How I use SketchUp

Just thought I would show a snapshot of how I use SketchUp. I am a construction planner that use these construction sequence images I draw to show my logic for methodology and logistics to the clients and our own team tendering for a project. I generally get about a week in total over a four week period to draw them up to show internally to the team to discus and develop the working plan, then I use them in our tender submission dotted around the document when we talk through the buildability. I would typically have around twelve sequences from site clearance to building fitout. Each single phase will also give me several images from different views. They could be an awful lot better given more time to add more content and level of render but I have to compromise time, making sure the message is put across, file size for speed of operation, and keeping the look and feel consistent throughout the image set and also doing the rest of my role. Doing these certainly make my job more interesting and I have taught over 40 construction trainees and planners over the years on how to understand how SketchUp works, and how valuable it is to be able to show images of methodology and logistics before the works commence. This is an added benefit where languages might be an issue.
I am only allowed to add one image so I will do another post.

Typical construction sequence image for document use or to put into layout and annotate.


Putting the model onto the table creates a bit of light interest during a client presentation as the end slide etc. Enscape office and people


These sort of slides generally go into PowerPoint as section headers




Sketchup lends itself to smaller projects and larger ones but I try and keep the level of detail the same.

I thought you were using the augmented reality tools on this, at first I had no idea this was a SketchUp model. Very well done!

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Thanks. But its just the model and the in-app Enscape. I click the Enscape icon and hey presto. I just tweak some of the surfaces for reflections. It also has hundreds of trees and people etc that are very low res when you place them in SketchUp and it keeps it running smoothly but instantly transform when in the Enscape window.

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Yea, the people are what threw me off.
Enscape is pretty nice and I have used it before, however, I can’t justify the price at this point.
But I love what it can do!

There’s a lot of complexity in your model here (at least compared to the stuff that I do), and I can really appreciate all the work that has to be done modeling and rendering these presentations. Bravo!

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Agreed Enscape is expensive. But you can get much nicer renders out of it (in real-time) and it’s a game changer for my workflow.


I particularly like the cardboard box full of cars, etc.


I agree. I would like to have the time during a tender to take them to the next level but like SketchUp, I find it intuitive and very easy to use to get the cartoon level of finish I use for all my work without trying to make them look photorealistic and not quite achieving it.

Other things i like about Enscape is the added options of focus and lighting.

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I’ll leave this as the last one but hope they give a few ideas back for all the time I have been dipping into 3d warehouse over the years.


These are incredible!
Thank you for sharing your work



It looks like you have a large library of models built up to help you with your models. How much is predefined? I assume you are really only drawing teh potential construction and the rest is inserting your models (i.e. cranes, trucks, workers, etc.) can you detail your workflow?

Sometimes I find the best renders for clients can be the “least” detailed. It’s not always best to strive for photorealism when presenting a concept. Sometimes clients get hung up on small details and it puts the designer in a bad place of trying to explain the software limitations without sounding like they “can’t” do it. Or sometimes, simply…time = money.

As each project we do is completely different I start each one from a clean sheet. First of I find the best site layout in the documents which has the surrounding environment and convert to png and drag across and drop it onto the Sketchup window. I then scale it up to known dimensions. The important thing then is to right click and explode then right click and make group. This then becomes an editable object. This is important as I then trace the roads and slopes etc and use the push pull to form footpath and slopes etc.

I then trace the site boundary and then cut out and make another group as this is needed to be able to create excavations and basements for the construction sequences.

I then drag across a png of the lowest level of the building. This could be a ground floor of a basement two levels down. I trace this and remove the rest of the outside of the drawing. Its a bit complicated if its a basement as i work out the excavation depths then trace the pad foundations from another plan and give them the construction thickness and drop them into to excavated lever. But as I always show part construction, this will need to show access ramps, stairs and how excavators and pile rigs get in and out etc so there is a lot of sub modelling within a series of slides. this methodology follows through the rest of the build.
I have a plant yard model which I have everything i use parked up. I open this up on another screen and copy whatever in need. Apart from these things everything is drawn from scratch. You have to try and second guess the build elements and try to draw them so you can copy and past and do simple changes rather tan re-draw.

The projects have so many variables. It could be part demolition and new build, or remodelling whilst working out how to maintain access for shoppers or trains etc. but the principle remains of importing a png, exploding and making a group. this will give you the floor plates in which to trace walls which you then make into other groups. There are a lot of groups within groups that form sequences. Running alongside these are other groups of the logistical elements such as handrails, workers and machines.

I emphasise to my lot about drawing discipline. Have lots of grouped elements in groups. This gives you control and anyrhing can be edited without changing everything. Then by assigning the whole group to a Tag minimises the amount of tags to filter through as if left as singles you will be forever scrolling up and down. Draw what needs to be drawn to show the message you want the person to understand instantly. Sometimes in detail, others very simply. I generally draw then as below with white surrounding environments and coloured construction areas to help focus on what i want them to get from the image and give clarity…