Why you should use point clouds in SketchUp?

March 18, 2016




Just less than a decade ago point clouds were a privilege, available only for technology enthusiasts and early adopters. Now we see this maturing and taking place in many industries and applications, especially over the recent years. 3D laser scanning and imaging technologies are really thriving and constantly bringing new, smaller, lighter, easier to use and lower cost sensor solutions reducing the technology barriers and making it available for almost everyone.

Fig1. 3D City Modeling from point cloud captured with Mobile Mapping System.

Undet point cloud in SketchUp mobile mapping to 3D modeling

As a software company we not only foresee these changes but also contribute to them. We are working on a number of R&D projects related to various software platforms and applications. Just recently we released a plug-in for Trimble SketchUp which provides unique opportunity to utilize any point cloud directly in SketchUp Pro environment. This was long awaited by many SketchUp professionals and after hands-on Undet they are vibing some really positive feedback. Just to name a few phrases:

“It looks to be as intuitive to use as SU, itself”
“Great to be able to use point clouds in SketchUp finally!”
“Amazing job on the toolkit and feature set. It's impressive”

Fig2. Architecture and Interior Design from point cloud captured with Terrestrial Scanner.

Undet point cloud in SketchUp Architecture and Interior Design_x840

So what’s so fancy about Undet for SketchUp?

Firstly, it’s about Undet itself. We were privileged the decade ago and started to deal with 3D laser scanning and imaging in 2006. In 2010 we focused on developing a solution that would easily handle massive data sets and allow efficient management thus facilitating delivery of as-built documentation. The first version (V1) of our initial product Undet for AutoCAD was released in 2011. On top of it we added a bunch of advanced features and released second version (V2) in 2014.

Fig3. Undet for AutoCAD V2 fact sheet.

Undet point cloud for AutoCAD

Now Undet for AutoCAD is very comprehensive and competitive application. It is excellent choice for 3D scanning / processing service providers that are utilizing massive point clouds every day. It solely covers 2D/3D workflows, improves BIM workflows and typically drives users’ productivity by 30-50%.

Undet for SketchUp V1 maintains the same data structure as Undet for AutoCAD thus providing impressive performance. Furthermore, it has all the tools for efficient point cloud management and that’s definitely enough for starter but sure, there will be more in the near future.

Fig4. 3D Building Modeling from point cloud captured with Terrestrial Scanner.

Undet point cloud in SketchUp building 3D modeling

Secondly, Undet opened brand new workflows for SketchUp users involving point clouds. Just take a look into some pictures of this post. 3D Building Modelling, Architecture and Interior Design, 3D City Modelling – these are screen grabs from recent projects successfully delivered by first Undet for SketchUp users. Furthermore, next to numerous already supported file formats just a week ago we implemented direct DotProduct *.DP import. This combination of DotProduct + SketchUp + Undet makes an extremely affordable solution reducing barriers for technology-savvy end users.

Fig5. Gallery of point clouds in SketchUp captured with DotProduct hand-held scanner.

Finally, Undet for SketchUp offers attractive licensing options that meet everyone’s needs:

  • Monthly Subscription available to buy from Undet website. An automated activation process that provides access to the software within minutes. Best for temporary staff and short-term projects.
  • Annual Subscription and Perpetual Licences available under request. Get it from your local distributor and enjoy full year of access or dongle-ized perpetual licences.