Architectural Design with SketchUp: 3D Modeling, Extensions, BIM, Rendering, Making, and Scripting,Second Edition
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More About This Title Architectural Design with SketchUp: 3D Modeling, Extensions, BIM, Rendering, Making, and Scripting,Second Edition


Go beyond the basics: making SketchUp work for you

Architectural Design with SketchUp, Second Edition, is the leading guide to this incredibly useful tool for architects, interior designers, construction professionals, and makers. With easy to follow tutorials that first brush up on the basics of the program and then cover many advanced processes, this resource offers both informative text and full-color illustrations to clearly convey the techniques and features you need to excel. The updated second edition has a new chapter that explains how to make things with SketchUp, and covers 3D printing, design to fabrication, CNC milling, and laser cutting. Other chapters also now cover Building Information Modeling (BIM) and 3D web content generation. Additionally, the revised text offers insight into the latest products and plugin extensions, navigation methods, import/export options, and 3D model creation features to ensure you have an up to date understanding of how to make SketchUp help you meet your project goals.

A leading 3D modeling application, SketchUp features documentation capabilities through photorealistic renderings and construction drawings. Because of its ease of use and ability to be enhanced with many plugin extensions for project-specific applications, SketchUp is considered the tool of choice for professionals in the architecture, interior design, construction, and fabrication fields.

  • Access thoroughly updated information in an easy to understand writing style
  • Increase your efficiency and accuracy when using SketchUp and refresh and supplement your understanding of SketchUp's basics
  • Explore component-based modeling for assembly, scheduling, collaborative design, and modeling with a BIM approach
  • Find the right plugin extensions and understand how to best work with them
  • See how easy it is to generate presentation-ready renderings from your 3D models
  • Learn how you can use 3D printing, CNC milling, and laser cutting to make things with SketchUp
  • Use cookbook-style Ruby coding to create amazing 3D objects
  • Supplement your knowledge with video tutorials, sample files, and Ruby scripts via a robust companion website

Architectural Design with SketchUp, Second Edition, is an integral resource for both students and professionals working in the architecture, interior design, construction, and fabrication industries.


ALEXANDER C. SCHREYER is senior lecturer and program director of the Building and Construction Technology program and faculty member in the Department of Architecture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He teaches courses in AEC BIM/CAD modeling and visualization as well as materials and methods, structural design, and 3D printing. He is an active member of the SketchUp community, speaks regularly at user conferences, and owns a popular blog at


Preface ix

Acknowledgments  x

Chapter 1: Introduction 1

About This Book 1

3D for All 6

How Does SketchUp Fit into the Designer’s Toolbox? 7

Windows or Mac, Pro or Make?  9

How This Book Works   11

Let’s Go! 12

Chapter 2: A SketchUp Refresher 13

Let’s Get Started! 13

Interface and Program Setup 15

Adjusting SketchUp’s Preferences 18

Working with Templates  20

Setting Units and Fonts 21

Adding Components  23

Views 24

Completed Template  24

SketchUp’s Tool Set 24

Navigating the 3D Model 25

Accurate Modeling   27

Groups and Components   34

Applying Materials   43

Using References for Modeling: Images and Location  50

Other Tools 60

SketchUp Best Practices  61

Chapter 3: Component-Based 3D Modeling for Efficient and Data-Driven Designs  64

Group- and Component-Based Modeling 64

Effective Use of Groups and Components   65

Modeling with Production Assembly in Mind  70

Using Dynamic Components to Your Advantage  79

Where Does SketchUp Fit into the BIM Workflow? 87

BIM Classifier and IFC in SketchUp   93

Chapter 4: Using Extensions Effectively 102

What Does an Extension Do?  102

Getting and Using Extensions 103

How Exactly Do Extensions Work?  107

Updating, Uninstalling, and Organizing Extensions  110

Extensions Overview   111

Extensions for General Modeling   112

Extensions for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Modeling 127

Extensions for Digital Fabrication   135

Extensions for Data Integration and Exchange146

Extensions for Animation and Presentation  149

Extensions for Analysis 155

Chapter 5: Rendering in SketchUp  164

Let’s Get Visual! 164

What Is Already in SketchUp? 164

Overview of Rendering Methods 175

What Is Photorealistic Rendering?   176

Rendering Techniques 181

Rendering Software   181

Setting Up Kerkythea and Creating a Rendering   186

Perfecting the Components of a Rendering   195

Modeling  195

Environment 201

Lighting   209

Materials  228

Objects   250

Rendering Tips 267

Making Renderings Presentable 268

Combining SketchUp Output and Rendered Output in Photoshop  269

Other Methods 271

Chapter 6: Making Things with SketchUp 274

What Can I Make with SketchUp? 274

Services for Makers   276

Selecting the Manufacturing Technique 277

Cutting Prep  282

Laser Cutting 289

CNC Milling  295

3D Printing  302

Preparing Your SketchUp Model for 3D Printing   302

Exporting and Processing Your Model Outside of SketchUp  312

For More Information About Making  316

Chapter 7: Creating Geometry Using Ruby Scripting 317

Why Computational Geometry? 317

Setting Up Your Computer 319

Installing the Ruby Code Editor Extension   321

More Extensions and External Editors 322

Intro to Ruby and the SketchUp API   323

How Does Ruby Work? 323

What’s in SketchUp’s Ruby API?   329

Links to Further Reading   332

Creating Geometry with Ruby  333

Lots of Boxes 334

Lots of Boxes with Color   336

Creating a Small City 338

Randomizing Extrusions   340

Using Formulas for Patterned Panels 341

Plotting Data from Text Files 343

Saving Vertices to a Text File 345

Transformations Change Things Up   347

Lots of Boxes Using Components   349

Building a Curved Wall 350

Placing Components on Faces 351

Randomizing Everything   353

Attracted to Attractors  355

Coloring Faces by Proximity  355

Scaling Objects by Proximity 358

Solar-Responsive Design   360

What Else Is Possible with This? 362

Some Pitfalls and Things to Watch Out For 363

Appendix A: SketchUp Quick Reference Cards  365

Appendix B: Ruby Class and Method Reference  370

Appendix C: SketchUp API Class and Method Reference  373

Appendix D: Creating Your Own Extensions 384

RBZ Extension File Structure   384

Extension Template Structure  384

Appendix E: Dynamic Component Function Reference 387

Appendix F: Creating a Simple Custom XML Schema  389

Index 391