Can Sketchup keep up?

Yes it would certainly involve some difficult decisions and compromises. Trimble must have stats on how many active pro users are using X extensions already. Plus most of the top extension developers now work at Trimble so perhaps that’s also a place to start?

Sandbox, Weld, Dynamic Components, and Advanced Camera Tools were added.
I’d add Face Creator, SubD, Upright Extruder, DropGC, Selection Toys…?
All easy functions to integrate (and not just for archiects’ benefit :wink:
I’d love to see optional native Toolbar buttons for these. @thomthom I’d also like to see Selection Toys updated from “Select All on selected Layers” to Tags…feel like I may be waiting some time for this…

These are the top 9 extensions currently shown to me under the category “Architecture”

Several aren’t in English. Some are really are nothing to do with Architecture. One doesn’t work at all (store page is dead). At least one is a 99% duplicate of a different extension. One (Simlab DWG importer) is redundant unless you are using Make 2017.

If I were Trimble, that dependence on 3rd party extensions would worry me. We’ve heard from some in this thread who proudly claim to only use the native toolset. But from a business perspective, would Sketchup survive with only those users? My takeaway from this discussion is that most feel the native tool set is pretty stripped down, and 3rd party extensions are critical to their work. It’s not a question of how much you use a particular plugin, it’s a matter of whether it is necessary in your work.

If I was top dog at Trimble, I’d want to make sure my vision for the company wasn’t too dependent on these 3rd party extensions. Sure, it’s great that SU can be customized with creative new tools from others, but it’s a matter of striking the right balance. 3rd party extensions are vulnerable to code changes, and SU may even be reluctant to make sweeping changes out of fear of disabling key extensions. That’s a trap. Furthermore, using these extensions can make SU feel more complicated due to their different UI’s and sometimes minimal instructions. This is not how you optimize and shape the user experience and control your destiny.

I don’t think that SU should try to acquire or duplicate all the top 3rd party tools out there, but I do think they would be wise to beef up their tool set with the key tools most often needed by their core users. Addressing performance issues seems to be of at least equal or greater importance (depending on who you ask). These priorities need to be addressed and there needs to be user confidence in the vision. Seems to me that this thread is evidence that SU’s vision and plans are not well understood, which creates uncertainty, which is never good for a business when there are a growing number of contenders in the market.

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Yes, I can’t bring myself to entertain going back to DWGs or anything else. The ability to make lovely presentation and construction drawings from SKP is too powerful, but there are times I think I could export and assemble drawings in Photoshop or Infinity Designer faster (I probably can’t - but I spend no time waiting around for things to zoom or beachball in those apps…)

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Would love to have a native way to control layer visibility when you already have 20-30 scenes created. Currently working on a project that doesn’t fit into my normal workflow and layer + scene management is tedious. I know how to quickly get through my scenes and update and change - but the more detail I add to a building that was handed to my by another architect, the more I see a need for better layer + scene control in SKP.

And also in LO. I would love a ‘copy style’ option for SKP viewports - sometimes I don’t really want to blast through 40 pages and reset line styles, dash styles and etc. when my client tells me that their printer isn’t handling how my template is outputting on their end.

Same goes for layer visibility. Visible on and off per page is great - but can we add a global on and off? Especially considering we have ‘on every page’ - but I need to manually go through the document to turn some of them on and off.

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Regarding your image meme - yes! I have done buildings, structural drawings, softwoods (backpacks and small bags), furniture, and recently some Airstream plans. Different tools for different jobs, for sure. Having a rock solid toolset for the basics is key, with plugins available for the specialty work.

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I do have an experimental extension here you may try:

The main goal is to be able to change “every possible visibility” from scene to scene — even bulk at once — without having to go through, modify, and update each scene manually.

(Currently it is “neglected” due to my other personal occupations… :flushed: )

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Good for you on 40 years! Not sure why that matters here.

I mention acquiring other developers plug-ins because that is exactly the discussion. Look at the tools people are wanting. Or are you implying they develop their own plug-ins that do the same thing? That would be a pretty poor business decision from a legal perspective. I also think you have the “relying on 3rd party development” reversed. It’s the other way around.

My point in cost has more to do with the constant complaining you see here in our microcosm of users that blew a gasket when SketchUp went to subscription for a whopping $299/yr.

Also for those commenting on SU for architecture, I am well aware the user base has far more depth. I’ve been using it long enough and attended enough basecamp events to know that. I’m an architect so I speak from my perspective of use.

I’d much rather see the SU team focus on increased performance, specifically in LO, than go in a direction of expanding the toolset in SU.


Yes, more of this please. And wish I could make it to another BaseCamp and share a beer with you Nick… but I’m so so far away these days. Perhaps if it makes it closer to the East Coast next time around.

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Will have a look… thanks.

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Thanks for the reminder. I forgot about that.

I was going to say that, although the Scene manager is quite a useful Swiss Army knife of control, it may be over taxed now. First, of course, we need better management of massive numbers of scenes. While it can be used to control just tag visibility, and leaving other properties alone, I wonder if it’s time for Tags to get their own separate “Saved Tag Sets” control, and it’s being driven by Layout. It’s no real problem to use scenes in SU to get mix and match both a camera view (one click) and a set of visible Tags (second click) to cycle through multiple views and multiple design options. The problem is in Layout where you pick your saved scene for the viewport, and you can only choose one scene. Yes, you can manually override the tag settings, but that defeats the efficiency of having saved Tag visibility sets. Wouldn’t it be helpful for a view port in LO to have the existing pull-down men for scene selection plus a new, separate pull-down menu for Tag visibility set?

@dezmo 's Matrix seems to try to address this two dimensional matrix of combinations of Tag visibility and Camera or other property, yes?


That would be great. Many of my scenes are created just to control tag visibility. A saved tag set seems like it would be quicker, easier, and use less system resources.

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Just curious on how often you folks would need to constantly update tags per scene?

I rarely have the need for that as my templates already have the scenes set with the required tag visibility preset. The only thing I typically adjust in scenes are the camera view, shadows and fog.

For detailing which tend to have a different tag structure, nesting groups in a tag hierarchy allows you to toggle on and off multiple entities with different tags in a single click.

Everyone has their own work flow. In my case I have my building plans, mechanicals, materials, furniture, etc. all in the same plan. I have scenes set up for my basic views (plan view, elevations, basement, 1st floor, 2nd floor, mechanicals, etc.), but then use tags to control visibility of various components within each of those scenes such as different circuits, HVAC zoning, furnishings, etc. Sure, you can use scenes, you can use grouping…whatever. I find scenes and groups a little more cumbersome than tags. For me, I prefer using scenes for the macro views, but like the simple menu structure of tags (despite it’s limitations) as a quick way to toggle the visibility of various details.

The ability to save a bunch of different tag views seems more intuitive to me when you have a lot of views compared to doing it all with scenes or groups. Perhaps it’s because it’s more analogous to the way I work in audio mixing where we have scenes as well as solo and mute groups. There’s overlap in that functionality, but it’s very flexible. Since I’ve been engineering film audio much longer than than I’ve been using SU, I guess my brain gravitates towards organizational structures that are similar. To extend the audio analogy further, there are discussions like this in audio engineering forums and the better audio programs offer multiple ways to accomplish the same thing in order to accomodate a broader number of applications and working preferences. So just because their’s already a way to do something doesn’t mean the developer should stop there. That said, this is not the particular hill I wish to die on today!

Scenes, tags, groups, components all work together. Having a tag heirarchy would absolutely help you with what you are trying to achieve.

Scenes are established mainly for LO, but you could set up working scenes that have tagging preset so your not redoing that task every time you start a new project.

This is actually the focus of what I am presenting at Basecamp so one can streamline that process and spend more time designing.


Hei Odd Haakon! Lenge siden sist!! :wave:

Do you mean the materials list when you refer to “colors”?

I’m happy that you find my extensions useful. And I agree that some extension functionality makes sense to have built into SketchUp when it lends it self to a generic workflow, like with Weld. Selection Toys, at least parts of it would also make sense to me.

But for things like SUbD, I’m not convinced this is generic enough. I certainly don’t share the notion that these are “All easy functions to integrate”. That’s making a lot of assumptions on the complexity of the code.

With things like Weld, and some basic selection filtering then porting them to native tools is rather straight forward. And features that are likely to remain as-is once released. But SUbD for instance is much more complex, and something likely to evolve. To take any extension and build into SketchUp means it’ll take up development time in creation and maintenance. It’ll also lock it to the SketchUp release schedule.

Beyond integrating basic generic functions that into native functions, what I would find interesting is hearing what people expect in terms in value gain from having any given extension made into a native feature. (I’ve seen some reasons expressed here, but I’d love to hear more.)


I agree with you that many “easy” extensions are not “easy” at all - not easy to program and not easy to use - it’s just that we power users know them by watching YouTube videos etc. :slight_smile:

I do a lot of training of “newbies” in our company - people that have never used Sketchup and I need to get them up to speed quickly so that they can collaborate with my power users. I always notice that there are certain things that are REALLY hard to explain on how to do with just the native tools. Or - let me phrase it differently. If you are used to Fredos “Stretch to Target” (as just one example) - and then you sit in front of an install without it, and a newbie asks you how to make this cabinet longer - and you start to explain: “Well you open this group and then you use push pull and then you close the group and than you open the next group and you use push pull and then you close the group and than - well - you repeat that 20 times…” it feels - off… It feels like there is a “more powerful native way” missing.

So for me extending “native Sketchup” boils down to:

  1. Preinstalled functions workflows that would be very repetitive but still are still in itself basic tasks
  2. “Fix ■■■■” type functions that everybody that uses Sketchup for a while ends up finding anyway (like Cleanup3, MakeFaces, etc.)
  3. Equal workflows across all App-Types (Pro, Web, iPad) for type 1) & 2) tasks

Other than that - I LOVE extensions and yes - it’s nice to make Sketchup the tool YOU need. :slight_smile:

Hey bifterx,
I’m intrigued by your statement … can you say more, or forward a link or reference? I’d like to understand more about this!

That’s a critical issue now. Back when SketchUp only ran on two OS’s of full computers, and all versions supported extensions, you could afford to be conservative about letting all kinds of things be extensions, but first with the web based versions that don’t support extensions, and now the iPad version which can’t support extensions, you have to be more aggressive about what’s included in the base app that’s there across all versions and platforms.

I would put Solar North as #1. I’ve been dumbfounded for years why that was ever an extension to begin with. Selection Toys would be #2. In another thread, we just tossed around some ways with native tools on iPad to select only edges or select only faces, but they are certainly workarounds.

I think I’ve relied on Takata’s Stretch by Area to achieve the same thing, but I consider such a tool to be #3. This is the equivalent to the Move Points tool in Wild Tools for PowerCADD, which is one of the top 6 or so tools I use from there. That was a plugin that proved so valuable that the developers eventually created their own native equivalent tool. (hint, hint) I suspect this isn’t on SU Team’s radar as mission critical, basic functionality, but I want to ad my voice to wanting it included in some form.

To really achieve “a professional AEC program with … robust and efficient workflows”, Trimble simply has to take your item #2 more seriously!