You’ve seen the film I’m sure… the one where the guy tries to win the heart of the beautiful, graceful, successful girl? It usually starts with the protagonist, a slightly awkward guy, failing miserably, but yet there’s something funny and endearing about his failures that ultimately leads to the girl giving him a chance.

I feel a bit like that with Revit. It’s always seemed so far out of reach: so expensive, so difficult to learn, so seemingly perfect, or so it seems.

In the film the viewer gets various clues early on that the woman isn’t quite as nice as she’s made out to be, but the man fails to notice.

So this year for the first time Revit gave me a chance. I was leading the implementation of Level 2 BIM at our Structural and Civil consultancy, and while there were lots of clues that Revit was perhaps not the panacea it is made out to be… maybe I was dazzled.

I forgot to mention that in this film there’s always a friend. She’s a girl, and she has a great sense of humour. She’s totally on the protagonist’s wavelength, but since she wears big rimmed glasses and her hair’s a bit dowdy and she wears a tracksuit – he doesn’t seem to notice her “in that way”.

In my office, we all seem to like SketchUp — and that’s surprising, because who would have thought SketchUp would work for Structural and Civil Engineers? But it’s a bit cartoony, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, and whenever I mention to the boss that we could, if we wanted to, do that entire project from beginning to end in SketchUp, he smiles that smile that means “you’re not planning to bring that girl to the prom, are you? The one that wears the track-suit?”


And then something awful happens to the man, and in his hour of need, the beautiful lady tells him she was never really that into him, and she was only going out with because she wanted help with her homework assignments.

This year I had an important project I decided to trust to Revit, and no matter what we did, or how much help we got from trainers and experts and support technicians, Revit just couldn’t deliver the drawings. Perhaps it just wasn’t best suited that project. Yet I’m left with a day before the deadline and no drawings to show for it.

Which, in the film, is the point at which Girl B turns up to the prom, having taken off her glasses and tracksuit, wearing a beautiful prom dress and her hair in curls, and the guy realises how foolish he’s been, and that the woman he’s been imagining a happy ever after with is not the first one, it’s Girl B.

And so it happened. An email in my inbox telling me that it was time for this year’s Beta testing of SketchUp 2018 to start. I downloaded it and what I saw blew me away. Section cuts that hatch automatically and display perfectly on both the 3D or 2D drawings along with section labels. 64-bit architecture that uses all 8 CPU cores while Revit uses only one. Dimensioning and leader tools that work like a dream. BIM features all built in, with IFC attributes, IFC file import and export. And perhaps best of all, fully textured 3D models that work perfectly in Virtual Reality via Kubity and Google Cardboard or Oculus Rift without needing any modification.

How could I have been so blind all along?


Robin de Jongh is an award-winning Engineer and author of two books on SketchUp Pro. He’s a former editor at Manning Publications where he commissioned programming books on the Oculus Rift, Unity 3D, D3.js and numerous other cutting edge technologies. He regularly writes for magazines such as Linux Format and Web Designer Magazine. 
Catch him tweeting @RobindeJongh or check out his Quora profile.


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