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7 SketchUp addons to better your workflow

Check out 7 workflow-improving addons for SketchUp, from rendering to smooth splines. Check them out!

Introduction

Back in 2016 I gave you 10 incredible plugins that would change the way you worked in SketchUp. These are still right up there in my list of must have addons but, believe it or not, there are others that are worth taking a look at. In reality, there are a lot more, but this time round we’re going to put before you 7 more useful plugins that will make your life easier. Some of these have been around for a while but that goes to show how tried and tested they are. Let’s head on in.

SU Podium

First up we have a rendering plugin. SU Podium gives you the tools to convert your models into beautiful images. This plugin runs right inside SketchUp so you don’t have any of the faff of exporting your model to an external program. It is surprisingly easy to use and with the right skill can produce some impressive results. One of the big positives about SU Podium is that it comes with hundreds of light textures, plants, trees and household models. This makes it easy to populate your spaces with the necessary set dressing to bring them to life. There are better SketchUp rendering plugins out there but for the price this will be great for a lot of introductory users.

Image credit supplied by Gary Petrovski

Price = $249 USD

Placemaker

We’ve all seen the films that have scenes made up of huge cities haven’t we?! They look impressive and for some of our projects we’d love to recreate them but due to time and resources it can often be well out of our reach. Well not anymore! With this plugin you can create high-resolution aerials, 3D buildings, parametric 3D roads and walks and even bodies of water and trees. If you’re after cities either in the United States of America of Canada then for an additional cost you can create high resolution 3D Meshes and Textures.

Image credit supplied by Mind Sight Studios

Price = $199 subscription annually

Profile Builder

This is another plugin from Mind Sight Studios. Profile Builder basically builds upon the functionality of the built-in Follow Me Tool which leads a face along a path to create a 3D shape. The way Profile Builder extends its functionality is by enabling users to extrude multiple profiles at the same time and make use of a set of pre-configured custom profiles for the extrusion process. This tool comes in so incredibly handy when creating anything parametric such as stairs or railings. Profile Builder also enables users to save custom profiles, which is handy for non-standard models.

Image credit supplied by Mind Sight Studios

Price = $79

Helix along a curve

This brilliant little plugin enables you to create a helix along a pre-configured curve. There is a ton of applications for this plugin including springs and cables. It’ll provide a huge timesaver if you’re working with helix forms often enough. The plugin comes with a full set of parameters which let you fine-tune the output of your helix and all those parameters come in a handy little dialogue box. Say goodbye to trying to force the arc tool to do things that it was never designed to do and say hello to this great helix tool.

Image credit supplied by 3dalbertsoft

Price = Free

Edge Tools²

I became really interested in this plugin when I heard about its ability to simplify curves, especially as it pertains to the generation of terrain. I love it when a plugin provides the solution to a very practical problem and that’s exactly what this plugin does. The plugin creates simplified curves primarily by asking you to what extent the simplified curve can deviate from the original curve. This will depend on the level of accuracy required versus the cleanness of the result you desire. Another super practical application for this handy plugin is its ability to close up gaps between two lines. This is common when you want to create geometry from imported DWG’s but the drawing has some lines that don’t meet.

Image credit supplied by ThomThom

Price = Free

Curviloft

This plugin is described as ‘dedicated to Loft and Skinning’ – in more layman terms this refers to the generation of surfaces from contours. The ‘Loft by Spline’ tool lets you join separate contours, open or closed, by smooth splines. This is perfect for creating 3D geometry from two shapes that are easier to create in 2D. One super useful application of this is the creation of a head from splines for example. The ‘Loft along Path’ joins contours, along a given rail curve and is a great extension of the loft by spline capabilities. And finally, the ‘Skinning’ tool creates surfaces rounded by 4 or 3 contiguous contours.

Image credit supplied by Justin Geis

Price = Free

Sketch Plus

Think of this as a tool of many tools; more than 30 to be plain! SketchUp has always been an excellent piece of software with many advantages to it but a number of the tools are lacking some of the additional features that are standard in many other 3D programs. Sketch Plus integrates nicely into SketchUp so that it doesn’t feel like you’re using an external program. The various tools are categorized helpfully into things like Move, Components, Draw, Materials and Tags. Within each of these categories you’ll find a range tools that enhance the existing tools found within SketchUp. Some of these tools are brilliant time savers such as the Draw tools which let you draw specific shapes such as a sphere or a cone.

Image credit supplied by Mind Sight Studios

Price = $25

Closing comments

We hope you enjoyed this extra set of plugins for SketchUp! Don’t forget to check out the set of 10 previous ones and why not add any plugins that you love in the comments below. It’s always worth trying new plugins and keeping an eye on what’s out there that can make your life easier. And if it’s not out there why not do the whole 3D community a favor and create a plugin of your own!

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