Catchup 18 - The PluginStore

Page 1

catchup sketchUcation community newsletter

the plugin store install / disable / manage

2013 MAY



table of


5 17 23 31 37 41 43 47 56


Electric Chair

Eric Lay details the tricks, plugins and techniques needed

PluginStore Arrives

A new home for plugins.

3D Browser Review

MooTools asset managment and poly reducer tools tested.

VRay is back!

What new in the open beta of VRay 1.6.


A fresh look at Intresto's rock solving tool for SketchUp.



Fredo latest groundbreaking plugin for SketchUp.

John Aiken Interview

John talks us through why Podium Walker is killer.

Light Modeling

Adriana's modeling tips for creating light assets.


Con Docs

Construction Fundamentals 101.



Introduction Hard to believe it is nearly June and CatchUp was last released in March. But as you are aware we have been busy with the PluginStore. But now with that out in the open it's CatchUp time again! We tons of great articles in this edition. From asset management to lampshades there is something for everyone. Plus gotta see this in action! On a separate note a big shout out to Gabor Pupp and TIG. Without them we would still be in the dark ages. Luckily the community have these great programmers batting for the team and they are hitting home runs for ~200,000 members. With all that ego stroking out of the way it is business as usual. Giving you exactly what you guys want.

Rich O’Brien | Managing Director richob@sketchucation | @scfcatchup


Quantities, Schedules and Cost EstimateS ‘at the press of a button’ through

BIM for Everyone

BiMUp 5D for SketchUp BIM for everyone using BiMUp and SketchUp as a BIM platform

BiM Everyone using BiMUp and SketchUp as a BIM platform BiMUp 5D for

BiMUp Limited | 424 Lee High Road | London | SE12 8RW T/F: +44 (0) 20 8852 9797 W: | E: Bill of Quantities: Roof Area Job Number: BiMUp Reporting File in Use: ! A0024-BiMUp-121003-Construction Document generated on: Monday, 29 Apr 2013, 12:47:49 time zone: GMT Daylight Time

BIM for Everyone

BIM for Everyone

BIM for everyone using BiMUp and SketchUp as a BIM platform

BIM for everyone using BiMUp and SketchUp as a BIM platform

BiMUp Limited | 424 Lee High Road | London | SE12 8RW T/F: +44 (0) 20 8852 9797 W: | E:

BiMUp Limited | 424 Lee High Road | London | SE12 8RW T/F: +44 (0) 20 8852 9797 W: | E:

Bill of Quantities: Count, Area and Cost incl. VAT Job Number: BiMUp Reporting File in Use: BiMUp-LandscapePaving Document generated on: Sunday, 28 Apr 2013, 00:02:24 time zone: GMT Daylight Time

Count Description

BiMUp Limited 424 Lee High Road London SE12 8RW United Kingdom T: +44 (0)20 8852 9797

1 Fountain - Paving 4 Fountain - Paving/Plinth 1 Landscape - Paving/Center 4 Landscape - Paving/Corners 4 Landscape - Paving/Midpoint

Area (m2)

Bill of Quantities: Brickwork Job Number: BiMUp Reporting File in Use: ! A0024-121003-Basecamp Document generated on: Saturday, 13 Apr 2013, 23:46:40 time zone: GMT Daylight Time

Paving Slab 0.3x0.3 Area Total Slabs Count Cost per Area (m2) (m2) Total Slab 282.46



































14 Total


Cost Total





VAT @ 20%




V (m3) Bricks Volume Total V (m3) Bricks Count 103mm Total

1 Brickwork 102.5mm Plot 1,2,3,4,5,6,7




1 Brickwork 102.5mm Plot 8,9,10,11




---2 Total







BIM for Everyone

BIM for Everyone

BIM for everyone using BiMUp and SketchUp as a BIM platform BiMUp Limited | 424 Lee High Road | London | SE12 8RW T/F: +44 (0) 20 8852 9797 W: | E:

BIM for everyone using BiMUp and SketchUp as a BIM platform BiMUp Limited | 424 Lee High Road | London | SE12 8RW T/F: +44 (0) 20 8852 9797 W: | E:

Bill of Quantities: Typical Detail with Specification Job Number: BiMUp Reporting File in Use: BiMUp-ConstructionDetailsADPartE V1.0 Document generated on: Saturday, 20 Apr 2013, 22:43:21 time zone: GMT Daylight Time

Bill of Quantities: Steel Mass and Surface Area Job Number: BiMUp Reporting File in Use: BiMUp-SteelLibrary-UKUniversalColumns Document generated on: Sunday, 28 Apr 2013, 13:25:55 time zone: GMT Daylight Time Download BiMUp 5D at

Count Description



Specification Download Link

Floor Skirting15x95 Ground Floor Beam 150mm

Ground Floor Blockwork 440x100x215

Ground Floor DPC

Ground Floor DPM

Ground Floor Foundation Count Description

Lenght (m)

Perimeter Surface Area (m) (m2)

Total Surface Area (m2)

Mass (kg)

Total Mass (kg)

Ground Floor Insulation 150mm







1 UC152x152x30







1 UC152x152x37







Wall Mortar 10mm

1 UC152x152x44+







Wall Plaster or Cement 13mm

1 UC152x152x51+







Wall Staifix HRT4 Housing Wall Tie 200

Ground Floor Screed 75mm

1 UC152x152x23

Wall Blockwork 440x100x215





Use the “Insert Guide Point� tool on the Projections plugin toolbar to create a point. Copy this a


Copy those points up two inches apart to the desired seat height. Use a 2D or 3D person com-

few times, two inches apart, to represent where the legs of the chair will intersect the ground. I also set the Guides in Styles to an orange color. This helps when creating the cord.

ponent to judge your height. I got this from the Trimble Warehouse.



Copy across and back two inches apart to create the seat plane. Make it two inches thick so the


Copy a two inch thick set for the back of the chair next, again two inches apart.

seat is not on a single plane. That would look too rigid.



Rotate the chair back a bit, in this example I did it 8 degrees.


Copy a few guide points to represent the wall behind the chair and where the cord will travel to the first chair leg.



Add a few guide points above the chair for the termination point of the electrical cord, where the light will be. It may help you to place a temporary plane to snap the grid points to.



For the electrical cord you will need Fredo’s BZ spline tools. Use the Cubic Bezier Curve and start clicking points from where the cord would attach to the wall moving up the back left leg. Then move across the seat and down the front left leg. Move back up and fill in part of the seat and move down the right front leg. Then move back up again across the seat, fill in the back and finish where the light bulb will be attached, hanging over the seat.



Delete the guides now as they are no longer necessary using Edit > Delete Guides



To give the cord some thickness, use the Pipe Along Path plugin. Select your cord and activate the plugin. Use inches, outside diameter of .25, inside diameter of 0 and 4 segments. This will create a square pipe around the cord you previously created. It will also add a bunch of guide points.



Delete the guides and delete the single line cord used to make the pipe. They are no longer


Edit the pipe, select all of the geometry and run Artisan’s Subdivide and Smooth; 1 iteration.

needed. Edit the pipe and delete the face on each end. This will make a smooth end after subdividing.

The operation might take a while to calculate as this will add quite a bit of geometry but the final result is smooth and much more realistic. Then paint the cord black.



Finally find or make a plug and lamp with bulb and place them on the ends of the final cord.



introducing the


700+ plugins and extensions for sketchup only a click away



or the past few weeks mem-

feature means no more messing

bers have enjoyed using the

about in the plugins folder with dif-

SketchUcation Tools for SketchUp. This new tool allows SketchUp users to install plugins and extensions directly into SketchUp by accessing a vast library of tools made available by plugin authors over the

The PluginStore element of the SketchUcation Tools

ferent files and folders. Just click! As the tool evolved we soon began to see other features we could add to make searching and installing plugins even easier. Filtering plugin by Author, Catego-

years. The tool itself is super simple to use. All that is needed is a SketchUcation account and you have immediate access to 700+ plugins and extensions. Our ‘Autoinstall’

ry, Recently Updated and Popular soon began a natural direction to take. The downloads soon accelerated once members were able to find latest updates to plugins.


HISTORY OF PLUGINS AT SKETCHUCATION Back in 2007, when SketchUp was acquired by Google, SketchUcation became the unofficial home of SketchUp discussion and support. What began with only 30+ members soon exploded to hundreds, then thousands to what we see today. Nearly 200,000 members!

plugin management Then came the need for some type of management system. Whilst having every tool imaginable under one roof is great it just didn’t seem wise to provide only a means of installing. So we created the Plugin and Extension Manager.....

In the middle of all this change something occured....ruby scripting. The SketchUp guys had the foresight to allow SketchUp to be extended further using plugins developed in the ruby programming language. Another explosion of creativity ensued where users learnt a coding language to create custom tools for SketchUp. With nowhere to really host these tools SketchUcation was again chosen as the home of the plugin. People created, shared, debugged and discussed plugins with new found zeal. Soon there was hundreds of plugins to choose from. Stars were born like TIG, Thomthom, Fredo, Tak2hata, Wikii, to name a few, who reinvented what SketchUp could do by adding incredibly powerful tools for users to enjoy. SketchUcation has always been considered the home of the SketchUp plugin. Nowhere is there such a diverse and vibrant group of programmers all with one common goal. To make SketchUp better. With the PluginStore things just got even better....

The Plugin Manager allows you to hotswap tools in SketchUp

The Plugin Manager is unique because it allows you to disable plugins using a clever solution. Disabling plugins between modeling sessions means you can customize your modeling experience dependent on the nature of your projects. This flexibility removes menu and toolbar clutter that in the past meant users forgot the location and function of less used tools. Disabling could not be easier. Simply swap plugins from the enabled column(left) to the the disabled column (right) and next time you restart SketchUp you have a tailored modeling environment.


Our Extension Manager uses the same philosophy for enabling and disabling. Having this ability really does extend SketchUp beyond what has been possible before. This Plugin and Extension managment system that is built into the SketchUcation Tools is going to get stronger in the future. Already we are developing a new system to help users to see what is already installed and what needs updating. As you can see an incredible body work went into the SketchUcation Tools. But we aren’t done yet....

Taking it ONline.... Next up is some extra goodies for the plugin authors. We created a new system on SketchUcation where authors can uploaded directly to the PluginStore. This means issuing updates takes 3 clicks - Edit / Upload / Apply. A simple solution to a long standing community problem. We have seen and heard of the many complaints from SketchUp users over the years. Plugins and extensions were a PITA to install, track and manage. Not any more!

Plugin Author page allows instant updates to the store


Giving authors this level of control is just the beginning. We plan to add more and more features to the PluginStore in the coming weeks. If you are a plugin author and want to share your plugins, either trials or full blown tools, then feel free to get in touch and we'll set you up. We are super exctied about the direction the PluginStore is taking and feel it is a natural extension to the community. Where it goes from here is only limited by your feedback. To grab the latest version of the SketchUcation Tools, that includes the PluginStore and Manager, head to the download page. There's a video showing you how to install and use the tool so there is no excuse not to get involved. Finally a big THANK YOU to those that helped us refine this incredible addition to SketchUp. Dan Rathbun, Aerilius, Thomthom, TIG, Gabor Pupp, Renderiza, Fredo, Box, DaveR, Bob James, Notareal, Gaieus, Mike, Edson and anyone who helped it the various beta builds along the way. Lets' not forget SketchUp....without them there would be no tool.



Bloom Unit, the only truly interactive, Cloud based photorealistic renderer for SketchUp has joined forces with Evermotion, the premiere provider of high quality 3D model libraries to make their stunningly real Archmodels libraries available directly in Bloom Unit for SketchUp. Just drop in our simplified low detailed models, press render and our servers automatically replace them with high detail photorealistic models. No uploads, no waiting and over 1400 high quality models ready to enhance your SketchUp creations. To find out more check out the link below.





s you acquire more skills, assets and applications in your 3D journey managing these can become a bit of a chore. The sheer amount of file types you deal with can easily run into the hundreds and having a means of cataloging these precious assets soon becomes an important part of your daily activites. I did a bit of hunting around to see what tools were available for those in the 3D industry that allowed you to browse, catalog and manage my 3D assets and came

The 3D Browser Full Edition is more

upon MooTools 3D Browser for 3D Users.

than a media manager because of the added options you get as com-

3D Browser comes in 4 flavours -

pared to the Light Edition. It is a full

• 3D Browser Light Edition

fledged 3D asset viewing, conversion and modification application.

• 3D Browser Image Edition • 3D Browser Full • 3D Browser Full with PolyCruncher


What does it do? Initially, it acts as a portal to your as-

3D Browser Light and Full are completely different beasts. The Light Edition is strictly a file viewer. It extends the file viewing abilities of Windows Explorer to make viewing various 3D Formats possible within it own OpenGL viewer. It also allows you to view video, image and audio files.

sets. It handles tons of different file formats from over 20 3D file types, 80 image files type and numerous audio file types. The really clever part is that you can view what is multiple folders at once.


Multiple folder view can display all your files in an instant

3D Browser Viewer displays your assets and meta data.

images / audio / 3d


The 3D Browser itself contains features that makes navigating around



a straight forward affair. The multiple folder view can be extended using the ‘Save As Catalog’ option. This means that you can define which selection of folders you would like to view and save this as an ‘Album’ for

Apply Keywords to your assets

quick viewing. 3D Browser uses it’s own .obv file type to store the info needed about the ‘Albums’ but it also goes a step further with ‘Keywords’. These keywords can be applied to your files to speed up the filtering process. In the example above you can see how a series of keywords applied to some images refines the search results.

previewing files As I mentioned earlier 3D Browser can preview

The .obv files themseves store all the meta and

any files in a popup window that has a series of

thumbnail data about the file. So once you set

tools that change dependant on the file type. If

up some albums/catalogs for 3D Browser to

you preview a recognised 3D file then you get

track any new files added immediately get their

different tools fro when viewing an image file.

thumbnails and meta data added also.

The tools for 3D files are quite extensive and

This cataloging really makes filtering through

if you are in the position where you deal with a

various file types quick and simple. The fact that

variety of files types then this part is something

these keywords and cataloging are applied to all

you may find particularly useful.

files types makes things very accessible.


Preview 3D files and optimize meshes

Apart from the standard zoom, pan and select

reduction. Unlike other tools, MeshLab for in-

tools there various mesh tweaking tools. First

stance, PolyCruncher does a very good job of

up is the Merge Points and Merge Co-Planar

maintaining an object’s overal form but drasti-

Faces tools. These analyze your mesh and re-

cally reducing the poly count.

move redundant geometry.

In the images opposite you can see the results

If you purchase the PolyCruncher addon then

of the 3D scans I did for the DAVID scanner and

this takes things to another level. The Poly-

the optimized mesh on the right. The mesh went

Cruncher tool is another element to the 3D

from ~27k vertices to ~250 and kept the overall

Browser Full edition that means you have a

form with no significant issues. PolyCruncher

means of viewing, modifying and editing your

gives you complete control over the the optimi-

files from withing one tool.

zation process from protecting borders to keep-

The actual workflow is seamless. Select a file from the browser, hit enter to open it in the 3D Viewer and then choose PolyCrunch to open for optimizing.

ing UVs intact. Of course, there are limitations to this, if the mesh reduction is quite high your object will eventually degrade too far but overall PolyCruncher is very compotent at what it does.

During testing I found the PolyCruncher to produce some solid results when it came to mesh


PolyCrunching is ideal for SketchUp

opening files and Macros Within the 3D Browser you can use the ‘Fast Application Access’ features to launch the appropriate application to edit the file.

This list can be customised to display the relevant applications you want to launch whatever file you have selected. I did not find myself using this feature too often but it does have its advantages. What I found very useful was the Batch Processing feature with the ability to build your own macros.


You can setup macros to run a myriad of options on your files. Want to iterate through a folder and polycrunch a selection of 3D file types into SketchUp files? Want to create a full set of SketchUp optimized images from a selection of hi-res textures? The level of control over the 3D and 2D optimizations is quite astounding. This is all done in a couple of clicks and, as mentioned already, you also have the option to make your own set

Batch Processing features

of macros.


the verdict Pros: + Simple to use + Tons of viewing/export options + Reasonable price + Good support + SketchUp support Cons: - Crashes occasionally - Inconsistent menu/toolbar operation Overall, 3D Browser + PolyCruncher is a very powerful and useful application. If you are in need of some asset management software that can also do file conversions and 3D optimizations then this certainly fits the bill. You can download a trial or as get a licensed version at $99 using this link until the 30th of June 2013. Premium Members of SketchUcation can purchase 3D Browser + PolyCruncher at only $69 by using this link until the 30th of June 2013.




V-Ray is back bringing the chaos!


One of the heavyweights of the rendering arena returned from an extended break this week to send shockwaves throughout the SketchUp world with it’s open Beta of V-Ray for SketchUp v1.6. Anyone who attended the last Basecamp in Colorado will remember Cory Rubadue’s, V-Ray’s Product Manager, quick and concise update on the next V-Ray. Surrounded by SketchUp enthuiasts and pegged in between his competitor’s Cory had 10 minutes to wow the audience and apply pressure to those eager to knock V-Ray off the top spot. 8 minutes into his presentation it was over. No live demo was shown, no pre-recorded action of the next version.....nothing! Then came the killer blow. SketchUp Evangelist Aidan Chopra quipped..’you still have time for a tap dance!’ Cory didn’t need it....’V-Ray is as fast as my presentation...’ And with that V-Ray had made it’s way back into minds of SketchUp users everywhere. Over six months later we are now getting our hands on the probably the most anticipated rendering application for SketchUp. So what’s new in v1.6? We had a chance to catchup with Cory to see what goodies lie within and what major changes have been made.

Rendering engines V-Ray RT - a revolutionary rendering engine providing instant feedback and streamlining scene setup. For the everyday user this s a very powerful interactive rendering solution that allows them to simultaneously work and render inside of SketchUp.The instant visual feedback makes for quicker design, material, and lighting decisions.


Lights Dome light - create simple, artifact-free image-based lighting using the dome Light. Its powerful importance


analyzes HDR images and optimizes light tracing and GI precision. This new feature will streamline your workflow when using image based lighting in your scenes. It will not only save you setup and rendering time but it will also increase the quality of the image based light and shadows. Lights as components - V-Ray lights can now be part of a sketchUp component. This makes it easy to change the design and settings of multiple lights at one time. Sphere Light - create spherically shaped area lights.


Geometry V-Ray Proxy - an indispensable tool for managing scene memory and efficiently rendering massive amounts of geometry. V-Ray Proxy objects are dynamically loaded and unloaded at render-time, saving vital RAM resources. Use V-Ray Proxy to render millions of polygons at maximum memory efficiency and increase the amount of detail and complexity of your sketchUp scenes. Faster Parsing Times - major speed improvements have been made when processing the SketchUp scene for rendering with V-Ray.

‘ indispensable tool for rendering massive amounts of geometry in SketchUp...’


V-RAy Lens eFFeCT Lens Effect - allows you to achieve bloom and glare effects in your renderings.

mATeRiALs V-Ray Material - a compact and optimized material that includes diffuse, reflection, and refraction parameters with the ability to change the BRDF Wrapper Material - can be used to specify additional properties per material. most importantly you can now create true matte materials which shows the background as opposed to the base material. Material Library - this new library contains over a 100 ready to use and photo realistic V-Ray materials.


The free open beta of V-Ray 1.6 for SketchUp is available for SketchUp 8 on both the Windows and OS X platforms - 32bit only. It can be downloaded right now by applying for the public beta program on Chaos Group’s website. Pricing for V-Ray 1.6 for SketchUp will remain unchanged ($800). The upgrade price from VRay 1.49 for SketchUp or lower is $320. Users who purchased V-Ray for SketchUp between April 15, 2013 and the official release date will be eligible for a free upgrade. Time to get your hands dirty....



by Mike Lucey

This particular ‘useful app’ will appeal to many of our SketchUcation members that use natural stone in construction. The Australian developer, Malcolm Lambert an atmospheric physicist by trade, has been working on this utility application for a couple of years and I am glad to learn that he has now progressed Rocksolver to the initial beta testing stage. My initial thoughts on learning about Rocksolver was that the application addresses a problem that flagstone layers and drywall masons face on a daily basis, how to get the natural shapes of the flags or stones to fit together without too much reshaping work! I can remember the head scratching I did


some years ago when laying irregular shaped flags over quite a large portion on

my rear garden. The job turned out well The variety of shapes, colours and textures of natural rock is (of course!) in the end but there was a lot virtually unlimited. of trial and error during the process to get


things looking right which was quite time-

Architects, engineers, landscapers and

consuming. If I had Rocksolver to hand I

builders will now be able to input their de-

would have saved myself some time and

sign criteria, wall shape with opes etc or


plan shape of hardscaping required and

What Rocksolver does sounds simple, it figures out the best fit for the flags / stones but in practice this is quite a complex process. This process goes



a stone mason’s


as he / she builds a drystone wall or lays a flagstone






watch as many layout configurations as they wish taking place virtually on screen before


decide which option to go with. I imagine in most cases this final


will be a visual / aesthetic decision


the designer / builder. As



does the fig-

said, Malcolm

uring out end

Lambert, the developer, is advising that

of things and

Rocksolver is now solid enough for beta



testing on 2D packing / layout problems,

application accurately remembers the

flat paving for example, and is inviting in-

shapes of an unlimited number of rocks

terested designers / builders to contact

which have been scanned or digitised.

him via the intresto site’s expression of

Rocksolver then outputs an accurate,

interest / enquiry form.

quantitive 3D map of the whole structure / layout for analysis.

I am looking forward to the beta testing progressing to 3D rock / stone input now that hand-held scanners are becoming


more affordable. I know many stone masons companies that would value the time savings that could be achieved with its use in drywall construction, still very popular in my neck of the woods for site / plot boundary walls. There is a good selection of process explanatory videos located o the intresto site for anyone interested in learning more.




SHAPER Fredo released TopoShaper a few weeks ago and having spent some time with this new tool it is pretty obvious that 'under the hood' it has immense power. Below is a quick overview of its various features. Whether you import contours or create contours from meshes you need to see this tool in action. Watch it here.... or click below



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john aiken interview

John H. Aikin of Aikin Design Graphics & Animations took time out to discuss how he delivers on clients request, the tools he uses and why after 10 years he is still educating himself.

they are capable of producing in house.

Why do you use What you do for SketchUp? clients? I’m a partner at Aikin Design and we create models and animations for architects, landscape architects, engineers, and planners.

I use SketchUp on a daily basis primarily because it is an extremely versatile software. The user-friendly interface is easily understood by even the most non tech-savvy person in the world; however there is a level of complexity that intrigues me to no end to learn more.

We produce models and lifelike animations/renderings for projects of all sizes and scopes. We are an American based drafting, modeling, and rendering support team available to help firms that are short staffed, in a bind on a project, or need more efforts in production than what

I’ve been a self proclaimed expert for several years now, and even still I’m learning new tips and tricks in modeling that makes my work flow more efficient and streamlined. I’ve never stopped learning, and I’ve never stopped sharing my skills with other experts in the field.


Why do you need photo-realistic animations at all? We need to sell our ideas in a presentation to our clients. It’s important to remember that many times, our clients cannot visualize things like they may perceive to. More often than not, they are not architects and designers. Handing them a site plan and a layout of a building and trying to explain to them what’s going on through large “design” words and descriptive nouns that are highly ambiguous can only get you so far. But when you hand them an image of a rendering with actual textures, luminosity, transparency and reflection values, your images speak a thousand words. And when you kick it up another level and press play on a walk-through animation showing the spatial relationships of the space you are designing, how circulation works in real time, and how the end users of the space will experience this development, you are not only giving your client a talking piece, but a huge WOW factor. I have yet to produce an animation compilation and show it to a group of people without everyone in the room having wide eyes and big smiles on their faces. Clients need visuals to sell to people. Not only are they needing images; but they are needing high quality animations. As a designer, you can stand in front of a room of 30 people and sell your design to just about anyone. But what happens when you’re not there and they need to show other people? Most of the time they try and take a stab at the talking points you’ve given them. With full production animation, you are able to leave your client with a few minute presentation that sends the message out that you want to convey, every time.

Why did you start using Podium Walker? I used to really have to try and sell architecture firms on why they needed to use photo-realistic animations. No one seemed to understand the importance, and that was primarily because of two major misconceptions in the profession that I hear all the time: “I can’t afford something like that,” or “I don’t have time to do something like that.” The follow up was always along the lines of “Well, maybe the next big project that comes along we’ll have more fee to work with and a longer timeline in the schedule.” But that’s just it - There’s never enough fee, and never enough time to “experiment” with this kind of stuff... Until recently. In my work, I’ve used several different rendering and animations plugins or support software, but nothing has been as quick and easy as Podium Walker, especially for the price. When I found out about Podium my jaw almost hit my keyboard. I’m a sucker for high end graphics...but like my architect buddies, “I don’t have time” to learn extremely high tech and time consuming software with a 5 year learning curve to become expert status. Podium Walker has given me the tools to produce graphics and animations for clients, who in turn deliver to their clients, in very fast and efficient ways.


What are podium walkers strenghts and what should be improved? Podium V2 has been my rendering plugin of choice for quite some time. The compatibility of the two programs is a key factor in why I choose to use Podium Walker. I still use Podium V2 for renderings. I don’t have to recreate settings and adjust materials just because I want an animation - it’s all the same. The Podium Browser - WOW. This feature has been a life saver for me more times than I can think of. There’s so many excellent models and tools in this browser that are so well categorized and accessible at the drop of hat (or a component!) that it’s almost overwhelming.I’d say the only set back is in comparison to other animation software that is at a much higher price point. I have clients that want to see cars driving down te street or people walking in a park setting. Sometimes I get requests to show waves crashing or wind blowing through the trees. These unfortunately are not features that are included in Podium Walker. However, understanding that these kinds of features often come with a $3,000 or $4,000 price tag to buy a license, and be limited to only extremely high powered computers, I’d say it’s an easy option to forego if you’re on a tighter budget.

Do you think $99 is a reasonable price? I think $99 is more than reasonable for such a fantastic tool at my fingertips, on practically any computer produced today.



And then there was light... by Adriana Granados

Sometimes we are entrust to model specific light-

The picture provided by the architect indicated that

ing fixtures for an interior space that can’t be found

the lamps would be like a photo except for the color

in the 3D Warehouse. This case study is perfect

of the glass that should be white. We checked the im-

to use a couple of old plugins but that they are a

age that had double-curved shade and other curved

must to have installed into SketchUp.

faces. To simplify our work we decided to use Extru-

This light fixture was used in an auditorium with a relatively low ceiling that makes a non inviting space, with

sion Tools plug-in developed by TIG, ToolsOnSurface and Joint PushPull by Fredo6.

fluorescent lights scattered throughout the area, with

One of the guidelines that we follow when we create

unattractive colors and crammed with uncomfortable

renderings is to keep the geometry as simple as pos-

furniture. The idea of ​​the architect was to turn that

sible with the least number of edges and avoid any

space into a pleasant meeting place and replicate the

unnecessary detail due to distance or point of view

elegance and prestige that currently has the nave of

will not be seen.

a church above.


The first step was drawing two concentric circles of 24�and 2� radius with 24 sides each to work with 6 sections to recreate the shade.

Then we created a vertical face on which we drew the shade curve and then we copied it at 60 degrees.

We also copied the outer arc to the top and removed all the unneeded faces to leave only the framework.


Use the Extrude Edges by Rails to create the mesh. Choose the upper arc, the two rails and finally the upper arc again for the melting curve. To all the answers we answered 'no' except for smooth edges. The result is as shown in the picture. This section we can use to form the rest of the shade. Using the rotate tool we can array the section to form the final shape. Withe the shade complet we can now build the frame. Draw a small rectangle on the XY plane and using Extrude Edge by Face to form the frame section.

With the frame section formed use the array command to create copies around the shade.


For the ring perimeter after selecting the large circle we used Extrude Edges by Vector moving in the blue axis.

Next use JointPushPull to give the ring some thickness and remove any unwanted geometry to leave only the section we need.


Using Tools on Surface we drew the outline of a rosette in the center of the rounded surface, apply the offset option, and with Joint Push Pull option we gave thickness to it. Then copy the rosette with rotation to repeat them along the sector.

Add some textures, cables and your done.



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Construction Fundamentals 101 - Introduction As most in this business already know -- either as students or teachers -- the challenge to construction (and design) education at the college or university level is finding the time in a curriculum to cover the basics of hands-on construction. There are electives and workshops of course, usually taught by energetic but technically inexperienced professors, where students gain some understanding of construction technology, but with so much to learn, the rigors of hands-on assembly are lost to more mundane and largely predictable academic subjects.

How buildings actually go together As a result, it remains for most constructors (and a few designers) to find out for themselves how buildings actually go together. A lucky few find sympathetic mentor or superintendent with the patience to pass on the things that they cannot believe weren’t already taught in school -- but most entry level professionals wind up picking things up in snatches and glimpses while being paid to do some other narrowly defined task. At the same time, few construction managers (and fewer designers) have any desire to get down and dirty and actually “work” on a jobsite. Especially to devote the years it takes to appreciate what it’s like to actually build a building efficiently. It stands to reason though, if one is expected to manage (or design) a technical process, it is only logical to have a deep understanding of how buildings actually go together – if for no other reason than to be able to anticipate the scope of the work, resolve problems in the field, and continually consider cost effective alternatives.

Construction is Color Blind An important premise to understanding hands-on construction is the fact that to builders, anything that can be imagined can be built -- as long as someone is willing to pay for the time, materials, and resources necessary to build and maintain the finished product. On the other hand, construction both expands and restricts the possibilities of a design. And it’s only when design and construction work together that the resulting effort is efficient, purposeful, and sensitive to the needs of our shared environment. The goal in this series of articles is to therefore bring about some understanding of hands-on construction methods. The objective is to demonstrate the basics without fear of confusing an aesthetic of color and form with the nuts and bolts of a technical process that deals strictly in black and white.

Pinch to Zoom Except for scattered notes and comments, almost all of the material to be presented in this series has been taken from our book, “How a House is Built: With 3D Construction Models,” including a few of the book’s illustrations, captioned text, videos, and models. These articles will cover eight distinct phases of the construction of a simple house, beginning with how the house is actually located on the lot, then to excavation, foundations, framing, roofing, close-in, and MEP installations. Sidebars include a buzzword index, construction safety, and tips and tricks about the process. SketchUp will of course be the construction modeler, giving you some idea of how we use construction models in our books and business. As most who read our books already know, none of this comes easy, so click the images to zoom, and feel free to interact with the information.


Eight Construction Phases To Cover

Working with Codes

1. Preliminaries

Building Codes There are at least two distinct jurisdictions that govern the construction of even the smallest and simplest house. The first is the planning and zoning office and the second is the building department.-1

This section introduces the small, simple, and sustainable house that will be constructed in the next seven phases. The house is specifically designed to incorporate as many alternatives in construction detailing as possible. It is built on a raised foundation with open ceilings to encourage access for modification and maximize the use of interior space.-2

Planning and Zoning Planning and zoning are governed by local regulations, usually following a master plan that has been approved by elected officials and regional authorities. The planning code is the result of a land use plan that attempts to project growth and anticipate the needs of the people in a community. Zoning maps are part of this code and set the conditions of use for a piece of property. This includes setbacks for the house on the property, density and use, height limits for the construction, and off-street parking requirements. Once approved by a planning department, the building department issues a building permit following an international building code. The mandate of this code is to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of current and future occupants of the building. These codes are technical ordinances that govern materials, methods, structure, fire safety, and the performance of a building.

2. Excavation Excavation begins with a surveyed layout of the setbacks and footprint of the house. The SUP includes locating utilities and making connections to the building services. A workpoint and batterboards are then placed to reference boundaries, depth of the excavation, and guide the equipment that will prepare the site for the foundation.

Work with Codes More often than not, a small and simple single family residence will have little impact on projected growth and can be built in almost any zoning category. When there is a conflict, all planning codes lay out a specific process to apply for an exception or variance. In contrast, variations to the building code are rarely allowed. The trick to working with this code is to thoroughly understand the requirements before beginning the design process. This means early reviews by building officials, identifying areas of concern, and detailing the criteria for permit approval and subsequent inspections. Many building departments have published these issues online for reference.

3. Foundation The batterboards are used to layout the formwork for foundation footings and walls. Reinforcing is placed in the formwork before concrete is poured. Fabric footings are shown as a simple alternative to traditional methods.-3 Masonry stem walls are tied to the footings with steel reinforcing. The concrete block is laid in courses up to the bottom of the framing sill plate.

Notes & Buzzwords

4. Wall Framing Wall framing begins with sill plates bolted to the top of the stem walls. These plates anchor the raised floor framing with structural connections that run to the wall and roof framing above. The exterior walls are installed using wider studs for thicker insulation. Non-bearing interior walls divide the house into usable spaces. Top plates tie the frame together.

1. A good example of a government site with planning and building permit information is 2. Raised foundations also lift houses up and away from the earth for better circulation and moisture control 3. Many professional builders avoid non-traditional methods because of potential problems and long term liability 4. The advantages of a truss roof is simplicity and speed, while open ceilings increase the volume of interior space 5. It’s important to keep the framing clean and dry and free of smoke and toxics to minimize contamination

5. Roof Framing Open roof framing is the critical part of this house not only because it presents the greatest risk for falls and injury, it also lifts the profile of the structure into winds that will impose the strongest lateral loads on the house. This chapter details the placement of rafters and ridge beams using structural connectors that are integral parts of the structural system.-4

-------------------MEP: mechanical, electrical, plumbing SUP: site utilization plan Batterboards: hold a string line reference Sill and top plates: bearing portion of a stud wall Stem walls: partial height foundation wall HVAC: heating, ventilating, and air conditioning

6. Close-In As soon as the roof framing is complete, the race is on to close in the house and minimize exposure to the weather.-5 With careful scheduling and management, a number of interrelated tasks must be completed at the same time. These include finalizing framing, installing vapor barriers, doors and windows, siding, and the flashing and roofing.


7. Building Systems


MEP building systems are the heart and soul of the house. Plumbing systems supply gas and water and remove waste; heating, ventilating, and air conditioning equipment provide warmth and cooling comfort; and the electrical systems deliver the power necessary to support the receptacles, lights, appliances and security of the house.

Things you might want to know about the construction process, including some standard means and methods

Software tutorials, tips, and tricks found on the book’s CD for future construction modelers.

Just a few of the videos that animate the building systems and construction methods taken from the book


8. Interior Finishes The last chapter in the book “How a House is Built” uses a variety of electronic formats to illustrate the installation of sitework, insulation, drywall, cabinets, and system finishes in an eBook that is accessed online through the book’s CD. Some of the content will be reproduced here to demonstrate how we use animations and illustrations from SketchUp models.

Dennis Fukai is a licensed architect and construction manager with more than thirty-five years experience as a professional construction administrator, researcher, and university professor. He is a Fulbright Scholar and earned his PhD in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Dennis has been recognized internationally for his work in advanced construction modeling and communications as it is applied to informal squatter constructions.

( To Be Continued )



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