Top 10 SketchUp Extensions (a.k.a. plugins or Ruby Scripts) Part 1/2

Top 10 SketchUp Extensions (a.k.a. plugins or Ruby Scripts) Part 1/2

By Daniel Tal, ASLA, RLA , partner at BrightmanTal  (     
In part 1 of this 2 part blog,  I am reviewing 10 Ruby Scripts and related links.
SketchUp allows users and programmers to create their own tools, called extensions or plugins, by using the Ruby Script programming language. Extensions can greatly extend how SketchUp functions. Many are specialized tools that can save you hours of work or perform tasks beyond SketchUp's native tool set.  If you use SketchUp but have not tried extensions before they are a must to check out.  

It is suggested that you read any of the instructions or watch the videos that accompany the  extensions below before using them. These can be found at the point of download. That will insure the extensions will work for you.  

(1) SketchUp 2013 – Extension Warehouse
SketchUp 2013, the recent release from Trimble SketchUp, includes the Extension Warehouse (Window  Extension Warehouse).  

In previous SketchUp versions (like SU 8) you needed to manually install extensions usually by browsing to the root SketchUp program folder on your hard drive. For many SketchUp users this  could be confusing if not difficult.  The Extension Warehouse changes all that.

Much like SketchUp's 3D Warehouse (where you can search and download models), the Extension Warehouse provides quick and easy access to custom tools. The Extension Warehouse allows users to search, install and manage extensions directly from a menu inside SketchUp.  While still in its infancy in terms of total number of available extensions (since SketchUp 2013 was just released), the number of available extension is sure to grow.

SketchUp 2013 and SketchUp Make (free version) include the  Extension Warehouse which functions inside the program.

(2) SketchUcation Plugin Store.
Not to be outdone, SketchUcation, the popular SketchUp user forum ( has released its own version of the extension warehouse. Called the SketchUcation Plugin Store, it allows you to browse over 600 (yes 600!) SketchUp extensions. You can install and manage all your extensions with this plugin. Between SketchUp's Extension Warehouse and SketchUcation Plugin Store you should be able to find all the custom SketchUp tools you need.

The SketchUcation Plugin Store and all the extensions are all free. Just register for free with SketchUcation, download the plugin and start installing plugins.

You can find  the SketchUcation Plugin Store here:

SketchUcation Plugin Store Extension and associated menus in SketchUp

(3-6) Chris Fulmer SketchUp Extensions: CLF TOOLS
Chris Fulmer is a landscape architect and programmer. He has been a long time SketchUp user and has developed many extensions for use in SketchUp. Recently, Trimble SketchUp hired Chris as part of the quality assurance and development team. Aside from the great news of a landscape architect working on SketchUp (we LA's now have someone on the inside :  )), Chris has many extensions that are just awesome. Below are just some of the tools he has developed that are worth installing and trying out.

Even better, many of these tools can be found in the SketchUp Extension Warehouse. Simply search for Chris Fulmer in the Extension Warehouse or look for CLF TOOLS. THANK YOU CHRIS!!!

Chris Fulmer, a landscape architect, has many excellent tools on the SketchUp Extension Warehouse

(3) CLF - Scale and Rotate Multiple
This excellent tool replaces the Ruby Script Randor. Scale and Rotate Multiple, among other things, allows you to randomize the scale and rotation of selected objects and components. It's IDEAL for randomizing vegetation habit and positions. A must have script if you are modeling site plans with vegetation.

(4) CLF - Color By Slope  
SketchUp slope analysis tool! Select your surfaces (best suited for a terrain model), input two color values and  this extension will color the selected faces based on their slope. While it wont color slopes based on specific grade values, it's a quick and easy way to view terrain grades for fast studies.

CLF Color by Slope: Yellow and blue were the selected colors  for the slopes map. The extension colored surfaces ranging from yellow (flat) to blue (steep), displaying a color gradient showing the range of flat to steep surfaces.

(5) CLF – Color By Z
Color By Z will color  selected faces and even better, terrain, based on elevation. Select the terrain mesh (not the group but all the loose faces) select two colors and the extension will color the surfaces based on their height, displaying surfaces with a gradient of color from highest to lowest.

CLF Tools Color By Z shows elevation colors from green (low) to red (high)  

(6) CLF – Shape Bender
Want to create complex forms and shapes with a simple click? Shape Bender does the trick. Contort and conform a shape to curves, arcs or just about any other form. Simple to use and powerful in results, you can bend ramps and walls to fit specific site plan spatial forms as just one example.  

On the top is a simple ramp and wall. The ramp and wall can be bent with the Shape Bender extension to match the arc. The result (bottom image) is a curving sloping wall and ramp.

                 Ph.D. in Technologies for the Exploitation
                 of the Built Heritage .
                 Senior Lecturer in the Dept. of Architecture
                 College of Engineering , University of Mosul 
                 Mosul - Iraq .
Tel :           +964 (0)770 164 93 74