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.

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Making a door and window schedule in SketchUp

Let’s take a look at how you can combine Advanced Attributes and ‘Group By” aggregation in Generate Report to create door and window schedules.

To generate a schedule, we’ll start by adding a few attributes to the door and window components in my model. Specifically, we’ll add a Size using the new Advanced Attributes (access these through the “More” button in the Entity Info window). In addition to Size, there is a new attribute for Price, URL, Owner, and Status. These fields allow you to add information to any component, and they can also be called upon by LayOut labels (we’ll look at those a few paragraphs on)!


These attributes can be used to add data to components without creating Dynamic Components.

In addition to defining a Size for all components, we also want to make sure all components have an instance name. Instance Names are also defined in the Entity Info window, and are the data object we’ll use to create an aggregated schedule for our doors and windows.

In most cases, all instances of a door or window will have the same Instance Name, but in some cases (such as a door which can swing either left or right) a single component may end up having more than one Instance Name. In this example, we had one door component. Two of these doors swung left and were labelled D1. The third, a right swing, was labelled D2. Same component, but different real world thing: each real world thing should have a unique Instance Name!


The Instance Names will populate the labels once the model is in LayOut

Once the data is all set in the model, it’s time to run a report! In Generate Report, we’ll create a brand new template. Make sure to give your new template a name and save it (The guy who made the video below forgot this important step!).

The first step in creating the new report is to choose where the information will come from. In this example, we want to report upon the entire model and choose to report upon a specific nesting level. In this case, Level 3.

“What the heck is a nesting level?” you ask? Level 1 is the model, Level 2 is the buildings and loose components. Level 3 is the door and window components inside the buildings.

Now, we’ll  set the Group By value. This is the attribute by which Generate Report will aggregate components. In this case, we want all components with the same name to get consolidated together, so we will drag Instance Name into the Group By field. Finally, we can add any additional attributes that we would want on the schedule. In this example, we’ll add Quantity and Size to the Report Attributes list.


Saving a template allows you to run the same report on other jobs in the future.

Now we’ll Save and run the report. Once I run the report, it looks like a door and window schedule. Success! The final step in SketchUp is to export the report, so that we can load a .CSV into LayOut as a Table.


All the data you want, and nothing you don’t need!

Over in LayOut, the report comes in as a Table, which means it can be edited and styled (so we can change the column heading from Instance Name to Label). Even better, we can use the Label tool to add call-outs to the Model Window for the Instance Name of each door and window. Since the Instance Name was a standard attribute from SketchUp, we’ll simply choose it as an automatic label from the label dropdown (we could also use the Size or Component Name, if we wanted).


It’s just that simple!

There you have it: A little bit of pre-work in naming and organising components while modelling, and then you’re off to the races when it’s time to turn your model into a project. Happy sketching!




Make (even) better drawings with LayOut

There’s more to SketchUp than 3D modelling. But you know that, right?

For presenting work to clients, planning boards, contractors — whomever — we still use 2D drawings to convey design and detail. That’s pretty clear.

And if you read this blog you’ve seen that LayOut is the most efficient way to turn SketchUp models into diagrams, drawings, CD sets, presentations, or even just scaled prints.


We have to say it… if you aren’t using LayOut, you’re missing out!
Page courtesy of Dan Tyree

SketchUp Pro and LayOut are designed together to help you make phenomenal drawings. So why not take the next step and learn LayOut? We think you should.

Of course, you’re welcome to download SketchUp Pro 2019 to give LayOut a try. But if you are already working in LayOut, we invite you to read on and learn how to make even better drawings.

Create Scaled Drawings

A SketchUp model is not the only entity that has a scale in LayOut. LayOut’s tools to draw to scale in 2D. Sketch a detail from scratch or add scaled linework over your SketchUp models — directly in LayOut. Gone are the days when you’d have to go back into SketchUp to create a 2D drawing or eyeball the position of a dashed line to show an overhead cabinet.

Once you’ve created a scaled drawing, you’re free to re-set scales as you wish; your work will resize as necessary. And as you would expect, your scaled drawings are fully supported by LayOut’s Dimension tool.


Complement or sketch over SketchUp viewports with linework that can be drawn (and dimensioned) at scale.

For all the ways you draw…

Drawing heuristics are what we do. LayOut’s tool-set makes drawing details easier. Here are three of our favourites:

Use the 2 Point Arc tool to find tangent inferences. You can also use it to create chamfers and fillets with a specified radius.

When editing a line, you can select multiple segments and points while adding and subtracting entities to your selection.

Don’t want LayOut to automatically join new line segments with existing ones while you’re drawing? There’s a right-click menu item to toggle that off.

Group Edit and Entity Locking

To support scaled drawings, editing grouped entities in LayOut works just like it does in SketchUp. That means it’s way easier to modify grouped entities and thus, it’s much easier to keep your documents well organised. Bonus: you can also control “rest of document” visibility while editing groups.

Similar to group editing, locking entities is fundamental to how many people organise and navigate projects (both models and documents). In addition to locking layers, you can easily lock individual LayOut entities to cut down on accidental selections — just like in SketchUp.

Draw to the .000001”

Accurate dimensions are an obvious requirement for any drawing set. LayOut displays dimensions as precisely as SketchUp can model: up to 0.000001 centimetres.

By happy coincidence, this precision also allows you to dimension across distinct SketchUp viewports in order to create an excellent section detail like this…


Two SketchUp viewports with clipping masks; one accurate dimension string.

LayOut: A+, plays well with others

Finally, we understand that not everyone works in LayOut. Your colleagues may use other CAD applications. You may use other CAD applications. So we introduced a DWG/DXF importer to LayOut. You can import files from your colleagues and your own existing CAD content — title blocks, blocks, pages, and geometry — all to a scale that fits within your LayOut paper size.

Because however you work — in and out of SketchUp — LayOut is here to help you make great drawings.

For more information about SketchUp and LayOut, fill out the form below.

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School Yourself in SketchUp

Perhaps one of the most awesome things about SketchUp is the incredible community of people who use it. The designers, dreamers, doers. You are never too far from some helpful soul who is on hand to answer any question you may have. Beginner, intermediate, advanced – someone in the community has always got your back. Plus, if English is not your first language – no problem! The SketchUp squad are truly global.

So, where are the best places to seek out SketchUp help and learning resources?

Here are a few of our favourite sources.

Your Reseller

An oft overlooked resource – your UK reseller is a veritable treasure trove of SketchUp information.
Authorized resellers are people that SketchUp and its distributors have been partnering with to make purchasing and using SketchUp as easy for you as possible. SketchUp Pro resellers are local experts who provide consulting, training and support in your language and time zone.

SketchUp Campus

The release of 2019 SketchUp saw this fantastic feature fully realised.

SketchUp Campus is a unique, in-depth learning hub with SketchUp-approved courses, all created by SketchUp’s team member to make learning SketchUp convenient and simple. Oh, and the courses and transcripts can be translated into over 100 languages. Nice!

The courses consist of short videos and quizzes that make learning topics such as Rendering with Photoshop, Layout, and SketchUp Fundamentals fun, quick, and easy. Quiz answers provide immediate feedback and help you see where you’re succeeding and where you could improve.

You can take the courses at your own pace and repeat them whenever you need to. While going through them, track your progress and resume where you left off, no matter where you stop and start.

SketchUp Campus Interface

Have a go here:

  1. Go to https://learn.sketchup.com/
  2. Sign in with your SketchUp login or your Google account
  3. Pick a track and start learning

The learning library will grow over time and so will your skills.

SketchUp Forums

Head on over to the SketchUp Community Forum. Post your own question or rifle through other users queries and tips by filtering via topic.

SketchUp UK Social Media

Once you’ve got going with the basics of SketchUp you’ll find that there are so many plug-ins and extensions that can really up your SketchUp game.

The SketchUp UK Facebook and SketchUp UK Twitter are where you’ll find a range of handy video tutorials for SketchUp shortcuts, plus our pick of the best extensions like PlaceMaker and Profile Builder.

If you’re after inspiring content and to read about how individuals and businesses use SketchUp in their workflow, check out some SketchUp UK Stories.

Paul Hensey: SketchUp Stories

YouTube

No surprises here. YouTube is awash with incredible SketchUp content. Best place to start is the SketchUp YouTube Channel. Look for more meaty topics and tutorials or head straight for a ‘Quick Win’ like this Push/Pull Tip. Quick Wins are all under 90 second videos for smart hacks that take seconds but could save you hours of pulling your hair out.


Aaron from the SketchUp team shows you how to set up Scenes, Styles, and Sections and use Outliner to make it quick and easy to generate drawings in LayOut.

Reddit

Yes, the front page of the internet has a SketchUp forum with nearly 8,000 subscribers in there providing tips, tricks, feedback and, sometimes, just some good ol’ fashioned inspiring work to get your creative chops around.

Ok, that’s good for starters! But do you have another secret resource you love to turn to for SketchUp tips? Maybe you even have your own blog or YouTube channel? Let us know.

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Rendering in SketchUp: 5 of the Best

When paired with the right rendering plugin, SketchUp can elevate your 3D modelling to the next level. There are literally hundreds of extensions that enable you to add special tools and features to SketchUp. You can also find extensions for a specific application (such as drawing or 3D printing) and industry-specific tools (such as extensions for architecture, interior design, construction, and more). You can browse the extension warehouse from within SketchUp, or find it here.
These are our favourite rendering plugins for SketchUp and what we use them for.
 

V-RAY

V-Ray has been transforming people’s SketchUp models into photorealistic renderings and animations for a number of years now. V-Ray for SketchUp is easy to install and get started with, offering the power of the world’s most used renderer to the speed and flexibility of the most commonly used modeller.

V-Ray in SketchUp, ‘Las Tunusas’ – Author credit: David Santos 

V-Ray in SketchUp, ‘Train Pavillion’ – Author credit: Alex Hogrefe

SU Podium

SU Podium is a favourite among architects and interior designers for the ease in which it can produce detailed and life-like architectural visualizations from a detailed SketchUp model. SU Podium uses a high-end, biased raytracing engine combined with a physical sky system and a set of carefully calibrated presets to make SketchUp rendering straightforward and enjoyable.

Example of SU Podium for SketchUp from http://supodium.zenfolio.com/

Example SU Podium for SketchUp from http://supodium.zenfolio.com/

Check out more incredible panoramic views here!  

Shaderlight

This software gives a different more realistic rendering for SketchUp with lots of options via various modes and tools which simplifies and keeps your work models. Shaderlight gives a more whimsical, unique feel as it allows you the option of choosing between progressive rendering and single shot rendering.

Shaderlight in SketchUp 

Enscape

Enscape is a virtual reality and real-time rendering plugin for SketchUp. With just one click, you can start Enscape and within seconds walk through your fully rendered project – no uploading to the cloud or exporting to other programs required! All changes in SketchUp are immediately available to evaluate in Enscape. You are able to quickly explore different design options and present projects to clients. If the client wants to see something different in the design, Enscape will immediately show the changes you make to the project, even in VR.

Thea

Thea for SketchUp is a high-end, fast render plugin for SketchUp Pro. It combines the powerful Thea rendering engines with the simplicity of SketchUp. Having biased, unbiased and interactive render modes including GPU support at your fingertips, inside SketchUp view, rendering is a joyful experience. Thea also has a built-in online library and is compatible with Extensions such as Skatter.

‘Art Museum’ Thea render by Jan Sandstrom

If you’d like a free trial of any of these products, send us an email (sales@elmtec.co.uk) or use the contact form below.

 

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3 Very Simple SketchUp Tips

We’ve put together a collection of 3 of our favourite simple SketchUp 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;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.

 

 

Alternatively, 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.

 

Any tips you want to share? Leave them below!

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It’s Coming Home!* (Plus: Make Your own SketchUp Face Me Component)

Not sure if you’ve noticed but the England team have only gone and broken the penalty curse and will face Sweden this Saturday. We’re beyond excited at SketchUp UK HQ and in order to make it look as though we’ve been working hard since Wednesday, whilst also feeding our football obsession, we’ve created an England World Cup themed SketchUp tutorial for the ‘Face Me’ scaled component. Yes, you too can change your SketchUp figure to Harry Kane, Bobby Moore or, indeed, anyone you like. Here’s our step-by-step instructions. Have fun!

1. Select a photo from the internet. A full length forward facing one works best. Go on, Harry!

 

2. Delete the existing scale figure on SketchUp. Make way for Harry. Go to File -> Import -> All Image Type Selected. Then ‘Use Image As’ and make sure the ‘Image’ box is selected.

3. There’s your image of Harry in SketchUp. Place the image on the origin of the left axis then drag the image out and use the Orbit tool to make the image front-facing.

 

4. Draw a line from the top of the head straight down to the foot.

 

5. This is when you scale your figure. Use the Tape Measure tool to go over the line you just drew from head to foot. Find out the height of your model. Harry is 6ft 2inches so, in the bottom right hand box which says ‘length’, enter that number. Click ‘yes’ to ‘do you want to resize?’ The image is now scaled, you can delete the original line that you drew now.

 

6. Use the Rotate tool and rotate the image 90 degrees. You need it flat and vertical. Now we’re all set to start drawing the lines for your figure.

 

7. Either use the free hand pen or line pen and draw your outline.

 

8. Move the original image out the way and you can colour your figure in. (Tip: You can exact colour match the original image by using the eyedropper tool).

 

9. Select your model, right click, then ‘Make Component’.

 

10.Name your model and make sure that ‘Always face camera’ is ticked. Hit ‘Create’

And there’s your final Harry Kane SketchUp Face Me bringing it home.

*Maybe, possibly. Just maaaaybe.

And if you’d like your SketchUp Tutorial in a super speedy video form check out our Bobby Moore one below.

SketchUp for Absolute Beginners

SketchUp seems to have the reputation of being the easiest way to learn 3-D modelling. So easy, in fact, that a lot of people just jump right in. Granted, the ability to launch into a program like this and actually be successful at creating something is an incredible accomplishment for the developers who create and maintain this software. However, it’s not uncommon to become frustrated when things don’t act the way we expect them to.
We’re taking it right back to the beginning for this post. Can you remember the first time you used SketchUp? What do you wish you had known before you started? These are our top recommendations, but we’d be really interested in hearing from you guys – what seems really obvious now that didn’t when you first started?

 

  • Really Understand the User Interface

SketchUp is a very intuitive, easy to learn 3-D drawing tool. However, the simpleness of the software masks the fact that SketchUp is a treasure trove of functionality. Whatever you do, don’t run before you can walk (probably good general life advice there too, to be honest). Many of the more involved functions are hidden from view. If you want to create your own custom style or export your model to a different format then you really need to get to grips with the entire interface. Really explore the menus and become familiar with features and functions that aren’t available in toolbars.

 

  • Watch these FOUR Videos

Actually, we’d advise you watch these four videos two or three times. 🙂

  • Obey the ‘Three Pillars’ of Modelling

1. Work ALWAYS on layer 0.
2. GROUP whatever geometry you are creating (if there should be more than one copy of it, make it a COMPONENT).
3. Place it on another LAYER with a name that makes sense (essential for controlling the model’s visualisation).

  • Join an Online Community

As SketchUp is so popular, it’s no surprise that there’s a large user community ready and waiting to support you, no matter your ability level.

Of course, we recommend our humble blog, Facebook Page and Twitter. Another excellent resource is the SketchUp Community forum where pretty much every SketchUp related question under the sun is asked and answered. If you thrive with more visual learning, then the SketchUp YouTube Channel is your new best friend.

  • Use ShortCut Keys

Learning, and using keyboard shortcuts for SketchUp will save you so much time, plus, for every set of shortcuts you commit to memory, it means you can banish another toolbar from the User Interface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Save then Save Again

Well, that’s just good technical advice for anything really. 🙂

  • Start to explore Extensions

SketchUp on its own is like a delicious ice-cream sundae. Add extensions and you’ve got cherries and sprinkles and caramel sauce, too.

SketchUp extensions are add-on tools that solve 3D modelling problems which might otherwise leave you scratching your head. And there are hundreds of them to explore.

Overwhelmed? Have a look at V-Ray, Enscape, Placemaker, and SUPodium to start with.

 

Okay, now your turn. What do you wish you’d known when you first started SketchUp?
Let us know below.

 

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Dress up your Drawings: ClothWorks for SketchUp

So, you’ve designed your tables, chairs and windows. Are you going to just leave them naked? Nope. You’re going to use the fantastic ClothWorks extension for draping cloth and ropes over components of any shape and size and for simulating flags and curtains.
Workflow functionalities include:
Simple Grid and ​Smart Grid options for turning face or a set of faces within a component/group into a grid of faces, with a desired padding. An additional Purge Edges​ option can be used to remove the generated grid. These options are for manipulating cloth.
Split Edges option for dividing an edge or a set of edges within a component/group into segments, with a desired padding. An additional Weld Edges​ option merges the split edges.These options are for manipulating wires.
Loop Subdivision and ​Laplacian Smoothing​ options for subdividing and smoothing the resulting, simulated cloth (meanwhile preserving texture UVs).
Drape and ​Undrape options for resetting and renewing cloth, rope, and pin orientations. This option is particularly useful for when changing cloth texture material.
Record and ​Export options for recording simulation and then exporting the final animation into a sequence of PNG or JPG images, SKP files, OBJ files, and many other formats. A third-party
software, such as MakeAVI, can be used to combine a sequence of exported frame images into a video file.
Check out a few different ClothWorks tutorials below and have fun dressing up your modelling!

http://https://youtu.be/W6_3wn-j83c

http://https://youtu.be/HSf1rzhGL7I

http://https://youtu.be/cJTMcJc6FqI

Need more ClothWorks in your life? Download it here.
Need more tutorials on ClothWorks? Head over here.

SketchUp for Architects

SketchUp has many uses – from civil and mechanical engineering to film and video game design. With such a wide range of drawing applications it’s a good idea to sometimes get a bit more specific for individual uses. This post will concentrate on architectural design and list the most helpful tips and tricks for Architects using SketchUp.

 

  • Use the Extension Warehouse

SketchUp is one of the most popular digital design software’s and, as a result, has a huge community behind it. With both large companies and indie developers working constantly on plugins/extensions, you really do have a wealth of functionality at your disposal. You can do so much more in SketchUp once you delve into the extension warehouse and use the correct plug-ins for your specific task. With a possibly overwhelming amount to choose from, you can narrow it down selecting ‘Categories’ or ‘Industries’ or  by filtering reviews from the architectural community.

  • Use Great Rendering Software

You can integrate a variety of software into SketchUp for make stunning, fantastically realistic renders of your models. Combining rendering software with SketchUp is often all you will need for professional results. There are an array of rendering extensions for you to choose from. Four of the most popular include V-Ray, Shaderlight, SU Podium, and Enscape.

V-Ray in SketchUp

Shaderlight in SketchUp

Enscape in SketchUp

SU Podium in SketchUp

  • Always use the Measurement Tools

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Architect’s using SketchUp is making sure you align your models on the right plane. You need to consider the X, Y, and Z axes in everything that you do. A change to the model on one axes will cause changes on the others and that’s the same situation if you want to move the model around. This leads to the problem of lines failing to match up when you switch views. The most valuable tool in SketchUp to eliminate this is the Tape Measure and Protractor tools. This marks out the three main axes so you can see them at all times and you’ll be able to see how your changes affect the model overall.

Any other Architect’s out there using SketchUp with some great tips? Let us know below!

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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