Alex' collection of SketchUp tutorials and news posts that talk about all SketchUp topics: modeling, rendering, scripting, extensions, fabrication, etc. The five most recent tutorials and news posts are listed below. You can find everything else in the topic category archives: News Blog, SketchUp Tutorials, 3D Modeling, Extensions, Making, Rendering, Scripting, SketchUp Basics

Latest SketchUp Tutorials & News

GPT-3.5-Turbo vs. GPT-4 with the SketchUp OpenAI Explorer extension

GPT-3.5-Turbo vs. GPT-4 with the SketchUp OpenAI Explorer extension

Now that version 2.1 of the SketchUp OpenAI Explorer extension is available, it is easier to test the AI's capabilities when using the most recent GPT-4 model. In this post, I will be comparing side-by-side the gpt-3.5-turbo and the gpt-4 models with a few common examples. If you want to give this a try, too, make sure you have access to the gpt-4 model and then simply replace the model name in my SketchUp extension's settings dialog. The extension page on my other website features a longer list of successful prompts than what I am able to cover here. Feel free to give those a try, too. Example1: Draw a Box For this example, I asked the AI to draw a 2' (i.e. "two foot") box. I wanted to test not only whether the box would get drawn correctly, but also if the foot tick mark would be interpreted correctly as the foot unit. The images below show what I got with that...
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Getting the Calculations Right for a Perfectly-Balanced Mobile

Getting the Calculations Right for a Perfectly-Balanced Mobile

As I discuss in Chapter 6, you can create a mobile in SketchUp and design it in the software so that - when 3D printed or otherwise fabricated - this mobile hangs perfectly in the balance. This process works for all planar designs, independent of how many levels such a mobile may have. Example mobile with highlighted free-body diagram levels Step 1: Break the mobile down into individual Free-Body Diagrams (FBDs) The previous image shows one of my recent students' mobiles. It has a great theme and while it doesn't push this method enough (it is very symmetrical), it helps me explain this step. From a structural perspective, you need to break down the entire mobile into its sub-structures and their respective free-body diagrams (FBDs). You basically need to separate each of its individual levels in this step. The image shows how this looks for my student's mobile. Once broken down this way, you would analyze this mobile from the bottom to the top, following...
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SketchUp 2023.1 is out!

SketchUp 2023.1 is out!

As you may have seen on social media or the SketchUp Blog, this year's version of the desktop (Pro) version just got an update (2023.1). Here's what's new and noteworthy from my perspective: New icons. Given the use of new icons in the web and the iPad apps, this was definitely coming, so it should not be a surprise for anyone. While the old icons had a great run, this visual refresh was overdue. TIP: If you feel nostalgic for the old icons and want to keep them around (e.g. for a future craft project), go to the C:\Program Files\SketchUp\SketchUp 2023\Images folder and save all of the svg files somewhere before upgrading SketchUp to the latest version. Snaps. This is a very interesting feature because it allows you to set up snaps on objects (groups or components). Those then allow you to join those groups in an aligned fashion in one operation instead of copy-move-rotate placements. One example for where this is helpful...
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Just Released: Third Edition of “Architectural Design with SketchUp”

Just Released: Third Edition of “Architectural Design with SketchUp”

I am very excited to be announcing the release of the third edition of my book “Architectural Design with SketchUp”! You can as of now find this new edition on Amazon, Wiley and everywhere else where books are sold. It is available as full-color paperback and e-book editions. Since the publication of the second edition in 2015, many changes have happened to SketchUp and in the larger realm of architectural software: Trimble introduced a web version of SketchUp as well as an iPad version that has proven very popular. Real-time rendering options have increased in availability, and point cloud modeling is now often used on renovation projects. Beyond that, many new extensions have been published, others have gone away or have been replaced with built-in functionality, and their underlying Ruby engine has received new and updated capabilities. All of these changes made an update to the second edition necessary, which led to me thoroughly editing and rewriting the entire text. I updated screenshots...
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Yes, you can use OpenAI’s GPT AI to Create Geometry in SketchUp

Yes, you can use OpenAI’s GPT AI to Create Geometry in SketchUp

AI can create a box from a text prompt and even show a completion message Just like everyone else these days I have been trying out OpenAI's ChatGPT and Microsoft's Bing (which now also uses the same AI engine). One of my lines of exploration (beyond "what does this thing know about me?") was the question whether it can auto-generate SketchUp Ruby code. And - as it turns out - it can do that. Albeit with some caveats. As a start, you can go to ChatGPT and (after signing up) ask a reasonably specific question like "Which Ruby code would draw a box in SketchUp?". That would spit out somewhat appropriate code that you can just paste into e.g. the Ruby Code Editor. Apparently the SketchUp API is part of its knowledge base and generating SketchUp-specific Ruby code is thus well within its grasp. You could even refine the query with a comment like "Isn't there a simpler way to do this?"...
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