20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:18 am

Hey gang

I'm working on a set of videos to help SketchUp artists learn how to use Blender. After spending some time with Blender, I've come up with 20 reasons why to switch, and a bunch of reasons why you may not want to switch.

This does not mean I will quit using SketchUp, it's just it won't be my go to modeler anymore.

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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby pilou » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:32 am

Cool advocacy! :enlight:
Now user can try it but anticipate some free times for a robust training! :)

Maybe wait the 2.8 who must have a little more friendly UI! :)
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:59 am

This guy has a pretty good interface that rides on top of Blender, making things much easier. It will be updated so it works with Blender 2.8 as well.

It would be cool to build a "SketchUp" like GUI for Blender. There are already push/pull plugins which work surprisingly well.

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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby pilou » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:42 am

Yep radial menus are speedy light!
Must be in all 3D programs! :)
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby nickchun » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:46 am

Very interesting Chipp and well timed. I have dabbled with Blender on and off and like most people have struggled with the steep learning curve and UI. You make a good case for both, but how do you think you could replicate having a library of SU components in Blender that can be dragged and dropped as easily? This functionality has prevented me from trying to move to Blender. I have looked at the 'append' function but it still seems a bit long winded. I design kitchens so I have a large collection of cabinets saved as components which are dropped into models very quickly in SU. I would be happy to invest the time in learning Blender if I could find a few workarounds.
Nicely put together video by the way.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby pilou » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:44 am

You can try this free version of Blender Specialized in Kitchen! ;)




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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby Glenn at home » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:58 pm

Nice video and good points for sure. Your computer must be a dog ;) SU Pro 2018 launches in 7 sec on my Dell OptiPlex 9020 (Intel i7-4770, GTX 645, 16 gb ram and 520 gb SSD) but yes Blender does it in 3.5 sec :)
Yes, I wish someone would but build a SU like interface on top of Blender.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby nickchun » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:39 pm

Thanks for reminding me of Fluid designer Pilou. Just gave it another try but runs slow on my machine. Also takes you away from the native Blender interface which I don't like.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby pbacot » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:35 pm

Very nice so far. I'm in the architecture bag (as regards your first points in the video)... and, yes, mostly rectilinear familiar shapes, some use of LayOut...and dependence on "billable" hours. That is, as long as I can make money doing SU quality work for 3d, it's hard to spend time on a serious modeler. However I would love a bridge to faster working and rendering. Just the basic models are so slow to work with in SU and always limiting. If you saw my models, I'm not asking for much, I assure you. I will, however, have time to watch these videos as they are well done, easy to watch.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby ntxdave » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:43 pm

@chippwalters I think your video of reasons has a lot of very valid points. One could only hope that people at Trimble view it and take head to some of your points.

Thanks for sharing...………. :thumb: :thumb:
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby juju » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:48 pm

ntxdave wrote:One could only hope that people at Trimble view it and take head to some of your points.

One can hope, but IMHO past experience has shown a reluctance to "listen" to the userbase; granted many requests/comments by said userbase isn't feasible but when the same thing pops up again and again over multiple releases I would think it should be investigated/addressed. I hope the 2019 version to be released later this year will bring some satisfaction. I hope the new version will be able to read the previous version installation and install/migrate the required extensions plugins (that ugly word that just absolutely had to be changed) and screen / menu arrangement across automatically. Yes I know there are extension compatibility issues with almost every new version, but I wouldn't mind leaving the machine and SketchUp installation running through the night if all the extensions of my current installation could be automatically vetted and incompatible extensions (not installed/migrated) listed for me. Most of the time though whatever worked in your old installation generally works in the new version as well.

The problem is, many professional users are quite invested in SketchUp through rendering software, extensions, workflow, Layout and just the mere fact that it is something they are familiar with.
Very few of these professional users will change because not changing is the path of least (immediate) resistance. I fall in this category.

To be quite frank, I'm not sure how Blender is able to handle so many polygons the way it does, it must be black magic if you ask me. SketchUp is fast, as long as you don't install extensions, keep the shadows off, use low res materials, keep your model structured properly, keep certain windows (standard tools for that matter, Outliner hint-hint) closed during certain times, keep different models for different things within the same project, and keep your model small scale with little detail.

Then there's Layout, another lighting fast piece of kit that insists you use a new layering system and not the one you set up in your SketchUp model, and then maybe adding a few new ones to be used exclusively in LO.

Complete dealbreakers to me are online only software and / or subscription based software. I use the software I paid for on my terms for as long as I see fit without getting locked out of my own work / workflow just because I didn't renew a subscription.

I consider myself as having an above average laptop PC (Win10 on 512GB m.2 PCIE SSD, 7700K, 1080GTX, 64GB RAM, 1GB SATA SSD storage) on which I work, with a reasonable working knowledge of SU and modeling but SU + LO just doesn't really get quicker.

Sorry people, not meant as a rant, I love SU but I fear it may be just us fanboys left within a few releases. Without sufficient userbase the commercial extension developers will stop developing and cause further decline in SU use. So who'll be left eventually? Only a few people at SU hanging on to their licences for "the good old days" sake, and the rest of us stuck with our Pro licences as you can't resell it (or 99% of the commercial extensions' licences).
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:35 pm

nickchun wrote:Very interesting Chipp and well timed. I have dabbled with Blender on and off and like most people have struggled with the steep learning curve and UI. You make a good case for both, but how do you think you could replicate having a library of SU components in Blender that can be dragged and dropped as easily? This functionality has prevented me from trying to move to Blender. I have looked at the 'append' function but it still seems a bit long winded. I design kitchens so I have a large collection of cabinets saved as components which are dropped into models very quickly in SU. I would be happy to invest the time in learning Blender if I could find a few workarounds.
Nicely put together video by the way.


There are plugins for Blender that allow you to create and access your own libraries of "components" (Blender calls them instances) and add them just like you can do in SketchUp.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:37 pm

Glenn at home wrote:Nice video and good points for sure. Your computer must be a dog ;) SU Pro 2018 launches in 7 sec on my Dell OptiPlex 9020 (Intel i7-4770, GTX 645, 16 gb ram and 520 gb SSD) but yes Blender does it in 3.5 sec :)
Yes, I wish someone would but build a SU like interface on top of Blender.


My computer is plenty fast, plus I'm using SSDs as well. It has to do with the type and number of plugins you have installed.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby Glenn at home » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:24 pm

There was a 'wink" in there Chip. Here's another one ;)
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:14 pm

Glenn at home wrote:There was a 'wink" in there Chip. Here's another one ;)

Here's a wink ;) AND I raise you a smile! :)
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby Glenn at home » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:52 am

Thumbs up. Those extensions can really slow down the startup d SU.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:19 am

There's a built in add-on (plugin) to Blender called Archimesh which does some pretty neat architectural things. Plus there are also some commercial architecture add-ons that also can do some fairly amazing things as well.

Archimesh:

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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby srx » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:08 am

Thank you for these introductions to Blender use, particulary for Architecture. I also hope that someone will make Sketchup UI on top of Blender engine, which would be a good backup plan to keep SU alive after the death.

UI is doable. But what about these 3 very important features for architectural work:

1 Can Blender be precise? Does it have dimension input on the fly while transforming objects with constrains active?

2 Layout replacement? I use Autocad LT instead of SU Layout. Is it possible to export 2D drawings (sections) from Blender to AutoCAD with layers?

3 Structuring information trough layers, nesting containers... Attaching information to objects (properties, IFC...) for making reports and for exchange- building BIM.

If Blender could host these critical features, it would really become alternative to Sketchup, as a solution for architects, not only modeler(like 3dmax)
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby cuttingedge » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:12 am

Thanks there Chippwalters... I agree SU needs major rewriting if it wants to stay in the game..But If I want to shift to a more "serious modeling" tool and dive to that steep learning curve... Why not 3ds max or Maya? Has Blender overtaken the two as the industry standard.. I mean if I am to continually pursue a career in ArchViz?
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby rv1974 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:22 am

May be I missed something but what is the ground for this exessive alarmism about Sketchup heading to Cloud ONLY? It'd be suisidal for Trimble do it in following decade ~+\-
P.S. Well with all my respect this Archimesh add-on a bad joke. I'd end up living under the brige trying to 'work' this way.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:16 am

Here's a video I just made to help people get started by showing them how to download, install and configure Blender.

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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:21 am

srx wrote:1 Can Blender be precise? Does it have dimension input on the fly while transforming objects with constrains active?

Yes, Blender can be precise. There are several Architectural addons for Blender, some of which are free. One, Archimesh, is included with Blender.

srx wrote:2 Layout replacement? I use Autocad LT instead of SU Layout. Is it possible to export 2D drawings (sections) from Blender to AutoCAD with layers?

Blender does not have a 2D drafting package.

srx wrote:3 Structuring information trough layers, nesting containers... Attaching information to objects (properties, IFC...) for making reports and for exchange- building BIM.

It's a big community. Perhaps there is a plugin that does exactly as you say. A quick Google search of Architecutral Addons for Blender shows a lot.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:26 am

cuttingedge wrote:Thanks there Chippwalters... I agree SU needs major rewriting if it wants to stay in the game..But If I want to shift to a more "serious modeling" tool and dive to that steep learning curve... Why not 3ds max or Maya? Has Blender overtaken the two as the industry standard.. I mean if I am to continually pursue a career in ArchViz?

All good choices, as is Modo and/or Lightwave. My choice of Blender is somewhat personal. I've been working on a huge project for the past 18 months (http://alamoreality.com) and while I've created 95% of the architecture in SU, 2 of the other 3 modelers use Blender-- and they do so much faster than I (and I thought I was pretty fast) b/c they have a more optimized workflow using Blender with it's UV mapper and visualization capabilities.

Plus, if you follow Blender, you see they are way ahead in some of the modeling plugins (HardOps, Decal Machine, BoxCutter) and the commercial guys are trying to play keep up-- not to mention EVEE.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:34 am

rv1974 wrote:May be I missed something but what is the ground for this exessive alarmism about Sketchup heading to Cloud ONLY? It'd be suisidal for Trimble do it in following decade ~+\-
P.S. Well with all my respect this Archimesh add-on a bad joke. I'd end up living under the brige trying to 'work' this way.


Yep, I suspect you did miss something. Over on the Sketchucation forum there's a VERY LONG thread talking about all this, and several comments from SU devs saying how great the cloud is for application development. They point to other apps, like Onshape, which reside totally in the cloud.

And if you think about it (and know something about software development), it's a huge lift to create a cloud version of SU-- and just for free? Based on the meager feature gains over the past few years, and the MAJOR infrastructure gains in the cloud, they can't be planning anything other than moving everyone to the cloud. There are several advantages to SU in the cloud when you match it with Trimble's other businesses.

Remember, SU is not Trimble's only product, and it's easy to see it takes a back seat to many more lucrative businesses. I don't think they mind losing users as they certainly haven't spent any time trying to make SU compete with other modelers.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby Stinkie » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:29 pm

I use Modo (and SU, obviously) myself, but one cannot deny Blender's a pretty decent app. Development's great, lots of free (or cheap) plugins, tons of learning resources -and now Eevee ... :thumb:

Also, the Blender Foundation is transparent about Blender's development, as are many of the plugin developers about their stuff. From my perspective, that's something commercial developers could learn from.

If I were to start over, I'd choose Blender.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby Glenn at home » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:52 pm

LOL at 1st few seconds of the archimesh video above "change select to left-mouse" 1st thing I did when playing with Blender. Why make select with right-mouse? :crazy:
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby pbacot » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:08 pm

What are the blender output options? As limited as it is, LayOut has helped me use SU in everyday practice, as solid output portal. I can make pdfs, dwg, or png as needed. From SU or LayOut I can also just take screen shots to mail to associates on the fly for discussion (whereas so far Blender doesn't look very good to me on screen for this sort of thing). LO output is easily translatable to the working drawing format. Does Blender get there somehow? The movement toward real-time rendering is exciting. So are all outputs via raster images? If I can get a scale image out I can do the rest of the "paper space" work in CAD... If vector linework can be exported as well, all the better. Thanks for this discussion!
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby alpro » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:58 am

As someone who works with other Trimble software and hardware everyday I feel pretty confident that you will not see the pro version of Sketchup heading online anytime soon, that doesn't fit with any of their other professional tools. They have integrated SU quite a bit with their other tools, from import/export with Trimble Business Center, to Field Points, being able to use machine control with SU, to modeling from photos taken with the V10 rover and/or the S Series robotic total stations. However being that SU is part of the Trimble Buildings division I also doubt you will see advanced modeling options similar to Blender or 3DMax added anytime soon. I expect most of the future updates to focus a lot on Layout. Architecture, site and landscape design is where SU fits in the Trimble eco system and it already does that pretty well. Now that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to learn Blender, I have tried in the past and will again in the future, probably with the release of 2.8. However since 90 % of my SU work is architecture, SU will remain my software of choice for that for the foreseeable future. Thanks for the videos.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:07 pm

pbacot wrote:What are the blender output options? As limited as it is, LayOut has helped me use SU in everyday practice, as solid output portal. I can make pdfs, dwg, or png as needed. From SU or LayOut I can also just take screen shots to mail to associates on the fly for discussion (whereas so far Blender doesn't look very good to me on screen for this sort of thing). LO output is easily translatable to the working drawing format. Does Blender get there somehow? The movement toward real-time rendering is exciting. So are all outputs via raster images? If I can get a scale image out I can do the rest of the "paper space" work in CAD... If vector linework can be exported as well, all the better. Thanks for this discussion!


As said in the video, Blender has no Layout option. There is no 2D equivalent to Layout in Blender.

w/regard to creating a SU style rendering, I believe it's possible, but I haven't done it. I did do a similar style in KeyShot as evidenced in this video explaining it, so I believe it's possible in Blender-- I just haven't figured it out yet.



As I show in my second video on installing and configuring Blender, you can set unit size to metric or imperial. Certainly that's not as good as SU, but it should be good for import and export (though I haven't spent much time going back and forth from Blender to SU).

You can use the FreeStyle SVG Export to export Blender to vector.
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Re: 20 Reasons for SketchUp artists to consider Blender

Postby chippwalters » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:14 pm

alpro wrote:As someone who works with other Trimble software and hardware everyday I feel pretty confident that you will not see the pro version of Sketchup heading online anytime soon, that doesn't fit with any of their other professional tools.


So, perhaps you have an idea why they are spending a significant amount of their development time creating a free cloud version and not improving SU Pro? And you think Trimble is in the business of maintaining two code bases? If they had no intention of eventually going to the cloud, it would be much simpler keeping Make free-- or even crippling it. Makes zero sense to spend so much time creating a hobbled free version for browsers.

Furthermore, do you really think they are going to expect developers to maintain two different versions of their plugins: 1 for the cloud and another for the desktop version? They have already stated they want to eventually enable plugin support for the cloud version, and that there will need to be changes to the current plugins codebase.

alpro wrote:Thanks for the videos.

You're welcome. I plan on creating more.

As I mentioned in the video, switching isn't for everyone, and point 5 states you may not want to consider switching if you are an architect. I doubt Blender can compete with SU and/or Revit or other architecture specific software.
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