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User-friendly updates to SketchUp Pro 2020

Based heavily on user feedback, the team at SketchUp polished up a few features that will keep your workflow humming along smoothly! 

Freshening up SketchUp Pro

Scenes Panel. Now that you’ve had some time to enjoy better toggling visibility with hidden geometry and objects, this feature just got even better. Hidden geometry and hidden objects are now split up so you can select and save them separately on a Scene-by-Scene basis. You will see a new checkbox in the Scenes panel that lets you save the visibility state of hidden objects, not just hidden geometry. This gives you better visibility control per Scene.

Section Planes & Scenes. In the new version of SketchUp, you can save Section Plane visibility in every Scene.  Since Section Planes are grouped with objects, we want to make sure they behave like objects. What’s the value here? Before this change, only top-level visibility could be saved per Scene. Again, more control in your Scenes — and consistency across functionality. 

Hidden objects are now editable. Editing invisible things might sound like a superpower, but it’s really just a great new feature in SketchUp Pro. When you select a hidden object in Outliner, it will now appear as a mesh. This means that you can make more precise edits to hidden objects with ease. Check out this Quick Win to see how it’s done.


Side note: Did you notice how much faster it is to work in SketchUp when Outliner is open? SketchUp 2020.1 includes a few performance improvements to speed up your workflow that we think you’ll like.  


Improvements to Grips. You can now cycle through ALL Grips of an object when using the Rotate tool — just like the Move tool! This provides a more instinctive modeling experience while switching in between the tools. 

Check out this Quick Win from our 2020 release to help you understand Grips. 

Empty object. Picture this: you are working up a new table design and quickly model a lamp to make it look more realistic — but oops! —  you did it too fast and forgot to group your lamp and table separately. Now, everything is glued together, creating editing reworks and wasted time.

The solution? Now, you can create a grouped object or component by right-clicking on an empty space. No more triple-clicking to select and then group, or drawing it elsewhere just to place it where you want it. Pro tip: you can also use the ‘G‘ shortcut to create a new component and speed up your workflow. (Shortcut win!)

One last added bonus! When you create a new component from scratch, a window will immediately pop up allowing you to name it. Say hello to better model organization. 

Check out this Skill Builder to see how to use this feature in your workflow.

Performance improvements in LayOut 

This release focused on improving LayOut’s deletion and selection capabilities. Read as: they’re much faster now! 

Improved Select Tool

Make intentional — not accidental — moves with your crossing and window-selection workflows. Now, when you click-drag to create a crossing or window selection, you won’t mistakenly move anything. If you’ve encountered this, you know what we’re talking about… and you’re welcome! 

If you’re wondering, “how do I move an object now?” — just pre-select an entity and move from there. Also, selections and moves now occur when clicking on the actual object, rather than the object’s bounding box, strengthening that intentional workflow.

Download the new version, play with the latest improvements and let us know what you think. As always, we will be there listening, responding, and getting great ideas for new updates. See you on the Axis!

All of the 2020.1 features are available to Classic license users with active Maintenance & Support, and active SketchUp Pro and SketchUp Studio subscription users.  Upgrade today to start using new features!

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What’s new in Podium Browser

New uploads include additional potted plants, new sofas and loveseats, interior ceiling and floor light fixtures, and two classic automobiles. Check out just some of the latest Podium Browser uploads available to users. Podium Browser contains thousands of render ready models and materials for SketchUp. Find the furniture, lights, appliances, decorations, plants, and materials you need to quickly bring your SketchUp models to life. Podium Browser is now fully included with a Podium V2.6 license.

Floor Lamps

Suspended Ceiling Lights

Vehicles

Sofas

Loveseats

Indoor potted plants

Metrie crown moulding, baseboard, architrave, and casing profiles

Cadalog have also added four sets of Metrie finishing profiles so that you can easily add moulding and casing details to your interior designs. Simply move the profile shape into position, then push/pull to extend to the required length.

SU Podium Browser is now fully included with a V2.6 license.  Podium Browser is a growing library of over 20,000 render ready components that can be dropped into a SketchUp model and rendered without any additional setup.

  • Podium Browser is automatically installed with SU Podium and provides thousands of furniture items, light fixtures, high resolution textures, plants, trees, vehicles, and household components to use in your SKetchUp scenes.
  • Everything in the library is pre-configured with Podium material properties to that the items can be used in your designs without any additional setup time. The library includes dozens of furniture assemblies so that you can populate and visualise interior spaces faster than ever before, and of course everything is fully customisable so that you can modify anything to suit your specific needs.
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7 Tips for Remote Collaboration

Feeling disorientated away from your usual work routines? Working remotely (from home or otherwise) can either be a dream-come-true, not-so-ideal, or your standard work mode. Whatever bucket our global SketchUp community falls into, we’ve got a few collaboration tricks up our software sleeves that will help you make the most of remote working.

Trimble Connect is a powerful tool within the SketchUp ecosystem that allows you to store all of your project files and information.

How to access Trimble Connect from SketchUp? If you have an active SketchUp subscription, Trimble Connect is already available to you. Simply launch SketchUp Pro, and click on File > Trimble Connect to launch the cloud toolbox. 

As the world navigates the global pandemic, our team has made the product available to anyone who wants to try it. 

Now let’s dive into 7 tips that will help you stay productive and connected to your team while you #OrbitFromHome!

1. Take advantage of unlimited cloud storage 

Yes, you read that right. That’s unlimited cloud storage for any number of files, of any size. With Trimble Connect you can securely store models, image libraries, project references, and work files in the cloud. All of this is immediately accessible to you and any collaborator you chose to share it with. Set up hourly, daily, or weekly syncs to ensure you always have the latest file versions.

Simply access Trimble Connect via SketchUp and sync your data straight to the cloud. 

2. Keep track of model versioning

So you’ve downloaded a work-in-progress model from the cloud and are exploring multiple options. You need to keep track of a gazillion iterations — some are saved on your external hard drive, others on your personal computer and one with review notes that your colleague emailed over. 

The good news? Instead of juggling files in all those different locations, you can publish your models straight from SketchUp into Trimble Connect. By creating a single ‘point of truth’, you can easily keep track of file versions, share models with your team, and avoid working on outdated files. (Win!)

3. Model collaboratively

Working remotely shouldn’t lead to collaboration hiccups — you can stay anchored whilst working with other specialists, consultants or colleagues. By importing a reference model from SketchUp to Trimble Connect, you create a fixed spine around which each collaborator contributes.

4. Centralise your library of SketchUp assets

Bring home the files that make your workflow quick and seamless. Architectural entourage, scale figures, groups, and components can be managed and shared as a central library of assets, all within Trimble Connect.

Instead of linking your SketchUp components folder to a central server location that might be inaccessible when working remotely, sync it straight to a folder in Trimble Connect. Access and update it from anywhere. 

5. Maintain effective project communication

Team discussions don’t have to be sacrificed just because you’re not collaborating in-person.

Annotate shared models, review and respond to comments, and keep track of project progress. Use Views (think of these like Scenes in SketchUp) to share a specific aspect of your project with stakeholders to visually communicate a detail, change, or to-do. 

Unlock new levels of coordination by managing file permissions, giving access to the right collaborators, and even creating groups for particular tasks with specific edit-rights. 

6. Access on all devices

We’re all for a healthy work-life balance. If however you’re hit by a stroke of genius during your downtime, you can continue to make progress on whatever device is within reaching distance from your desk, sofa or garden table. Pull models down from the cloud to your desktop or laptop for edits, or make annotations and review comments on an iPad. 

7. Get set up without any IT hassle

Getting on remotely without a whiz tech team? You can start using Trimble Connect with SketchUp without an elaborate VPN set up or hi-tech device requirements. All you need is an internet connection and your SketchUp access – quick and easy! 

Tried it yet? Hashtag your SketchUp projects #OrbitFromHome and tag us for a chance to be featured on our social channels. Happy remote working!

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Orbit From Home: 10 at-home learning resources from SketchUp

We’ve all had to make adjustments to keep our communities safe, and Cadsoft Solutions Limited and SketchUp are here for you while you’re at home and adapting. We’ve rounded up 10 top learning resources that you can take advantage of while you #OrbitFromHome. 

Check out our ten ways to take advantage of the time spent social distancing:

  1. Learn the SketchUp fundamentals from this self-guided course. Reminder: it’s free and subtitled in more than 100 languages!
  2. More experienced at SketchUp? Dive into our Skill Builder video playlists and polish up your skills.
  3. Discover our Podcast, SketchUp Talk! A great companion to listen to while you’re orbiting away on the axis.
  4. Still tight on time while working from home? In under 60 seconds, our Quick Wins are packed with powerful skills. 💪
  5. Curious about how other professionals are using SketchUp? Learn from the best and brightest in our customer case studies.
  6. See it all live! Tune in to our live model challenges – every Friday at 12 pm MT. Don’t have time to catch it live? Watch the recordings
  7. Try out some of the other products you have access to as a SketchUp Pro Subscriber! Spend some time learning LayOut, share projects with Trimble Connect, model online with SketchUp for Web, or check out SketchUp Viewer for your mobile device!
  8. Looking for new ways to customise your workflow? Explore our Extension Inspections to find the perfect plugin for you.
  9. Tired of dressing up with nowhere to go? Recover your sense of style by learning how to make (and personalise) your very own 2D Component! 
  10. *BONUS!* Share how you’re staying inspired over the next few weeks by tagging your designs with #OrbitFromHome for a chance to be featured on our social channels! 

Whether you’re using your free time to become more proficient & efficient at SketchUp, getting workflow tips from other SketchUp users, or leaning on your love of design during these times, we hope you’re staying healthy and taking care of yourself & your loved ones.

If your SketchUp Subscription has expired or expires soon, just click the button below to renew:

If your subscription has expired more than five days, call us on +44 (0)1223 787272 or email and we can advise you on any available offers for Cadsoft customers.

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Communicating design, vision and scope with SketchUp

When asked, why SketchUp, Director of Bedfordshire based Solutions4Gardens Mark Woodman’s answer was emphatic; using SketchUp drives efficiency, provides flexibility, and enables the company to communicate a vision and scope of work achieving a common understanding of a project. With a supporting cast including SU Podium and Mind.Sight.Studios’ Profile Builder, Quantifier and Bool Tools, we talked to Mark about subscriptions, plug-ins and his company’s projects and design processes.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your company Solutions4Gardens

Landscape gardening is my second career. I’m fortunate enough to have a good sized garden, so gardening and landscaping started for me as a necessity which turned into a passion, and then into a career. 

We have three small teams that work on a variety of projects from small patios to complete garden redesigns. 

Although a much over-quoted phrase, quality is really our number one motivator. If we wouldn’t be content having something in our garden, we wouldn’t be happy to deliver it to a client. That extends to the products we use, the suppliers we work with, the work we do and the people who work for us. We’re proud to have been recognised for the quality of our installations by a number of trade organisations. 

It is a huge privilege to be asked to design and build a complete space in someone’s house, but one that gives me a great sense of satisfaction.

Why SketchUp?

Initially we were looking for a piece of software that could help us with garden design. We evaluated several, but whilst some were more focused on landscaping than SketchUp, SketchUp provided a basic set of tools that (with investment) gave us the complete flexibility to do what we wanted to do.

Your company provides a huge range of professional services and this many projects must present all sorts of challenges when working with clients. Does SketchUp help you solve any of these?

We use SketchUp to help us with two main aspects of our work. The first is to help us communicate a design with clients. Some of our clients know broadly what they want to achieve with their outdoor space, and others come to us with a much more open brief. For each, we are able to produce designs that enable us to communicate a vision and scope of work that helps the client visualise the outcome and for us both to achieve a common understanding of the project. 

The second significant benefit we gain from using SketchUp is purely internal. We now digitise every site survey, regardless of whether we are producing a client design. Doing so gives us three benefits. One, we have an easily readable digital version of the site survey for future reference (even allowing us to digitally measure parts of the site we perhaps didn’t capture during the actual visit). Two, we can produce really accurate material quantity calculations, and third, we can produce detailed build plans that we can take to site or share with suppliers. The second two of these allow us to be more efficient with materials, and to collaborate with suppliers, which in turn means we are more effective when we are on site (saving the client time and money). 

Is there any specific feature or functionality that really stands out?

There are loads, but I suppose what I lean on the most is the “Object Inspector”, or perhaps more specifically the ability to compose elements within the model into a hierarchy. We use that to divide the model into many logical units, such as areas of the space (Terrace, Water Feature, etc), or build layer (Groundworks, sub base, finished surface). Using the object model we can keep all the relevant pieces of the model grouped together, work on individual pieces, or show / hide elements.

What’s your workflow look like and how do you keep it streamlined?

We start with a site survey. We measure every aspect of the existing garden, and we take lots of pictures. As quickly as possible on returning to the office, we digitise that data in SketchUp, even if we’re not planning on working on the design for a while. The sketched elements of that initial outline goes into its own group in the Object Hierarchy and is locked. We can then copy it to create the future design iterations. 

Depending on the complexity of the brief, we’ll then add additional details from the existing space which will show the garden “as is”. We then send that model to Layout, and use it to create a “Customer Brief”. This is used to play back and confirm with the client that we have understood what they want to achieve from the design project. Again, depending on complexity we may create one or more lower fidelity design treatments for the client, building each as a separate set of objects and creating separate views. We then again send that to Layout to share with the client. We’ll then take the chosen design, create a new file (to keep the model size manageable) and work up the final design, produce several client views / renders and send to the customer for final approval. Once we have settled on a design, we then switch gears and work up any construction plans and quantity models based on that design, again, creating views and sending the results to Layout for use on site. We use the data from SketchUp to build our quotes (more on that below)

Over the years we’ve definitely gotten much more efficient at this process. Big “step ups” for us were (probably in order), making our own object / component library, material library, leveraging the object inspector / model, using Layout for output, creating our own SketchUp / Layout document templates, and finally using the Mind.Sight.Studios components.

Now an annual subscription, what are thoughts as a commercial user? 

I like the subscription model and it is what we use. The success or otherwise of the subscription model needs to be based on good service and regular, meaningful product updates. A software company that understands its users and is committed to delivering and developing the best product they can is a good candidate for a subscription service. A software company that believes it can move an existing business based on static or legacy products, and sees the model as a cash-cow will not succeed. The model gives me the option to move products if I don’t feel as though my subscription £ is getting value.

What extensions do you use and why those particular plug-ins? 3D models of plants, cost control plug-ins, renderers?

We use the Mind.Sight.Studios plugins extensively. Most of our constructions (decking, fencing, etc) are modelled in ProfileBuilder. Before, if I needed to draw a fence line I’d need to have a set of components that I would construct into a fence. With ProfileBuilder, I just draw the fence line and it puts all the posts, rails and panels in. We also use BoolTools, which helps us cut components into shapes, for example when modelling a terrace that isn’t an exact number of paving slabs. Finally, we use Quantifier. Once we’ve built our model we click a button and SketchUp / Quantifier will export for us all our materials, equipment and labour requirements. We can then import that into our quoting software. This last component has significantly improved our material ordering accuracy.

We have also recently moved to SUPodium for rendering. We produce renders for some of our design work to help client visualisation and to help sell the proposition. We are by no means experts at this, and so the attraction of SUPodium over our previous render engine is that it makes a “passable” image possible without a massive investment in time. I also like the fact that version 2.6 now ships with their extensive object and material library.

Are there any other extensions you have your eye on and would like to try in the future?

As a Landscape designer I’m always on the lookout for a great plant library. One gap with SketchUp is that I haven’t figured out a way to easily produce useful planting plans. When we use planting in our models the plants are “representative” of what we might plant, but mostly the plants we use are a selection of the best (least polygon intensive) ones available on the SketchUp Library. A great plant library with a good selection of UK species, along with 2D and 3D representations would be great. I’m looking forward to trying the plant library that ships with SUPodium v2.6.

Is there a project that you’re particularly proud of? A project that just came together perfectly? 

Corny, but true, I am proud of everything we’ve done, just ask my family. They have to sit through the endless pictures. But to single something out, would be the design I’ve shared with you for this article. It’s a few years ago, so our SketchUp skills have improved and we’ve changed our presentation style, but this really captures what SketchUp does for us. We completely ripped out an existing garden and completely changed the layout. There were challenging levels and entry / exit requirements, as well as material mixes. SketchUp allowed us to communicate and sell the design, and provided us with the accurate build and material plan. The client loves the garden, we enjoyed building it, and the end result is just as we planned it.

And finally, thanks for talking to us about your work and projects. You’ve been a valued Cadsoft Solutions Limited customer for a while and we’ve never asked the question, what brought you to us? 

We started by trying SketchUp through the “free” version along with other products. When we decided to go with SketchUp I looked for resellers, and found you guys in Cambridge. As a small business owner, I know the value of supporting similar businesses, so I reached out. I like your question, but perhaps the most interesting one for you and potential new clients is what keeps me with you when I could easily buy my renewal  licenses from a nameless website. That would be support. I know I can email or call you and you will respond, and be able to offer me sensible advice. I appreciate you may not always be able to instantly fix issues in third party products, but you don’t dodge issues and recognise that, like any tool in our business, we rely on our software to be successful.

Thank you, Mark for a fantastic customer case study. We’re pleased that you’re happy with the service we provide and appreciate the comments. 

Customer satisfaction is important. We recognise that when you purchase software customers are making an investment, and investments require support and even an honest appraisal of the ongoing suitability of that product or application, particularly if circumstances or business focus shifts over time. 

If you’d like to learn more about Solutions4Gardens or contact them about their services and portfolio, visit their website: https://www.solutions4gardens.com/

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FlexTools gets an update! New FlexDoor Glass

Architects and 3D artists use the FlexTools platform to create SketchUp doors, windows and other architectural elements, with exceptional levels of speed and control. And now FlexTools gets a big update.

What’s new

  • New FlexDoor Glass component
  • New material settings
  • New dynamic door handles
  • Updated Simplified Chinese translations
  • Removed layers (tags) from door components

New FlexDoor Glass Component

Create endless dynamic glass door variations with the new ‘FlexDoor Glass’ component.  Suitable for interiors and exteriors, traditional and modern style.

Based on the original FlexDoor, you can choose between a single door, a double door with equal panels or unequal panels.  Add fixed panels above and from the sides.

Each of the panels can be adjusted individually.  Add muntins with various division distributions just like you would with the window components.

Double Glazing

For a better look and feel for interior views, you can adjust the glass thickness and add double/triple/quadruple glazing to each of the panels.

Note that the spacers between the glass panels protrude a bit instead of being placed below the line of sight.  This is for reasons of keeping the component as lean as possible.

Following multiple requests for such a feature (by email and from the FlexTools Ideas forum) the team will be rolling this out to the rest of the windows in the next update.

New Material Setting

There are now a few new Material attributes added into all the FlexDoors.  The default materials are:

  • FlexMat_Main
  • FlexMat_Hardware
  • FlexMat_Glass
  • FlexMat_Sill
  • FlexMat_Wall (Used for mass modelling when the wall geometry setting is set to ON)

You can change any of the default names by entering a new name.  If a material by that name exists in the model, refresh the component, and it will then be painted with the material.  If you want to cancel the material, enter a name of a material that doesn’t exist, like ‘0’.

If you apply a material with the paint bucket on the outside of the component, the material will change as usual, and so will the material name in the options window.

Example:  You’ve placed a mess of components in the model and you haven’t assigned materials to them ahead of time.  You then decide you want them all painted orange.  Create a new Sketchup material called FlexMat_Main and adjust it’s colour to orange.  Then refresh all the Flex components and see the magic – All the components will be painted orange.

📌 If you want to save a component aside so it’s materials persist even when saving it out with Component Finder, you will have to apply the materials with the paint bucket onto the inner sub-components.

New Dynamic Door Handles

Choose between 4 new dynamic handle bars that can be placed into any flex door directly from the 3DWarehouse.  All dimensions, diameters and distances can be adjusted.

How to change door handles from the 3D Warehouse

Simplified Chinese Translations Updated

All tool translations have been updated and new translations for the FlexRamp, FlexSlope and FlexStairs components – Many thanks to Wantao Xiao – 肖万涛 FlexTool reseller from SUBlog for his continuous efforts.

No More Layers!

Many have requested to eliminate all the extra layers (now tags in Sketchup 2020) that came with Flex components.  Starting with the door components, everything is now on Layer0.  The rest of the flex components will have their layers removed in the next update.

📌 If you ever need some layers again (for quickly hiding of hardware for example), assign new layers to the desired sub-components and then save the components aside with ComponentFinder.

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V-Ray Next for Rhino Update

V-Ray for Rhino is a highly accurate renderer for McNeel Rhinoceros, enabling designers to predict and present their designs with the highest level of realism and reduce the need of physical prototypes. V-Ray greatly increases Rhino’s ability to handle large scenes and can be used directly within Grasshopper.

V-Ray Next for Rhino is much more than a do-it-all renderer that creates gorgeous images of your designs. It’s also a full suite of tools to help you accomplish more in Rhino than ever before. V-Ray Next makes it easier to manage everything in your scene and now it’s had a significant update packed full of performance optimsations.

V-Ray Next for Rhino is compatible with Rhino 5 and Rhino 6. V-Ray for Rhino is supported on Windows only.

What’s new

Supercharge Rhino

Power up with scripts. Use Rhino’s Script and Python to program V-Ray Next to do even more for you, like automating scene man- agement or accessing parameters not shown in the UI. With the latest update the V-Ray scripting API provides more options to start a render. You can save and load settings from a .vropt file for even more control over your scene setup.

Colour picker temperature. The V-Ray colour picker introduces a Kelvin temperature slider, which automatically provides a corresponding RGB colour. You can also choose the exact colour you need with the right hue, saturation and value variation with the Colour Assistant, V-Ray Colour Picker’s new extension.

Automating snapshots & batch renders. Now V-Ray Batch lets you schedule and render jobs to V-Ray Swarm or Chaos Cloud, making it easy to render snapshots from the same project or views from multiple Rhino files all at once.

Easy to resize lights. Adjust the size and shadow softness of lights without affecting their intensity. Change the size of instanced lights by changing just one.

Better management of V-Ray Objects. A simple new UI makes it easy to create, edit and manage V-Ray objects like lights, section clippers and fur.

Unified installer. Enjoy smooth, single-step installation of all the components included in the V-Ray package.

Cryptomatte element. The Cryptomatte render element automatically generates and stores object or material- based masks which can be exported in a multichannel OpenEXR file. This removes the hassle of creating dozens or hundreds of Multimattes and it’s perfect when you need to accurately select objects in post-production.

Depth of field focus animations. You could now render camera focus distance changes in animation. This is particularly useful when you render a physical depth blur with the focus point or camera position changing throughout the sequence.

Decals support. With support for Decals, you can add images to paintings, signs, screens and more. Decals work with both native and V-Ray materials.

Updated V-Ray Frame Buffer lens effects. Simulate real- world camera lens effects with new procedurally generated dust and scratches.

More accurate viewport previews. Get a more accurate preview of your materials in the Rhino viewport with improved reflections, refractions, bump maps and more.

Colour theme. A new “Bright” colour theme is now available so you can change the appearance of your V-Ray user interface.

SUPERIOR GRASSHOPPER SUPPORT – Powerful capabilities that maximise value

Proxy Mesh export from Grasshopper. The new V-Ray Exporter component allows you to export animations from Grasshopper. It can generate .vrmesh or .vrscene files based on the Grasshopper definition, so you can export animated projects as animated proxies.

Animated sun and cameras in Grasshopper. Now in Grasshopper, you can animate sunlight and cameras using the V-Ray timeline. Then it’s just a quick export back to Rhino for final rendering.

Measuring illumination in Grasshopper. The new lighting analysis render element makes it easy to visualise and evaluate the real-world illumination levels of your Grasshopper scene.

V-Ray Graph component. This is an advanced value remapping utility component that exposes a bezier curve editor. Combined with the V-Ray Timeline, it enables you to create more advanced animation setups. Adding keyframes is easy with the context menu button.

Familiar Grasshopper workflow. Working with V-Ray Next in Grasshopper is simple. You hook up V-Ray components exactly the same as Grasshopper’s native ones. So it’s easy to get the results you’re looking for.

Real-world cameras in Grasshopper. Use real-world camera settings for aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Together with the sun and sky system, you’ll be able render your Grasshopper scene accurately for lighting analysis.

Directional Light. Create stylized lighting schemes to render non-realistic, stylized light. Use multiple directional light sources, for example, to demonstrate how light accumulates throughout the day.

Animated Grasshopper definitions. Animate and render parametric designs via the V-Ray timeline to explore conceptual or photorealistic versions of your models.

Latest enhancements. V-Ray for Grasshopper, update 2 brings a number of improvements including bitmap textures, vertex colours, virtual reality camera types and many more.

Orthographic camera in Grasshopper.V-Ray for Grasshopper now supports Orthographic cameras. Increase the Orthographic Zoom Factor value of the Camera component to see the effect.

Renderer lights support. Connect any light source component directly to the Renderer without having to create an in between light rig.

Library materials in Grasshopper. You can now easily access the preset material library through the File component.

POWERFUL ASSET MANAGEMENT – Keep track of everything all in one place

Universal asset preview. Preview your materials, lights, textures and render elements in a single viewer. Observe how parameter changes affect the appearance of the asset in a specific isolated setting.

Drag and drop material assignment. Easily apply materials with a simple drag and drop from the Asset Editor directly onto scene objects or layers.

UI display levels. Use either the Basic set of asset parameters or activate the Advanced mode to list all options.

Multi-selection. Select multiple scene or library assets as well as multiple toolbar filters to speed up your workflow.

Asset outliner. Manage all of your assets including lights, materials, textures, geometry and render elements all in one place.

Proxy mesh materials. Import or create a proxy mesh asset and V-Ray will automatically generate a set of material slots, making it easier to manage materials.

Partial scene export. Export only selected objects as a .vrscene file containing geometry and the applied materials.

Asset library UI. Manage assets of any type in an intuitive customizable folder structure. Quickly search through huge number of assets in either the built-in library or in any other library location.

Intuitive asset creation. Quickly create new assets in the Asset Editor from the footer. Create menu, outliner filter icons or form the library Create section.

Updated materials workflow. Create and manage V-Ray materials directly in Rhino’s Materials panel. Converting a Rhino native material to a V-Ray one and vice versa is now as simple as changing its Type. V-Ray materials can also be assigned to layers using the native Rhino approach.

Improved snapshots support. Save and restore Rhino Snapshots with V-Ray material assignments.

Improved materials. The underlying shading structure of all scene materials is optimised. Material attributes can now be added or removed based on the user’s needs.

SIMPLIFIED RENDER CONTROLS – Click less, render more with new and improved UI controls

Simplified render settings. A refined and updated UI makes render setup easier than ever.

Refined camera controls. A new intuitive layout for the camera controls lets you manipulate the quick and advanced parameters at the same time.

Custom output resolution. Specify custom pixel resolutions without bothering with the aspect ratio.

ENHANCED LIGHTING WORKFLOWS – Perfectly exposed image with automatic analysis of scene

Automatic exposure & white balance. Capture the perfect exposure every time. The new Auto Exposure and Auto White Balance camera controls make rendering as simple as point and shoot.

Lighting analysis tool. The new Lighting Analysis render element makes it easy to visualise the real-world illumination (Lux) values of any scene.

Adaptive Dome Light. Render faster, cleaner and more accurate image-based lighting that’s up to 7x faster. The new Adaptive Dome Light also removes the need to set up Portal lights for interiors.

NEW MATERIALS AND TEXTURES – More control over the look of your scenes

Material metalness. The V-Ray Material adds native support for metallic reflections (Metalness) for greater compatibility with PBR materials from applications like Substance Designer.

Curve colour corrections. Fine-tune the colours of any texture map using RGB or HSV curve controls.

NEXT LEVEL PERFORMANCE – Faster renders across the board

V-Ray GPU boost. V-Ray for Rhino now supports NVIDIA RTX cards, tapping into the extra ray-tracing hardware acceleration that comes with RTX class GPUs.

Scene intelligence. Automatically analyzes your scene to optimize rendering so you get the best quality in less time.

New Light Cache algorithm. The new default hash map Light Cache calculation mode resolves most common artifacts and is optimized and more stable when used in animations.

Optimised interactive rendering on the CPU. More responsive CPU interactive rendering when editing scene camera, lighting and materials. The Preview Swatch scenes are also modified to resolve more quickly and use fewer CPU resources.

Optimised materials. V-Ray materials have been fine-tuned for faster render speeds, improved GPU rendering, and Chaos Cloud compatibility.

2x faster GPU. Cuts rendering time in half again when using GPUs (as compared to V-Ray for Rhino 3.6).

Block instancing optimisations. Better handling of instanced Rhino blocks, which translates into improved performance and lower memory usage, especially for heavy scenes.

Render speed. V-Ray Next has been optimised to render 50% faster overall — and up to 7x faster with the new Adaptive Dome Light.

NEW DENOISER – Get cleaner renders in an instant

Viewport rendering and denoising. Look at the denoised image while rendering in the Rhino viewport.

Quick denoiser engine switch. Switch from V-Ray to NVIDIA AI denoising using a toddle in the Renderer rollout. The Update Effects slider is also located in the Renderer rollout for easy access.

Denoised render elements. Denoise individual render elements for added control in compositing.

AI denoiser. With the new NVIDIA AI Denoiser, V-Ray delivers instant feedback with less noise. So you get cleaner images while you design.

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Workplace furniture design: the Danish way

Ten years ago, Icons of Denmark established itself as a distributor of Danish furniture for the U.K. market. Since then, they’ve been hard at work evolving from representatives of Danish design to creators of it. Through their unique market-led approach, they’re bringing Danish design to the modern office…one sleek sofa at a time. 

Tell us about Icons of Denmark’s background. 

Icons of Denmark started as quite a traditional furniture agency, representing Danish furniture brands for the U.K. market. We’ve always had a hands-on approach to representing furniture and pride ourselves on being very knowledgeable about our products. We have a high level of technical know-how for how the furniture can be used, what sorts of applications the furniture has, and certain activities in an office where the furniture has relevance. 

That approach led us into product design and manufacturing. We’ve taken what we’ve learned in the market and now work with Danish designers to come up with new furniture  for the modern office. 

We engage with an international client base who we keep up-to-date with Danish design and furniture through products we produce. Our projects are primarily large-scale commercial projects.


BANK provides a multitude of combinations including a corner module to fit different patterns of space, function and interaction.

How did you transition from representatives of Danish design to creators of it? 

When the furniture designers we represented decided to launch new products, we were required to go out to the market and sell. This work didn’t always reflect what we thought of the product and it’s usability in the marketplace…which got a bit old for us. 

In 2016, we took the first steps to create our first product. We were able to brief a Danish designer and manufacturer on how we wanted a sofa to be made, which became the first example of how we create furniture today. 

How is your approach to creating new products unique?

The way we design furniture today is extremely market led. When we got started, there was a lot of residential products being brought to the workplace environment. Contrastingly, we consider specific workplace needs and create designs based around those.

Our process starts with identifying gaps in the market: we notice a certain need or an area of a project that we repeatedly don’t have the right products for. We bring that brief back and collaborate with designers and manufacturers to come up with the new product. That’s what sets us apart from many other firms. We are in no way led by product designers. We are led by the needs of interior designers and clients. 


The Private High Back addresses privacy for commercial interiors, providing a space to focus and host informal meetings – without the need for partitioning or room division.

For example, the most recent area we identified is banquet seating. Banquet seating is something that is often designed bespoke for each project. We identified this as an area for a new product. Since we have become very experienced in sofa making and upholstery work, we decided to dip into this category. 

To create this new type of sofa, we started drafting in 2D first, agreeing on certain dimensions and concepts. This was then further developed as a 3D model that was eventually built at our workshop in Denmark. 

After we create a prototype, we go back to the drawing board to refine the 3D model and finalise the piece—working out the final details such as stitching and leg position. This is the process we used for our new product, BANK, which we debuted at Clerkenwell Design Week this year.


Another variation of the BANK sofa. A highly customisable and comfortable solution

What was your first experience using SketchUp?

My first encounter with the product was in 2007 selling furniture for a Danish manufacturer. I came across the software through an architect. I was quite excited about it so I started promoting the tool among furniture dealers as a potential tool they could configure our products in. 

When I moved to London in 2009, one of the first things I did was to upload our models to 3D Warehouse and start using the platform as an integral part of our selling process. The user friendly aspect of 3D Warehouse and SketchUp Pro itself enabled me to convert all of our DWGs into SKP files and make them more publicly available. 

We quickly found that we were gaining a huge following and considerable number of downloads on these products. Ten years later we are still using the platform to upload and share our models.  

SketchUp is a tool that we use in three different categories of our business: product design, configuration, and interior design.  

Can you talk about your showroom and the products in it. Were any of these designed in SketchUp?

We work with many product designers. At the moment, we are working with one designer who develops his designs in SketchUp, Peter Barreth. Trained as an upholsterer and sofa builder, he is a self-taught user of the product. of SketchUp is a tool that he has found convenient and fast to work with. 

The Private Sofa was one of the first solutions created under the Icons of Denmark brand by Peter. That product was based on a few very basic principles about comfort, seat height and flexibility of sizing. The process started with 2D drafting. 3D models were created in SketchUp from those initial ideas. Once the first prototype was built in Denmark, we sent it to our showroom in London


Striking the perfect balance between soft lounge and casual dining seating. 

We used that prototype to get market feedback and understand what else needed to be done to refine the function and form before we brought it to market. It was almost a year later that The Private Sofa was actually born as a complete product from our research and development with London’s commercial interior design community. 

Where do you see the most value from SketchUp?

Most of our product designs are available in various sizes and finishes that can be configured to a client’s specific project. 

When we started selling meeting tables for example, we realised it’s an advantage to allow clients to choose their own size. We can visualise and configure the tables from our existing design to match the clients’ needs exactly. This is where we use SketchUp everyday. Our ten-person sales team all use the product.

Since our products can be made to size, we communicate details such as positioning of the legs, the split of tops in a table and the integration of power. If the client wants a specific edge detail, we can visualise that. That has to be visualised quickly for us to get the commitment from our clients and so that we’re all in sync. Our table Forum, for example,  has a fairly simple geometry which lends itself to fast customisation in the product. We can redraw these tabletops very easily to fit the customer’s sizing.

We send those drawings back to our producers in Denmark when we are placing the orders. This allows us to sync very quickly with the producers and manufacturers before an order gets placed. That’s actually where we find the biggest value of SketchUp for our business. 

You mentioned that Icons of Denmark contributes to the interior design piece of a project. What does that workflow look like?

We’re very often being invited to pitch our products in cooperation with an architect. Similarly, sometimes we collaborate when the architect needs some inspiration for a certain setup and that often requires a fast turnaround time. 

Here, SketchUp allows us to play a part in the designer’s work by not just pitching a sofa, but actually pitching a full configuration of our furniture and visualising it together with our collaborators’ proposals


The seat, back and front of the SMILE LOUNGE can be upholstered in different fabrics allowing for endless opportunities to create a design that suits your space.

In this instance, we would be taking a brief from an interior designer or architect, suggesting some ideas for the space with our products, and preparing a proposal for the space’s layout. This doesn’t just show our individual products but shows how the products will work in situ on a larger scale.  

When it comes to interior design, I think that’s where some of our products really come into their own. For example the EC1 sofa is a modular sofa. You can play with the different pieces of this product, changing them around based on the space that you’re in. 

And this is just as important to us as the previous two ways I’ve mentioned we use the product. You want the product in a certain size but you also want it in a certain shape and positioning. I think that’s why the EC1 has proven to be one of our most popular products on 3D Warehouse.


EC1 is based on square modular elements, perfect for optimising soft seating in areas with space constraints.

How do you collaborate between different design tools on your team?

Aside from our sofa line, our other product designers work in SolidWorks. Regardless of the product designers’ workflow, this all feeds into DWG files, which makes it possible for us to work off of a format that we can read and make sense of quickly. 

That’s again where SketchUp becomes the common ground. We always ask our product designers who are working in SolidWorks to give us a DWG model. We can then work to create SketchUp models for sharing via 3D Warehouse or use ourselves when we configure or use the products in situ. 

For exporting, it’s extremely handy for us that we can instantly create DWGs either as 2D or 3D files of the products that we design from scratch. SketchUp provides us with a compatibility advantage across all of the stakeholders we work with. 

Where can we find more examples of your work? 

About Icons of Denmark: Since their foundation in 2009, Icons of Denmark have become known as the London home of Danish Design for commercial interiors. Committed to bringing the very best of Danish design to the commercial interiors market in the UK and beyond, Jesper and the Icons of Denmark team work closely with a circle of talented designers and craftsmen who hold a deep fascination for refined beauty, natural materials and functional design that the Danes pride themselves upon.

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Interiors brought to life with SketchUp by Louise Booyens

Louise Booyens Interiors specialises in residential projects in and around Cambridge. CAD system convert now Sketchup Pro user, Louise has embraced the world’s favourite 3D modeller with open arms. Possessing an instinctive ability to see the potential of a space and creating a timeless, bespoke and comfortable look for a wide ranging clientele, Louise took some time out to talk to us about the important role SketchUp plays in her business.

Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background.

Hello, I’m Louise Booyens and from a very young age, I’ve had a passion for all things interior and an instinctive ability to see the potential of a space.

After obtaining a law degree in my native South Africa, I moved to the UK and completed a Diploma in Interior Design as well as a Diploma in Curtains and Soft Furnishings. I set up my interior design practice about a year ago after having completed a degree in Heritage Interior Design.

Where did your journey start with Sketchup?

I was taught Sketchup and Autocad during my interior design studies and, although I worked with Autocad while studying, I found Sketchup more affordable when I set up my own practice. I also found Sketchup much easier to navigate. After I made the switch, I got used to working in the program fairly quickly.

People are always interested in learning about the creative challenges faced by designers, so how does SketchUp help you solve those challenges?

One of the challenges I face as an interior designer is to get my ideas across to the client. Clients sometimes find it hard to imagine what a space will look like with the walls in a different place or the furniture moved around, so Sketchup is a fantastic tool to quickly visualise any interior space and present my ideas.

As an interior designer, it is important to be able draw floor plans quickly and accurately. Sketchup makes this easy and I love the dimension tool in Layout.

Does SketchUp help you showcase the different stages of a design? Assuming a lot of the time you’re starting with 2D technical drawings and plans, then turning these into models and presenting, have you a typical workflow?

I always start with 2D floor plans and technical drawings. These are then turned into 3D models with wall finishes, furniture accessories etc. after which it’s all sent to LayOut.

Is there a particular feature of SketchUp that you couldn’t do without? 

Probably Layout! I find it invaluable to create professional looking drawings almost instantly.

We’d have to agree with Louise. We still think LayOut is underused and undervalued. LayOut really does make it simple to take your 3D model in to a 2D space enabling you to show your client or partner that you’ve captured what you have discussed, and move the project forward with confidence. You can easily call out materials, lengths and details explaining the intricate detail of one model, and show real-world scale… all on one page.

Most used shortcuts?

I still only use a few basic shortcuts such as scale, move, tape measure, SHIFT Z Eraser, Circle.

And don’t forget these useful and frequently used custom shortcuts: M = Materials, C = Components, L= Layers.

Do you use any plug-ins or make use of pre-constructed models found in the 3D Warehouse?

At the moment I don’t use any other plug-ins., but I would definitely like to look into SU Podium for photorealistic rendering.

I do find the 3D Warehouse very useful, especially to show furniture layout in a 3D Model. It’s particularly useful if you need to make quick changes to textures, colours or other elements

Thanks, Louise. SketchUp is 3D interior design software that really does bring your ideas to life. Making the switch to SketchUp really has paid off for Louise, enabling her to create beautiful documents that get her clients excited, gaining their buy-in and winning business. Louise’s journey also illustrates how accessible SketchUp is whether your starting point is a hand sketch or a floor plan, for Louise, SketchUp just lets her get on with bringing these exquisite spaces to life.

You can learn more about Louise Booyens Interiors by visiting their website or following them on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook.

If like Louise Booyens Interiors you’re a Cadsoft Solutions customer and would like to be featured as a case study, John Quinn in our marketing team would love to hear from you. We’re particularly keen to hear from our SU Podium/WalkerRhinoceros and SketchUp customers.

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Accessing SketchUp while working remotely

Thanks to the team at Elmtec/SketchUp Uk for this helpful article on accessing SketchUp now that working from home is the norm for many of us. Here’s a quick rundown of how to access SketchUp and various extensions while working remotely. The Cadsoft Solutions Limited web store remains open as usual and our team are all working remotely but still able to provide customer support and answer any product queries via email or telephone. If we can’t pick up straight away, do leave a message and we’ll be back in touch ASAP.

SketchUp Pro

SketchUp Pro is available as Subscription, Classic, and Networked.

With a Subscription you / your ICT administrator has access to the Account Management Portal. Here you can remotely deauthorize devices, allowing you to login to your Subscription with your Trimble ID at home.

FYI: With a subscription you get Trimble Connect – a cloud storage and collaboration platform accessible via desktop, mobile, web and mixed reality devices. It allows users to share and access project information anywhere, with collaboration tools including 3D markup, task assignment and clash checking. Connect supports Autodesk, Tekla, and SketchUp file formats, plus point clouds, PDF, images, IFC, Microsoft Office files and more for collaboration across disparate teams and functions.

With a Classic License – the old-fashioned standalone license – it works slightly different. Here it is recommended to remove the license from the work computer first (Help > License > Remove License on Windows / SketchUp > License > Remove License on macOS). This will release an activation on your license and allow you to enter the license at home without any problems.

With a Networked license, you’ll need contact your ICT administrator and they can provide you with the activation codes so that you can temporarily authorise the software via your home computer.

V-Ray

With V-Ray, the licensing works in the Cloud. With the Online License Server you can also log in at home and use your V-Ray activations there! So make sure you have the login details at hand at home as well. Otherwise, ask your ICT administrator.

Enscape

Enscape has both Fixed Seats and Floating licenses. If you wish to use a Fixed Seat license on your home computer, you must deactivate the license on your work computer first. How you can do this, can be read in detail here.

If you are using a Floating variant, then the number of simultaneously active computers is equal to the number of seats you have. The floating license works via an external Enscape server, so you can also work from home with your floating license. If you have the license code at hand, you can enter it at home. Otherwise, ask your ICT administrator.

SU Podium

SU Podium only works with node locked activations of licenses. You need to deactivate at your work first, before activating at home. This is simply done via the SketchUp menu Extensions > SU Podium V2.6 Plus > License . Then click ‘deactivate’.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay connected virtually. If you have any further questions, just drop us an email: info@cadsoftsolutions.co.uk