Thursday, December 24, 2009

SketchUp vs Revit: How do they match up?

This is a big question, and boy is it contentious! Some people get very very mad when you put SketchUp and Revit together.... Anyway, I have been using SketchUp Pro/ LayOut to produce construction documents ever since LayOut came with SketchUp. Below is a recent sample:

....and here are other samples along with photos of finished buildings documented exclusively using SU Pro/ LayOut.

My main points of comparison can be summed up like this: 

  1. Excellent for outputting construction information and automatically linking/ compiling drawings. 
  2. Seemingly cost effective for very large projects, but prohibitive for small projects. 
  3. It is a post-design tool only.
SketchUp Pro:
  1. Used to assist in the design process.
  2. Exports technical data from the model, though this is as yet an unrefined process within SketchUp. However Rpreports can produce Bills of Materials from SketchUp. (Windows platform only)
  3. Creates excellent construction documents in conjunction with LayOut.
  4. Cost effective for very small to medium size projects (May in time become cost effective for large/ very large projects)
The full SketchUp Pro vs Revit review can be found here Comments welcome!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Prototyping for Inventors: A modern view

A few years ago, I invented a catch-all solution to the problem of storing, carrying and protecting DVDs in an attractive cheap to manufacture, unbreakable case called the "Jemcase"... Sounds like it should be successful right? Nope. What killed it? Mostly industry politics and protectionist economic arguments- Incumbent industries had too much to lose by changing what they were already doing: Churning out the highly breakable, highly scratchable, highly lose-able, high waste "Jewel Case." The jewel case is, unbelievably still selling- a testament to the intransigence of big industry and the willingness of consumers to buy whatever we are offered.

The images below give an idea what the Jemcase was about. The cost of patenting was unbelievable- totally unsustainable for a lone inventor. Patenting is anything but fun. I can't imagine ever trying to patent anything again. There needs to be a better alternative especially for lone inventors, but big industry won't like that idea!

Above: The Jemcase- a screenshot for a marketing video made by Stephen O'Connell and myself in 2000

The above image shows the Jemcase in use as a desktop stack: Each disk can be removed from the stack without removing the case. Alternatively, each case can be removed from the stack as required.

Finally, the blog post that prompted the above tirade: Click here to access the post about rapid prototyping and a sensible view about patenting. I agree with the views expressed here: Patenting needs to be examined carefully for advantages/ disadvantages before committing lots of money and huge resources. My view: Life's too short to patent things. Perhaps the best way to get a product to market is don't patent anything- just offer your first product for free and allocate rewards to collaborators. Let the cheapest producer in the world put it into production. Use the new product as a marketing tool for yourself. You can easily prove that you were the one who came up with the concept.... Just an idea...

Any further comments to:

Friday, December 4, 2009

SketchUlpture: Sculpture made from SketchUp

OK I was wondering when this was going to happen. Sculptors pre-visualising their sculptures before they make them. Seems logical, especially when Carrera marble is so expensive these days... Are you planning to use SketchUp for sculptural purposes? Please send us your samples and we will publish anything interesting:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Google Earth: For Planning, Tourism and a million other uses.

Many people who aren't crazy about the internet (about half of the Irish population by my pessimistic estimation) and who have seen Google Earth, wonder what the use of GE3D models are, when I bring the subject up.  The problem with answering this question is where to start...... The potential uses are endless...

Next Wednesday, I will be meeting the Lord Mayor of Cork City Ireland to propose getting Cork on the map as a 3D featured city. Myself and Alan O'Brien want to make Cork a hub for Google products. (Any help from GE, GApps, etc. would be much appreciated) We want to do our (little) bit to help haul this country out of the mire that it's currently in.

We are also hoping to help Cork school children learn about Google Earth and SketchUp with some free training sessions starting this December/ January. More about this later...

Wish us luck!.... Check out this video which explains a lot of what we're talking about:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Beautiful Projects: Design It Shelter Competition Winners

The Design It Shelter Competition: This is the kind of enjoyable, personal architecture that gives people the chance to express their interests and really display original ideas and design flair. Well done to David Mares of Portugal and David Eltang of Denmark for some neat projects.

Friday, October 2, 2009

2D CAD dies tragically

2D CAD passed away tragically on 22nd September 2009. SketchUp 7.1 is implicated in it's death, as just about all of the advantages of 2D CAD are now adequately handled by LayOut 2.1. So long buddy. Say hello to Dot Matrix and Punchcard for us willya?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Watching Real life on Google Earth

Found this video on Digitalurban.blogspot. Very nice concept indeed. I was just thinking recently how beneficial it would be to have a webcam on a building site to monitor progress on a job. This is taking things a whole lot further.... Some people will not like the idea of being "watched" but as evident in this video, it's possible to make the live information anonymous. Comments very welcome.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dublin now on Google Earth

We're delighted to see such activity relating to an Irish city on Google Earth. Well done to all contributors to this fine collection of models. Lets have the same thing for Cork! Please let us know who's interested in a coordinated project to get Cork City on GE.

Main contributors: The Picture Works, City Trip Dublin, and others....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Inflatable Church in Germany

This is certainly a departure from traditional construction technology. Will it catch on? Found it on where there are a lot of interesting videos and other things...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ultimate control for your SketchUp drawing!!!!

Powerful Layer Control so that you can dictate instantly:

  1. what you want to see, and
  2. what you don't want to see

at the touch of a button and return to these settings instantly with this free plugin: (Click image for link)

Only shortcoming: I have to keep clicking View> Toolbar> Layer Manager every time I open SketchUp in order to see the toolbar. Hopefully this will be fixed- or maybe I'm doing something wrong! Anyway this is a massive plugin so our grateful thanks to Didier Bur.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fredoscale 2.0- Exploiting awesome open source SketchUp

To find out more about these tools and how to download them, visit cad addict

Note to Mac users: To install the wonderful Fredo plugins, place the main rb file and the associated folder directly into the plugins folder. (i.e. take them out of the enclosing folder. Email if you have any problems

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Contractors using SketchUp to make the building process more efficient and enjoyable

We came across a blog called "Insitebuilders" which is a superb reportage on how 3d drawing software is helping to change the way buildings are constructed. This (exciting, but lets face it, fairly obvious) extension to the way SketchUp is being used, is going to be a godsend to builders who are bogged down with more and more tedious paperwork as expanding legal requirements demand more and more piles of paper to fulfil legal criteria.

It will not be long before tender documentation will be based on 3d models, and anyone who wishes to keep up with the posse needs to start thinking 3d software. The question for architects/ engineers/ designers today is not "will I change to 3d software?" because the answer to that question is fairly obvious. The real question for any drawing office is "What 3d package will I use?"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Standard Steel and Construction Components plugin!

Calling all engineers and architects- Engineering Toolbox has created a fantastic plugin that allows users to select from a standard array of steel and pipework components- and whats really brilliant is the ability to input bespoke lengths, colours etc. 
The plugin works a treat even on my Mac! Needs SketchUp 7 to work properly.

 Download the plugin here (Right-click and save file if it doesn't download properly) Check out how to install plugins on our previous blog post (below).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Viewsion's List of Essential Plugins

Viewsion's Top 5 SketchUp Plugins
2. Mirror Selection
This is a context click (i.e. right-click on an object) command. Input the plane (3 points) in which you want to    perform the mirror operation and hit enter.
This command should have been included in SketchUp. Anyway, here it is. Once installed, you can find this command under the Draw menu or in the list of available tool buttons
This is a context click (i.e. right-click on a Group) command. A popup window allows you to input parameters for level of accuracy. (Object must be grouped and group closed)This context click (i.e. right-click on an object) command is a must have for landscape design:
It literally drops multiple trees down onto your 3d landscape. Superb time saver.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thanks to Gary McGinty

Thanks to Gary McGinty of for telling us about

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cork School of Music now on Google Earth 3d layer!

At last we have a model of a premier Cork building up on GE. Thanks to all who nominated it for the Best of 3d Warehouse prize! Also many thanks to José Manuel (blue ribbon modeller) and Josh Reilly of Google for their assistance. Here's to more of the same in the future...

Viewsion will be looking to encourage more people to produce models for Cork City and get Cork City Council involved.

We'll keep you posted...

Find the model on 3d Warehouse here:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Irish Architect's SketchUp collection now online...

I have been beavering away on a collection of images of my work in SketchUp along with some photos of the resulting buildings. I will be adding to this collection over time and reorganising, adding captions etc.

The image below is from a model of the Glucksman Art Museum in University College Cork designed by O'Donnell & Tuomey Architects, a Dublin practise that is producing some very important work. I have placed the model on Google 3D Warehouse (many thanks to José Manuel who has mentored me on modelling for Google Earth) I submitted it to Google Earth in the hope that it will be selected for the 3D layer, and so milluns and milluns of people from all around the world will gasp in awe at their computer screens when they visit Cork in GE.... OK so maybe I exaggerate a bit... Thanks also to Josh Reilly in Google for his assistance behind the scenes.

From viewsion aspire architecture portfolio drawings
Above: The Glucksman Museum UCC, Cork, Ireland.

 Below is a presentation of a recent project- an energy efficient dwelling in North Cork. I have found that SketchUp representation of a building is a great way to deliver exactly what you design, rather than leaving things to interpretation by the builder (or the client...)

Below is a sample of a an energy efficient dwelling project run entirely on SketchUp without the "aid" of CAD

From viewsion aspire architecture portfolio drawings

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Want to find work in these tough times? Learn sketchup!

Since Viewsion started offering official Google SketchUp training in Ireland, we have helped film set designers, landscape designers, architects, engineers, acoustic room specialists, building product manufacturers, medical education specialists, builders, and graphic artists, amongst others.

With SketchUp you can turn your hand to so many different areas that it can open up opportunities that you didn't even know were there.

The fact is that you can literally draw anything in SketchUp. Fast.

You can also draw things that don't have any immediately apparent commercial application, like this frame from the comedy series "Friends" by koen " jack sparrow " jespers
..... eh...... Thanks Koen....

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dynamic Components: Sheer SketchUp Magic

Dynamic Components represent a groundbreaking new development in SketchUp that allows you to do all sorts of things with components. For example, a window can be inserted that contains parameters for the maximum size of glass panes. The component can be stretched to fit, whereby the component with then auto-configure itself to the maximum pane sizes and resize the mullions and transoms to your settings (according to how the DC is designed/ controlled by you or the originator) The controls can be hidden or e.g. in the form of a pull-down menu.

Here are some tutorial videos

Here is a link to some tutorial drawings about how to use DCs

DCs can also be used to e.g. Configure stairs- Just re-scale a stairs component and it will reconfigure itself to your set tread sizes, risers, and even have the maximum 16 risers to a straight, angled or dogleg landing.

If you are carrying out multiple copies of detailed components, it may be well worth your while learning how to create dynamic components for SketchUp. Note: DCs can be used in the Free SketchUp version but may only be created in the Pro version.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

SketchUp: What can't it do?

More reasons to use SketchUp as a serious draughting tool:

Layout 2 (which comes with SketchUp 7) now allows SketchUp drawings to be converted into vector lines inside the Layout program. These lines can be controlled individually or collectively to provide the exact lineweights required. This tackles one of the last few barriers to replacing CAD with SketchUp. The drawing below is a sample detail drawing at 1/20 scale

In the drawing under, some of the lines have been converted into vector lines and new lineweights are selected for each individually or collectively (the lines are grouped according to the original groupings in the SketchUp drawing.) Note the thickness of the line delineating the foundation. This thickness was selected within the Layout program itself. Colour and linetype can also be controlled instantaneously.

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