Frequently Asked Questions

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What is PhotoSketch?

PhotoSketch is a plugin for SketchUp that assists the user in creating 3D models of buildings directly from photographs. PhotoSketch simplifies the 3D modeling workflow by leveraging the SketchUp push-pull interface with computer vision and photogrammetry techniques. The PhotoSketch plugin merges the benefits of automatic feature extraction, camera pose recovery, an intuitive sketching interface, and texture mapping to produce lightweight photorealistic 3D models of buildings. These models, which typically consist of a few hundred polygons each, makes them well-suited for use in high-performance visualization, online gaming, and web-based applications such as Google Earth.

Who Uses PhotoSketch?

PhotoSketch is used in any domain in which lightweight phototextured 3D models are useful. Architects, designers, real estate agencies, and entertainment content creators can now employ a new approach to create lightweight 3D models of existing buildings.

How does PhotoSketch work?

Conventional modeling tools often use photographs as a postprocess to phototexture a model after the model is generated. PhotoSketch, however, uses photographs as the starting point before the model is constructed from multiple views. Indeed, our workflow treats photographs as tracing paper upon which 2D shapes are defined prior to extruding them into 3D models. The very photographs that serve as the basis for the models automatically serve as the texture elements for them as well, thereby facilitating photorealistic visualization.

How do I learn more about PhotoSketch?

Download the PhotoSketch user manual to learn how to take full advantage of all the PhotoSketch features. Pay careful attention to the suggested guidelines for camera calibration and image acquisition. Calibrating your camera and taking a good set of overlapping photos of the scene play pivotal roles in your ability to create compelling 3D models with PhotoSketch.

How does PhotoSketch differ from the Match Photo tool that is native to SketchUp?

The main difference between the native tool and PhotoSketch is that the native tool operates on one image at a time and requires the user to laboriously manipulate vanishing point grips and perspective bars to properly orient the axes upon the image. PhotoSketch, however, spares the user from this task by operating on multiple images taken from a calibrated camera to infer these axes automatically. The benefit of using multiple images is that they provide a more complete surrounding texture for the scene. It also permit PhotoSketch to leverage state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms to automatically determine the position of the cameras that took the photos so that drawing on one image is seamlessly registered in the other images, upon which additional editing may take place to further refine the model.

What versions of SketchUp are compatible with PhotoSketch?

To run PhotoSketch, you must use the Pro version of SketchUp 2018 on Windows 10 and Mac OS X (10.11+).


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How much does PhotoSketch cost?

A single-seat commercial license for PhotoSketch is US$100. A full-featured single-seat academic license is US$50. Try out PhotoSketch with a 30-day $10 trial version that is limited to five photos per model.

What is the availability of PhotoSketch now?

The Windows 10 and Mac OS X (10.11+) versions of PhotoSketch are available here. Both versions work on the Pro version of SketchUp 2018.

How do I download and install the 30-day trial version of PhotoSketch?

  1. Visit this link and click the "Buy Now" button to purchase the trial version.
  2. Make sure to select the Windows or Mac version in the pull-down menu.
  3. You will immediately receive a receipt from PayPal by email. 
  4. We will email you a link to the plugin installer file within two business days.
  5. Save the file and double-click it to install the plugin.
  6. Launch SketchUp.
  7. A window displaying your name and email address will appear.
  8. That information can be found under Extension->PhotoSketch->About.
  9. Run the plugin for up to 30 days.

How do I download and install the commercial version of PhotoSketch?

  1. Visit this link and click the "Buy Now" button to purchase the commercial version.
  2. Make sure to select the Windows or Mac version in the pull-down menu.
  3. You will immediately receive a receipt from PayPal by email. 
  4. We will email you a link to the plugin installer file within two business days.
  5. Save the file and double-click it to install the plugin.
  6. Launch SketchUp.
  7. A window displaying your name and email address will appear.
  8. That information can be found under Extension->PhotoSketch->About.

How do I download and install the academic version of PhotoSketch?

  1. Visit this link and click the "Buy Now" button to purchase the academic version.
  2. Make sure to select the Windows or Mac version in the pull-down menu.
  3. You will immediately receive a receipt from PayPal by email. 
  4. Forward a copy of the receipt with a scanned copy of your academic ID (in pdf or jpg format) to sales@brainstormllc.com
  5. We will email you a link to the plugin installer file within two business days.
  6. Save the file and double-click it to install the plugin.
  7. Launch SketchUp.
  8. A window displaying your name and email address will appear.
  9. That information can be found under Extension->PhotoSketch->About.

Where can I find additional answers?

Please direct technical questions to support@brainstormllc.com

Sales questions can be directed to sales@brainstormllc.com