Documentation

VR Sketch is a tool for visualizing and editing architectural models from SketchUp in virtual reality. The current setup requires SketchUp and HTC Vive with SteamVR installed.

Visualizing: we give an accurate, fast, cartoonish-but-good-looking rendering of large models. It has been tested with SketchUp files that are hundreds of MBs in size.

Editing: we give an editing process that mimics SketchUp's own. You have most of the simple SketchUp tools available in VR, with similar alignment and measure tools. Changes to the model in VR are instantly visible on the 2D monitor in SketchUp, and vice-versa.

VR Sketch can be used for 14 days without registration. After registration, you have 14 more days before the first monthly payment is made. There is a single version of VR Sketch. It is always recommended to grab the latest version.

Requirements

  • VR headset: HTC Vive with SteamVR. (If there is demand, we can add support for Oculus Rift or other headsets with good controller support.)
  • Software: Software: only SketchUp 2017 and 2018 is supported for now. (We plan future support for Revit, hopefully coming this year)
  • OS: Only works on Windows. Mac version will be available at some stage

Download

You can either download and automatically install the SketchUp extension from inside SketchUp or manually download it from their website.

From inside Sketchup

  • Open Sketchup.
  • In the top menu bar click "Window" then select "Extension Warehouse" from the drop-down list. This should open a new Extension Warehouse window. Menu bar
  • In the search bar at the top, search for "vr sketch" or just "vr". Menu bar
  • From the search results select "VR Sketch". Menu bar
  • Click the red "Download" button in the top right. Menu bar
  • If requested, sign in with your username and password, or follow their prompts to register first.
  • Then click the red "Install" button in the top right.
  • SketchUp will ask permission to install the extension. Select "Yes". *
  • Wait for SketchUp to download and install the extension.

* VR Sketch only requires access to your filesystem for (1) accessing SteamVR and the Vive; (2) writing some temporary files.

From your web browser

  • You can download the SketchUp extension from the Extension Warehouse.
  • Click the "Download" button. Menu bar
  • If requested, sign in with your username and password.Then click the "Download" button again.
  • Select where your download will be saved to.
  • Proceed to the installation instructions below.

Install

These instructions are for if you downloaded the extension from your web browser. If you downloaded the extension from inside SketchUp it should be autoamtically installed.

  • For the official SketchUp installation instrctions visit the SketchUp Help Center.
  • Open Sketchup.
  • In the top menu bar click "Window" then select "Extension Manager" from the drop-down list. This should open a new Extension Warehouse window. Menu bar
  • Click the red "Install Extension" button in the bottom left. Menu bar
  • In the new window, navigate to where you downloaded the extention file (baroquesoftware_vrsketch_v1.1.0.rbz), then click "OK". Menu bar
  • SketchUp will ask permission to install the extension. Select "Yes". *

* VR Sketch only requires access to your filesystem in order to access SteamVR and the Vive.

Run

The menu "Extensions" -> "VR Sketch" -> "Send to VR" sends your currently-opened SketchUp model to the VR headset.

Menu bar

In the default installation, this operation also starts a new window that mirrors the VR headset. If you then look in the VR headset, you should see a small version of your model.

Working in VR

You can use one or both Vive controllers; they are interchangeable between left and right hands.

Controls

vive controller
Button Function
1. Menu button (Play/stop videos, when selected from SketchUp)
2. Touchpad Tool selection menu
3. Steam home button (Load the standard Steam dash)
4. Trigger Do the action of selected tool
5. Grip Move and scale the model

SketchUp controls

  • Center view
  • Position VR viewer

Editing

Choose a Tool: Press and hold down the toughpad to bring up the tool pallet. Move your controller to the tool you wish to select and release the toughpad to select the tool.

Cancel: To cancel any command, simply press the touchpad.

Tools in VR

tools
  • Teleport
    Pull the trigger to aim where you would like to teleport to.
    The teleport pointer will turn blue when your teleport is possible.
    Release the trigger and you will be teleported to your selected position.
    Note that when you teleport the scale is set to 1 : 1.
    Teleport straight up to come back to the original warehouse view.
  • History
    To undo a command select the command you wish to undo in the same way you select any other tool.
    You can also re-do a command in the same way.
  • Select
    There are two ways to select a point/line/face/group/etc..
    a. Intersecting the selection tool with the object you wish to select and pulling the trigger.
    b. While not intersecting any objects pull the trigger and drag out a 3D selection box. Any object fully inside this box will be selected. If the box is drawn bottom-up instead of top-down, any object that only touches the box is selected.
  • Make Group
    Use the selection tool to select more that one object. Then choose the "Make Group" command.
  • Make Component
    Use the selection tool to select more that one object. Then choose the "Make Component" command.
  • Enter Group or Component
    To Enter a Group or Component use the selection tool and double click (with the trigger) on the group you wish to enter.
    Alternatively, select the group and choose the "Open Group" command.
  • Exit Group or Component
    While in a Group or Component, select the "Close group" command and you will exit the Group or Component.
    Alternatively to exit a Group or Component use the selection tool and double click (with the trigger) in some empty space outside the Group or Component.
  • Explode
    Select the group and then use the "Explode" command to explode a group or component.
  • Erase
    Move the controller over the object you wish to erase and pull the trigger.
    Note that alignment guides are used for most tools below. Move any of the two controllers over an existing geometrical object to choose it for alignment: vertex, edge or face. Then move the controller back where you want. If this position is close to being on the same axis or the same plane, then the position "snaps" to that axis or plane and an alignment guide is drawn. You can select several geometrical objects to align to. You can also select the origin of the drawing axes.
  • Line
    Pull the trigger to start drawing the line. Pull the trigger a second time to finish drawing the line. Unless you finish on an existing vertex, the line automatically continues; to stop it, e.g. press the touchpad.
  • Free hand
    Pull the trigger to start drawing and pull the trigger a second time to finish drawing.
  • Rectangle
    Pull the trigger to start drawing the rectangle and pull the trigger a second time to finish drawing.
  • Polygon
    Pull the trigger to start drawing the shape. Swipe up or down on the touchpad to change the number of side you want. Pull the trigger a second time to finish drawing the shape.
  • Circle
    Pull the trigger to start drawing the circle from its center. The second trigger pull will set the radius of the circle.
  • Push-pull
    Move the controller to touch a face you wish to push or pull. Pull the trigger to start pushing or pulling. Pull the trigger again to finish the push or pull.
  • Move
    Move the controller to highlight the object you wish to move. Pull the trigger to start the move. Pull the trigger a second time to finish the move.
  • Copy
    With the Move tool selected, start moving the object you wish to move. Then swipe up on the touchpad to select the number of copies you wish to make. Pull the trigger a second time to complete the copy.
  • Rotate
    Move the controller to highlight the object you wish to rotate. Pull the trigger to start the operation. Pull the trigger a second time to select the starting direction; if the other controller is placed at the center of rotation at this moment, then a "rotate-and-move" operation is started instead. Pull the trigger a third time to finish the rotation.
  • Scale
    Move the controller to highlight the object you wish to scale. Pull the trigger to bring up the scale axis handles (yellow cubes). Move the controller on a handle to select the axis you want to scale the object by. Pull the trigger a second time to start scaling the object. To change the scaling center, click on another handle with the other controller. Pull the trigger a third time to finish the scale command.
  • Paint
    Move the controller over the object you wish to paint and pull the trigger.
    To select the paint of an exisiting surface tilt the controller upside down then move the controller over the object with the paint you wish to select and pull the trigger.
  • Materials selection
    The materials used in your model appear on the right of the Paint tool. If there are too many materials, they are organized in "pages". To change the page, move the controller over the page icons behind the Paint tool. The last page is a selection of colors to pick.

Tools in SketchUp

  • Send to VR
    Click: Main menu > Extensions > VR Sketch > Send to VR
    This starts up VR Sketch and send the current SketchUp model to VR.
  • Center view / Copy VR location
    Click: Main menu > Extensions > VR Sketch > Center viewer
    Or click on the icon in the VR Sketch tool pallet.
    This will center the view in SketchUp to match the view of the person on VR.
  • VR view and teleport
    Click on the icon in the VR Sketch tool pallet then click anyware in the SketchUp model where you would like to move the person in VR to.

Settings

In two-persons settings, you can look at the SketchUp model on the computer while the other person is in the VR headset. His location is visible in the SketchUp model as the "Beret Guy"---as long as the "VR teleport" tool is selected (it is initially selected). An infinite blinking line extends vertically, to help locate him in very large models. You can also teleport Beret Guy (and the person in the VR) to a new location simply by clicking on the model. Note that this makes the whole setup usable even in minimal situations where the person in the headset is not given any controller.

The "Copy VR location" button (or "Center view" menu item) does the opposite synchronization: when clicked, it changes the SketchUp camera to match the current VR headset location. When you move the mouse over the model, the person in the headset sees a mouse cursor moving over the VR model. Conversely, when the person uses the teleport beam, its target location shows up in SketchUp too (even if it is on a wall, for example, where he cannot teleport to). This gives a way for each person to show particular elements of the model to the other.

Problems

Reporting bugs

Please report any problem by writing to the e-mail below.

Contact

We hope you enjoy it!

Feel free to give us feedback by writing to fijal@baroquesoftware.com.

The Baroque Software team