Sketchup is, by far, the easiest tool for modeling. Google acquired this software in order to crowd-source the 3D modeling of the earth, since anyone can use it to model their house, school or favourite building. But being simple and fast doesn’t mean it lacks on features.
You can enable several options available on the free standard version, or go pro for more. Also, you can extend it via plugins. Below, two plugins I have found very useful, and also available for free.
The first one is Soap Skin & Bubbles, a plugin designed by german engineer Josef Leibinger, designed to help you in the study of mechanically and pneumatically strained surfaces. The author has also been developing a plugin for tensile structures, but it hasn’t been released yet. But you can still play around with tensile structures on this plugin. You can download Soap Skin & Bubbles for free on their website, and also watch a video tutorial on The Sketchup Show.
The second plugin was developed by Integrated Enviromental Solutions, which lets you assign important sustainable design information like location, building and room type, construction types and HVAC systems to your Sketchup model. From there you can do energy, carbon, daylight and solar analysis, or take this model with all this info to your favourite BIM software. It also allows you to More info and download a the IES Sketchup plugin website. Complete video tutorial on YouTube.
Two very helpful tools for your design pocess, with the ease of use of Sketchup.
Please share with us any other Sketchup plugins you find useful on the comments below.