SketchUp Pro is one of the most popular 3D modelling tools on the market. Trimble’s CAD solution has several advantages in comparison to its competitors – affordable pricing, versatile functionality and a very short learning curve that allows users with little or no experience in CAD to create impressive designs.
While SketchUp Pro is great quality for the price, most advanced users often need to expand its functionality and use Trimble’s tool in combination with other CAD programs. Trimble and other companies have developed a variety of plugins for SketchUp that extend its functionality and make it more compatible with other CAD tools.
One of these plugins is V-Ray for SketchUp. It works within the SketchUp environment allowing users to efficiently render their models with superb quality and realism, without having to leave their current workflow.
The Import and Export functionality is one of the leading reasons why users upgrade to SketchUp Pro. The import and export of .SKP files to and from AutoCAD is not an option in the free version of SketchUp but is available in SketchUp Pro. Just click the “File” menu and select “Export” or “Import”. A few years ago Trimble developed an optional plugin for SketchUp, compatible with both Windows and Mac , that enables the DWG/DXF importer.
IRender nXt is a powerful plugin for rendering high-resolution images right inside SketchUp. IRender nXt is fully-integrated with Sketch Up materials, lighting and components for complete control of interior, exterior, daytime or night-time scenes for stunning results like this car design by Alan Krupp:
The SketchUp Vue Exporter Plugin is a Ruby-based script application for SketchUp, which exports Sketchup models, sun direction, and cameras into Vue format. The plugin is available directly in the SketchUp’s “Plugins” menu and creates a Vue.VOB model file featuring full Sketchup model geometries, components, groups and materials along with a Vue Scene Settings Python script file for automatically importing the model, sun direction, and camera.
Another interesting plugin for SketchUp is Product Connect which allows the users to visualise real products in their SketchUp models and export product schedules into the next step of the design workflow. Users can search product models, such car makes and TV brands, in the Product Connect collection on the 3D Warehouse and download them into their SketchUp models. Once the design is complete, the Product Connect plugin can be launched and its Report Maker tool can be used to export organized product schedules in .csv format. These product schedules include information such as name, description, SKU code, manufacturer, dimensions, URL and more.
The full list of plugins is available here. For the latest SketchUp plugin – SketchUp News, please click here. Software Paradise is an authorised SketchUp reseller, offering free support and competitive pricing – best UK price £245!
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