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Announcing SketchUp Pro 2019 and LayOut Feature Updates

SketchUp has been improved with updates and enhancements that will impact your 3D projects and professional workflow. It’s the small changes that make the biggest workflow improvements. This latest update to SketchUp has made it more intuitive — and more fun to use. With more focus on improvements to imagery exports, usability, and a seamless LayOut connection — your professional workflow will thank you. Now really is a good time to upgrade/buy the latest version of SketchUp.

Professional output enhancements

Exporting images

Exporting 2D graphics, raster files, and animations just got better. You can now control the overall line thicknesses of exported images with our new line scale multiplier, found in the export options dialogs. 

Before this change, line weights stayed the same as the viewport which would make the line weight too small or too large. So, if you are experiencing line weights that are too thick, you can make those line weights thinner. Also, .png images now export with its transparency so you can see what is behind the material while compositing.

Customisable unit settings

Have you ever needed to use different unit measurements for a model? Now your model can be customised to show different unit measurements for area and volume. For example, in a model of a room, you can use millimetres for the wall and meters for volume. Available unit types: millimetres, centimetres, meters, inches and feet. 

Workflow improvements

Invert Selection

It really is the small things that help your workflow. This new feature will allow you to select anything, then invert the selection of objects. This makes it simple to select items and then perform actions on their inverse. The keyboard shortcut for this will be: CTRL + SHIFT + I (Windows)  or CMD + SHIFT + I (Mac).

Importing files

The days of picking out your import file format from a long list are over. You can now drag and drop ALL supported file types directly into your modelling window. By default, you’ll now see all supported file types available for import. Additionally, the DWG and DXF importers now bring in fewer duplicate and messy edges.

Eraser Tool

Have you ever accidentally erased too much in your model? To make your detailing workflow a little smoother and seamless, we added alt & cmd as modifier keys to remove any unnecessarily highlighted lines that you may have accidentally captured during your modelling efforts.

Section Planes

Cutting a model along a plane so that you can peer inside the model? We just made this way smoother. Section planes now ask the user to name them before placing them in the model. Simply place, then name.

Send to LayOut

You can now send your models directly to LayOut from the large toolset in the left-hand toolbar. If you haven’t used LayOut for 2D drawings before, start taking advantage of it now!

Large Area Imports for Add Location

You can now easily import large sites at full resolution. How can you take advantage of this new feature? Simply zoom out a bit, then select the level from which you want to import. Note that misusing this feature can adversely affect performance in your SketchUp model. Check out our help center to be sure you’re aware of how to best handle lots of data in your models.

New in LayOut

Professional output enhancements

Isometric dimensioning

It is now possible to make linear dimensions align with an isometric viewpoint. This one is huge! Since an isometric drawing is a primary type of drawing in LayOut, we wanted to make it smoother and more straightforward. You can now control extension lines, gap distance, and align dimensions with isometric angles.

Auto-text

Similar to “smart labels”, you can now add text to dimensions without breaking the automatic measurement. For example, let’s say you create a wall dimension. You can dimension a wall, add the word “wall”, and the dimension measurement will still update if the wall’s measurement changes. Pro tip: make sure your string has <> in it. For example, ‘Width <>’ will turn into ‘Wall 1.42m’.

Workflow enhancements

Rotating dimensions

Now, when you rotate your object, the bounding box is also rotated with so you can continue to scale in the right orientation. 

Quicker editing

Staying consistent with SketchUp usability, in LayOut you can now hit the return key to edit model views, groups, dimensions, or labels! Just select, press return, and start typing!

Ready to try? Browse our Trimble SketchUp collection and search for the appropriate license type to see for yourself how these updates can enhance your professional workflows. 


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“I bumped into SketchUp at version 5!”

Paul Hensey is a specialist in design, horticulture and construction techniques. He is the Principal at Green Zone Garden and Landscape Design, Midhurst, West Sussex. Paul is a Fellow of the Society of Garden Designers and former Vice Chair, Member Chartered Institute Horticulture, Member Garden Media Guild & a Technical Journalist and Author specialising in Construction techniques, materials and Computer Aided Design. A landscape & garden designer since 1999, with numerous awards, inc Gold & Best in show and Most Innovative Garden at RHS Tatton, Hampton Court and Chelsea and an SGD Award winner 2019. A frequent lecturer on construction detailing and an educator and trainer in SketchUp, he enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge of the world’s favourite 3D modeller and we’re delighted that he’s guest written an article for our Blog. You’ll also be able to come and see Paul in person at our upcoming SketchUp event at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge where he’ll be sharing valuable insights into his use of SketchUp, particularly LayOut.

His new book “Construction Detailing for Landscape and Garden Design Volume 2 – Water Features” is out now.

I bumped into SketchUp at version 5, shortly before Google acquired it. I was returning from living in Scandinavia and needed a cheap and simple software solution to support my new business as a landscape and garden designer. I had been used to high end 3D CAD systems, working as an industrial designer and I was struggling to make anything fit the way I worked, whilst being on a scale that I could manage as a one-man operation.

SketchUp was somewhat simplistic at that time, but then so were my designs, it was a good fit. I have been a loyal user, perhaps even an evangelist ever since.

I am now based in West Sussex, designing landscapes and garden schemes throughout the South of England. I work on intimate back yards, roof terraces through to large country estates. Because of my engineering background I have a passion for solving three dimensional problems and construction detailing is where I am happiest. Whilst I can visualise how everything fits, I need to communicate it to those who will actually do the work, so everything gets modelled. If two or more things come together then the has to be a drawing and for there to be a drawing there has to be a model. I do it well enough that I am employed by many other designers to do the detailing and problem solving on their projects and it now forms a significant portion of my business. Encountering so many aspects of construction inspired me to record the solutions to typical situations and I have two books published on construction, all of the illustrations were of course created in SketchUp.

I work almost exclusively in SketchUp and where I do step outside the software to develop images or presentations in particular; I am working on geometry that has been exported from SketchUp.

I have a pretty robust workflow. At the start of a project, data can arrive in several ways: whether as a .dwg plan of the site from an architect or surveyor, through to a doodle on a scrap of paper indicating a designer’s vision; many designers use CAD to capture their idea but have no wish or interest in driving the software to work out the details and anticipate problems. Its important to get an accurate representation of the existing site or space and so I always create a reference model of the space or terrain.

Early stage design work can be on paper or directly in SketchUp. I use whichever tool best facilitates quick exploration of ideas. Communication with clients and contractors is always through SketchUp models, even if they sometimes take a trip through Photoshop or one of the filter software plugins.  In the early stages these are always mass models, developing the space and helping visualise scale, proportion and positioning. Good quality textures help enormously. The design process is iterative, and I have found that going in too early with realistic images can close down design options and manoeuvrability as compromises and changes have to be considered and introduced as reality and budgets kick in. Once a design is approved the fun really begins. Whilst I thoroughly enjoy the creativity and development of concepts, I love the problem solving and detailing that comes with resolving the constructability of a design.

This requires new models. Each element, junction and assembled item is modelled from its constituent parts These are saved as separate models both within the project but also within a separate parts library. They now become an asset for future projects. Whilst the 3D models are created in SketchUp, Layout is the window through which I present images and drawings to clients and contractors. So long as a model has a logical layer structure then Layout will readily allow the composition of 2D and 3D diagrams. I add all dimensions and drawing labels here as well as importing reference images. So long as the project file structure is set up correctly, any changes made to the model are reflected across all associated drawings. This saves a lot of time and head scratching. I keep the Layout files updated and referenced to the parent SketchUp model and save out each up-issue as a PDF, giving me a record of the issue history.

Planting plan created in Layout

I learnt pretty early on that you need to name and store files in a consistent and methodical manor: A naming convention like: “Mr & Mrs Smith final site plan” is going to lead to problems when the approved plan ceases to have the finality you had hoped.

Layout isn’t just a subservient tool to SketchUp. I create a lot of original content within it (it’s a vector based drawing tool after all) from electrical and irrigation symbols, plant and tree icons to entire drawings of common details. The library within Layout (called Scrapbooks) is customisable and I add an ever-expanding collection of drawings that are immediately accessible and can be dragged onto project specific sheets. Layout is a seriously underused aspect of SketchUp. You can read about it, but nothing beats being shown. Professional looking drawings take practice but if your SketchUp model is good then you are almost there.

Top tips for Layout:

Save your layout file as soon as you create it, in the folder location you want. This will save references becoming “detached” later on.

Set up a range of templates (i.e. drawing sheets) to your design and with your logo etc. A3, A2, A1 etc

Create a custom Scrapbook of the symbols and graphics that you use all the time: plants, trees, scale bars, north etc. It will make creating drawings so much quicker and you will have a consistent style.  You can import “Cad-blocks” for a lot of line work (e.g. vehicles)

Before I start any detailed design, I story board what I want on each output sheet and how many sheets I want. This keeps me focussed and helps a lot when quoting for work.

Set up your Scenes in SketchUp to give you the best view/ representation. You can add graphics such as cross section hatching as an overlay in Layout if required.

Be consistent in your Layout style. Look at other people’s drawings. For example, I mostly use iso views for “engineering” drawings as perspective can be visually jarring sometimes.

When you have “sent to Layout”, set up your view with your preferred scene and scale. Copy and pasting the viewport means that you can add multiple views per page, even across pages and change to different scenes without having to go back and send each scene to Layout. This was a revelation to me when I first found it!

Come and see Paul and other esteemed SketchUp experts at Kettle’s Yard on Thursday 20th June. Space is limited and tickets are going fast, so don’t wait too long to get yours. Get your FREE ticket(s) here

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Would You Like SketchUp With That?

Cadsoft Solutions Limited in association with SketchUp UK invite you to join us for our first SketchUp showcase event here in Cambridge. If you’re a commercial, education or student user of SketchUp, this event is for you. Join us at the prestigious Kettle’s Yard for all things SketchUp. Beer and pizza is on us!

We’ll be meeting and greeting in the Clore Learning Space at Kettle’s Yard and have a schedule packed with all things SketchUp, including showcase demonstrations from guest speakers and an extensive opportunity for Q&A. If you have an issue or technical query relating to SketchUp, why not come along and seek the advice of one of the SketchUp experts in the room? This is a FREE event.

Who is this event for?

Does SketchUp feature in your day-to-day work? Are you an architect, work in commercial interiors, construction, landscape architecture, 3D printing, residential construction, urban planning, furniture making and design, woodworking, art, product design, set design, an art gallery or museum? Are you studying and using SketchUp? If the answer to any of the aforementioned is ‘yes’, then this event is for you.

What to expect

Hear from guest speakers, meet other SketchUp users, speak with SketchUp experts, talk projects, collaborate, learn some new tricks, find out about new extensions and much more. We’re providing beer, soft drinks, pizza and some freebies for guests.

Event schedule (subject to last minute changes. Timings for guidance)

  • Welcome and Introductions (4.10pm);
  • What’s new in the world of SketchUp;
  • Showcase, Stephanie Veanca Ho, University of Cambridge Department of Architecture, Paul Hensey of Green Zone Design Limited, Nick Johnson, Cadsoft Solutions Limited ; There will be demonstrations of SketchUp extension Modelur, Enscape, Kubity, LayOut & more; (4.30pm)
  • Beer and Pizza time! (5.45pm);
  • Q&A : Ask the experts (6.30);
  • Over to you for networking (and more beer & pizza) (from 7.15pm);
  • Event closes (9pm).

Space is limited and tickets are going fast, so don’t wait too long to get yours. Get your FREE ticket(s) here