podium’s Physical Sky to create a realistic sky background with atmospheric qualities such as turbidity and realistic tonemapping.

Find out more:Get in touch with Elmtec, SketchUp’s distribution partner in the UK. Drop us an email at sales@elmtec.co.uk

New! SketchUp License Manager

SketchUp have just launched a greatly improved SketchUp License Manager (a.k.a License Wizard) – and it’s now live for all to use.

A far away place where you can get close to your SketchUp Pro license information and even predict the future with them! (well, view your renewal dates).

Check it out, here

SketchUp Pro 2017 – A look at the new Smart Offset

The SketchUp team are always sharpening their ‘heuristics’, the ins and outs that make SketchUp quick and precise. In SketchUp Pro 2017, the Offset tool has been improved.

The new Offset tool avoids overlapping and self-intersecting geometry. Clean offsets, every time you hit ‘F’ (even in LayOut!). Take a look at our video which demonstrates the offset tool at work.


Upgrade to SketchUp Pro v2017 now, for less


As of January 25th, 2017, the upgrade policy for SketchUp Pro will change slightly. If you are using SketchUp Pro 2015 or earlier, or your previous Maintenance and Support contract expired over a year ago, it may be worth looking into upgrading to SketchUp Pro 2017 NOW!

What will change?
The price for the Reinstatement Fee, charged when your Maintenance contract has lapsed, or when enrolling into a new contract when upgrading from a previous version, is increasing.

From January 25th, the following prices will apply:

Current RRP Jan 25th RRP
Reinstatement / Enrolment Fee – Single User £47.00 £51.00
Reinstatement / Enrolment Fee – Single User (over 1 year out of Maintenance and Support) £47.00 £102.00
Reinstatement / Enrolment Fee – Network £47.00 £85.00
Reinstatement / Enrolment Fee – Network (over 1 year out of Maintenance and Support) £47.00 £169.00

(prices exclude VAT)


Why upgrade to SketchUp Pro 2017?

If you currently have a single user licence, you will save £63.00 per licence if you upgrade before 25th January. Network licence owners will save £134.00 per seat by upgrading now.

Not only that:

  • As from January 1, 2017 it is now no longer be possible to download 3D models from the SketchUp 3D Warehouse for SketchUp Pro v2013 and earlier
  • There are several new and improved features, check out our blog post here to see what’s new in SketchUp Pro 2017
  • Compatibility with the latest hardware and operating systems when moving to the latest version
  • Above all, a stable and fast version of SketchUp Pro that will improve your workflow!


The Maintenance and Support Contract

By upgrading now and enrolling into a new Maintenance contract, you will receive a number of benefits whilst the contract is in place.

  • All security updates and upgrades are covered; your reseller will provide you with updated licence details for each new release
  • SketchUp offers Maintenance and Support for terms of up to three years . You may also purchase in monthly increments to ‘shift’ your annual billing cycle, for a more predictable expenditure each year, making it easy to budget. One renewal date each year for predictable expenditure, keeping you up to date and on the latest version of SketchUp.
  • Eligible for technical support when required.


How to Upgrade

Elmtec are the UK distribution partner for SketchUp. Please contact us about your upgrade options and we will happily assist.


About Elmtec

Elmtec have been the UK distribution partner for SketchUp since 2010, and service a network of UK and Irish resellers. We have over 22 years’ experience within the digital design community.

Contact Us

T: 01844 263750
E: sales@elmtec.co.uk
W: www.elmtec.co.uk/sketchup