20 Reasons to consider learning Blender


The case for modifiers in SketchUp.

Now that Fredo has teased us with a partial-modifier version of FredoBevel, I’d like to make a case for modifiers in SketchUp. I’ve been using them for awhile in Blender and they allow one to create amazing geometry fast, PLUS they also allow for design decisions to be made and fine-tuned later, which is always good.

In SketchUp terms, a modifier is something that happens at a group or component level. Adding color to a group or component could be seen as a modifier. You can change a groups color at anytime without regard to the changes in the underlying geometry.

Let’s take a look at an example:

Consider this corridor

Here is the geometry without all the reflections (and no handrails either, they were added later-- using modifiers of course…one polyline for all the handrails on the bottom and one polyline for all the handrails on the ceiling.)

Now here’s the geometry that created the corridor:

  1. Opened ended cube
  2. Same cube, just a tad larger as a boolean cutter for the wall
  3. Overhead polygon for lighting
  4. Rectangle polygon for floor
  5. Wall and bottom

Only 12 polygons, and 2 polylines for the handrails!

So, how to get to here from there?
These are the modifiers being used:

  1. SOLIDIFY This modifier takes polygons and extrudes them making them thicker or thinner. It was used on ALL of the objects above (other than #2, the Boolean Difference) to give them thickness.
  2. BEVEL This modifier was used on #1 to create the camfers, then again on #1 to add more fillets to the chamfre corners. It was also used on #5 to create the round interior and exterior. Because it was applied before the Solidify on #5 both the inside and outside were automatically bevelled.
  3. MIRROR Selective mirroring and grouping was used on virtually all the objects in order to create symmetrical versions of everything.
  4. ARRAY The Array modifier was also used to create multiple corridors and stack them together end to end (not shown in picture).

The advantage of doing all of this, is I only need to edit the 5 items shown in Green to adjust the sizes, dimensions and design of this corridor.

While this is an extreme example, it does demonstrate the power of modifiers.

It would be great if SU would add a modifier stack and let plugin developers create modifiers for objects.


This needs two things:

  • non-destructive operations (we can work-around with “undo” and recomputing geometry, or keeping the base geometry cached in a hidden component)
  • a large set of modifier operations available, that means extension must implement a (not yet existing) Modifier interface (API) so that they can also be applied as modifiers. Even if SketchUp added such a modifier capability, it would not be useful if there are only 2-3 modifiers available and it will take a lot of time until extension enough developers add support for it.

There had been an effort (or several) to create a visual node editor where you could wire operations and modifications with each other. But there is no progress anymore. Too big for an individual developer and the outlook of other extensions supporting it was uncertain. As far as I know there hasn’t been any successful longliving community effort yet that several developers agree on a common API and work on a shared project (everyone is busy with there own projects and spare time is little).


For those interested in how to model in Blender, I’ve created some very short tutes on Intagram:

There’s also a copy over on ba Tips and Tricks:


New video on using the GroupsPro addon to help work on different workplanes.


masterxeon1001 showed me some very interesting ways to create dynamic objects in Blender today and I just had to try it out. Cool beans!


Thought I’d share these to show what I’ve been up to in Blender lately. Using Meshroom (aliceVision) and photogrammetry to mesh real objects then cleaning up & decimating in blender. I don’t think I could do this in SketchUp but trying to retopology some models and bake high poly textures onto low poly model so can export for SketchUp etc.
Sketchfab photogrammetry collection


nice link. just downloaded addon and will give it a try in blender. Also liked your video;-)


Out of curiosity: could you make working drawings using Blender (+some add-on)? So adding text, sections, dimensions, hatches?


Those photogrammetry objects look great! Thanks for sharing. Do you have a tutorial you’re working from?


Blender does not have anything like Layout for creating documents. Sorry.


I’ve actually used a couple of videos to try & perfect the photogrammetry modeling. Taking the photos is one part, actually probably the hardest part without a studio environment to work in. Meshroom is pretty easy to use if using default settings etc. Just depends on how many images you load & how long your prepared to wait for processing. Their is a google group discussion I use for issues plus github site as well. But no documentation yet and very little help available on specific program. Here’s the links: https://groups.google.com/group/alicevision https://github.com/alicevision/meshroom


Quiet lately as I’ve taken on an interesting plugin project for Blender.

As many of you may know, Blender doesn’t really have a component system like SketchUp. That said, Blender’s booleans are much more robust and combined with it’s modifiers, it can create a pretty solid kitbashing system. In fact, boolean modeling which heretofore has only been seen in NURBS, is possible (with caveats) in Blender.

To that end, I’ve partnered with some interesting folks and spearheaded a design for a pretty cool kitbashing tool called KIT OPS. KIT OPS could be used to create doors, windows and all sorts of boolean modifier geometry, but right now we’re just doing tech INSERTS (KIT OPS INSERTS = SU COMPONENTS).

One particular neat thing about KIT OPS, is it cuts through an entire object. So, if you’re inserting a window or door through a wall, it cuts completely through, unlike SketchUp which only cuts through the first surface, requiring you to manually cut the rest. This also results in KIT OPS having a non-destructive workflow, which makes for a tremendous amount of iterative designs.

Anyway, if you’re interested, here’s a video explaining it. BTW, the renders in the video were done at 15 sec/frame in Blender 2.8 EEVEE at 4K resolution! FWIW, KIT OPS works in 2.79 not 2.8, but once the plugin API is locked down, we’ll do the port. This product should be out this week. I’ll post here when it’s released, just in case anyone is interested.


Heh Chipp, ever played with Houdini? I’ve just started my apprenticeship on H17. Pretty impressed with it so far. Bit tricky to learn but I’m getting there. Bit slow at first but starting to make some progress now. After going from SU to Blender, I’m thinking Houdini is the next step up, although it’s not open source there is a non-commercial licence. Tricky to learn (procedural nodal based system) but very powerful.


I have some friends who have spent a lot of time with Houdini. Sweet program but a pretty steep learning curve for some specialty areas. But, I agree, Houdini is a next generation tool unlike any other!


KIT OPS finally released!

Hey everyone, we just released KIT OPS and if you’re interested in non-destructive, hyperdetailed Kitbashing you should check it out at https://kit-ops.com


I find this useful, up until Blender 2.8…Blender for Artists…https://www.bforartists.de


While I agree that Blender is one of the better computer animation apps, I don’t see where it provides scaled drawings to the designer. Two of the features I like in SketchUp is the use of the ruler and dimensions to ensure that that 18 3/8" x 2.5 cm x 3.5" box is the correct representation of what I am thinking of. I will be most interested in apps that equals SketchUp’s abilities in these features.


You can create models every bit as accurate in Blender as in SketchUp-- but only SketchUp Pro has Layout, the 2D drafting/documentation application.


How do you do dimensions in Blender?

Perhaps I’m using an old version, but does the current blender have a dimension tool like ruler or dimension in SketchUp?


On the side panel (Hit ‘N’) you can enable edge/face info for quick measurements.

There is also an addon called ‘Measureit’ -which comes within Blender- that provides more features for measuring. See below video: