SketchUp in 2019: where great ideas get to work

All good points Sam. Thanks for chiming in :slight_smile:

Yes, yes, yes… and yes!


To clarify, I have no problem with Trimble releasing their own House Builder extension or such. I think that could be a good idea. However I don’t want there too be a bunch of native (core) functionality that is only relevant for a specific field. As long as these features are implemented as extensions so they don’t bother, say interior designers or set designers, I’m all in favor.

A lot of the clutter with extension seems to stem from extensions doing more than one thing, and therefore partly overlapping. What if ProfileBuilder didn’t have it’s own report tool, but simply wrote the relevant data to attributes using a shared protocol, say IFC. Then another extension could generate a report based on that data, and include things drawn by both ProfileBuilder and all other extensions that adhere to this standard protocol. This report extension could be maintained by Trimble, but be open source so other developers can add updates to it when needed, and of course be a standard extension replacing the current Generate Report.

I don’t think the solution though is to make big industry extensions. What if someone needs a third of the tools for Set Design and half of the tools from Architecture? I suppose several tools would exist in both toolsets and having both installed would lead to a lot of duplications and clutter. What if a third party extension implements one of the functions in the Architecture toolset but does it much better so you want to use that instead? Then you’d want to get rid of the corresponding feature you already had.

Instead of large industry specific extensions I propose we stick to smaller extensions with a clearly defined scope (DOTADIW) but in addition to that improve the extension management.

There could be a single button to add the full Architecture Suite or Set Design Suite to your extension list and install all extensions in that suite. Removing a suite from your list could uninstall only extensions unique to it, and extensions shared with another suite would be kept until that suite is uninstalled. You could create your own suites and share with coworkers, either from scratch or from modifying a copy of an existing suite.


Sorry, I disagree with almost everything you’re continually saying. SU at the moment is a directionless mess as it appeals to everybody generally but no one specifically (without the clunky use of plug-ins)…the solution is simple; (as Sam says) bundle all the best architectural extensions together and unify them so they’re genuinely integrated into SU (and talk to each other) then streamline and release a separate version of SU called something like SketchUp Architecture, but whilst keeping the original vanilla SketchUp Pro for the dabblers/interior designers/model makers etc. Job done.


I just got word from the community manager. They are threatening to kick me off this board if I mention Blender again.

So, if I go, consider following this discussion on YouTube, a well as on Sketchucation.

My goal is not to see all SU users leave for another program. It is threefold:

  1. To put pressure on Trimble to actually provide meaningful feature updates to the Pro product which I own and use.
  2. To ask them to be forthright with their userbase and tell us enough of their future plans (as many publicly traded companies do already), so we can make our own informed plans as well.
  3. To provide community members with a course to help them render not model their SU scenes. I would think this is not an overt threat to Trimble, but I am told otherwise.

Odd, as @jbacus frequently supports the use of other software?


Not every app can be everything to any one person , somebody or something is left out.

And how MUCH are you willing to pay for that option?

The ability to customize to MY needs is possible due to the plugins.

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We will be starting a full Blender forum at Sketchucation soon, will need your help there as we learn to work with both softwares. Always a good idea to have more tools and Blender is a serious tool when mastered.


Love SketchUp to the core, and I am the #1 fan, but I do not like censorship.

I want to add that I don’t agree with @chippwalters methods in “pressuring” SketchUp to his ideal company but even if I disagree he should speak his mind.

Note: Just read @jody post bellow and I agree fully with his statement.

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As the guy who sent said message, I’ll go ahead and be public with my statement and clarify that this is, in fact, not what I said.

I have advised you, @chippwalters, to keep your proselytization of Blender training to our training forums. You can (and do) talk about Blender plenty, and we take no issue with that. What you were warned against was to stop interrupting topics with a cry to “abandon SketchUp” and to be civil, constructive and non-combative in the topics which you’re participating. Definitely take your agenda to “move everyone from SketchUp to Blender” to SketchUcation or YouTube, that’s great and certainly your prerogative.

Regarding your goals, please be aware that your desire for these things does not make others wrong for not embracing them. As has been stated in this thread many times, we don’t talk about our future. We didn’t do it when we were @Last, we didn’t do it when we were Google, we don’t do it at Trimble… you might notice, it’s a trend. Just because someone else DOES talk about these things, doesn’t mean we’re obligated to do so.

I will offer this final statement regarding your participation in this community, if you want to help people prepare their SketchUp models for rendering in Blender, that’s great. You can do that in the appropriate forum. If you want to offer constructive feedback, you can do that in the appropriate topic. Please do not use this forum as a platform to belittle this community, it’s members, the software it’s devoted to or the team that develops it.

I won’t be responding to the private message you sent, as this seems to be where you’d prefer to discuss this, hopefully this is enough to put the matter to bed.


Yeah I fully agree - keep the core functionality universal and make sure any Industry Pack is itself an addon - a new flavour or toolbar for Sketchup.

And yes I 100% agree that sketchup extensions are best if they are just one tool - like most of yours are. I’m guessing the reason many of the more powerful ones aren’t like this is that SketchUp’s core functionality seems to be a bit rigid (particularly layer organisation, scenes, entity info, reporting, etc).
We definitely want SketchUp to be universal, but also very versatile; it currently achieves “universal” by being as simple as possible (but this cause the extensions to be much more complicated, which adds cost and ultimately makes it less universal)
I’d imagine that the developers of ProfileBuilder didn’t actually want to create a reporting tool - it was done out of necessity. And I’m sure they would love it if their reporting tool could interact with Meedek Wall, or Cutlist, etc. Hopefully they will back me up here :slight_smile:

If available, I would probably install the “Industry Packs” for architecture, urban planning, landscape, civil, and maybe more - and I would expect to see an enhancement of toolsets, not duplication.

I wonder if Trimble are reading this thinking “oh great we could do this” or “nope, lets keep sketchup simple and limit the features”.


As per chippwalters - My mom said - If you don’t have something good to say then …


Did you ever even read or listen to my messages and videos? There was never a “cry to abandon SketchUp.”
I was and still am trying to figure out what the future looks like because Trimble will not say.

There was the first video, which had quite a number of reasons to continue using SketchUp as well as the 20 reasons to switch. It must’ve resonated as there are over 220,000 views of it on YouTube.

You should read some of the comments there. I defend SketchUp there as well.

And yes, I do feel like Trimble has ripped me off with the paucity of Pro features. As a paid consumer, each year, of your product, I believe I have a right to know if this standard of feature support for Pro is the new norm. Frankly, I didn’t need 2018 and so far it looks like I won’t need 2019 either as the effort to port all the icon locations, plugins and all the rest is just too much trouble.

FWIW, I download a new version of Blender each week, unzip wherever I want and install and it all just works with my existing preferences and plugins and startup scenes.

I am sorry if you feel logical discourse and critical thought are combative.


Trying to reply to the comment about SU<->Unreal interoperability. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s not available on MacOS, right? That’s a shame.

tickranch may have been talking about SU<Unreal interoperability, and Mac is behind PC on that.

Or, it could have been the 20 reasons why Blender is Great, or Awesome, or the Bee’s Knees (the very height of excellence).

The word switch never even has to come into play.

You make a case for why Blender can work well along with SketchUp, offer encouragement to try it out, and possibly even provide additional support (I’m not really sure ?)… at least at the level provided by the information you offer in the videos you’ve created… And generally speaking, the bottom line of all of this, from my perspective, seems to be that you advocate for using multiple software tools.

And if that’s actually the case… then using the word switch, can easy be viewed as a contradictive term against the practice of using a multi-software workflow. But of course I don’t know this for sure—and I’m not trying to speak on your behalf. I don’t have to, I can just ask you plainly…

Would you ever actually recommend that anybody chose one option or the other?

It’s not as if anybody will have to chose only one, due to some limited operational budget. There are no extra costs involved that I’m aware of in adding Blender into a SketchUp workflow.

So in all fairness—and I’ve hit the thumbs up icon for one hell of a lot of posts you made in recent days—there is a bit of a contradiction in how the Switch terms gets applied.

And YES, I DO realize that there’s a double edge reference being made here. Blender is also being held up as a standard to which SketchUp should be aspiring to. I can see all of that and have no problem in making comparative judgement calls in that way.

So now we have a problem about switching, and agendas for motivating folks to leave, and accounts being shutdown… and it’s all based on a poor choice of words, and misinterpretations during a rather hypersensitive time of fairly strong criticism.

But I’m all in favor of free speech. In that same way that I’m in favor of letting folks decide for themselves what software they want to use. I only advocate for access to REAL information, without suggestive advertising, agendas, or BS marketing practices.

Your observations, industry knowledge, and general insights are great @chippwalters—I’ve learned a lot in these recent weeks, for which I’m very grateful.

But at the same time the comments which @jody posted are not unreasonable either.

This thread needs to be protected, there’s good information here, and I don’t want to see any posts disappear suddenly.

Question for SketchUp:

So if things don’t work out here… what exactly is included in canceling an account?

Do all of the old post go missing? or, do they say around for archival reason, and the users get cut off from all future activities?


I’ll try and reply to your thoughtful questions. It’s a bit of a story.

If you like, you can peruse the forum for last years posts which are mostly found in the MAKE thread here.

At the time, I was running a small team of developers, 3D Artists and media folks to create what would become an Augmented Reality educational app called Experience Real History: The Alamo.

We used just about every software known on that project: Maya, Blender, SketchUp, 3DMax, Substance, and even 3D Coat and Zbrush.

During that time, one of my jobs was to work with historians to create the most dimensionally accurate model of the compound possible. I ended up modeling, texturing, writing the shaders, etc. for the whole Alamo compound in 1836. I learned a lot about SU’s limits during that time.

My pipeline looked like this:

  1. Model in SketchUp off of old blueprints. This was of course SU’s strength and I could fairly quickly create first passes.
  2. Render and review in SU (using Fluid Interactive’s AO renderer).


  1. Export as low poly OBJ
  2. Make sure SU model is water tight and export to 3D Coat to voxelize and add damage.
  3. Export 4-10 million poly OBJ to Substance for creating normal map of damage around the low poly OBJ.
  4. Import low poly OBJ and normal map to Unity and add rock shader there. For a low poly model, the final results spoke for themselves.


During this time, I made several unsuccessful attempts at paying noted plugin devs to try and write a decent bevel addon for SketchUp. I asked Fredo if he would update his plugin, but he did not have the time. Eventually, he sent me some betas and now there is finally a valid bevel/chamfer plugin that works. Thanks again to Fredo, but for me it was a great product but too late.

So, as we finished the project, I looked back over this particular pipeline, and the pipelines I used to create the Hyperloop (all done in SU and Keyshot) concepts for Elon Musk, and those used to create the Drone Ambulance for Fast Company (and their Cadillac that split in two) and realized a couple of things:

  1. I do many different things in SU. While I am a trained Industrial Designer, I do all sorts of concept work and not only architecture.
  2. As my tasks diversify, I need more power and more tools. A few years ago I added both MoI3D, Substance Painter and 3D Coat to my personal pipeline.
  3. Keeping up with all these programs is a full time job. And 3D is NOT my full time job. It’s the main reason I’ve stuck with SU all these years. It’s like an old friend where I can jump right back into it after not using it for 6 months.

Still, looking at the first list above, and after finishing the Alamo project, I pretty much decided I personally needed to switch. All that pipeline and the uncertainty of where Pro is going. I can pretty much do just about that full pipeline in one package-- Blender. This decision was made long after the first video. This does not mean I advocate everyone needs to switch.

One of the things I noticed in the hundreds of comments from the first video, were many sentiments like yours, Jim.

Why not use both? And I thought about that a good bit. After studying Blender a bit more, I recognized a FIT between the two, which was IMO natural and easy and free. Just use SketchUp to model and Blender to render SU scenes and they can be animated lightning fast with EEVEE.

So, I contacted some of the top SU artists to see if they might help beta test and off I went to create my EEVEE rendering course for SU users. It has done well and I have had good feedback.

So, yes, I am switching. But for the reasons I mention above and because personally, I have little trust in Trimble to shepherd the PRO version into something I can use longterm.


I really appreciate what you’re doing, Chipp, and I follow closely your progress as well as your hard work on making Blender a tool for regular SketchUp users to add to their repertoire. I really look forward to the pipeline you’ve created there and plan to use it myself and with my team, as we’re always looking for ways to make our work look better (rendering), which doesn’t seem like SketchUp’s primary focus.

My only input on the matter at this time is my opinion that we don’t need to worry about the future of SU Pro. The software works well, as it has for years, doing what it does. If there’s a lack of improvements and features in a year or so, I personally don’t view that as Trimble giving up on SU. Their team members are insisting over and over that SketchUp is here to stay and isn’t going to disappear, and I think it makes sense to trust them on that.


The move to include a 3rd party software is not to replace Sketchup, it’s to extend Sketchup. For many users this is not needed as Sketchup can do everything they need and more. For other users that require more elaborate and detailed models SU has limits and always had them, The problem is SU has not grown with some users that require more from this software than it is able to supply.
I have been using SU over 15 years and learned how to model on a strict poly diet, I have learned low poly modeling and how to skimp where I can in order to get huge models to work, but due to market requirements I am no longer able to complete projects in SU as they just become too big and impossible to work with. Even with edges, lines, materials, and shadows off, even with clever layer management SU buckles on medium to large projects. An example is American Ninja warrior sets, every year we add new obstacles, change old ones, find new locations etc, yet these changes require more polys and SU does not have more to give, so I am forced to build individually in SU then export to a 3rd party software to compile, this effects my workflow with all the export, import, fixing models then if one needs a change the whole system collapses and back to SU for changes and export again, and so forth.
Here is last years set for ANW10 in L.A, this is the limit SU could handle (I know shadows and lines are on, I did this to test if possible which it was after 7 minutes of waiting)

Then there is the Titan games, this season is currently on TV, next season is in planning and guess what? it’s going to be bigger and better as we expect, how will I be able to do that in SU when I cannot even show all obstacles in scenes when needed as SU cannot keep up, my models can reach 700MB and that is with careful modeling. Remember too that these models will be used for construction so they need to be accurate to a degree.

So, it’s not that I want to replace SU, I need to expand it to get my work done, I would not need a 3rd party software if SU could just handle the polys I need, which are growing every year.


Amazing work, Pete. Thanks for sharing.