The best plugins for sketchup

Written by anne cagle
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The best plugins for sketchup
There are many useful plugins for Google Sketchup. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Google Sketchup is a downloadable and three-dimensional (3D) modelling program for architectural, civil and mechanical engineers. The software is also useful for filmmakers and game developers. Google Sketchup will not run natively in Linux, but will run with a Windows compatibility layer such as WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator), or a virtual Windows environment like VirtualBox.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is a plugin that allows users to create and publish files to study and analyse virtual prototypes in immersing environments. The software supports three-dimensional object creation with linked media files playback. You can use Augmented Reality with audio, such as music and dialogue synchronised with the visuals. The software comes in a trial demo, and free educational or commercial packages for Windows and Mac operating systems.


Flattery is an unfold tool that turns a three-dimensional model into a two-dimensional unfolded model that you can cut and glue together to create objects, such as toys, handouts and architectural mockups. The software is for Windows or Macs but you can use it in Linux. You export the resulting image into a SVG file, and open it in Illustrator or Inkscape to colour, print or export to a different file format.


SimLab Soft is the creator of the 3D PDF plugin that brings Sketchup to the PDF format for the Windows and Mac operation systems. This commercial and site license allows you to export your models as a PDF in both the free and professional forms of Sketchup. You can adjust settings, such as a default lighting, to give effects to the three-dimensional scene; choose a navigation mode for the viewer; and specify rendering modes. Backplate imaging is available to contrast models so that these seem to pop out from the screen. The software allows you to merge the created file with other PDFs, and you have the option of making the documents secure with password protection.


Kerkythea is a free Linux option to 3D PDF that runs on Windows and Mac operating systems. The software is a stand-alone renderer that integrates with Google Sketchup, if you use emulating software, Blender, Wings 3D and 3dsMax. Kerkythea has many supported three-dimensional formats, such as OBJ, and XML. Supported rendering image formats include JPG, BMP and PNG. There are a variety of materials in this software, such as Matte, Thin Glass Material and Reflections to enhance renditions. Kerkythea offers lighting adjustments and a materials library to save created materials.


RpImageFilters is a free plugin that allows the user to manipulate Sketchup files with filters of brightness, contrast and image saturation. The software will do actions such as emboss, edge, and convert images to grey scale from colour.


Manually creating windows in Sketchup can be time-consuming, but there is a plugin that can easily accomplish the task. The Windowizer.rb plug-in is available in an older 3.05 free version and a newer version 4 for purchase. The software can render windows in different colours, rows and columns with an easy dialogue box. Windowizer can create objects, such as bookcases and stair rails.

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