Google Earth: What is it?

I ran across this operation in Google Earth. I don't suppose anyone might recognize what type of activity is going on here:

A Few Plugin Updates

But mostly via SCF

Comments Broken

I've had a couple reports that the comments form is broken. I didn't change anything, so I'll need to dig into the template and report back.

Plugin: Lay Off

Lay Off is a SketchUp plugin that changes the visibility behavior of new Layers.

When enabled, added Layers are visible only in the current Scene only, and hidden in all other Scenes (current and future.) When disabled, you get the "normal" SketchUp behavior you are used to.

Lay Off appears in the Plugins menu, and also has a toolbar button. Toggle the button on/off anytime while modeling. Models that are saved with Lay Off enabled, will re-open with it enabled; however, Lay Off is always OFF when starting a new model.

Adding Layers when there are no Scenes in the model will result in none of the added Layers visible in any Scene added afterwards.

LayOff is $9.00 and is available through

Plugin: Create edges from points data file

I wrote a quick plugin to read an ascii data file of points, and create edges between consecutive points.

The data files needs to be ascii and consists 2 or 3 delimited numbers per line. The numbers represent the x, y (and optionally) z positions of the points.

The delimiters can be any of: comma, semi-colon, space, or tab.

It may be downloaded here: plot_data_file.rb

[Plugin] Tools On Surface - v1.5b (Refresh - 17 Sep 09)

[Plugin] Tools On Surface - v1.5b (Refresh - 17 Sep 09)

[New Version - 17 Sep 08 - 23:30 CET] Version 1.5b
This version is a complete refresh, focusing on the User Interface and Usability.
You need to install LibFredo6 3.4 or higher. See file and details at
Note: those who downloaded v1.5a before 17 Sep 09 23:35 CET had a missing file. Please reinstall version 1.5b. Thanks to Daniel S. for signaling the problem.

Here are the main evolutions:

  • Button palette to view and access all options (also available from contextual menu and Short cuts)
  • You can Switch to Any tool from within Any tool, with the side palette
  • There is a generic icon button, keeping in memory the latest selected tool when used. Actually you can keep only this button in the toolbar if you have real estate problems.
  • All parameters are preserved across Sketchup sessions (by default)
  • The VCB accept formulas and unit specification for Length (for instance 3.2mm+0.4cm will mean 0.72cm). Angles can be specifed in degrees, radians, grades or % for slope.
  • Rings for Shapes can be visualized in a special palette (but can still be entered in the VCB with offset folowed by 'x')
  • Freehand On Surface now includes a Point & Click mode, in addition to the existing drag-over mode. You can mix up drawing with and without inferences (see video at
  • Line On Surface now generate faces
  • Angular Shapes like Rectangle, Parallelogram and Sector are generated as discrete curves so that you keep the sharp angles as plain lines when doing a Push Pull
  • The script comes with my ugly icons at installation, but you can switch to CadFather's ones, much nicer, in the Default Parameter dialog box, and also select the one you want to keep and discard.
  • And it's good to know that ToolsOnSurface also works without a surface. There is a trick explained in the doc to select the plane (mouse over a face and just press SHIFT, without clicking)

I did not change the algorithm for computing contours on surface. So you'll find the same limitations, especially on closed surfaces. I'll do something in a next release.
Documentation -->

Quickcard - ToolsOnSurface - English - v1.5 - 12 Sep 09.pdf
(770.04 KB) Downloaded 18 times

If you do not read it, it's a good idea to check out the tooltips of the button palette and the contextual menu.

ToolsOnSurface v1.5 is a Suite of Tools drawing on curved surfaces, with lines, various shapes, offset and Freehand / Polyline. It provides an inference mechanism, a Contour Editor and a dedicated Eraser.


Shapes includes:

* Circle and Polygon (already present in v1.2)
* Rectangle, defined by its length and width
* Parallelogram, defined by its length, width and angle
* Ellipses, defined by axes
* Circle defined by 3 points
* Arcs (circular)
* Sectors, defined by origin, direction and angle

All shapes have in addition the option to draw Rings, that is, the same contour offset by a negative or positive distance. And of course, all generated contours can be later edited by the Contour Edition tool.

The inference mechanism tries to simulate some stickiness when lines are drawn along some remarkable directions. There is also a Lock inference mechanism to force drawing in a particular direction. A Protractor can help to pick particular angles.

To install, Unzip the attached file, by doing a Select All, Extract to the Plugins Sketchup folder and Overwriting ALL files. See Documentation for details.

Plugin: Lathe1.2 by TIG

TIG, the impossibly prolific one-man plugin-writing machine, has posted another awesome plugin: Lathe.

Lathe is similar to Follow Me, only better. It works with polylines and not strictly faces, but will also use the edges of a selected face for the profile.










You are then asked for the the sweep angle and number of rotation:


Then, select the Lathe Axis:


Reverse Faces?


And Done!


Lathe is available on SCF

SketchUp Webinars for Urban Planners from

Tim Halbur wanted to get the word out about an upcoming series of hour-long SketchUp training webinars aimed at urban planners, designers, and developers:

We're offering a number of online trainings on using SketchUp for urban planners and designers. We'd be thankful if you would post a link to help us get the word out. Press release follows, and can also be linked to at:

Using Google for Urban Planning and Design

Free Google applications and technologies are creating a vast field of opportunity for people interested in the operation and design of urban places. Google SktechUp, Maps and Earth make understanding and re-imagining land use and development incredibly easy.

To teach people how to use these technologies in the context of urban planning, a series of webinars will be offered this fall by Planetizen, the web's leading home for news and information about urban planning and development. These informative sessions will introduce planners, designers and developers to new technologies and skills that will help expand knowledge of the field.

Each webinar will take place on Wednesdays at 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern. The cost is just $49.95. All Webinar Wednesday sessions have been approved to provide AICP Certification Maintenance credits.

Webinar Wednesdays Schedule:

September 23
Introduction to SketchUp for Planners

September 30
Density Conceptualization with SketchUp

October 21
Using Google Maps and Mashups for Planning

October 28
Google Earth for Planners -- An Introduction

November 4
The Virtual Staff Report -- Using the Free Version of Google Earth

November 11
The Virtual Staff Report -- Advanced Google Earth for Planners

Learn more about all of the education options Planetizen provides at

Book: SketchUp for Site Design by Daniel Tal

SketchUp guru Daniel Tal wrote in to say he has a new book out called "Google SketchUp for Site Design: A Guide to Modeling Site Plans, Terrain and Architecture"

Site design professionals can now use the powerful tools of Google SketchUp for their own practices. This clear and focused illustrated guide explains how site professionals can use the SketchUp tools and functions to construct expressive models of exterior spaces and architecture.

Utilizing the methodology known as SketchUp Process Modeling, the guide takes you step by step from the basics to more advanced methods that incorporate terrain, AutoCAD, and the creation of complex forms.

The book is available at : Google SketchUp for Site Design: A Guide to Modeling Site Plans, Terrain and Architecture

Video: Freehand Tool from Fredo’s Upcoming ToolsOnSurface Update


SketchUp Image and Test Post from MS Writer

Just wanted to try MS Writer for blog posting.


LDraw .dat Importer for SketchUp

My simple .dat importer for Sketchup is now avalable on bitbucket.

It is very "prototype", but is still useful if you want to get difficult LDraw (Lego) parts into SketchUp.

This plugin could do a lot more, but I don't find a lot of time to work on it; which is why I create the bitbucket repo.

Blog: The SketchUp Fanboy

Added another SketchUp blog to the list. Check out The SketchUp Fanboy - Martin Taylor's adventures in Sketchup for some nice articles about File Organization and version control.

Blog: My computer generated world

Jeffrey Carlos has written a few post about how he created a realistic tree in Sketchup and is rendering it in Indigo.

My computer generated world

Is SketchUp the Right Application?

Symon asks: Is SketchUp the right application? Leave a comment here, or via SCF


The company produces configure to order buildings from Garden sheds (library jobs) to almost completely customisable houses. We currently have a number of worksheets (buildings configurators) for each range of building. We are looking at consolidating these into one application.

The following outputs are essential.
1. Plans and elevations
2. 3D model
3. Bill of materials (cut list etc)

General overview of how a user configures a building in the current system.
1. Selects range of buildings i.e. timber Garage
2. Enter key criteria
• Wind zone
• Snow zone
• Length, Width and wall height
This selection determines the basic building to be configured
This building is basically 4 walls and roof

3. User selects from a list of specific available components (windows, Doors etc) and adds them to the building in the desired allowed location/s
4. There are rules about where they can go, how big i.e.
a. Window or door can’t be bigger than the wall
b. Distance from the wall end etc
c. appropriated selection of material as width and height change i.e. lintels
d. a number of faces on difference components change when the building colour changes

5. As components are added the appropriate materials are added / subtracted to meet engineering rules, such as connectors / brackets between joining lengths of material, nails, screws etc
6. As components change the cost of the building is shown
7. Bill of materials is generated and sent to factory (this is down to the number of nails, screws, bolts etc)


From what I have found via searches and reviewing is listed below my questions are in italics (if I have made any incorrect assumptions please let me know), before I start 1 of the main reasons for looking at SU over the in-house designed application is that currently all changes come to the IT department so we get bogged down in making lots of little changes. The idea that the R&D teams can make changes to components, design and cost new ranges with little or no intervention from IT is appealing to both parties. I have had a good look at a timber building configurator created in ruby, which is pretty good but does not use any dynamic components which leaves us in the same place as before, still needing to be done by IT. This may be the only option for complex buildings.

• Steps 1-2 The selection process can be done a number of ways Ruby toolbar (plug-in) or Web Console
o Toolbar to select range
o On selection prompted for criteria
o On completion select base building and display a selection of components

o Assuming I don’t want the app reliant on a web connection a ruby toolbar would be better?

• Step 3 a selection of components loaded into components widow, additional toolbars displayed or web consol

o Comments on the most versatile approach?
o I assume I can attach code to make sure a user does not add a rogue component to the building. That is they can’t draw, select unloaded or in any way modify the building other then with the pre-determined components

• Step 4 – Rules, this where I come a bit unstuck – I see 3 ways of doing this (some assumptions here)
o The building and the additional components are Dynamic components
o The building and the additional components are all ruby scripts that draw the components
o or combination of the 2 if this is possible

o With dynamic components is there any way to control how they interact with each other i.e. With a timber wall when a window is added it cuts into the timber framing. with the cutting in process a decision needs to be made as to how it connects/interacts with the adjoining material and additional components added i.e. nails, screws etc can this de done with dynamic components?
o Can the functions within a dynamic component look at / consumer external data
o Maybe a better question is, can functions within a dynamic components be a ruby a script

• Step 5 adding and subtracting material;
o Adding seems pretty straight forward subtracting seems like a bigger issue unless a component can remember its initial state

• Step 6 cost of the building is shown
o Believe this can be done with a ruby script as we would keep the pricing external to components

• Bill of materials is generated and sent to factory (this is down to the number of nails, screws, bolts etc)
o Believe it can be done with ruby script.

o Ideas around protecting components
o If anyone is in New Zealand and Australia that is interested in doing some paid training / Development with Ruby and Dynamic components please let me know

I’m really excited with the possibilities of SU.

Any feedback, constructive criticism would be very grateful

Cheers and thank you for your time

Ronen Bekerman - 3d Arch Viz Blog

I added a new SketchUp blog to the list: Please say hello to Ronen Bekerman; who just posted part 1 in what promises to be a great series of work-flow articles named "MAKING-OF MS House at Dusk" :

In part 1 I will cover topics starting from the initial DWG files manipulation and up to the point of exporting the SketchUP model to 3d Studio Max.

As for the blog itself:

This blog is about 3d architectural visualization. If you are interested in modeling and rendering architectural subject matter using software such as SketchUP, 3d Studio Max, V-Ray, Maxwell Render, Fryrender, Photoshop and more, then this is written for you.

Mr. Bekerman is also the head of Polytown - a 3d architectural visualization studio he founded in 2005.

[ visit ]

Wood Texture

I was organizing my hard drive and found this wood-like texture I made in Maybe someone can use it.

Posted by Picasa

PR: 50% off IDX Renditioner for Google SketchUp

IDX Renditioner is a plug-in for Google SketchUp that provides high-quality photorealistic rendering – fast and easily. Renditioner works directly within SketchUp and lets you control the materials, advanced lighting components, environments, and background images. Renditioner is “one button” easy -- now more than ever.

[ link: IDX Renditioner ]

PR: MAC version of the ARmedia Exporter and Player Available

The Development Lab of Inglobe Technologies released today the MAC version of both the AR-media™ Exporter for SketchUp and the AR-media™ Player.

[ link: AR-media Plugin for Sketchup ]

Google Earth 5.1: Think fast

Google LatLong: Google Earth 5.1: Think fast:
"But here at Google, we've realized that one of the most important features of all is speed. One of our key design principles is 'fast is better than slow.' So for the newest version of Google Earth, we've been hard at work making it faster."

Plugin: Layer/Scene Visibility Map

Layer/Scene Visibility Map:A New Sketchup plugin from a new sketchup plugin contrbutor Martin Rinehart.
"Do I Need VisMap?

Do you have non-trivial models with lots of scenes and layers? If you do, VisMap is for you. If you SketchUp on a Mac, VisMap is not yet for you, but stay tuned."

GreenspaceLive | LiveEnergy Modeller

GreenspaceLive | LiveEnergy - Let's get to work on a low carbon world:
"LiveEnergy Modeller is an energy analysis plugin for Google SketchUp. Based on the gbXML standard for designing resource efficient buildings and specifying associated equipment, LiveEnergy Modeller enables the building designer to decorate 3D SketchUp building models with gbXML surfaces and openings, to identify and label gbXML spaces, and to import and export gbXML models. As a result of using LiveEnergy Modeller, Google SketchUp becomes an intelligent solution for low carbon building design. Models can be quickly exported to LiveEnergy EPC for energy analysis and certification."

Monopoly City Streets: Design your own MONOPOLY Building Competition Launches

Monopoly Monopoly Monopoly Monopoly Monopoly .

Monopoly City Streets: Design your own MONOPOLY Building Competition Launches

You will be competing with a billion other people for a $495 SketchUp Pro license.

The deadline to submit is Sunday, September 27, 2009 at midnight, EST.

$100 Off Sketchup Pro Until Sep 30

Official Google SketchUp Blog:
"we'll give you $100 USD off a single-user license if you purchase before September 30, 2009 (enter promo code S7MPTR in our online store)."

[Plugin] 2 Faces Path ver. 1.0.

SketchUcation Community Forums • View topic - [Plugin] 2 Faces Path ver. 1.0.: "Description: Plug-in, which creates blended object from 2 faces path curve."

[plugin] Axis components

This sketchup plugin by sahi is a tool for moving the axes of a component.

SketchUcation Community Forums • View topic - [plugin] Axis components CryEngine2 Fixes and More

PlayUp - Making it Easy to Make Games - CryEngine2 Fixes and More:
"In this build, the CryEngine2 exporter is LIGHTNING fast in comparison to the last update (what would take 2 minutes before now takes 2 seconds), and we have fixed a bug where models missing material data on any of the front faces would not export correctly.

Another nice addition is that PlayUp will no longer be in conflict with other plugins such as LightUp or SketchyPhysics."

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