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Posts Tagged ‘Google SketchUp’

A Daily 3D News Publication to Explore

We came upon this interesting news publication that we wanted to share with you as another resource to take advantage of. It’s a daily online newspaper called SketchUpArtists London Daily. It’s updated every 24 hours and is created by, which is a site developed for the benefit of professional SketchUp users and computer graphics artists.

The publication is full of daily posts from users and others in the SketchUp and 3D design industry. Because the site is regularly updated, it contains the most recent and relevant news, articles, blog posts, videos and photos that are shared on such sites as Twitter, Facebook, SketchUp blogs, and the site. The newspaper site covers Headlines, Technology, Media, Stories, Education, Photos, Leisure and Environment. There are discussions and how to’s relating to SketchUp, Photoshop, rendering, BIM and much more. The site even contains an Archive button that allows you to review previous editions that you may have missed.

So, if you’re a user of SketchUp and other 3D design tools, and want to see “at a glance” what others are saying and doing in the industry, it’s definitely worth checking out. Hats off to SketchUpArtists for bringing it to us.

The publication can be found at SketchUpArtists London Daily. Enjoy the news!

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SketchUcation “CatchUp” magazine, Edition 2 Now Available

The latest installment of the SketchUcation Community News “CatchUp” magazine, Edition 2 is now available on the SketchUcation website.  In line with their Edition 1, there are some interesting articles and product features to be checked out!

You can see the magazine by clicking here:

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A Great New Magazine for SketchUp Users!

Because LaunchPad supports a wide variety of drafting, drawing and modeling software applications, we’re constantly on the lookout for articles, publications, books, websites and other relevant information relating to the products we support.  We look for things that will help keep you informed and enlightened on these products, and also assist you in the growth and enhancement of what you’re currently doing in your own work discipline, if that’s your goal.  We strive to be a valuable resource to our LaunchPad community so that you can better utilize the applications that are available to you with your LaunchPad keypad as the driving input device behind them.    

As most of you already know, we were excited to include Google™ SketchUp™ as one of our many supported modeling products in the LaunchPad v2010 update release. We continue to see the trend in the movement towards more 3D modeling in the industry and wanted to be able to bring this and other products to you with the same ease of use, benefits, and accessibility that you enjoy in using LaunchPad with 2D applications. We’re happy to see so many of our traditional LaunchPad CAD users getting on board and migrating over to the 3D applications, including the use of SketchUp! We’ve been hearing from you on how SketchUp enhances your work product, brings you benefits in relaying design concepts, and contributes to securing projects with clients. We’re also glad LaunchPad is helping to make this transition into 3D easier.

With this in mind, we recently came upon a resource that we thought might be valuable to you in using SketchUp and wanted to share it. It’s an online magazine publication on the SketchUcation website called “CatchUp – SketchUcation Community News.” For those of you who are not familiar with the website, SketchUcation is a site for all things related to Google SketchUp and is referred to as “The friendly place for your Google SketchUp needs.” It certainly is, and it’s a great resource for SketchUp users. The site contains Forums, Plug-ins, Tutorials, Galleries, “The Daily CatchUp” – for daily news updates, Beginner Tips, and more. It’s full of great information and we recommend that you check it out at You may discover things that are helpful to you in your SketchUp endeavors.

SketchUcation’s “maiden” issue of the publication “CatchUp – Edition 1” was introduced on 2/28/11, with more editions to follow.  We found the periodical to be filled with interesting and useful articles for SketchUp users, along with great pictorials, product features and tips and tricks. SketchUcation describes CatchUp – Edition 1 as being “packed with community driven articles from some of our most talented members. You’ll find an exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ look at some of the most popular threads, plugins and tutorials that lit up the forums over last few weeks.” Some of the featured content in the issue includes: ShaderLight Interview with Kate Marshall, ‘A Day at the Museum’ with Shane Fletcher, Character Modeling by Eric Lay, Axeonalias Interview, oStylus Hands On with Mike, FotoSketcher, Artisan Hands On, LayOut Tips and Tricks, Learn with Lemire, and more. The magazine is in a PDF format and can be viewed here: CatchUp – Edition 1, on the SketchUcation website.

We encourage you to check out the publication and the SketchUcation website to see what others are saying and doing with SketchUp, and learn more about what it can do for you. It’s definitely worth the look! Remember, LaunchPad supports SketchUp with the Basic XT, PRO LT, and PRO XT keypads, and SketchUp is a FREE product to download.  If you’re interested in using 3D products with your LaunchPad keypad, you can visit the LaunchPad website at for more information on our selection of keypads, software and the many products we support. 

Also, if you would like to stay connected to LaunchPad’s weekly assortment of resource mentions, including SketchUp, you can receive LaunchPad’s Facebook posts in your FB newsfeed by “liking” the LaunchPad page at and follow us on Twitter at  We regularly feature LaunchPad and supported product related happenings, updates, tutorials, links and the like, to keep you in the information loop.  We invite you to join our LaunchPad community for regular updates.

We hope you enjoy the SketchUp publication!

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Google SketchUp – The Missing Link to 3D Modeling for 2D Drafters

I would like to take a moment to tell you a story about my experiences with CAD and Architecture, and a trend I’m seeing for the future of architects and others in the field.  As an architectural draftsman of many years, a software developer for CAD related products (LaunchPad), and a reprographer for Architects and Engineers for 10 years, I’ve had a lot of experience in dealing with CAD users over time.  I migrated from CAD to AutoCAD early on.  Along the way, I witnessed a lot of enthusiasm from individuals and companies who had a desire to migrate away from hand drafted plans to CAD.  In the beginning though (the first 5-7 years), there was stiff resistance from within most of the companies I had contact with.  The resistance was from firms that were just not ready to make the jump, or that had individuals within them who fought bitterly against the concept of CAD.  During those years, I operated as a CAD consultant, where I made it my passion and career to migrate users and firms from hand drawing to CAD.  Suddenly, as if overnight, all changed and the world went CAD.  At that time, I was hard pressed to find anyone who was still hand drafting plans, and I thought back to all the CAD resistance that I had endured during those early days.  What they say about old dogs and new tricks…so true.

A transition in CAD occurred again with the introduction of 3D CAD.  2D CAD operators, or firms who had been heavily invested in 2D AutoCAD, were now being challenged with new concepts such as BIM and generating projects within a 3D environment.  I have to admit, I was one of them.  I can recall looking at Revit earlier on and found the 3D capabilities to be rather complex.  So, I held off from migrating to the idea of drawing plans in 3D, since the learning curve was so incredibly complicated.  The concept of generating models that turned into 2D construction documents was intriguing, but the plotted results appeared rather simplistic, or did not represent themselves in a manner that I had come to expect from my 2D CAD.  I talked to many other users who also tried to make the transition, and I heard the same two stories from them.  One being that, if you draw large commercial, boxy projects, like hospitals, then using Revit was fine.  The other was the time factor, being prepared for it to take 3-4 times longer to generate a set of plans.  It was great for larger Architectural firms who had the right projects and the budgets behind them.  Or, even those projects where the client was willing to pay more for a digital model of the project, if they had uses for the model beyond the construction phase of the project.  In both cases, it did not seem to be a scenario that fit my needs.  Nor, did it fit the needs of the customers and clients that I had dealt with in my CAD oriented businesses.

Eventually, my clients and customers wanted to go to 3D.  Even I did, but abandoned the idea because I was not able to give it the necessary time.  I found that what stopped most people from proceeding with 3D was that they did not have a path to executing it.  That path consisted of:  an economical method, easy to implement, a short learning curve, and results that did not produce a product that seemed sub-par.  And, since the established products on the market only met some of those requirements, a great percentage of firms and users shied away from 3D over the last 10 years.  But wait, all was not lost.  Along came the new SketchUp by Google.  At first glance (I was given that glance through a FREE download version of the software that’s available to everyone), I was a little skeptical, and so were a lot of the other people I had talked to about the product.  It looked kind of like a “toy” product at first, but now I say, don’t let it fool you.  You have to look at it objectively and not make the assumption that it is a limited product.  After using it for a few days, I immediately determined that this product needed to be supported by LaunchPad, and it now is. 

What I see is that Google SketchUp finally delivers on the essentials that non-3D architects and drafters have been looking for in the last decade.  Again, let’s look at some of the pieces needed in executing the path to 3D that users have been waiting for:

Economical - For starters, the Google SketchUp application is FREE.  (They do have a $495.00 PRO version and I’m sure it’s worth every penny.)  But, FREE means there is no reason for you not to at least try it.

Easy to Implement – After going through (25) 3-4 minute videos online that show how to execute all of the basic commands, I was drawing in 3D.  Wow, I had never drawn in 3D before!  And, in the first day, I was making things happen.

Short Learning Curve - With most 3D products there is a demo video that makes everything look easy and fast, but when it comes to implementing and producing something of any size from it, forget it.  Then, the long learning curve comes into play, which means a heavy investment in time.  Take, for example, 3dStudio MAX.  It’s a great product and can do some really amazing things.  I have seen some active modeling done from it that would knock your socks off.  But, it was done by a user with years of experience and many projects under his belt.  Many of us cannot accomplish this.  With SketchUp, I was able to do a complete rendered 3D house in less than a week.

Great Results – This is a key element.  SketchUp, out of the box, is not going to produce a photorealistic render for you.  That would need some help from a 3rd party product that takes the geometry from SketchUp and generates the rendered model.  But wait, there is good news.  There are some really great products out there that can do this, and some only cost between $99 to $499.  I wanted to go all the way with it and downloaded a 30 day trial of the $499 product.  The product I used is called IRender nXT for SketchUp.  The results were so spectacular from this simple to use program, that it was all it took, I am now hooked on 3D modeling.

What SketchUp brings to the CAD person is a forgiving modeling interface that is actually easy and very fun to use.  As a creative Architect, you can be more artistic and free flowing with your design concepts when modeled in SketchUp.  All without the accuracy intimidation found with some of the other higher-end 3D/BIM oriented products.  There is a time and a place for BIM, and many higher end projects do require it.  However, there are many projects that do not require the time consuming use of BIM standards.  For example, you may want to put together a conceptual model for a client, with a very short turn around, to bring an idea to light.  SketchUp is perfect for this and allows you to create a modeled concept in no time.  It also makes 3D modeling a feasible option in terms of the decreased amount of time needed for model development, as well as a shortened learning curve that allows users to make use of the basics of modeling, without all of the BIM requirements.  So, if you are an Architect or draftsman using 2D CAD and have been saying to yourself, “I need to be able to better compete in this economy and it’s now time to get into 3D modeling, but where do I start?”, then let me recommend Google SketchUp as that starting point.  Keep in mind, it’s not that I dislike Autodesk ADT, Revit or 3dsMAX, they are all great products and LaunchPad supports them.  It’s just that these products are a little pricey and have an extremely long and involved learning curve. 

If you are really hooked on continuing to do your drawings in 2D AutoCAD, but you want to be able to provide 3D modeling of your projects without all the overhead and expense, then it’s your lucky day with Google SketchUp.  I personally feel it is the most impactful CAD related product of the last 10 years.  I make this statement, not because other 3D CAD products aren’t doing a better job, but because of SketchUp’s simplicity and cost.  Not to mention, it’s used today by millions of users worldwide.  How many seriously proficient ADT, Revit and 3dsMAX users do you know?  In my many years in this industry, I may know a handful, at best.  The accessibility and ease of use that comes with using SketchUp makes it worth jumping into the 3D modeling realm for 2D drafters at last.

Visit the official Google SketchUp website to find out more about this product and get the FREE download.  

Coming in future postings…

There will be a (3) part video series on using Google SketchUp with LaunchPad.  Part 1 is already available and you can access it here.  We will also be providing other blog postings with specialty stories relating to Google SketchUp.  So please, keep an eye out!

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LaunchPad Releases New Video Series

LaunchPad is excited to announce the first release of a three part video Introduction Series on using LaunchPad with Google SketchUp, one of the many programs it supports in drafting, drawing and modeling applications.  Part 1 provides an initial understanding of the basic fundamentals of the LaunchPad Keypad and how it operates.  The video features graphic explanations of some of the keypad systems and brief demonstrations within Google SketchUp. 

In Part 2 of the series, there will be an introduction to techniques that LaunchPad employs to empower users working in SketchUp.  There will also be many more hands on, practical applications and demonstrations of usage in Part 2, which will soon be released. 

Part 3 of the video series will introduce the programming of the new Keyin Editor, which is different from the one that comes standard with LaunchPad for AutoCAD.  The new editor is completely revamped and much easier to use.  Here the user will see how easy it is to setup their favorite SketchUp commands with the LaunchPad keypad.  This editor is now standard for all other supported non-AutoCAD products.  Also, we will be introducing how to configure the new Asset Manager, which is a new additional product that allows users to catalog, organize and search/retrieve components, materials, ruby scripts and 3rd party plugins in a simplified way. 

Later in January, there will be two more videos coming out, which are part of the Instructional Series of the Keypad and featured Plugins for SketchUp.  These tutorial videos will completely instruct the user on how to fully use LaunchPad inside of Google SketchUp.

If you’re new to LaunchPad, this is a great way to find out more about the product and see firsthand how it can increase your speed and make drawing easier and more enjoyable.  You’ll see how the LaunchPad speed and ease of use is achieved by the keystroke savings and decrease in distances traveled in entering input commands.  Many commands are accomplished with only two-key entries that give you hundreds of possible combinations.

If you’re an existing user of LaunchPad, it’s also a good sampling of what LaunchPad can do in Google SketchUp.  LaunchPad has entered into the 3D realm of drafting, drawing and modeling and, in the process, opened many doors for Architects and others who are looking to migrate and expand into 3D models.  Plus, for those who aren’t aware, Google SketchUp is a FREE application!  It can be downloaded and used at no cost.  It’s a great addition to the family of products supported by LaunchPad.

Stay tuned for the rest of the series and the programming videos to follow.  The videos will truly help you with the functionality of LaunchPad and will show you better ways to draw in SketchUp.  The entire video series will really be worth the look!

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Top Reasons for Using LaunchPad

Attention: Architects, Engineers and Designers!

Here are 5 Good Reasons why LaunchPad should be an essential tool in your drafting and drawing applications:

1)   Enhances Input Speed and Productivity – by minimizing the keystrokes and distances involved in entering input commands, LaunchPad makes you faster, more efficient, and allows you to create/produce more work.

2)   Supports most Autodesk® and Adobe Products® – such as Photoshop®, AutoCAD® Architecture, Revit®, 3dsMax®, as well as Google® SketchUp®,  applications that can move you into the increasingly popular and essential realms of 3D modeling.

3)  Improves Ease of Use in Applications – with a universal command input system, as well as command editor for all programs, Launchpad allows for an easier and more simplified way of entering commands across the board and throughout a variety of different programs.

4)  Creates an Ergonomic Drafting Environment – allowing you to keep one hand on the keypad and one hand on the mouse, with the eyes focused on the work/screen.

5)  Portable on Any Supported Computers – the same keypad can be used on multiple computers such as an office computer, home computer, laptop, etc., with only one purchased code.

The list is even longer, but we chose to highlight 5 reasons for now.  When you take these considerations into account, you can see why LaunchPad is able to help transform the way you work.  You become better at what you do and more competitive through the use of the newly supported and diversified products that can propel you forward.

We’re hearing from many architects in the field who value and continue to praise using the LaunchPad KeyPad.  In fact, if you’d like to hear directly from some of them, please check out our “Testimonial” page on the website.  Our users say it all and now they’re even more excited over the 3D applications that LaunchPad supports.  They see and understand how adding these new applications into their drafting and drawing environments can improve their skills and take them further in their professions by giving them a competitive edge in moving from 2D vector based drawings to 3D modeling based drawings.

LaunchPad makes learning these applications easy with its universal input system that crosses over into each of the different applications.   For example, there is an editor with a command screen, component screen and materials screen that applies to products like SketchUp®, Photoshop® and AutoCAD® products.  LaunchPad users who are beginning to include these new applications into their work are reporting positive experiences and EXCITEMENT over just how easy they are to implement and use, with very impressive results!  They see the potential for advancing themselves among other architects in the industry and with their clients through the production of enhanced, quality representations and renderings of their drawings and house plans, etc.

So, if you are a LaunchPad user, you may want to consider some of these new applications yourself.  And, if you’re new to LaunchPad, then now is the time to try it.  The benefits you receive with LaunchPad will only continue to grow!  To find out more about LaunchPad and what it can do for you, check out the website at:

We will be bringing you more technical information, videos with examples and demonstrations, and answers to some of the “how to” questions and scenarios in using LaunchPad with different applications.  So, stay tuned…

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LaunchPad Isn’t Just for AutoCAD® Anymore

Are you concerned about the industry and current trends in today’s Architectural, Engineering and Design markets?  Do you need to enhance your skill set and job performance?  Would you like to strengthen and expand your product knowledge base to increase your creativity and level of competiveness through the quality of the end product you produce (i.e., colored renderings, 3D modeling, digital walkthroughs, etc., as opposed to 2D vector based drawings)?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then LaunchPad can be a valuable tool to help expand your current talent base and take you into the latest trends in the CAD industry today.

What are the trends?  Today’s Architects and Engineers are feeling the pressure, whether by the client or the new requirements in design, to utilize more of the available modeling and graphical products on the market today.  Users who are feeling the pinch of these trends are under extreme pressure to learn these new products, as well as the new concepts that are foreign to them, since 2D is all they have known.  LaunchPad driven Google® SketchUp® and Autodesk® Revit® are just two examples of newly supported products that can enhance your skills and, at the same time, make use of LaunchPad’s simplified input command macros and functions.

LaunchPad has made it its goal to neutralize the input method for all of these various products to a common input system.  Instead of working with a hotkey based system (i.e., Photoshop®), an alias or command line system (i.e., AutoCAD®), or an icon/menu based system (i.e., SketchUp®), LaunchPad has neutralized the input system to one mode of input for all products.

For example, drawing a line in three different products may look something like this:

1)  In AutoCAD®, it might be {Esc} {Esc} L {Enter}.

2)  In Photoshop®, a designated hotkey {Ctrl} L.

3)  In SketchUp®, either selecting an icon, or typing L on the keyboard.

With LaunchPad, all of these commands can be entered by only pressing a 55 on the keypad.  Commands are entered using LaunchPad with one hand, the other hand never leaves the mouse, and the eyes and mouse never leave the work.  And, yes, there are a variety of ways to enter commands in each of these products, but when it comes to a user needing to utilize two to five products at a time, the myriad of methods further expand the required retention level needed and additional key strokes required.  LaunchPad simplifies the input process and makes it relatively universal for each of the products being used, thus making it faster, easier and more functional for the user.

LaunchPad will not only simplify the use of more complex applications that may be introduced into your work, but it will pay for itself in very little time.  (See the “LaunchPad ROI” (Return on Investment) tab, “Key Counts” tab and “Demo Stats” tab on the website to find out how.)  LaunchPad will increase your production time, improve your drawing experience, simplify the process, and continue to make you money well into your career.  To hear what some of our experienced users have to say, check out the “Testimonial” tab on the website.  User comments only reinforce the value of the product.  Even in these trying times, LaunchPad truly is an investment in your future, and will take you well beyond standard AutoCAD®.

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