Favourite architectural extensions

A lot of us on this forum are building designers and use Sketchup for aesthetic and technical design. Many SU extensions have been written to improve our workflow. I expect we all have some we use all the time, some we use occasionally, and some we have totally forgotten we have! I would find it interesting to know what others in a similar field find most useful. It may be that you only use certain tools within an extension.

Here’s my top 9 to get the ball rolling:

  1. Solid Inspector

  2. Clean Up

  3. Curic Mirror

  4. Mirror Selection

  5. Midpoint

  6. Fredo6 Joint Push/Pull

  7. Weld (is this still an extension?)

  8. Selection Toys (specifically ability to filter out edges or surfaces)

  9. Arcs Circles (specifically ability to create 2-point circles)

What are your favourites?

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Some of these I use so much I have them hotkeyed.

I’ve noticed that I dont use a lot of extensions to help with modelling - my geometry is all pretty simple, except for the terrains.

I couldnt do without the following.

  1. Eneroth Flatten to Plane
  2. Gradient Tools
  3. Heighttool Datum
  4. Tools on Surface
  5. Text Tools
  6. Eneroth Scene Memory & View Memory (very handy)
  7. Component Replacer
  8. Eneroth Align View (excellent for section cuts)
  9. Auto Invisible Layer
  10. Roof
  11. Upright Extruder
  12. Elev45Shadows (a must have for arch elevations)
  13. Eneroth Face creator.

Fascinating. Not a single correlation with my list!

Main ones…

  1. Exclusively Curic’s DIO2, OI, Extend and Stretch over native tools
  2. Curic’s To Level, Copies and Align View
  3. A modified assign tag to object plugin so that I can assign keyboard shortcuts to assign a tag to an object
  4. A custom plugin to toggle individual or a collection of tags on or off
  5. VBO Jump to Levels
  6. Backout
  7. Thomthom’s Solid Inspector
  8. Eneroth’s Deep Make Unique
  9. TIG’s True Tangents
  10. TIG’s 45 Degree Shadows

And a number of others that I use occasionally.

I’m currently working through making various menus with Curic’s Pie Menu.

And it’s not SketchUp, but I have an AutoHotKey script for SketchUp.

1 Like
  1. Stretch by Area

  2. Selection Toys

  3. Joint Push Pull

  4. Material Replacer

  5. Flex Tools

  6. Meedek Wall

  7. Medeek Truss

  8. Profile Builder 3

  9. SU Podium

I use Stretch by Area a lot, though I think there are others that achieve the same thing.

For components brought in from elsewhere, Material Replacer is miraculously helpful.

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Of course one would think I would probably list my own extensions at the top of my list but my all time favorite is actually the very simple Grid extension provided by SketchUp, I use it almost daily in laying out floor plans, walls, foundations, etc…

My next favorite is the Eneroth’s Attribute Editor. I’m always using this extension to look under the hood at my various assemblies (groups), extremely useful plugin.

When I’m making low poly models to include with the extensions (built in libraries of architectural components) TIG’s Mirror and Tom Tom’s Solid Inspector are essential, couldn’t really function without them.

I will occasionally use Fredo’s Corner tool as the need arises, but typically I don’t use it very often.

I actually employ a small subset of Eneroth’s Solid Tools within my plugins due to the fact that they are more feature rich than the native solid tools and built in API methods.

  1. SectionCutFace - Tig
  2. FredoScale - Box Stretch to Target - Fredo
  3. Edgetools2 - Splitface - Thomthom

Without Tig’s plugin I wouldn’t have started using SketchUp for architecture.

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Selection toys is a must…that’s about it from your list.
Cleanup is handy too.

I dont use any BIM extensions as I find they conflict or double up with my conceptual design methods. Plusspec is tempting tho. Medeek stuff looks great, too but a but overkill for my needs.
And I struggle with section cuts…i need to be able to make the Cut Face material different depending on the component that its cutting through. Do any extensions achieve that easily/simply?

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Skalp?

I am really glad I started this thread. It turned my previous assumptions on their head.

If we are all building designers, I expected much more uniformity. I thought there would be at least two or three tools that pretty much everyone would use. But in fact, each person’s favourites are almost entirely different from everyone else’s.

One thing this suggests to me is that the basic principle of Sketchup being “lean” in terms of functionality and allowing it to be customized by others is very much vindicated.

The other great thing about all this is that we all learn about extensions that might be useful to us that we either didn’t know about or maybe haven’t investigated properly.

4 Likes
  1. Skalp
  2. Profilebuilder 3
  3. Solid Inspector
  4. Eneroths solid tools
  5. Thrupaint
  6. Joint push pull
  7. Lots of Fredo’s stuff
  8. VRay tools
  9. Zorro
  10. Transmutr
3 Likes

What is the difference between the two mirror extensions in your list?

  1. Curic Tools (Stretch has been a game changer)
  2. CleanUp
  3. Joint Push/Pull
  4. Round Corner
  5. Sketchy FFD (use with Curviloft shapes)
  6. Chuck Vali’s Instant Architecture (for siding and battens)
  7. Curviloft
  8. Enscape and D5 (for preliminary reviews then I transfer to 3ds Max and vray)
  9. Profile Builder 3
  10. ThomThom’s Material Tools (to clean up models done by others)

I forgot about Zoro

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Hmm, have to say I have a few extensions and they are invaluable when needed but for architecture that is relatively infrequent… Landscaping is a different matter though…

In a rough order of usage

GENERAL
Utilities (should be a native tool)
Solar North (should be a native tool)
Selection Toys
Purge
Drop Vertices
1001 bit-tools (fillet 2 edges)
Solid Inspector
Material Tools (remove backface materials)
Fredo Joint Push Pull
Convert Groups to Components

ARCHITECTURE
Profile Builder 3

LANDSCAPING
Chris Fullmers Scale and Rotate (randomising vegetation)
Fredos Toposhaper
Valiarchitects Instant Roads (resort road design, absolute life saver… but needed 1-2 times a year so not happy about subscription pricing)

They operate quite differently. Mirror Selection mirrors the selected items about a line or plane defined by temporary lines you draw. It works on or off axis.

Curic’s offering is more sophisticated but works best on axis. But at times, it struggles to find the plane you want to use. So I find, a bit annoyingly, that I need both. Using Curic’s is generally the fastest and much better than native tools.

I talk with a lot of builders (and architects and engineers) on an almost daily basis. I think your experience with BIM type extensions is fairly typical for many architects. They aren’t so much interested in all of the details as much as the big picture stuff (ie. overall design, space planning, organization, exteriors etc…)

It is usually the builders and contractors who are mostly interested in the BIM elements with a building project. The ability to accurately estimate a job (materials) is a major concern for them, as it should be. Whereas an architect or designer could really care less about the board feet required for blocking in a design or how many anchor bolts are inserted along the perimeter of a stemwall foundation.

Of course presentation (renderings) is also a major component that the architect is responsible for, and again this usually does not require all of the details that you get within a BIM type model.

However it does beg the question, what if you could get all of the BIM, design and engineering from one unified model within SketchUp?

3 Likes

So far, posts have referred to about 70 different extensions. All but 8 have been voted for only once.

Solid Inspector and Joint Push/Pull are the most popular with 5 mentions each. Profile Builder has 4. Selection Toys has 3. CleanUp, Elev45Shadows, Solid Tools, Zorro, all have 2.

I guess if developers were thinking of turning any extensions into native tools, this kind of analysis might sharpen the focus. But very much building oriented.

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Well you sorta hope that they alteady know this data :slight_smile:

You do. But only “sorta”. After all, unless they make their own survey and canvass users, how would they know? Maybe they can interrogate systems to find out how many times other people’s extensions are downloaded, but that doesn’t tell them how useful they were to them.

And I see that @ene_su has just weighed in with a Like for my last post. So they are taking note!

1 Like