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catchup sketchUcation community newsletter


2012 14th EDITION v2.0 shop gallery news premium training tutorials

Artisan 1.2 What’s new in the latest update to SketchUp’s only sculpting toolset

Cubify Why 3D Systems are looking to put a printer in every home

Freebies Latest uploads shared on SketchUcation

You like? After a hectic few weeks

But the surprises do not stop

It’s business as usual in this

SketchUcation got suited and

there. We have all manner of

edition. More of the same with

booted! We spent the last 9

goodies to reveal in the coming

reviews, previews and tip ‘n’



months and we are super


the site from the ground up to

excited about SketchUation’s

give members something more

future. More about that later.


Enjoy! See you at Basecamp!

than a forum.

curves to flats

Artisan Update


04 Learn to use CurviLoft for difficult geometry tranisitions. Masterclass from Massimo Siracusa.

10 What’s new in Artisan. A look at the new features in Dale Martens latest update.

14 Mike Lucey looks at Slingshot. A smartphone accessory for .

sketchucation II member Freebies cubify at home 16 The ins and outs of what’s new. Csaba Poszarko walks you through the changes.

22 Latest uploads. What members are sharing on the forums.

28 A 3D Printer in every home. Mike Lucey’s take on Cubify’s push for home printing.



Massimo Siracusa

Joining curved surfaces to flat surfaces

Italian architect and forum regular Massimo Siracusa shares a technique he used while modeling this Hans Wegner Oak sideboard.

To accomplish this you will need Fredo’s CurviLoft plugin and RoundCorner plugin and be familiar with SketchUp’s arraying modifiers.

The process uses CurviLoft’s ‘Loft By Spline’ tool with the ‘Spline Method’ set to ‘Junction by Orthogonal Eliptical Curves’.


Here you can see the issue we have. We need to bridge from the curved leg to the flat face. What increases the complexity in this process is when we add bevels to the flat face.

Luckily Curivloft makes this a 3 click operation.

Firstly, move a copy of the top curve downwards and draw a line across the flat face. This is to locate the start and end point of the transition.







edges on the flat face and use RoundCorner to set the bevel distance and segment number.

In this example I used a segment count of 4 but you can use whatever is needed.

Draw edges as shown here to isolate this area from the remainder of the model.

Select the area marked in orange and group it. By grouping you effectively cut the geometry from the surrounging area but leave the perimeter edge intact.


Delete the group to be left with only the perimeter edges. It is in this area that the bridging will occur.

Select the edges as shown here. These are the melding profiles we need for the lofting procedure.

Make sure you have all of both profiles selected before continuing.







CurviLoft we will loft between the profiles.

Ensure the ‘Junction be Orthogonal


Curves’ method is selected.





imediately explode the resulting group to intersect it with the surrounding area.

Now simply draw an edge to fill the hole and remove any unwanted geometry.

A very difficult task made simple with CurviLoft.


I used this technique extensively during the modeling of this Hans Wegner piece. There were lots of areas that needed complex geometry and without CurviLoft it would have proved to be a very time consuming task.

Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial.


Rich O’Brien

Artisan v1.2 - What’s new? Late last month Dale Martens released an update to SketchUp’s only sculpting tool - Artisan. What’s really impressive about this update is the number of new and improved features that have been addressed. For those that are not familiar with Artisan it is an organic modeling toolset which was reviewed in CatchUp Edition 1.

What is immediately obvious is the speed improvement. Sculpting now occurs much quicker than in the previous version which had a tendency to lag on dense meshes. It now absolutely blasts through meshes where it previously struggled. There is also a new feature to the sculpting brush called ‘AutSmooth’ that performs a smoothing operation to your sculpted area on release of the mouse. Below you can see the difference between a sculpt with Auto-Smooth off (left) and Auto-smooth on (right).

You can now use the SHIFT key while in Sculpt mode to constrain the direction vertically while sculpting and while in Flatten mode the the SHIFT key will constrain the flattening operation horizontally. Both of these are key features that add another level of control and increase prductivity time. In the previous release sculpting and flattening always occured towards the face you were hovering over.

“It now absolutely blasts through meshes”


A brand new tool to Artisan v1.2 is the Vertex Scale tool. If you are already using Thomas Thomassen’s Vertex Tools then you know what a great addition this is in Artisan. Is there a difference? Not really, but there is no harm in being spoilt for choice. What has changed is significantly is the workflow. In this update you no longer need to pre-select any geometry prior to activating any of Artisan’s vertex related tools. You simply click and set the distance and you can move, rotate and scale as needed.

Some other trickery that has been added to both the Smooth and Flatten modes is you can now control the strength similar to sculpting mode. The added bonus is that negative strength value in Smooth mode creates a jitter effect (right) and in Flatten mode it applies sharp peaks and valleys (left).


Finally, the Crease tool got some added functionality. Previously if you wanted to crease an area you had to manually pick each vertex and edge that needed to be locked into position. Now there is a really quick method accessed from the Tools menu called Crease Selection. What this means is you can now define an area that you need to work on with the Select Brush, group it and then pick from various creasing options. Below you can see how this can be used to great effect when you need to grade terrain. Because the outer most edges are locked to the surrounding terrain you can sculpt, flatten and smooth knowing you will get the perfect results.

Overall, these latest additions strengthen Artisan’s already powerful toolset. The productivity time is now much higher and the new strength controls for Smooth and Flatten give you much more precision. It is worth checking the YouTube video that showcases all these new features and downloading the trial to give it a try! As an added bonus Artisan is now discounted by 25% to only $29 for a limited time.

“. . .sculpt, flatten and smooth to get perfect results. . .”



Mike Lucey

Slingshot This month’s gadget, for a change, can be used with quite a number of smartphones, not just the iPhone. I first noticed the Slingshot on Kickstarter and quickly pledged my $14 as I thought Charles Waugh was definitely onto something that was not already on the market. The Slingshot is a well thought out and clever design that does three jobs, it acts as a stabiliser, a handy tripod and a steady viewer stand. It’s lightweight and fits easily into a pouch or even a largish coat pocket.

I received my Slingshot a few days ago and have been using it on a regular basis and I will continue to do so for quite some time as the construction is much better than I had expected at the selling price. The Slingshot is made from acetal resin, which is a super-tough material, that can bend and stretch enough to accommodate the iPhone easily or even the much larger Galaxy models. The top cradle holds the phone and this screws into the handle. It can also be screwed into a standard tripod mount. The cradle can be twisted on a ball joint and set to a suitable angle for hand-held shooting of pictures or videos, also the user can flip out a pair of vestigial legs to turn the device into a mini tabletop tripod which is quite stable even with the phone at a 45 degree plus angle.

It is possible to have your iPhone connected to the dock cable while using the Slingshot as the cradle sides are open, quite useful when using the device for steaming vedeos and such. I can highly recommend the Slingshot, even at its current $19.95. I have only one quibble. It only accommodates the iPhone or other device in a landscape mode. I contacted the inventor during the Kickstarter phase and suggested that he consider adapting the Slingshot to hold phones in both portrait and landscape and he thought it was a good idea but I imagine he was too far advanced with production to modify the design. Maybe Slingshot V2 will do this!



Csaba Poszarko

A “New Home” – SketchUcation 2.0 is out! 1,000 members in the first three months – now we have another 1,000 members about every 5 days! The whole forums and the “site” did not change much “technically” during the years though. We had started a “News” section, an ATC Programme, some Book Sales but the overall feeling and the technical solutions were still just like at the beginning.

. . . .out with the old. . . All those who became members of SketchUcation in 2007 – when Google closed the “old” @ Last forums - can remember the beginnings. A phpBB forum software which was in “Beta” at the time and later not compatible with the official Release Candidate. A friendly atmosphere where the initial members were trying to revive something of the defunct @Last forums while also seeking a “New Home”. This was the birth of the “SketchUcation Community” that carried on the original “SketchUp Community” and still strives to do so after five years.

. . .in with the new. . . . Now the time has arrived to renew everything. We decided to step ahead, organize what knowledge, shared materials and content that have accumulated on the forums and integrate it into a brand new CMS site (powered by Joomla)

Since then, the SketchUcation Community

and a completely revamped community forum.

has grown up – and grown big. We had the first


The work effectively started in February (prior

first step, we have added a Community Gallery

to the “Trimble announcement”) and our initial

showcasing the most stunning images posted on

goals – upgrading the forums to the latest, most

the forums – we shall constantly add both older

modern and secure release, updating our old

submissions and newer gems. For Community

forum template to be able to handle all the new

development, we also started to work on a new

features in the latest phpBB release – and last

“Networking” system but this is still behind the

but not least, develop a site where these forums

curtains. Be prepared however and watch our

and membership can be integrated – were soon

news blog to be informed about it.

accomplished. Nevertheless we became more “adventurous” during the process and wanted to create some stunning, new features that can ensure the ongoing, long term functionality and allow constant development of SketchUcation as well as allow members to be much more involved in content development.

The forums now also boast several new features: ➙➙ Multiple attachment uploading ➙➙ new, richer post editor (e.g. easier video embedding)

Our Resources section will also grow in time. We have already “migrated” some tutorials from the forums into an easy to browse section and are working on a system where external authors

➙➙ “solved topic” marking

(our most knowledgeable members) can also

➙➙ light-box integration for images both attached and externally embedded

add their own tutorials extremely easily and

➙➙ “quick reply” without reloading the page for a short, unformatted reply

Of course, we still have a lot to develop under

quickly – all “html formatting” made automatic.

➙➙ easier and faster post moderation of newly registered members

“Resources” – collecting, organizing, sharing,

➙➙ who knows what else have been added and broken functions fixed.

forums as well as from all over the Internet. This

maintaining, updating all valuable data from the

work will never finish but hopefully grow into The “Community” feature has been extended

an unbeatable collection.

to the content management system, too. As a


There is one area or our “Resources” that has

What we set out to create is a new ecosystem of

not yet changed: we still use our “old” list of

content delivery that’s 100% SketchUp related.

Plugins in a forum sticky topic (thanks to Jim

We also wanted to attract the very best SketchUp

Foltz for maintaining it). This will also change

users so members can immediately know they

– the upcoming BaseCamp will allow us to talk

are getting only the best quality. It started last

to some of our most active plugin authors and

year with our trial site -

“brainstorm” some ideas on the functionality

- and slowly evolved from there. It soon became

and features of a complete Plugin Index

apparent that SketchUcation members love to

of all related SketchUp plugins. By the time

learn from expert users. We were inundated with

you are reading this article, we may well have

requests to grow the store and we have!

laid down the basic guide lines we are going to work on.

We took some time and built a framework that delivered the great content from talented SketchUp users at incredible value for members. You can find out about the benefits of Premium membership on our new site and see why it is an exciting new direction for SketchUcation.

Premium membership is essentially a means of professionals accessing the best content, the best support and the best resources whilst There are two more, major, new features on the site: Premium membership and our brand new Shop where our members can sell (or freely distribute) their creations. This was the most

availing of 20% discounts on everything. We are also working to get 3rd Party Plugin developers involved so Premium members can get those upcoming goodies at the lowest prices around.

sensitive goal we set ourselves. SketchUcation’s vibrant growing community is the backbone of what makes the place special. We were never going to compromise that.


If you browse the store you will see the type of content members are currently offering. From Oli Shea’s stunning HDRI Pack and Tree Line Pack to Alvydas Litvinas’ incredible furniture collection.

We’ve also partnered with Massimo Siracusa and David Hier, two leading SketchUp 3D artists, to provide exceptional SketchUp Models and Dave Richards is the master of SketchUp Styles.

You can click any of the opposite images to see the kind of content that is available. If you are interested in finding out more about the store you can contact us for details.

This is a radical change for SketchUcation but one we are excited about.

So thank you to all the members that helped out over the last few monthsyour input and direction was invaluable.

yours, SketchUcation Team


Rich O’Brien

Cut/Split to Plane for SketchUp 8 Pro Our resident scripting genius TIG recently dropped 2 great little plugins called Cut to Plane and Split to Plane. They are only compatible with SketchUp 8 Pro because it utilizes the new Solid Tools feature. Grab Cut to Plane and Split to Plane from the forums.

You can click the image above to watch a tutorial on YouTube showing both tools in action. If view this article online then you can go here to view the video.

Don’t forget to show your appreciation by either donating via PayPal or just saying thanks on the forums.


Alexander Skoluda, Gus Robatto & Leo Breault

Free Lamps, Tables and Appliances Alexander Skoluda shared this awesome Corail table lamp by Jaques Charles. Modelled in less than 35 minutes using only photos for reference it is a worthy addition to any collection.

Members are already having fun rendering with this beautiful image from Urgen.

Leo Breault, a furniture maker, shared ten exquisite pieces from coffee tables to desks. These are really high quality models and Leo deserves a very big ‘Thank You’ for such a contribution.

You can download the collection by visiting the Furniture Models thread.

Finally, Gus Robatto shared this range of GE Monogram appliances that you are free to use for personal or commercial work.

Another collection of extremely high quality models.



Rich O’Brien

Keyframe Animation 1.8 - What’s New? When it comes to animating objects in SketchUp nothing comes close to KeyFrame Animation. It was reviewed in CatchUp Edition 4 and early last month Regular Polygon quietly pushed out an update with a significant new feature - you can now animate an objects size!

Simply put, any change in the scale of an object will now be interpolated between key frames. This means the scaling can be uniform, or non-uniform and you are able to combine a translation and a scaling, so that an object moves and changes size at the same time.

Rotations and scaling can also be combined if you rotate and scale about the same point. This allows for a myriad of different animations to now be exported directly from SketchUp using KeyFrame Animation’s Tweens tools. Watch this check test below which shows the various animations you can now achieve with the new feature.

You can buy KeyFrame Animation in our Plugin Store and Premium Members get a 20% discount.



Mike Lucey

ArchiDRAW - Preview

I’ve been on the lookout for a versatile drawing app for the iPad for some time. I’ve tried out quite a few but none to date have stuck. The apps I have tried have been either too basic or over complicated and tiring to use. Maybe I expect all drawing apps to be fun because of what SketchUp delivers. This may however be about to change with ArchiDraw from Orange Juice Studios

The app is not yet available but the web site reads well and teases with some innovative drawing features that are to be part of ArchiDraw. We are advised the application is being built on an OpenGL platform that will fully harnesses the power of the iPad. The London based development team, Vim, an Engineer and Az,an Architect, feel that there will be no competition when it comes to performance!

I understand that what was originally intended as a floor plan app is now being developed as a fully-fledged 2D CAD application. This is due to the feedback the developers were receiving. I imagine once they found themselves half way down the road they decided to go the full mile!


Some of the feature that interest me are:

The Virtual Mouse! This is a patent pending input method that will eliminate the problem of one’s finger getting in the way and will offer unprecedented accuracy the developers tell us. While the developers advise that the app will have the ability to export / import popular file formats, they currently only mention DXF. I hope they shake-hands with SketchUp, however time will tell.

The ‘Free Draw’ feature sounds very interest. Seemingly the app will allow the user to ‘scribe shapes’ with one’s digit and ArchiDraw will interpret these into geometric shapes and walls! I’ve used this process in SmartSketch some years ago and liked the process, very intuitive indeed. The application will also draw walls, windows and doors parametrically, another plus!

The developers are also now providing video updates on YouTube. The first, ‘ArchiDraw the new standard for CAD on the iPAD : Development Update 1’ can be seen below, just click.

I hope to be testing ArchiDraw shortly and will be advising of my experience on SketchUcation, so stay tuned, it could well be the ‘missing link’, a powerful yet simple to use 2D CAD app that many of us have been seeking for the iPad.




Mike Lucey

3D Printer in every home

A 3D printer in every home!

This would

The competition is hotting up! The large man-

appear to be the current business plan for many

ufactures want to put a 3D printer in every home

3D printer manufactures. A few short years ago

but the obstacle is how to ‘sell the idea’ to people.

this objective might have seemed optimistically

The key could be offering a concept. Manufac-

unrealistically but today it is very much on the

tures are showing people why they would want

cards and I feel a personal 3D printer will be

a 3D printer and how they would actually put it

as commonplace as a home computer and

to productive use. 3D printers are able to make

multipurpose printer is presently.

all sorts of objects and the manufactures are expanding the possibilities on a daily basis, but

When 3D printers became the buzz word a few

the manufacturer needs to convince the

years ago we were looking at, out of price range

consumers that they need to have one in

for many, high end commercial 3D printers

their home.

aimed at large architectural, engineering and product design firms, costing tens of thousands

Cubify is pioneering this approach offering

but today the story is quite different. We now are

many different ways for the home user and their

seeing quite a range of DIY 3D printers coming

kids to interact with their 3D printers. Cubify’s

on the market from small startup firms and now

Toy Robot templates is aimed at children, both

some of the larger players like, 3D Systems,

young and old.

are getting in on the act with well built low cost turn-key 3D printers like the WiFi Cube 3D Printer.


This idea reminds me of the story of the child

I don’t have any young children these days to

that got more of a kick out of playing with the

encourage into 3D printing however I do have a

large cardboard box that the toy came in rather

wife that collects shoes like they are going

than the actual toy! Imagination was sparked and

out of fashion! I am now wondering if it would

the large cardboard box became many things, a

be safe for me to have a 3D printer in the house

car, a fire engine, a house. I think 3D printing of

as it may well be commandeered for production

toys for / with the child generates much the same

of 3D printed shoes! I have no idea how com-

experience as they can easily customise the toys,

fortable these shoes would be but they certainly

with Dad or Mom’s help of course initially ;-)

are eye-catching to say the least and they might work out a lot cheaper than the designer shoes so

The way Cubify works this is by offering toy templates with various colour options at

maybe the commandeering would not be so bad after all ;-)

99 cents each. Once the set-ups are completed the child watches the 3D printer create their custom toy. The basic Cubify 3D printer package includes all that is needed, $1299 for the Cube (3D Printer) and $49 for Cubify Invent (application).

Not all 3D printed content is low cost. The beautiful Lightnest light fitting by Freedom Of Creation costing $599 is obviously in demand also some of the high fashion items are fetching reasonably high prices.

Once the template is purchased the users can 3D print as often as they wish using different colours. Also there are many robots in the series and the individual robot parts are interchangeable. This allows for the child to use their imagination, most important, as this will lead to creativity and hopefully original designs over time.


Content like this is what will ‘sell the idea’ to

Its free to become a Cubify Artist and you get

the home user and consumers in general both

60% royalty on sales. There are no contracts to

young and old in order create a demand for the

sign, no fees to list products, and no monthly

home 3D printer. For those of us (readers of

or hosting fees of any kind. They have a good

CATCHUP) that know we can simply create a 3D

anti-fraud system in place that protects your

object using SketchUp and many other applica-

creations at all times. After reaching certain

tions already are ‘up to speed’ with the process,

uploading and sales milestones, you earn Cubify

however in order for the average consumer

badges that will elevate your presence within the

to ‘get it’, there needs to be databases of useful

Cubify community. If you load a STL 3D model

objects that they can pick from and watch as these

format, Cubify staff reviews your model and

objects materialise on their sideboards. Once the

works with you to get to a “3D Printable” state.

concept is grasped by general consumers they

Once that certification is achieved, your model

can move on to making their own objects, maybe

can be submitted by buyers to be 3D Printed.

a required plastic part for a broken household

You then benefit from an additional 5% royalty

item etc etc. This could bring back the ‘fix it’

stream every time the model is submitted to

age that existed before the current ‘throw

their 3D Printing Service.

away’ age we currently live in, no bad thing! At this stage the personal household 3D printer will quickly become a standard commonplace item.

Yes indeed, as I said, I can definitely see a 3D printing industry building up on Cubify and I would not be surprised to see many SketchU-

Cubify obviously is aiming to create a 3D printing industry around their products and their group of Cubify Artists! They are encouraging users to become Cubify Artists and the process is quite straightforward.

It simply involves

creating a standard account and once the first 3D printable model is uploaded the user’s status is changed to ‘Artist’. When you become an artist, you can upload more 3D printable models for

cation members becoming some of its leading Artists!

“. . .bring back the ‘fix-it’ age that existed before the ‘throw-away’ age. . .”

royalty sharing. You can manage your uploads and store / showcase your designs by using your account dashboard.


Graphic Export and Annotations - Step 13

Construction models are built to communicate, manage, explain, and document the construction. As the model is assembled it is used to simulate sequences and think through different approaches in the production process, but once the model is complete, it becomes a visual resource for change order, process illustrations, and graphic explanations. This makes it important to be able to label and annotate images exported from the model to manage the construction.

Label and Export in SketchUp Click the Fonts button in the Model Info > Text dialog box to set up the font you want to use for model labels

Add a separate layer for the text and making it active for each new label

Once the Font style is set up, select the Text Tool from the Tools Menu Check to make sure you are on a text layer so you can control visibility from Scene to Scene Click to start arrowhead and drag out the leader

Leader Line settings include arrow heads types

A text box appears with the object name

Only one font type and style can be used in the same model

Double click to select the text and rename the leader label Use the Shift key with the Return key to enter a new line of text Double-click in model space to add text without a leader

Use the Move tool to move text and leader together To move just the arrowhead, Click the arrowhead again with the Text Tool

Be sure to turn off Layer visibility when you reposition the model Use Scenes with Visibility Preferences to return to a viewpoint and Text Tool

Export from SketchUp

Select Export and 2D Graphic from the File Menu Then use the pull down menu to select the file type and Save

Click Option to change resolution Recommend 75 Pixel minimum 1000 Pixel maximum


Annotations Outside of SketchUp

Open source programs are maintained by a group of users and are generally free to download and use. The most versatile of these programs is the OpenOffice Suite, including a text editor, drawing/drafting, and a presentation program that quickly creates prints, slides, and web pages from exported model images. Start a new presentation with no background and set it up for Print or Slide

Click the Presentation icon to start the setup wizard

Download OpenOffice

Download Scribus NOTE: Scribus is more complex open source desktop publishing program for specifications and booklets

Click to Create a new file, then use the Insert Menu to add pages

Use the Graphics Layout to add a title and comments

Line, Rectangle, and Oval editing tools Click the Line Tool icon to access the Line dialog box

Thumbnail preview Click to add titles and text Double click to insert an image

Right click to access Context Menu and editing tools

Selection, drawing, and textbox tools for comments and markups

Bubble and symbols for emphasis


Related videos from our books Exporting from SketchUp Pumper Operation Scene Sequencing

Select a single or multiple slides to Export from the File Menu Menu changes with object selected

You can email the finished Slide directly or Save Exports and Presentation file in same job folder Pull-down menu to select several export file formats

Floating textbox arranged by Stacking Order Tool



RoundUp To stay fully briefed on all the latest SketchUp and 3D news make sure to bookmark our news blog. It will be updated frequently and we will soon adding an RSS feed keep your eyes peeled.

With Basecamp only days away most of the SketchUcation team will be in attendance. We will also be keeping the community informed via the site and forums so be sure to login to get all the latest news as it happens. If you haven’t yet followed us on Twitter or Facebook now is the time to do so as we intend to use this more often to touch base with the community.

Also our YouTube channel will be showing more video tutorials to coincide with our new site. So subscribe to instant notification on any new videos.

Party Time. . . . If you are lucky enough to attend Basecamp and are in the Boulder area on Sunday 14th please stop by the Baker Street Grill at 8pm as there will be a get together to break the ice prior to the big event.


CatchUp Edition 14 - SketchUcation 2.0  

SketchUcation Community Newsletter

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