If you’ve mastered the basics of SketchUp, you may be ready to move on to more advanced features to help visualize and plan your work. Fortunately, there are numerous plugins and hidden tips that can help you create the perfect 3D model. Many of the tools are free, but if you want to get deep into the software, you might find that the paid options are worth the price. Specific features tailored to your needs can potentially save hours of work. Check out some of these features that you may not have tried.
It’s one thing to be able to visualize your project with digital modeling, and a whole different skill set to know what to buy at the hardware store. Fortunately, Cutlist solves this problem by breaking down all the parts into the necessary cuts of wood. You can print out a list and take it right to the store for easy shopping. Get the extension and information about tutorials here.
2. Follow Me Tool
The Follow Me tool comes standard with SketchUp, but using the tool isn’t always intuitive. The Follow Me tool allows you to work along a path, using extrusions or components to quickly build objects along a curve. Here’s a tutorial that shows you how to use the Follow Me tool to create crown moulding and lathe designs. Another video tutorial gives instructions for how to use Follow Me to create a curved handrail.
Rather than being limited to rigid frames, this extension lets you create curved surfaces over contours, or stretch a skin over the frame. If your work features more organic shapes than sharp angles, this is a must-have. Get the extension here.
The FredoScale plugin gives more detailed options for scaling than the default scale tool. In addition to scaling, there are tools to shear, twist, stretch and bend objects. Find it here.
This extension gives you an exploded view of all groups and components in your model, making sure that you don’t miss any small but crucial elements in your design. You can find the download here.
6. Long Grain Wood for SketchUp
You can build a 3D model that is shaped exactly like your final project, but it still won’t feel right without the beautiful texture and color of wood. Get wood grain textures that are modeled after specific trees with this collection from SketchUcation. The material pack contains the textures of 84 different kinds of wood, which are sized the be 1m x 0.5m when applied in SketchUp.
7. SketchUp Viewer
The viewer has advanced planning tools that allow you to take your projects anywhere. Apps are available for both desktop and mobile, so you can take your projects on the road. AR options provide the opportunity to step inside your project and view it from every possible angle. The app also allows users to host a chatroom to virtually collaborate about projects. Full use of all the features requires a SketchUp subscription.
It can take a little practice to get the hang of new software, but these features are so useful that it won’t be long before the extra extensions feel like essentials.
What’s your favorite SketchUp plugin? Let us know in the comments!