5 SketchUp Plugins Everyone Needs


5 SketchUp Plugins Everyone Needs

01 SU Podium + Podium Browser

With SU Podium you can make beautiful, photo-realistic renderings of your SketchUp model without the pain and frustration of learning a complex program. SU Podium runs completely inside SketchUp from start to finish. Its simple interface cuts the learning curve to minutes instead of months.  But don't let the simplicity and low price of SU Podium mislead you.  SU Podium has one of the highest quality photon mapping/ raytracing and Global illumination engines on the market today. When used in tandem with their Podium Browser you can quickly and easily populate a scene with render ready materials, people, vegetation, fixtures, appliances, furniture, and lights. The contents of the Podium Browser library download directly into your sketchup model similar to getting a model from the 3d warehouse.

SU Podium Interface

Podium Browser Interface

Feature Graphics rendering generated using SU Podium + Podium Browser

02 Podium Section Tool

A common problem with most Sketchup rendering programs is that they cannot render through an active section plane.  Podium Section Tool, however, creates a  "physical" section of your model where the selected SketchUp section plane is located. This enables you to use SU Podium or any rendering program to render the physically sectioned model. SU Podium Section Tool does not change your original model but makes a copy of the current model in the same directory as the original .skp file. With this tool you can also add poche to your cut to make the section read more clearly.

03 Material Replacer

Material replacer is a simple Sketchup plugin that you can download from the extensions warehouse for free. It enables you to select one material in sketchup and replace it globally with another. This is extremely convenient for rendering different material studies. 

04 Layers Panel

Layers panel is a free plugin that can be found on the extensions warehouse that allows you to have greater organization with your sketchup layers. It's interface creates a panel and layer system that mimics adobe photoshop. You can now group, organize, sort, and lock  your layers which can be extremely valuable when working on large complex sketchup models.

05 SketchUp STL

The plugin allows you to import and export STL file formats in Sketchup. STL file format is  typically used for 3D printing. This plugin is available for free on the extensions warehouse and it a must have for anyone using sketchup to create models for 3D printing.

Thanks for reading. Make sure you share this with your fellow classmates and colleagues. Comment below on other SketchUp plugins that you can't live without.


5 Easy Ways to Improve a Render in PS


5 Easy Ways to Improve a Render in PS

Post processing  is one of the most important steps in creating captivating renderings. Programs like V-Ray and SU Podium create a realistic base renderings but with the proper adjustments and effects in Adobe Photoshop you can easily make your renderings more compelling.

01 Adjusting Curves

Adjusting curves can help remove the "filmy" look that most base renders have. By custom adjusting the curves you can dial in the contrast, tone, and color balance. This, however, requires a skilled eye and some experience. For the image below we simply used the curves preset for "increase contrast". To adjust curves in PS go to image > adjustments > curves

02 HDR Toning

HDR Toning can also help improve the contrast and clarity of an image. HDRing, however, gives you the ability to increase the detail of an image to give it texture and make materials stand out more. Another advantage of HDR toning is the amount of parameters that can be adjusted including edge glow, gamma, exposure, detail, shadow, highlight, vibrance, and saturation. You can find it in PS under image > adjustments > hdr toning. The image below was created using the default hdr preset with no tweaks.

03 Linework Overlay

Sketchup, Rhino, or Revit linework can be exported and overlayed on a render to help give it texture and more definition. In many images it can help viewers better read and understand the geometry of a project. To do this export your linework from the same view as the render and at the same resolution. Open it in photoshop and put it on a separate layer on top of your render and set the blending mode to linear burn. The image below was created with a hidden line mode export with opacity set to just 30% in photoshop. To get more texture try using xray line mode exports.

04 Radial Zoom Blur

Using a radial zoom blur can help draw more attention to a building or object. Similar to  vignetting this effect helps create more drama and creates more of a focal point for the image. To apply this effect in photoshop go to filter > blur > radial blur and select zoom instead of spin.

05 Bloom

Adding bloom is a technique that softens the shadows of an image while increasing contrast. It helps make shadows look more realistic and adds more life to an image. There are a few different ways to achieve this effect with outside photo editing programs but it can also be manually done in photoshop. The first step is to duplicate the base render layer. Next, change the layers blending mode to overlay. Apply a gaussian blur under filter > blur > gaussian blur. For the image below we set the blur to a radius of 1 pixel and set the opacity of the entire layer to 50%.

Thanks for taking time to read our first blog. Comment below with other techniques that you find useful as well as what you'd like to see us write about in our next blog. Share this with your colleagues and classmates so they can join the conversation.



Feature Graphics is clear for launch

It's official, Feature Graphics is going live. We've been planning our business for the past few months and have finally pulled the trigger. 


Make sure you checkout our work and keep us in mind when you need renderings.