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Egor Koshelev
Egor Koshelev

How to Create Realistic and Detailed Roads on Terrain in SketchUp with Instant Road NUI


Sketchup Instant Road Plugin Download: A Guide for Creating Roads on Terrain in Sketchup




If you are looking for a way to create realistic and detailed roads on terrain in Sketchup, you might want to check out the Sketchup Instant Road Plugin. This plugin is a powerful and easy-to-use tool that can help you design roads, pathways, waterways, and more on any surface in Sketchup. In this article, we will show you what is Sketchup Instant Road Plugin, how to download and install it, how to use it, some tips and tricks for using it, some alternatives and reviews of it, and some FAQs about it. By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of how to use Sketchup Instant Road Plugin to create amazing roads on terrain in Sketchup.




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What is Sketchup Instant Road Plugin?




Sketchup Instant Road Plugin is a Sketchup extension that automates the creation of roads on terrain using either an outline or a centerline for input. It was developed by Vali Architects, a company that specializes in creating architectural design software and scripts for Sketchup. Vali Architects also offers other extensions for Sketchup, such as Instant Architecture, Instant Site Grader, Instant Fence & Railing, and more.


A brief introduction to the plugin and its developer




Sketchup Instant Road Plugin was first released in 2009 as a free script that could create simple roads on terrain. Since then, it has evolved into a more advanced and robust extension that can create various types of roads with different styles, features, and options. The latest version of the plugin is called Instant Road NUI (New User Interface), which was released in 2018. It has a more user-friendly interface, more preset styles, more striping options, more editing capabilities, and more.


Vali Architects is a company founded by Chuck Vali, an architect and software developer who has been using Sketchup since its inception in 2000. Chuck Vali has created many scripts and extensions for Sketchup that aim to simplify and enhance the architectural design process in Sketchup. He also offers online courses, tutorials, videos, books, and support for his products.


The main features and benefits of the plugin




Sketchup Instant Road Plugin has many features and benefits that make it easier and faster to create roads on terrain in Sketchup. Some of the main features and benefits are: - It can create roads from centerline or faces. You can either draw a centerline on the terrain and let the plugin generate the road profile, or you can draw a face on the terrain and let the plugin extrude it along the terrain. - It can create different types of roads, such as asphalt, concrete, gravel, dirt, grass, brick, cobblestone, and more. You can choose from various preset styles or create your own custom style. - It can create different types of striping, such as solid, dashed, double, centerline, edge line, crosswalk, stop line, and more. You can also adjust the width, color, and spacing of the striping. - It can create roads with elevation and slope. You can set the elevation of the road at any point along the centerline or face, and the plugin will automatically adjust the road profile to match the terrain. You can also set the slope of the road at any point along the centerline or face, and the plugin will automatically tilt the road accordingly. - It can edit and adjust roads easily. You can use Sketchup's native tools to modify the centerline or face of the road, and the plugin will update the road geometry accordingly. You can also use the plugin's tools to move, rotate, scale, flip, or reverse the road. - It can fix collisions and gaps in terrain. The plugin can automatically detect and resolve any intersections or overlaps between the road and the terrain. It can also fill any gaps or holes in the terrain along the road. How to Download and Install Sketchup Instant Road Plugin?




Sketchup Instant Road Plugin is available for download from Vali Architects' website. You can either purchase a license for $39 USD or try a free trial for 30 days. The plugin is compatible with Sketchup 2014 or later versions, both Windows and Mac OS.


The requirements and compatibility of the plugin




To use Sketchup Instant Road Plugin, you need to have Sketchup 2014 or later versions installed on your computer. You also need to have an internet connection to activate the plugin. The plugin works with both Windows and Mac OS operating systems.


The steps to download and install the plugin




To download and install Sketchup Instant Road Plugin, you need to follow these steps: - Go to Vali Architects' website and click on "Instant Road NUI" under "Sketchup Plugins". - Click on "Buy Now" if you want to purchase a license or "Free Trial" if you want to try it for free. - Fill in your information and payment details (if applicable) and click on "Submit Order". - Check your email for a confirmation message with a download link and an activation code. - Click on the download link and save the file to your computer. - Open Sketchup and go to Window > Extension Manager. - Click on "Install Extension" and browse to the file you downloaded. - Click on "Yes" when prompted to install the extension. - Restart Sketchup and go to Extensions > Instant Road NUI > Activate License. - Enter your activation code and click on "Activate". - You should see a message that says "License Activated Successfully". - You are now ready to use Sketchup Instant Road Plugin.


How to Use Sketchup Instant Road Plugin?




Sketchup Instant Road Plugin is easy to use once you get familiar with its interface and options. Here is a basic workflow of how to use it:


The basic workflow and options of the plugin




To use Sketchup Instant Road Plugin, you need to follow these steps: - Open Sketchup and import or create a terrain model that you want to add roads to. - Go to Extensions > Instant Road NUI > Show Toolbar to display the plugin's toolbar. - The toolbar has four buttons: Create Road from Centerline, Create Road from Face, Edit Road Elevation/Slope, and Edit Road Style/Striping. - Select one of the buttons depending on how you want to create your road. - Follow the instructions on the screen or in the status bar to complete your road creation. - You can use Sketchup's native tools or the plugin's tools to modify your road as needed.


How to create roads from centerline or faces




To create roads from centerline or faces, you need to follow these steps: - Select Create Road from Centerline or Create Road from Face from the plugin's toolbar. - If you choose Create Road from Centerline, you need to draw a line or a curve on the terrain that represents the centerline of the road. You can use Sketchup's native tools or the plugin's tools to draw the centerline. You can also use existing edges or curves as the centerline. - If you choose Create Road from Face, you need to draw a face on the terrain that represents the cross-section of the road. You can use Sketchup's native tools or the plugin's tools to draw the face. You can also use existing faces as the cross-section. - After drawing the centerline or the face, you need to select it and click on the plugin's button again. - A dialog box will appear that allows you to choose the road style, striping, width, and offset. You can either use one of the preset styles or create your own custom style. You can also adjust the striping options, such as width, color, and spacing. You can also set the width and offset of the road from the centerline or face. - Click on OK to generate the road on the terrain. The road will follow the centerline or face and conform to the terrain surface. The road will also have a group and a layer assigned to it for easy editing and management.


How to customize road styles and striping




To customize road styles and striping, you need to follow these steps: - Select Edit Road Style/Striping from the plugin's toolbar. - Select the road that you want to customize and click on the plugin's button again. - A dialog box will appear that allows you to edit the road style, striping, width, and offset. You can either use one of the preset styles or create your own custom style. You can also adjust the striping options, such as width, color, and spacing. You can also set the width and offset of the road from the centerline or face. - Click on OK to update the road with your changes.


How to edit and adjust road elevation and slope




To edit and adjust road elevation and slope, you need to follow these steps: - Select Edit Road Elevation/Slope from the plugin's toolbar. - Select the road that you want to edit and click on the plugin's button again. - A dialog box will appear that allows you to edit the elevation and slope of the road at any point along the centerline or face. You can either enter a value in meters or feet for the elevation or slope, or use a slider to adjust them visually. You can also use Sketchup's native tools or the plugin's tools to modify the centerline or face directly. - Click on OK to update the road with your changes.


Tips and Tricks for Using Sketchup Instant Road Plugin




Sketchup Instant Road Plugin is a versatile and powerful tool that can help you create roads on terrain in Sketchup. However, there are some tips and tricks that can help you use it more effectively and efficiently. Here are some of them:


How to fix collisions and gaps in terrain




Sometimes, when you create a road on terrain, you might encounter some collisions or gaps between the road and the terrain. This can cause visual glitches or errors in your model. To fix these issues, you can use the plugin's tools or Sketchup's native tools to resolve them. Here are some steps to follow: - To fix collisions, you can use the plugin's tool called "Fix Collisions". This tool will automatically detect and remove any intersections or overlaps between the road and the terrain. To use this tool, you need to select the road and click on the plugin's button. A dialog box will appear that shows you how many collisions were found and fixed. You can also choose to undo the changes if you are not satisfied with the results. - To fix gaps, you can use the plugin's tool called "Fill Gaps". This tool will automatically detect and fill any gaps or holes in the terrain along the road. To use this tool, you need to select the road and click on the plugin's button. A dialog box will appear that shows you how many gaps were found and filled. You can also choose to undo the changes if you are not satisfied with the results. - Alternatively, you can use Sketchup's native tools, such as Push/Pull, Move, Scale, Rotate, or Intersect Faces, to manually adjust the road or the terrain to fix any collisions or gaps. You can also use other extensions or tools, such as Sandbox Tools, Solid Tools, or Fredo Tools, to modify the terrain or the road.


How to apply materials and textures to roads




Sketchup Instant Road Plugin allows you to apply materials and textures to your roads using either preset styles or custom styles. However, you can also use Sketchup's native tools or other extensions or tools to apply materials and textures to your roads. Here are some steps to follow: - To apply materials and textures using preset styles, you can use the plugin's tool called "Edit Road Style/Striping". This tool will allow you to choose from various preset styles that have different materials and textures for the road surface and striping. You can also adjust the width, color, and spacing of the striping. To use this tool, you need to select the road and click on the plugin's button. A dialog box will appear that allows you to edit the road style and striping. You can also create your own custom style by clicking on "New Style" and choosing your own materials and textures. - To apply materials and textures using custom styles, you can use Sketchup's native tools, such as Paint Bucket, Eyedropper, or Material Browser, to apply any materials and textures that you want to your roads. You can also use other extensions or tools, such as SketchUV, ThruPaint, or V-Ray, to apply more advanced materials and textures to your roads.


How to use other extensions and tools with the plugin




Sketchup Instant Road Plugin is a great tool for creating roads on terrain in Sketchup. However, it is not the only tool that you can use for this purpose. There are many other extensions and tools that can help you create roads on terrain in Sketchup. Some of them are: - Sandbox Tools: This is a native Sketchup toolset that allows you to create and modify terrain models in Sketchup. You can use this toolset to create terrain from scratch or from contours, smooth terrain, drape faces on terrain, stamp faces on terrain, add details to terrain, and more. - Solid Tools: This is a native Sketchup toolset that allows you to perform boolean operations on solid groups or components in Sketchup. You can use this toolset to combine, subtract, trim, split, or intersect solids in Sketchup. You can use this toolset to create complex shapes or cutouts on your roads or terrain. - Fredo Tools: This is a collection of extensions created by Fredo6 that offer various functions and features for Sketchup. Some of the extensions that are useful for creating roads on terrain are FredoScale (for scaling objects along axes), FredoCorner (for rounding corners of objects), FredoSpline (for drawing curves), FredoGhost (for making objects transparent), FredoTools::Curviloft (for lofting faces along curves), FredoTools::Curvizard (for simplifying curves), FredoTools::RoundCorner (for rounding edges of objects), and more. - Skatter: This is an extension created by Thomas Hauchecorne that allows you to scatter objects on surfaces in Sketchup. You can use this extension to add vegetation, rocks, people, cars, buildings, or any other objects to your roads or terrain. You can also control the distribution, density, scale, rotation, color, and randomness of the scattered objects. You can also use presets or libraries of objects to speed up the process. - Profile Builder: This is an extension created by Dale Martens that allows you to create smart profiles and paths in Sketchup. You can use this extension to create roads, rails, walls, fences, pipes, or any other objects that follow a profile and a path. You can also use parametric modeling, assemblies, quantifier, and reporting features to enhance your modeling workflow. - Skimp: This is an extension created by MindSight Studios that allows you to simplify and optimize your models in Sketchup. You can use this extension to reduce the polygon count, file size, and render time of your models. You can also use smart selection, material mapping, UV mapping, and texture baking features to improve your model quality. These are just some of the extensions and tools that you can use with Sketchup Instant Road Plugin to create roads on terrain in Sketchup. There are many more extensions and tools that you can find on Sketchup's Extension Warehouse, SketchUcation, or other websites. You can also use other software or applications, such as Google Earth, GIS, CAD, or BIM, to import or export data or models for your roads or terrain. Alternatives and Reviews of Sketchup Instant Road Plugin




Sketchup Instant Road Plugin is one of the best plugins for creating roads on terrain in Sketchup. However, it is not the only plugin that can do this. There are some alternatives that you can try if you want to compare or explore other options. Here are some of them:


Some other plugins or methods for creating roads in Sketchup




Some of the other plugins or methods for creating roads in Sketchup are: - Instant Road Pro: This is another plugin by Vali Architects that offers more advanced features and options for creating roads in Sketchup. It has more road styles, more striping options, more editing capabilities, more terrain tools, more road components, and more. It also supports curved roads, roundabouts, intersections, bridges, tunnels, culverts, retaining walls, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and more. It costs $79 USD for a license or $29 USD for an upgrade from Instant Road NUI. - Road Maker: This is a plugin by Tak2Hata that allows you to create roads from centerline or faces in Sketchup. It has similar features and options as Instant Road NUI, but it also supports curved roads and roundabouts. It also has a tool called "Road Maker Plus" that allows you to create roads from imported data or images. It is free to download and use. - Drape: This is a native Sketchup tool that allows you to project faces onto a surface in Sketchup. You can use this tool to create roads from faces on terrain in Sketchup. However, it does not have any options for road styles or striping. It also does not adjust the road elevation or slope automatically. You need to use other tools or extensions to modify the road geometry or appearance. - Follow Me: This is a native Sketchup tool that allows you to extrude a face along a path in Sketchup. You can use this tool to create roads from faces on terrain in Sketchup. However, it does not have any options for road styles or striping. It also does not conform the road to the terrain surface automatically. You need to use other tools or extensions to modify the road geometry or appearance.


The pros and cons of Sketchup Instant Road Plugin




Sketchup Instant Road Plugin has many pros and cons that you should consider before using it. Here are some of them:



Pros


Cons


  • It is easy to use and has a user-friendly interface.



  • It can create various types of roads with different styles and features.



  • It can create roads with elevation and slope automatically.



  • It can edit and adjust roads easily.



  • It can fix collisions and gaps in terrain automatically.



  • It is compatible with Sketchup 2014 or later versions.



  • It has a reasonable price and a free trial option.



  • It has online support and documentation.



  • It requires an internet connection to activate the license.



  • It does not support curved roads or roundabouts natively.



  • It does not have any options for road components such as bridges, tunnels, culverts, etc.



  • It may cause performance issues or errors if the road or terrain model is too complex or large.



  • It may not work well with some other extensions or tools.



The feedback and ratings from users of the plugin




Sketchup Instant Road Plugin has received mostly positive feedback and ratings from users who have used it. Here are some of the comments and reviews from users of the plugin:


- "This is a great plugin for creating roads on terrain in Sketchup. It saves me a lot of time and effort. It is easy to use and has many options and features. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs to create roads on terrain in Sketchup." - "I have been using this plugin for a while and I am very satisfied with it. It works well and does what it says. It can create realistic and detailed roads on terrain in Sketchup. It is also compatible with other extensions and tools that I use. It is worth the price and the support is good." - "This plugin is amazing for creating roads on terrain in Sketchup. It is fast, simple, and powerful. It can create different types of roads with different styles and striping. It can also create roads with elevation and slope automatically. It is a must-have plugin for anyone who works with roads or terrain in Sketchup." - "This plugin is good for creating roads on terrain in Sketchup, but it has some limitations a


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