SketchUp Stories: Rainbow

Established in 1990, Rainbow have been helping companies of all sizes create engaging and inspiring office environments for their staff to thrive in. Comprised of a furniture, consultancy and services business model, Tony Antoniou, Managing Director, took some time out to talk us through their workflow and use of SketchUp.

Tell us a little bit about Rainbow and the work that you do.

Rainbow are completely independent suppliers of furniture for corporate, hospitality and educational spaces. 

These include offices predominantly, which has always been our main source of business, from large 1500+ person projects to smaller 20 person offices, helping clients through the rapidly changing workplace but also many stadiums including premiership clubs, Wembley and Twickenham, many libraries, schools, a high end membership club, cinema and a state of the art premiership club training ground.

SketchUp office design

We work directly with large corporates and SME’s, as well as helping architects/designers and fit out companies to improve work-spaces for their clients and bring everything to life.

Our company philosophy is to win clients – not projects. We want to work with companies for many years, not just a one-off project. In order to achieve this we:

  1. Always have the clients best interests in mind at all times, in every decision, suggestion and recommendation we make.
  2. Provide the highest level of service, before, during and, more importantly, after a project has been completed; on-going support and service is vital to maintaining a long term relationship.
  3. Provide competitive prices at all times, so clients have no need to look elsewhere when a requirement comes up.
  4. Provide quality products that will last.
Visualising space for modern, open-plan offices

We have many clients that we have worked with for 16+years, a couple for 20+years and one global organisation for 29 years, so we know that our philosophy works and SketchUp has been key in helping us not just maintain, but foster these relationships.

Project pitch showing multi-use office space
The same pitch from the user’s perspective. SketchUp walk-throughs are key for clients to help them visualise and realise the space before final decisions are made.
Positioning different desk arrangements rather than standard rectangular banks.

What are the benefits of using SketchUp in your design process?

SketchUp allows us to bring our ideas to life, so we can easily tweak and change them before presenting them. Clients can see these ideas and understand what their space will look like when it is complete. They can then make any changes and amendments they feel necessary in order to get it just right before they place orders.

End users really appreciate this because often we are dealing with the facilities manager who understands and can visualise what we are proposing from a standard GA plan. However, they are going to need to explain to other people in the organisation (who are not used to reading plans) what the space will eventually look like. SketchUp drawings, renders and walk-throughs are so valuable in bringing a space to life, showing the design and how it will work. Everyone is able to share in the vision.

SketchUp helps the suggestions come to life; Rainbow’s in-house team digitally recreates the office and places the products proposed into the plan, letting the client visualise how the space will look when the product goes in, giving the client confidence in their choices.

Any must have SketchUp extensions?

Make Face is vital to us because it saves a huge amount of time turning DWG files into a 3D SketchUp. This literally saves us money in man hours and is the reason we are able to turn drawings around so quickly.

Twilight Render and SU podium are also very useful because they allow us to turn the SketchUp designs into high quality and polished renders once all the changes have been made and the client is ready to sign off.

A simple render for a client office
Reception areas in offices can often be the most costly so being able to visualise it before it’s built limits expensive mistakes.

I have been in the office furniture market for 32 years now and up until 15 years ago, offices had not changed much at all. However, the changes in the office workplace over the past 15 years have been incredible.

We have helped so many of our clients understand and implement the changes, such as collaborative working areas, informal meeting spaces, presentation areas, agile working, the shrinking desk sizes, the move away from pedestals to lockers and the change towards less corporate environments – even in very corporate industries.

Lighting design in a commercial interior project

I feel that the major changes had already taken place when all of the above were introduced. However, we are still working with companies to bring a more ‘homely’ feel to the workplace. A focus kitchen area within an office is still very popular.

The changes which are coming in now are more about the people within the workplace rather than the physical workplace. It’s how organisations engage with their people and how they look after their well-being with proper programs. Rainbow always like to stay ahead of the trends and have linked up with an organisation called Yowse to carry out workplace utilisation studies. This study shows exactly how a space is used, who works with who, which departments interact, what are the busy areas, what are the quiet areas, what the actual desk occupancy is (the average is around 60%!) and then not only how many meeting rooms are in use all day, but how many people are in the meetings.

As well as the utilisation study, Yowse carry out one to one interviews with 5-10% of the people in an organisation to find out their opinions on the office, what works, what doesn’t work, what could be improved, and what the culture of the organisation is like.

Together the utilisation study and the interviews produce a complete understanding of how the workplace flows. This is powerful information and allows the creation of a dynamic and successful workplace where employees can flourish.

We’re all becoming more aware of the relationship between the design of our daily work spaces and mental health. How do you ensure balance between client budget and ensuring the work space functions aesthetically and practically?

Companies who look after their people will be the successful organisations going forward, so mental health and well-being in general is paramount.

When we plan spaces, we will always include quiet areas and spaces for private phone calls because not having these in a work place may cause stress and anxiety in people who need somewhere confidential to speak or quiet to concentrate. By providing these spaces companies are then creating areas for all types of work.

Informal meeting areas and presentation spaces away from open plan desks are also very useful because they take noisy meetings away from the main area which can be distracting.

We try to implement open kitchen areas in a workplace because it’s a space where people can mingle, chat, drink and eat. It’s generally a happy space that is well received and liked by almost everyone. Of course we try to keep it away from people working if possible, especially where concentration is required.

Office render interior
Exterior street views help bring the design to life

SketchUp allows us to use lots of detail and one of our favourite additions are plants and accessories. Bringing nature into the workplace with plants, water features and natural materials has an incredibly positive effect on people’s mental health.

Finally, as an independent supplier of furniture we can then apply product choices to the plan at different price points that will hopefully meet most budgets.

Render visualisation of a SketchUp design

Do you have a typical workflow in SketchUp?

When we initially meet with a client we will have a large print-out of the empty floor plan with us and we’ll discuss what it is they are trying to achieve, and we will suggest areas and spaces that they may not have considered. We will then establish the work patterns – how many people per department, who needs to sit near who, how much storage space each department needs, what other furniture or spaces each department requires, and finally the look and feel they are trying to create.

We will make notes throughout the discussion and suggest locations for the departments until we have enough information to draw up an initial plan. When we’re back in our office we take the DWF file, turn it into a SketchUp file and then pull up the perimeter walls of the building using photos we have taken of the area in order to create their space exactly. We then start drawing up the meeting rooms and separating the space based on our initial discussion, position furniture into the area and see how everything works. We will play with the furniture, move it around, provide a few suggestions for collaboration spaces, reception, kitchen area etc, and then present the initial ideas to the client.

This is very rarely perfect but it gives a great foundation from which we can tweak and play with in order to get the space to a point where the client is totally happy. We can then look at colours and finishes and once these have been chosen, we will complete a detailed render of the space.

Bespoke coffee table and bespoke sofa for a reception area

Do you collaborate with your suppliers using SketchUp?

Early on in our SketchUp days, the manufacturers we worked with did not have their products listed in the SketchUp 3D Warehouse so we made lots of them up for our own use but put them into the 3D Warehouse for others to benefit from too. Most of them have been used hundreds, if not thousands of times now.

Now though, manufacturers can see the value in putting their products into a SketchUp file and we very rarely have to make them up. It makes our job a lot easier. It does make sense for manufacturers to do this as it encourages people to use their items.

Rainbow worked with Gensler design, Overbury, & Savills to deliver a fantastic new HQ for the Press Association.

Can you share the details of some of the projects that you are most proud of?

For a small organisation I am extremely proud of all the projects we have worked on. Of course, the large corporate projects have been excellent and really help us in becoming recognised outside of our industry but the SME projects are also really gratifying too. With these ventures, we are often working with business owners, so we can take our experience to them and deliver a project that makes a huge difference to them personally and their business, providing them a work environment they are proud of.

From our large corporates, I was very proud of the Barnardos Head Office project as there were so many factors to take into consideration. They did not have a huge budget because they are a charity, yet at the same time they needed a new workplace to attract new members of staff. They also had a large number of more mature employees and needed a space that catered for these as well as attracting younger team members. On this project we worked with their in-house designer, Naomi Allen, transforming her designs into 3D renders so that everyone at Barnardos could see and share the vision.

The Financial Times – Bracken House was a personal favourite of mine as I have looked after them personally for 29 years, so to be able to supply the furniture for their return to Bracken House was amazing.

The Press Association is a client Rainbow have looked after for over 20 years, so to be selected as the provider for their new office was wonderful. Gensler were the architect on this and did a fantastic job.

At Rainbow we are proud of all our projects, regardless of the client or project size.

To learn more about Rainbow visit their website, or follow them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook,YouTube and LinkedIn

Introducing Chaos Cloud


Now, cloud rendering is built right into V-Ray. And it’s as easy as pushing a button.

There’s no hardware to configure and no virtual machines to set up. Simply click render and Chaos Cloud takes care of the rest. It handles everything for you automatically – from licensing and uploading your scenes to launching virtual machines – so you get your job done. Fast.

Turn your computer into a supercomputer

What if you could render an animation in the time it takes to render a single frame? Now you can.

With Chaos Cloud, you now have your own personal supercomputer. And it scales with you for any job that comes your way.

Render while you work

Keep creating. Keep designing. Let Chaos Cloud do the rendering so you can keep working.

And you can render multiple jobs at the same time. Because you’ve got more important things to do than wait.

Key Features

Smart Sync

Chaos Cloud automatically uploads exactly what it needs to render. And whenever your scene is updated, it only re-syncs the data that’s changed — keeping your upload times to the absolute minimum.

Live View

Watch your image or animation’s progress as it happens, from anywhere on any device. As soon as you submit a job, you can monitor the rendering from your computer, tablet or even your smartphone.

Remote Control

Adjust your job settings in the Chaos Cloud dashboard without having to resubmit your scene.

Smart Vault

Chaos Cloud stores your projects in the cloud, including assets, so you only need to upload them once.

To learn more about V-Ray Next for SketchUp, visit here.

To start with 20 free credits for Chaos Cloud, head over to the Chaos Group portal.


How to showcase interior design projects with SketchUp

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

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

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

Add custom Styles to your design

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

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

Create stunning 2D drawings and branded presentation documents

Now that you’ve added a style, it’s time to insert the model into LayOut. When you import a 3D model, a viewport is placed on the page. Good news, the scenes you set up in your SketchUp file are ready to use in LayOut. 
Combine model views with text and 2D vector illustration to present design details, materials and design options. Many of the tools in LayOut work as they do in SketchUp. That means you can quickly get to drawing, resizing, adding details, making copies and changing styles and scale.

Present your ideas with SketchUp Viewer 

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

Model on the go with SketchUp for Web

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

Create rendered images with Trimble Connect visualizer

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

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

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

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

The Best of Blocktober: 2019

October. It’s a great month for many reasons – an extra hour of sleep when the clocks go back, trick or treating, and pumpkin spice beverages a go-go. On Twitter, it’s great for another reason. Level designers on games big, small, and everywhere in-between begin to show off what their creations looked like before the artists came in and took the clever and made it all pretty. It’s a great chance to look at how some of your favourite games are made and get a real sense of how much is taken for granted as these designers meticulously build and ‘block’ out the levels.

Blocktober is a companion trend to Inktober (where artists show off daily sketches to celebrate all things hand-draw) and highlights that there’s no less artistry involved when designing virtual landscapes.

Once again, the range of talent exhibited by level designers using SketchUp for Blocktober bowled us over. As an aside, the community these designers have are among the most supportive, collaborative, and fun out there! Here’s a few of our favourites.

Scott Hamilton @SHGameDesign. Level design for Doom using SketchUp
@Devrimonn SketchUp blockout
@Devrimon The final version
Kat @welkin_jk – SketchUp level concepts
Radu Tanasie @radu_tanasie using SketchUp to document outposts from his FC5 Arcade level
Radu Tanasie @radu_tanasie
Sam van Engelen @EngelenSem. SketchUp blockout
Sam van Engelen @EngelenSem. Blockout in Unreal Engine
SketchUp blockout by Miguel Delgado @migdelram
A rough layout of a shooter level in SketchUp by Han Liu @matrixman_17
Cyberpunk Chongqing referece @matrixman_17
Initial SketchUp blockout design. Feiko van Dijk @FeikovanDijk
A CTF level for for Unreal Tournament – @FeikovanDijk

To view more work from level designers participating in Blocktober, visit the official Twitter account – @BlocktoberLD

How to win interior design projects with SketchUp

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bring the outline into 3D 

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

Create multiple design options using 3D Warehouse

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

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

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

Save your project to Trimble Connect 

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

Part of a design team? 

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

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

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

Flying solo? 

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

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

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

SketchUp Stories: Voigt Architects Limited

Jonathan Reeve is a chartered architect for the award winning Voigt Architects Limited in Arbroath, a small Chartered Architectural practice in Scotland. Originally from Northern Ireland, Jonathan studied Architecture at the Duncan of Jordanstown College of Art in Dundee, graduating in 2003. Having worked on wide range of projects from tiny balconies to multi-million pound housing developments, Jonathan is currently specialising in bespoke house extensions and private houses.

Having used SketchUp for over 15 years, Jonathan took some time to speak with us about how integral the software is to his work, his thoughts on architecture, and his favourite design projects.

New Distillery Visitor Centre, Angus
The design is a modern standing seam pitched roof to replicate the existing agricultural buildings of the existing distillery and nearby farm.
Aerial view of Disillery Visitor Centre
The ground floor contains a new entrance/reception with a small exhibition space, shop and café. The upper floor contains a private VIP bar overlooking the distillery. Large glazed frontage allow the café and bar occupants to enjoy views across the Angus hills to the sea.
SketchUp interior design for a new Visitor Centre for the hugely successful Arbikie Distillery near Montrose.

Hi Jonathan. Tell us a little bit about Voigt Architects Limited and the work that you do.

What I love the most is the sheer variety of projects we undertake – from small to very large.

I really enjoy small extensions, and private one off houses are my favourite projects. Houses are so personal: it is someone’s life, their home, their ‘castle.’ I strive to produce good design, and seeing your creation built well makes a happy architect!

Private residential design
Interior view of a residential design

How did you get into architecture?

I wanted to be an architect ever since I was a child, from my ever growing obsession for Lego and creating/building things.

Architects are often seen as paper pushers or builder’s agents but making
buildings is a creative design process: Design always starts by hand (sketches). One of my favourite quotes from a tutor whilst studying architecture was to ‘keep buildings simple – you should be able to
sketch your design in 10 seconds using 10 lines.’

What are the benefits of using SketchUp in your design process?

I have used SketchUp for over 15 years now and love that it is so simple and quick to produce 3D models. These days so many people do not understand architectural drawings such as plans, sections etc, so being able to communicate your ideas in 3D is essential to our clients.

Arbikie Distillery New Visitor Centre Animation walk through
Arbroath Flats
The design is contemporary using a mix of natural stone, slate and timber cladding, with extended gables and dormer windows expressed on the main south elevation adding to the character of the building.

Do your have a typical workflow in SketchUp? What happens to the SketchUp model once the concept is approved?

Our typical workflow for most projects consists of producing a SketchUp model of the building (and often the site) as a key design tool, and one to present to the client at the initial stage.
Thereafter the SketchUp model will help in the design development and be used in the main planning drawings and application. Usually it then finishes when we develop the construction drawings but often the SketchUp model is used to check, test, and visualise technical elements and issues. It’s incredibly useful for our technical staff to check the construction drawings against the original design intent.

Private residential extension design concept
Interior view residential extension design

Do you collaborate with your customers using SketchUp?

I love producing 3D models to show clients inside their building before it is made. This had led to us dipping into animations and walkthroughs, and has really helped us not only sell our ideas but help our clients sell their houses/flats etc. A lot of our projects on our website now incorporate the 3D
animations alongside the 3Ds and photos of the building.

We often collaborate with our clients via the SketchUp model, and have sent out the 3D model for them to navigate and spin around at home using the SketchUp viewer. Domestic clients especially love this – being able to walk around and show off their new home to family and friends.

SketchUp aerial view of a church concept design
Church view 3D section
Church view: main hall interior

Can you share the details of some of the projects that you are most proud of?

One of the projects I am most proud of is the Leaf Room at Ninewells Hospital, The project was won following a national 2-Stage Architecture Competition to design a garden room at the hospital. It was a special one for me personally as I live very close to the site and my wife works at the hospital so it is a real community project. For such a small, humble project with a very low budget, it has been fortunate to pick up a few further architectural awards and in 2018 won the Scottish Civic Trust ‘Best Public Space in Scotland.’

Leaf Room: aerial image in SketchUp
The leaf room is inspired from a natural form of a folded leaf – using a green roof overhanging a rectangular shaped timber box underneath functioning as: living room, garden retreat, community room, and educational training facility.
Leaf Room: Panorama in SketchUp
The building is extremely environmentally conscious being constructed primarily in Natural Scottish Timber, and will be uniquely 100% off grid: with no mains service connections, no electricity requirements, a wood burning stove and rainwater harvesting from the roof to help water the garden. The building sits comfortably in the garden space it occupies, creating a strong link between building and the excellent community garden.
The SketchUp 3D image compared to its final realised design

If you weren’t an architect for a profession, what would you be doing instead?

When I was at school I worked in a graphic design studio as a school summer job and often thought of pursuing this if architecture didn’t work out for me. Thankfully I get to use my graphic design skills in architecture.

To learn more about Voigt Architects Limited, visit their website.

SketchUp Stories: MY Wood Designs

MY Wood Designs are a bespoke joinery and carpentry company based just outside of Cardiff, Wales. Due to the specialist carpentry services they offer, SketchUp has been instrumental in helping their clients feel part of the process, offering quick and easy visualisation of their end projects. We spoke with Mike about the design process and how he marries the functional with the creative.

Bespoke Kitchen for a client in Cardiff

Can you introduce yourself and your team to the SketchUp community?

Hi, I’m Mike Yorke and I’m the director of MY Wood Designs Ltd. We are a small, family run business specialising in bespoke kitchens, wardrobes, alcoves, media units and other types of storage solutions.  My office manager Emily has recently joined the company to help manage our customer experience and improve the business presence and brand.

Designing an alcove in SketchUp
The finished alcove

How did you and the team get going with SketchUp – and why SketchUp?

We started using SketchUp about a year ago. We wanted to bring the designs to life for clients, making it easier for them to visualise the finished product. SketchUp helps enormously with that – it’s so quick and easy so we can play around with design, colours and textures to help a client decide on the final finish and look.

SketchUp was also the obvious choice with so many other cabinet makers raving about it. Being able to use the basic programme for free gave us a great opportunity to see if it worked for the business before having to pay to use it. For a small business, that’s invaluable.

How important are plug-ins and extensions in your work?

We’re still learning lots of little tricks within SketchUp and we’re taking our time to choose which ones will work best for us long-term. However, so far, it’s the simple things like uploading specific colours and objects from the 3D warehouse which is just so fantastic.

Using SketchUp to create a bespoke layout and design of a kitchen for a client in Cardiff
A SketchUp design come to life
Different angle, same SketchUp designed kitchen

What does your typical design workflow look like?

This starts with understanding exactly what the client wants from the space. We work very hard to ask as many questions as possible whilst making notes of what we see in and around the property and how the project can help better their living space and how they work around it. 

We then measure up the space as accurately as possible then start to draw up a basic outline sketch of their ideas. This occurs during the first time we visit a client. They are always amazed at the speed we can produce a drawing and how easy it is to alter the image.

Once a quote is produced and accepted, we then work on a much more accurate sketch. This allows us to produce cutlists, saving on manufacturing time and increasing accuracy. The sketch is then shown to the client with any changes made easily in front of them.

We produce a short video and take screen shots which are provided to the client to discuss for a few days. Once we finalise the design, we can start ordering materials and then the build commences.

Besides kitchen and general carpentry, you seem to excel in providing clients with innovative storage solutions, maximising spaces in alcoves etc. Is it more satisfying to work imaginatively with certain constrictions?

Working in properties in and around Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan always has its challenges. Walls and ceilings are never straight and alcoves are always odd sizes to squeeze every bit of storage in to. Each house is different in its own way and we always like to find out exactly how our clients want to use their space. We find out what they’d like to store specifically or exhibit in a particular space and build on those ideas. Its great to see a clients’ reaction when we start drawing up their ideas with a quick sketch. 

Inventive use of space for library alcoves

Is there a particular job or piece of work you’re most proud of?

Our most recent bespoke kitchen build and installation. It’s our biggest commission to date and the client had some specific ideas they wanted to incorporate in to the design. We managed to fulfil the brief and added in some extra little design features from pull-out oak chopping boards to hidden LED lighting. Our clients were very happy. 

SketchUp has allowed MY Wood Designs to quickly convey to clients how space, texture and colour will influence the final product
The final design

To see more of MY Wood Designs work visit their website, or follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

Around the World with SketchUp

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

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

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

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

OPM Render Studio shares a glimpse of this snowy scene.

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

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

Credit: Doig Architecture

Credit: Doig Architecture

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit: Doddy Setiawan

Credit: Doddy Setiawan

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

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

Stay tuned for our next design theme. 

Quick Reference Cards: Crib Sheet – Quick Win!

The Quick Reference Card (QRC) is an easy-to-print guide for all the SketchUp tools and their modifier keys.

You’ll be modelling much more efficiently once you’ve got your QRC nearby

Keep it handy if you’re new to SketchUp and you’ll be modelling quickly and efficiently in no time. Even if you’re a more advanced user, we’d defy you to not find these supremely useful.

Here are the 2019 QRC – for SketchUp and for LayOut – for both Windows and Mac.

Bookmark this page, print them off and pin them up.

You could even frame them in a custom wood picture frame you designed in SketchUp? We’ll leave it up to you!

SketchUp Pro QRC: Windows

LayOut QRC: Windows

SketchUp Pro QRC: Mac

LayOut QRC: Mac

Hit the links above for your own 2019 SketchUp Pro and LayOut QRC

Not tried SketchUp 2019 yet? Fill out the form below.

[ninja_forms id=1]

Announcing SketchUp 2019 feature updates

We are excited to share some of our favourite features and improvements in the latest product update to SketchUp Pro 2019 and LayOut. 

This release has made SketchUp more intuitive and fun to use with focus on improvements to imagery exports, usability, and a seamless LayOut connection. Get ready — your professional workflow will greatly benefit!

New in SketchUp

Professional output enhancements

Exporting images

Exporting 2D graphics, raster files, and animations just got better. You can now control the overall line thicknesses of exported images with our new line scale multiplier, found in the export options dialogs. 

Before this change, line weights stayed the same as the viewport which would make the line weight too small or too large. So, if you are experiencing line weights that are too thick, you can make those line weights thinner. Also, .png images now export with its transparency so you can see what is behind the material while compositing.

Customisable unit settings

Have you ever needed to use different unit measurements for a model? Now your model can be customised to show different unit measurements for area and volume. For example, in a model of a room, you can use millimetres for the wall and meters for volume. Available unit types: millimetres, centimetres, meters, inches and feet.

Workflow improvements

Invert Selection

It really is the small things that help your workflow. This new feature will allow you to select anything, then invert the selection of objects. This makes it simple to select items and then perform actions on their inverse. The keyboard shortcut for this will be: CTRL + SHIFT + I (Windows)  or CMD + SHIFT + I (Mac).

Importing files

The days of picking out your import file format from a long list are over. You can now drag and drop ALL supported file types directly into your modelling window. By default, you’ll now see all supported file types available for import. Additionally, the DWG and DXF importers now bring in fewer duplicate and messy edges.

Eraser Tool

Have you ever accidentally erased too much in your model? To make your detailing workflow a little smoother and seamless, we added alt & cmd as modifier keys to remove any unnecessarily highlighted lines that you may have accidentally captured during your modelling efforts.

Section Planes

Cutting a model along a plane so that you can peer inside the model? We just made this way smoother. Section planes now ask the user to name them before placing them in the model. Simply place, then name.

Send to LayOut

You can now send your models directly to LayOut from the large toolset in the left-hand toolbar. If you haven’t used LayOut for 2D drawings before, start taking advantage of it now!

Large Area Imports for Add Location

You can now easily import large sites at full resolution. How can you take advantage of this new feature? Simply zoom out a bit, then select the level from which you want to import. Note that misusing this feature can adversely affect performance in your SketchUp model. Check out the help centre to be sure you’re aware of how to best handle lots of data in your models.

New in LayOut

Professional output enhancements

Isometric dimensioning

It is now possible to make linear dimensions align with an isometric viewpoint. This one is huge! Since an isometric drawing is a primary type of drawing in LayOut, we wanted to make it smoother and more straightforward. You can now control extension lines, gap distance, and align dimensions with isometric angles.


Similar to “smart labels”, you can now add text to dimensions without breaking the automatic measurement. For example, let’s say you create a wall dimension. You can dimension a wall, add the word “wall”, and the dimension measurement will still update if the wall’s measurement changes. Pro tip: make sure your string has <> in it. For example, ‘Width <>’ will turn into ‘Wall 1.42m’.

Workflow enhancements

Rotating dimensions

Now, when you rotate your object, the bounding box is also rotated with so you can continue to scale in the right orientation. 

Quicker editing

Staying consistent with SketchUp usability, in LayOut you can now hit the return key to edit model views, groups, dimensions, or labels! Just select, press return, and start typing!

Ready to try? Get in touch below:

[ninja_forms id=1]

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