SketchUp Plugins: Slice Modeler

Create Slices of a model to easily simulate curved surfaces.
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Asteronimo has written this great script based on TIG's Slicer Plugin. The New plugin called SliceModeler.rb allows to slice the model in two directions to generate the necessary slides to build it on the real world. This is extremely useful when trying to reproduce curves surfaces (or their skeleton), and I can imagine it could be used on models of ships or to create the base for a complicated terrain.

I just created a quick overview video of this great plugin to share quickly its functionality. Be careful with the settings, the first time I used it I set it wrong and it created 200 slides on each direction crashing my computer (my fault, the plugin warned me).

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Is the Architect's Profession Dead?

So it seems reading the letter of a Spanish Architect to a Newspaper. How is it where you live?
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I was reading today in La Vanguardia a heartbreaking letter of a Spanish Architect talking about what it means to be an architect today in Spain. The original one can be read here, I will translate it below.

You are lucky, Mies van der Rohe. You never had to see this. Sert, Coderch, Sota, I envy you. You left thinking that architecture was an exciting and possible effort. Oíza, Solà, Miralles, I envy all of you who died when this profession still existed. Today it is no longer so. Today I see my friends, I see myself, wandering around comfortless, ashamed to be architects, scared, wishing not to be an architect, to be something else, anything else.

"¿Do you have something for me? I can work doing anything you want". Who was going to tell us that we would see the end of our passion, of our work, of everything. "Anything, please" Aalto, Jacobsen, who coould tell it to us.

There is nothing left. Nothing at all.


It is heartbreaking...I am curious, how is the reality in your own country. What do young architects do? Is it easy to find a job, a decent job, any job? Please, share below on the comments section. We will all benefit from it.

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SketchUp Plugins: Face Number Reduction

Reduce the number of faces in your model using this easy to use plugin. It will speed up your working time and improve render speed.
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POLYGON REDUCER (polyreduce.rb) is a SketchUp plugin to reduce the number of faces of SketchUp objects. It is useful especially when we use high poly models imported in our model or when we simply want some surfaces to be simpler and lighter. Below you can see a simple comparison of an object created with the Torus plugin before and after using the polyreduce with the face count on the left.

Above the initial object before using the Plugin. Below the object after running the Polyreduce plugin.

As you can see above, sometimes the object will not look so smooth as before running the plugin. This has an easy solution. We run the Soften Edges function and we can control again which edges are shown and which ones are hidden achieving a better result as it can be seen below.

To use the plugin you must select the faces you want to simplify. Then right click and select "Polyreduce" from the context menu. On the dialog box, you can select the percentage of reduction you want to use. Very useful Plugin!

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SketchUp 8 is Out!

A new version of the great SketchUp is out! Version 8 with many new features and tools.
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Google has announced today the release of Sketchup 8 (Pro and Free versions). They have also posted a quick video to showcase the new features. See it below.

There is also a new page listing the new features. For me, the greatest introduction is the "Solid Tools". It is what in other Programs like Rhino or AutoCAD would be called Boolean operations. Unfortunately, it is only for the Pro version. There are also new Geo-modeling tools and context gathering that will help you get better site context and better quality terrain. Also, Layout is updated to version 3 with new features. My favourite though are definetily the new Solid Tools.

This new features will leave a couple of plugins obsolete. One, the comercial one called BoolTools. With the new Solid Tools, Pro users will be able to do this without the need of a plugin. Also, the Volume Calculator Plugin will not be needed anymore, since SketchUp pro will automatically calculate the volume for Solid entities.

Haven't seen so far any mention to Multi-Processor support which is a pity, but well, one step at a time.

via Official Google SketchUp Blog: Announcing Google SketchUp 8

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AutoCAD comes back to Mac

Autodesk to announce support for Mac of their star product AutoCAD. It's been almost 20 years...
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On a recent article at the New York Times it was announced that Autodesk is finnally planning to release an AutoCAD version for MAC. Autodesk stopped producing AutoCAD for Mac in 1992, in recent years users were able to use it by installing Bootcamp or Parallel desktops to run windows on their Macs. Not so long ago, Autodesk announced they would provide support for Bootcamp users, which it was already seen as a first step into accepting that more and more Architecture, Construction and Design professionals have switch to Mac but still wanted to use AutoCAD (or had to).

All Mac users should be happy with this, and definitely Steve Jobs will be too, for not supporting AutoCAD was probably one of the last barriers to allow Macs to enter the professional/company world.

The same article also announced that there will be some free versions of AutoCAD for iPad, iPhone and iTouch, making it possible to visualize drawings or models from you Apple device. Not sure about how useful this would be on a small device, but it could definetily be useful on the iPad to visualize drawings on site without the need of a laptop.

We will follow up on this, release is announced for October this year, but it seems you will be able to run AutoCAD on a Mac soon without Bootcamp or Parallel Desktops.

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New Buildings App for iPhone

A new iPhone Application for Architecture lovers is out there, and it is free.
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Finally there is an application for Architecture lovers to use on the iPhone. It is called "Buildings" and it uses the database from the open source wiki style website called Below you can find an excerpt from the app's page.

FIND, LEARN ABOUT & SHARE the ARCHITECTURE around you! Buildings is a wikipedia for architecture at your finger tips; it allows you to find and learn about architecture nearby and from around the world. A global directory of buildings with vast amounts of high quality media and information.
Using Buildings, you can read information, look at images, watch videos and find directions to architecture using the iPhone. There, you can join our online community by sharing to Facebook & Twitter, uploading new photos & videos and checking in with your location.
With a rapidly growing, user-generated database of architecture, Buildings offers a very rich source of architectural information to professionals, architecture-lovers, tourists & students alike

An here also a couple of screenshots of the app.

I do not own an iPhone myself (yet) but this seems extremely useful, especially when visiting other cities. Get the app on the itunes store. It is free.

via Archinect.

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AutoCAD: Select objects before running the Command

This is a common problem after having FATAL ERROR crashed. The settings go wrong and you can't select the object first. No worries, it has an easy solution
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Norman asked me recently the following question:
My CAD had a fatal error.
Where I used to click on a command then an object (eg: select block then copy)
I now have to click on the button then select object (eg: click on copy then select the block)
Can anyone help me change this back?

This is a common problem that occurs after crashed. For some reason there is a system variable that goes nuts after the fatal errors.

This system variable is called PICKFIRST. It controls what is called the "noun-verb" behavior of AutoCAD. This is the logic behind the variable.

0 - Turns OFF PICKFIRST. Select objects after a command is invoked.
1 - Turns ON PICKFIRST. Select objects before or after a command is invoked.

I can't tell you why this happens, but at least now you know how to solve it.

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SketchUp Plugins: Modeling Twisted Torus

Model Interesting Shapes with the Torus Plugin using the twisting function.
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I recently posted about how to model basic shapes like Torus, Spheres and Ellipses with or without a Plugin. Although on the videos I showed you that the shapes can be done without plugins, I've been playing a bit more with the Torus plugin and it is quite useful.

The best fucntion is to me the possibility to model twisted torus. See with the following two images what can be done.

Te plugin can be download at the author's blog.

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Autodesk Navisworks Freedom: Clash Detection Viewer

Download the Free Viewer for Navisworks.
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I was working recently in a project where collision detection was needed to ensure that the work done by architects, structural engineers and MEP Engineers was fitting with each other. The program chosen to do this was Autodesk Navisworks.

As with almost all Autodesk Products, the license price is quite expensive (~$10,000). Luckily, only the consultant in charge of the clash and collision detection had to assume this license price. All other consultants could visualise the collisions detected using the free viewer, Navisworks Freedom.

Autodesk navisworks Freedom is the free counterpart to the expensive Autodesk Navisworks Manage. It allows to visualise the 3D Model and to see the collision markups created with Navisworks Mananage. For us, it was enough to have Navisworks Freedom installed in all relevant workstations and have only the Clash Detection Constultant do his job and to send us the file so each spacialty (Architecture, Structre, MEP...) could follow up on the markups and solve the issues.

You can download Navisworks Freedom here

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SketchUp Plugins: Updated Plugins List

The list of SketchUp Plugins reveiwed at CAD Addict has reached 67, check it out.
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I had no time to update the list of plugins lately. Finally today I did it and added more than 10 plugins I had reviewed recently. The list reaches already 67 plugins. Some might be getting old but the list is pretty comprehensive.

To access it click here

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New Beta Features at CAD Addict

New Site layout and some extra features to increase user participation
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I've been doing some "controlling" of the site through my analytics thingy. I discovered less than 9% of visitors are using screen resolutions under 1152 pixels wide, so I decided to increasde the website layout width to better handle some new features I had been testing in the last weeks. If you are of that low 9%, I am sorry if this causes you some discomfort, but the site needs to evolve following the user trends.

CAD Addict Forum: I have been receiving an increasing amount of questions through the contact form. I've managed to answer almost all of them so far, but I might not be able to do it in the next months. For this reason I've set up a Forum where you can directly post your questions, and I can reply there or anyone else can help. This way, we will all benefit from the questions and answers instead of remaining a private thing between me and one of you.

Comments: For shorter comments, random stuff, off topic discussions,etc. I created a conversation page using Google Web Elements. Let's see if there is a need for this. You can comment using your Open Id login.

This is all pretty new, so please be patient if something doesn't work properly. And of course feel free to let me know what you think about it and if you have any suggestions to improve it.

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Book: Constructing the Future: nD Modelling

A reference book for many scholars writing and researching about BIM. A must read to understand the full potential of BIM.
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On my process to write my master thesis about BIM as a project management tool I found many scholars referencing this book in their papers so I decided to get a copy.

Constructing the Future: nD Modelling. Despite being a book published in 2006, it is worth reading, for it is very comprehensive in scope and deals with all aspects of Building Information Modeling, from its role as an Estimating tool, to its use for Construction Management or how to use it by Facility Managers. It also mentions the importance of International Foundation Classes for better cooperation, and many more aspects I would recommend you to discover by yourself.

There are many blogs out there that post tutorials about how to model complicated things using Revit, ArchiCAD or other BIM packages. To me what is more relevant about BIM is its potential as a Catalyst to change and improve the design and construction process. I think this book is key to understand this.

To get a copy for yourself click on any of the images below to buy it directly on amazon.

or or

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