Top 11 SketchUp Extensions to improve your work performance

SketchUp is pretty robust straight out of the box. It is even more powerful because users can supercharge its capabilities by customizing it with extensions to suit their unique workflow. Based on a conversation with Anders Hus Folkedal, who’s work at Ramboll we’ve featured on the blog, we’ve shortlisted ten key extensions any 3D enthusiast can add to their workflow to improve productivity and speed up modeling. Jump on it.

The rendering power trio: “I keep V-Ray in Live mode, and render from there. I’m also an avid Lumion user and Unreal Engine apprentice. All three offer the opportunity to create professional hyper-realistic renders.”

Phần mềm V-Ray for SketchUp - Plugin for SketchUp

1. V-Ray Next for SketchUp

Long established as a robust professional renderer within arch-viz circles, V-Ray 5 delivers polished, photo-real renders for newbies and pros alike. Its latest version, V-Ray 5 offers render options that you can quickly select and tweak to suit your style, an interactive viewing window as you model in SketchUp, and a paid cloud rendering option that frees up your hardware for other work. Geek out a lot by tweaking specific inputs or roll with inbuilt presets if you’re new to rendering.

  • Who uses it? Beginner to advanced users. Adapts to suit your rendering knowledge.
  • Great for: Interactive render viewing and High-quality professional renders
  • System compatibility: Windows/Mac
  • Pricing: Available as part of SketchUp Studio
  • Trial: Free for 30 days 

phần mềm Lumion - plugin SketchUp

2. Lumion Live Sync for SketchUp

Lumion Live Sync allows you to establish a live connection which means you can model and render simultaneously. This should give you a sense of pushing and pulling a real-life building. Essential for smaller scale models. 

  • Who uses it? Intermediate to advanced user
  • Great for: Visualising your small scale project as you model
  • System compatibility: Only available for Windows
  • Free trial duration: 14 days 

phần mềm Unreal Engine - Plugin SketchUp

3. Unreal Engine

Developed by Epic Games and previously deployed for gaming development, Unreal Engine is ideal for creating approachable, super-fast renders that can be navigated in real-time. The Unreal Datasmith Plugin for SketchUp also enables seamless exports from SketchUp to Unreal Engine.

  • Who uses it? Beginner to intermediate user
  • Great for: Fast, real-time rendering
  • System compatibility: Available for Windows and Mac
  • Pricing: Free

Phần mềm Profile Builder 3 - Plugin SketchUp

4. Profile Builder 3

This extension massively speeds up modeling time because it makes repetitive tasks a piece of cake. Create profiles using simple or complex SketchUp faces and polylines. Extend these profiles along paths to create a profile member, and combine profile members to create parametrically-defined assemblies. 

  • Who uses it? Intermediate to advanced user
  • Great for: Creating bespoke and standard profiles for repetitive geometries
  • System compatibility: Available for Windows and Mac
  • Pricing: Contact Konia 
  • Free trial duration:  30 days

Plugin for SketchUp

5. Add Height from Datum

Need to reference heights whilst you’re modeling or during crucial stakeholder meetings? Then this extension is for you. Mark out the key levels in your design and reference them for greater accuracy throughout your design process. 

  • Who uses it? Beginner to advanced user
  • Great for: Keeping track of key datums within your project
  • System compatibility: Available for Windows and Mac
  • Pricing: Free. Register with SketchUcation, an independent SketchUp community forum, to access the download 
Phần mềm Make Face - Plugin for SketchUp

6. S4U Make Face

As the name suggests, select your line drawings and Make Face will auto-fill them with faces. This is Anders’ go-to for “when I’m lazy and many faces need to be generated”.

  • Who uses it? Beginner to advanced user
  • Great for: Filling in your line drawing with faces
  • System compatibility: Available for Windows and Mac
  • Free trial duration: 5 days

Phần mềm Solid Inspector - Plugin for SketchUp

7. Solid Inspector

This stress-relieving extension inspects and highlights issues such as reversed faces within modeled solids. Your exports for 3D printing could be ready in just a few clicks!

  • Who uses it? Beginner to advanced user
  • Great for: Checking that volumes are drawn correctly, resolving issues in solids and keeping models lighter.
  • System compatibility: Available for Windows and Mac
  • Pricing: Free
phần mềm Fredo - Plugin SketchUp

8. Fredo6: Fredo Tools (v3.6a)

Fredo6: FredoTools (v3.6a) is a collection of various inspection and simple manipulation tools. In particular, Edge Inspector is a handy tool for inspecting edge connections.

  • Who uses it? Intermediate to advanced modeler
  • Great for: Optimizing models using a variety of clean-up and manipulation tools
  • System compatibility: Available for Windows and Mac
  • Pricing: Free. Register with SketchUcation, an independent SketchUp community forum, to access the download 

9. CleanUp

Similar to SketchUp’s native Purge function, the aptly named CleanUp3 will tidy and optimize your SketchUp model. Choose between options to purge unused items; erase hidden geometry, duplicate faces, and lonely edges; or merge identical materials, and connected coplanar faces. 

  • Who uses it? Beginner to advanced modeler
  • Great for: Removing redundant geometry and making your model lighter
  • System compatibility: Available for Windows and Mac

Phần mềm Fredo 6 - Plugin for SketchUp

10. Fredo6: Bezier Spline

Another valuable set of tools from Fredo6 enables users to draw a variety of Polylines, Bezier and Spline curves. A unique feature it offers is the ability to edit a curve after they’ve been drawn by adjusting its control points. In combination with Profile Builder, use the Bezier Spline tool to run road profiles and road assemblies.

  • Who uses it? Beginner to advanced modeler
  • Great for: Sketching out centrelines for roads onto topographic surfaces
  • System compatibility: Available for Windows and Mac
  • Pricing: Free
Transmutr - Plugin SketchUp
Transmutr - Plugin SketchUp

11. Transmutr

Transmutr provides tools to convert various 3D formats into SketchUp objects. This plugin has powerful features like Render-Ready and Proxy in materials, adjusting the level of geometry detail as well as necessary options like scaling, unit conversion, etc.

  • Who uses it: Beginners to professional users
  • Great for: converting various 3D formats objects to SketchUp ones
  • Compatible systems: Window and MacOS
  • Trial: 7 days

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