Robin de Jong – SketchUp 7.1 for Architectural Visualization


This week we are doing a Spotlight article on Robin de Jong and his recently published book,  SketchUp 7.1 for Architectural Visualization: Beginners Guide.

Robin holds an honours degree in Computer Aided Product Design from Nottingham Trent University (UK) and is a member of the Institution of Engineering Designers, an Incorporated Engineer with the Engineering Council UK. He has worked as a computer-aided design professional on large and tiny construction projects for many years. He sometimes works as a freelance consulting engineer and has previously run a CAD and visualization company using Google SketchUp as the main design tool. Robin recently set up a SketchUp training firm through which he promotes Google SketchUp as the future of CAD in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) sector by providing training seminars and e-learning products.

We were intrigued by Robin’s new book and he kindly sent us a copy to review. Though the title states that it is a beginners book, I think to some degree, you will need to know the basics of SketchUp to advance comfortably through the book and for those who have been using SketchUp for a while, the learning curve in this book will be easy to negotiate. It’s what Robin describes as a ‘program style’ book, which means you start at chapter one and work through, learning as you go. All the software discussed in the book is free to download as well, so you can get started right away with out any costly outlay. Here is a list of all the basic software used in his book:

The book also touches on:

Now armed with this small arsenal of free software, your adventure begins. Robin also shows you how to download some of the many freely available plugins to help extend SketchUp’s usability, turning it into, as he states in his book “a fully functional, 3D visualization and animation suite”.  To help in your endeavors to achieve that great architectural visualization Robin also covers the areas of:

  • Composing your scene
  • Modeling for visualization
  • Applying textures and materials for PR rendering
  • Entourage
  • NPR with SketchUp
  • PR rendering
  • Important compositing and after effects with your image editor
  • Walkthroughs and flyovers
  • Presenting visuals in Layout

Its a fun, easy and hugely informative book primarily aimed at all levels of SketchUp users, whether your an amateur or professional architect or designer. Everything you need to know on this subject is there. Here are a few screenshots from the book. These are taken from the chapter on Composing Scenes (with permission from publisher and author):

Setting up the Camera to Challenge and Impress


Not Bad


Better Angle – Much More Interesting

Think Like a Pigeon


Top Down Views


Up and Close


A Different Perspective From What We Are Used To

Useful Perspective Tricks


Orthographic and Parallel Projection


Two Point Perspective

Smoke Machine Effects


Using SketchUp Fog Setting

So that’s just a small insight into what this book has to offer and Robin’s background. With over 400 pages of excellent information it is a must for anyone wanting to get a grip on the techniques and some of the software used to achieve the art of architectural visualization. As Dennis Nikolaev, AIA (of the infamous Dennis Technique ) states in the Forward ” This book shows you how to set up your work and dress it up for the kill, in such a way that it jumps off the screen, grabs your audience by the guts and never lets go“. That pretty much says it all!

The softback book is not in full color,  apart from front and back covers, a few color images to showcase some of the resulting renders would have been nice. You can of course download the pdf eBook version with full color images at a very good saving. Whether you choose the book or download version we think this book is well worth the outlay and it certainly gets a thumbs-up from us….happy reading!



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