Using SketchUp as a substitute for PowerPoint

Here’s something that I just finished that looked interesting to me. I imported images into a SketchUp file and lined them up in the order I wanted to talk about them. Then I made a YouTube and ran Sketchup to show the images. It works like PowerPoint but it is visually much more interesting to look at, I think.
I guess I could call it SketchUP-Point. I have a set of YouTube videos that I am going to make this way. Here’s the first YouTube in the sequence. Enjoy! Dr. Gray


While this is impressive, I was expecting more of a discussion of how you were going to use SketchUp as a substitute for Power Point.

As an examples of what I am saying:

  • Did you set up each of your slides as a SU scene?
  • it appeared that you were going fome one “slide” to another by clicking on an icon in the top toolbar. How did you set that up?
  • Were all of the images on each slide necessary to be shown at the same time?

While I could have ask more questions about using SU as a substitute for PP, I think it is an interesting concept. I have to admit that I kind of skipped through the content because was beyond my understanding in many areas but I still think it is an interesting concept. In fact, combine this concept with the new SU for iPad and it could be even more interesting. I think we are moving into an era where the ability to present SU models in an interactive mode including AR and animation is going to be more desired/needed.

Thanks for the post and hope it inspires some additional responses and suggestions.

Thanks ntxdave. I appreciate your interest. As part of my training, I had to watch way too many PowerPoint presentations. I am not opposed to PowerPoint but they soon seem to all be so similar. I realized SketchUp will import anything that is an image. I created a grid with guides and Sketchup will import images to the guideline intersections and let you scale the image to your grid. All sorts of areas allow creation of images. Screenshots of what is on your screen (to capture Webpages), SketchUp renderings, and if you want really pretty renderings, I use KeyShot. Of course you can create pages with text using a drawing program (I use CorelDraw) and those can be saved as a png. All of that can be pulled into your guide grid. It is true in SketchUp you can “back out” and show all the images, this helps you to get your audience to “see” what your presentation will be. Then you can “zoom in” on an image and as you get closer, you can read the words. Of note, since you are in SketchUp, you can include a 3D model and wander around that as you are giving your lecture. There is none of that in PowerPoint. I just thought it was an interesting manner to present one’s material. I created the YouTube in Camtasia. Camtasia allows one to record (if one wants) just the microphone and what is one’s

monitor. Thus, I was recording that way and simply hit pause. Then I went into SketchUp and opened a different SketchUp drawing file. I was on a 3D drawing file that I named Slide 01 and I then opened a 3D drawing file that I named Slide 02. Then I hit “unpause” and Camtasia restarted its recording of what I was doing. Camtasia lets me render its work as an mp4 file and then that’s what I sent to YouTube. YouTube has always allowed me to send to my YouTube channel just plain old mp4 files. The image is a KeyShot render. Dr. Gray

nice presentation style, for audience not familiar with SketchUp, a smoother navigation with a 3D mouse (see @TheOnlyAaron videos) would probably be helpful, of course it needs a lot of practice to use it that way.

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Thanks Cotty for your kind remarks. I have considered the 3D mouse, but I’m worried the learning curve could be steep. One intriguing thing I noticed with bringing images into SketchUp, it imports text and gives it no left margin when it displays it. Seemed weird. The only workaround that I found with text created inside my drawing program (CorelDraw) I had to put a “rectangle” on the page with actual lines, then SketchUp will not truncate the left boundary past the location of the rectangle’s lines. With a text file in Notepad, CorelDraw will import txt files and convert the text to a drawing image and can send it out as a png, but again SketchUp when it imports the png will give it no left margin. The workaround that I found was to create a rectangular solid, allow SketchUp to paint it with an off-white color that mimics the appearance of normal paper and attach the text png file as a texture to this paint. Then, inside SketchUp you can adjust this png file as a texture in its presence in the off-white color so the text is the correct size and is centered. Seemed like a lot of work, but it did get the text visible, centered, and looking OK. anyway, thanks for your interest. Dr. Gray

Would be interesting if there was a way to view/ open a SU file (not an image) in PowerPoint (one scene at a time).

Again with what is going on with the iPad support it seems this would be a neat way to use SU in a presentation.

I think Trimble should explore this capability.

Project ‘Bear’ was intended to create a presentation tool for 3D models. A new way to make presentations.
When released with version 6 of SketchUp it was called ‘LayOut’


Thanks for your input MikeWayzovski. My understanding is that LayOut is most useful for architectural discussions and presentations. What I am discussing here is not really related to architecture.

LayOut allow you to display anything modeled in SketchUp in a 2D presentation. Anything saved as a scene can quickly be displayed as pages in a LayOut document. LayOut includes a presentation mode specifically for showing those pages just like a slideshow.

Thanks Aaron. I appreciate your help. I use SketchUp a lot but I have never made it to LayOut. I don’t know if my SketchUp work is complicated, but it is intricate and I usually wind out where I need to do subtraction and/or union of solids and there’s a hole in a solid somewhere. sigh. I spent many years in a field where it was absolutely critical that people would understand what I was explaining to them. I developed a style of explaining that is ploddingly slow but one does come out of it understanding what I was talking about. My brother (he has a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT), he said my videos were the most boring he had ever seen. sigh again. I like to lecture or explain with use of an image that shows what I am talking about, or a sequence of images. I think what I am talking about is interesting and I was intrigued with the concept, “Maybe if I could show the whole structure of what I am going to be discussing, then when I start at the beginning at the detailed level, people might still be interested.” A feature of SketchUp is that one can very quickly go from quite a far off and total field-of-view perspective and zoom to significant detail well and quickly. I had the thought, " I wonder if I could get all my slides in one giant overall view, and just run back and forth across them at the start, then people would “see” where I am going with my lecture." That’s where I thought “Why not just take all my images and import them into a grid with SketchUp import so that with a “backed off” viewpoint the audience could “see” the whole story I was going to tell and then I could just push in closer and closer to the first image of the lecture and off I go.” I don’t think you can do that in PowerPoint. I thought maybe others might wish to lecture this way also, so I sent this concept to the Forum. I included one of my most recent YouTube videos where I used this technique in the first few minutes of the video. I actually started the YouTube showing my face, the pundits say one should show their audience who they are. So I added myself to the front of the video, I really think people want to hear about the topic I am addressing and could not care less what I look like, but that is not what the pundits say. I would include the starting slide but it is 77mb. Thanks again for your interest. I see that you are TheOnlyAaron. I will have to tell you about my mesh one day. I am working to design a Heavy Lift Drone. It uses propellers that are fairly highly stressed. I wanted to embed a metal wire mesh in the material of the propeller to give it strength like reinforced concrete. I was very intrigued to see how to flex and fold the mesh to follow the contours of the propeller. I made the mesh with addition of solids and it crashed out the memory of my SketchUp computer when it was really small. Very weird. I wanted to keep doing unions to get the mesh long enough to span the length of the propeller but SketchUp wouldn’t do it. I could only get it to be 9x10 inches and it needs to be 12x36 inches. I will see if that will upload here.
2000mm diam prop expand v131 by 1_37333 JavaProp of 09-02-2 propeller v189.skp (3.2 MB)

Let me reply on two fronts; your project and SU presentation.

Your Project
While I did not watch all of the detail because I did not understand/comprehend all of it, I did wonder how it relates to EVTOL. I saw a segment about EVTOL on tv over the week end and tour video reminded me about it.

SU Presentation
In todays world I think being able to present SU models in an interactive 3D mode is important, or at least will be in the near future. LayOut does not provide that capability. I also think just opening the model without other user oriented info Is not adequate. Combining descriptive information like you can do with tools like PP and LO needs to be combined with the 3D interactivity in a single tool/product (IMO).

Hey Dave, and thanks again for your input.
EVTOL means Electric VTOL. VTOL means Vertical Take-Off and Landing. A flying device that is VTOL does not need a runway, it just needs an area to Take-Off from and an area to Land on (and this area will be exceptionally smaller and easier to create than a full fledged runway). This significantly expands who can be helped by the VTOL device because it can just go to where the trouble is and land and help the people in trouble. No runway needed.
E means this whole device does all this without using anything for power or energy except an electric battery. I am exploring another concept which is what I called a Heavy Lift Drone. This is a drone that can fly using VTOL if it wants and also it can lift up and land with and fly with a significant weight of payload, I suggest 500lbs. The E version of any drone right now cannot carry a 500lb payload, or if it can, then it will carry it for about an hour. I want a Heavy Lift Drone for a military (air support) or civilian (rescue) function. I don’t think any normal person who life is saved by a Heavy Lift Drone will care at all that it used Jet Fuel instead of a battery. And, by the math I have done, a fossil fuel Heavy Lift Drone is totally feasible. This is what I am working on as a design at present. The internet seems to have the pushing out of the idea that a Heavy Lift Drone cannot exist, mostly because (I think) they have an inner requirement that if it is not electric, then it cannot be made. Seems a little weird to me, but I guess they are saving the planet. I would prefer to create designs that save actual real human beings who are in actual and real trouble.
On the presentation side, I think I was only addressing a concept to that group of people who either have as their only job or have as an occasional “additional job” that is given to them where they need to present a concept to a group, or they have the task to try to convince a group of people to believe in, understand, endorse, or want to work to create an object or project. And this action of presentation includes creating presentation videos. I was just sending to the Forum that I had created a method where I used SketchUp myself for me to help me make my presentation. To the intended audience it will just be a (I hope) pretty cool video that is fun to watch. I doubt they would ever know how the video was made or how the presenter was able to make it look like he or she was “flying around” their images.
I think getting audience members to be running SketchUp on their own computers would be significantly complex, not unreasonable, but probably a little too complex to be doing at present. So I just was saying “Hey…if you have to make videos… here’s a kind of fun way to ‘spice your video up’ and make it more interesting.”
And, once again, thanks for your interest. Pat

Layout is much better and cleaner for PPT type presentations. Any image (SU, pdf, jpg, word…) can be imported, sized, moved & cropped. In addition, labeling and drawing on top of the imported images is extremely quick and accurate. I stopped using PPT.

No argument, I just would like to see interactive 3D capabilities in a presentation product (what ever it is).

Thanks maxwolfesu, I did not know Layout could do this. I wish I could show you where I did it with SketchUp import, but the files are 30-60mb. One question I have is that I can place one or two or how many I want of SketchUp models in my display and SketchUp allows me to “wander around” inside the models because I am actually in SketchUp. I guess I could do this: Here’s the link for the YouTube I made

go there and go to 2min 44sec that is a 30mb SketchUp drawing that I am in. In this drawing below is a bunch of images of various types and above is 3D models of SketchUp. You can see that inside my YouTube video, I go down and discuss the images then go back up and move around inside the models. Does Layout let one do that? Thanks again for your kind remarks. I agree with ntxdave that interactive would be very nice, but it seems it would need a proper version of Sketchup to be operating on each of the computers of each of the members of the audience. Not impossible, but complex. Dr. Gray

I’ve not tried placing models inside a LO slide. However, any model view within a viewport window in LO can be double clicked and maneuvered - just a thought. SU/LO modeling application was never intended to replace PPT - but it’s always improving. Personally, it’s the best design/CAD/production tool out there!

If I ever get to replace my laptop (which died recently) I will have to try this out. If I understand you correctly, I can double click the model on a slide and then interactively vie, scan, zoom, and etc. during my presentation. Could I also activate an animation?

Hope I am understanding you correctly. :slight_smile:

Sorry Patrick-Gary, I was asking @maxwolfesu about the way things work in LO slide view mode. If I understood him correctly he I saying you can do what I was wanting in the LO presentation mode.

Not sure if someone mentioned it but an option would be to setup scenes in SU (instead of floating 2D images). Would be even more interesting if a series of scenes could imitate movement. Imagine scenes within scenes. So you have a series of 5 scenes imitating the movement of parts but those 5 scenes are captured in 1 scene that is in your presentation. (Don’t think this is possible yet in SU. I wonder is it possible to import an animation back into SU? That way one might be able to setup that animation in a scene?). Anyway the idea being that you setup scenes in the order your presentation requires and click through them when required.

Perhaps something similar is possible in LO.

Thanks Devine for your interest. I don’t know enough about programming to get an animation into SketchUp. I find animation to be so confusing. I did send to SketchUp a suggestion about a Rigging Feature in SU and I discussed how animation could be added. Most of my stuff has multiple small parts all moving at the same time. Animating that in SU… I cannot figure out how to do that. I just liked how all the images for the lecture together in one place looked. It is so easy to back the view out and thus show the audience all the slides, the whole lecture, in one view, then zoom in to a particular slide. I thought it was sort of cool. I am pretty sure when I lecture it is easy for people to get mixed up because I start with the big picture and go further and further into very tiny details. But with the slides all in one place and an easy zoom from tiny detail to the big picture, seems that may be helpful for that style of lecturing. But anyway, thanks for your interest. Dr. Gray

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