Sketch Up: the new digital architectural modeling tool


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Sketch Up is a 3-D digital architectural design and modeling program that is revolutionizing everything around us. Based on the design of the sides of an object to be projected, along with a fairly simple work scheme for modeling, the program offers tutorials to teach users in a didactic and comfortable way how to capture their ideas. It also offers several specialized plugins for advanced modeling functions.

Computer modeling allows the architect to capture ideas about its next work in an intangible way, providing the professional with the opportunity to see what is initially in its mind or on a plane without incurring in higher costs.

In other words, it’s about accessing what is in your imagination to give shape and digital structure to what can only be understood through images. Through modeling, digital technology brings the virtualization of projects to architecture, allowing the user to apply calculations and perspectives to correct, transform or modify what comes to life when the designs of the blueprints are implemented.

Thus, the modeling performed with Sketch Up puts in the hands of the architect, designer, decorator, and engineer a sort of laboratory where everything is possible and luckily enough, the diverse platforms currently available make the process even easier.

The plugins that are part of this program, which sum up its advantages, can provide the tools to model works of high level of detail and complexity. Here are the most interesting ones:


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Curves and domes

The plugin Sketchy FFD by CPhillips allows you to add a control cage to the work object to create complex domes and curves or free-flowing shapes through this controlled space, using a system of meshes that allow you to visualize the final result and manipulate it from any control point of the mesh, so you manipulate the original shape, deforming it to obtain the desired one.

Chains and shapes

The plugin HelixAlong Curve by 3dalbertsoft allows you to create helix tubing around simple lines. So, the modeler can only draw a line and create a surface with volume around it, which combined with other plugins, can create individual link chains applicable to the projection of cables, tubes, tunnels or roads.

Faces and cross-sections

The plugin SectionCutFace by TIG allows you to cut a solid and add an additional side with the required shape and dimensions specifications, as well as adding different colors to facilitate the presentation of the model. It’s a subtle tool that facilitates the modification of models.

Complex domes and asymmetrical volumes

When the plugins SubD and QuadFaceTools by ThomThom are combined, Sketch Up allows you to design complex domes or evolving volumes with clean subdivisions that are clearly rationalized and can be seen from a variety of perspectives and modified based on the needs of the user.


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Copy and memorize

The plugin Memory Copy by Adam Billyard allows you to replicate the geometry and transformations of modeling regarding color, shape, and rotation. Also, it allows you to remember the last movement or transformation made in order to replicate it again, which makes it an ideal tool in the design of sweeping staircases.

Voluptuous curves

Works with voluptuous curves such as those frequently used by the studio Zaha Hadid can be designed with the plugin Curviloft by Fredo6, which is very popular when the objective is to easily generate these curvilinear surfaces along with contours.

The tools of Sketch Up are as diverse as they are didactic and versatile, since they not only can be applied to modeling in architecture but are also very popular in the design of video games and animations.


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