Undet VS Scan Essentials (Sketchup Studio)

Hi there,

I am an architect who has set up on my own during COVID and finally got the chance to attempt to use sketchup for full documentation after using it for years as a design tool before transfering to Autocad to prepare formal drawings.

I have also started using point cloud surveys to start building models and have been using Undet for Sketchup.

I have now heard about Sketchup Studio and for the same price as Undet I can get Scan Essentials as well as V-ray.

I was wondering if Scan Essentials is much the same as Undet or better or worse and if anyone has an opinion on what way to go forward!


Stephen Macaulay
YAM Architects

Scan essentials started by being much less than Undet, but it came a long way. It’s not on par with undet yet but it’s close. From the top of my mind, there’s still no automatic feature extraction, the modeling aid tools aren’t as robust and there’s no texturing from pointcloud. We’ve developed projects with both and both worked out for what we aimed for.

I can’t recommend one over the other as both work well, but if you want the most feature rich, I guess it’s still Undet.


Hi Stephen, Sketchup offers a 30-day free trial and you can sign up and try out both Scan Essentials and V-Ray and then make up your mind? Undet offers a 5-day trial so you can also sign up and compare both products. At the end of the day, Studio is a package of different products that aims to cover more workflows for you, Undet is a standalone product that focuses on one specific use case for you. The other factors to consider are that Scan Essentials works with Sketchup native tools and has LayOut integration so basically you can export point cloud as pdfs as part of your deliverables.
Anyway give it a try and let us know what you think between Scan Essentials vs. Undet :grinning:

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I was forgetting about Layout. That is very useful indeed.

I still think one important difference that should be mentioned is software licensing. Undet offers flexible licensing from 1-Month to 3-Year. So if you have just a few “point cloud” projects a year, the 1-month licence should be a good choice.

For us, it’s not about Undet software development itself – it’s about solving real challenges and customers actual needs that comes with 3D measurement and as-built documentation preparation and our technical support is always reachable and ready to answer all your questions.

P.S. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but since this year we have a free 3-month license for University/Academy/High school students.


I really like the 1month license. It’s fit for our sparse yearly needs. We need working with point clouds only once or twice per year and the pricing is fair imho.

Hi Marius,

I like the flexibility of Undet but am now using point clouds every month (at least once) so do require a perpetual licensing arrangement.

If there was a PAYG hourly rate that might work very well for me…

Thanks for your response.


As you know, SketchUp no longer has the perpetual license option. As we are a plugin service provider, we also offering a subscription model only.

For you, the most cost-effective offer from the UNDET side is a 3-year license.

I would pick Undet any day over Scan Essentials, the support is 1000x times better.

I made this account today to write this positive review for Undet after an Issue that I had today. I encountered an issue with some Mind Sight Studios plugins interfering with Undet and causing a crash. Within one hour, one of Marius’s team remoted onto my machine and had it all fixed and me back in action. Service of this quality is unheard of with Devs usually.

If this was Trimble instead, I would have spent two weeks sending emails back and forward to Mumbai and speaking to likely a cheap tech support subcontractor, by contrast, Undet just remoted onto my PC, diagnosed the issue and had it fixed in seconds! The speed of the guy that fixed my issue was incredible!

I prefer Undet as well because of the way transparency works on black and white point clouds, you can dip the transparency and get a “Point Cab” like floor plan that is easy to trace, Trimble’s transparency does not work the same, I wish I had taken a screenshot of both whilst I had a scan essentials license, I hated how transparency worked on scan essentials. I have a Zeb Revo scanner so I only have black and white data, so this effect is super helpful.

My third reason to anyone reading this the pricing, Trimble screw you into having to have a £1,200 studio license, and I have no use for Vray as I use Enscape, this was a massive deal-breaker for me when deciding which product to pick, Undet came out on top because of the cost saving vs having to buy Studio just to use one extra tool.

A note to Trimble, you should offer Scan Essentials as just a plug in again, seeing as it was just an employees side project originally, surely earning £300+ per year per user would be enough!? I personally cannot justify paying for a studio license.

Undet was developed from the ground up by a very talented research team so I have no problem paying them rather than a giant corporate software company.

One last question to you @MariusP will you be keeping the monthly subscription after next month? I was under the impression this was to end this summer? the monthly subscription model is a huge game changer for small companies like mine that may only process a scan every 3 months, so it would be a shame if we lost that.

Final thoughts, scan essentials is just another money grab by Trimble and will no doubt stagnate just like layout has whenever the suits at Trimble decide point clouds arent the hip new thing anymore. Undet has a wider set of tools, vastly superior customer service, a dedicated development team, more flexibility, better graphics (transparency).

Feel free to ask me any specific questions, I am fairly experienced with using both plugins.


@YAMarchitects ,

Stephen, I’ve been checking out your portfolio on your website and your drawings are amazing! your style is practically identical to mine, its great to see another British architect using Sketchup / Layout as I do, as I always feel a little bit of an outcast.

Down here in Nottinghamshire, I’ve not seen another practice that use Sketchup like us, most seem to use it to lash together a quick concept model, but nothing more complex. I’m myself doing everything in Sketchup these days, even construction details (Adopted after reading Nick Sonders incredible book).

What scanner are you using currently? I bought a GeoSLAM Zeb Revo recently for my practice, and it has completely revolutionised my workflow, and with Undet I have reduced each project by 30%. Just like you I do barn conversions, and a huge chunk of the budget used to go on a survey (which can’t be rushed with those types of jobs).

Hopefully I got the right website for you, based in Cumbria right? I did a barn conversion myself in Armathwaite which is near Carlisle if that is local to you?

I’d love to hear back from you anyway, I’m yet to find another architect who works as we do in the UK. most are indoctrinated into the AutoDesk environment at uni and use Revit if they are clever or AutoCAD if they are dinosaurs, I’m even tendering against guys who still do everything by hand?! absolute madness, I like having CTRL + Z thanks! :rofl:


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Monthly licenses will remain, don’t worry. Until July 1, a limited price offer is valid.

Thanks! Great to get feedback like that!

I’ve been using sketchup since 2007 but mainly only up to planning them reverting to Autocad. This was the best way to use it when I was part of a large practice.

I set up on my own a year ago and realised it was time to give layout a try and use sketchup in more depth. So far so good.

In terms of point cloud surveys, I quite often have a surveyor do the surveys but have found it frustrating as your always then relying on their timescales so bought the IPhone 12 Pro to give it a go. It’s great for context and if you use in conjunction with other critical measurements and photographs then it is a good basis for survey work at planning stage. Now that I’ve got into the hang of processing from point clouds I’d be interested in getting a more accurate scanner if the price point is right for me. One of the nicest things about the iPhone scans is that you get true colour point clouds and I find this really useful when integrating with models for presentations.

How much did your scanner cost? Is it monochrome only?

Always trying new things!

Kind regards


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What App do you use for scanning? Is it easy to export the point cloud to Sketchup?


I’ve been using ‘3D Scanner App’ which is a free one that I started with and find it works well.

I usually export as point cloud files (LAS). With both Undet and Scan Essentials you can snap to the cloud points which is great.

Beyond functional use as part of survey, it is particularly good for integrating gardens with buildings to add a bit more reality to proposals.

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Hi Adam,
Thanks for taking the time to write about your experience with Scan Essentials. First of all, I want to say that Sketchup team welcomes any constructive criticism and we often reach out to customers to invite them to talk about the product experience with the product managers and take on their feedback for future improvement. I will reach out to you by message.

hey you can also try Everypoint its a free ios app and you can send PLY file format to Sketchup and modelling with Scan Essentials.

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The professional 3D laser scanner is an expensive investment. That has to work on a daily basis to be cost-effective. :wink:

Can you comment further on what objects you would like to measure using 3D scanners? Point clouds with true colours nowadays are an ordinary result, even you are using a terrestrial 3D laser scanner or photogrammetry workflow.

In some cases, photogrammetry workflow is even more convenient than 3D scanning evaluating productivity and labour costs.

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Hi Marius,

For larger projects my preference would be to buy in point clouds by professional surveyors and for the time being happy using the iphone (with supplementary manual surveys) for domestic and small commercial work.

However, if there were options using lidar or indeed photogrammetry at the right price that would be more accurate than the iphone option then I would look at it.

As you say, I have looked at Trimble Scanners below but not in that ball park!!

Kind regards


I don’t know if the Structure Sensor add-on for iPad is still available, and if it is any better than the Lidar in the iPad Pro. The same software seems to work for both.

For the smaller project, you can look at DOT Product solutions https://www.dotproduct3d.com/. We have direct DotProduct data (*.DP) import into SketchUp, so you can easily visualize it.

Also, you can discover photogrammetry workflow. I recommend trying Reality Capture software, which is recently bought by Epic games. They suggesting Pay-Per-Input pricing, and you can process the data until you will be happy with the result and pay only for export :wink:

P.S. To reconstruct 3D geometry from images is super easy, but please note without control points you will not have the correct scale and orientation. Control points can be measured with total stations or you can indicate known distances between two points. Don’t have a total station you can place several measurement tapes and later you can set reference tape length for the correct scale. :slightly_smiling_face: