Instant Roof, by Chuck Vali of Vali Architects, is a truly great SketchUp Ruby script. Its purpose is simple – you use Instant Roof to quickly create gables, hips, sheds and trellises anywhere you need them. This script has everything going for it:
It's easy to install. Pop one file into your plugins folder and you're done.
It's easy to learn. Chuck (the script's author) has put together a huge pile of fantastic instructional PDFs and videos on his website. The in-product help is also comprehensive and well-placed.
It's easy to use. Everything's right there in the Plugins menu, so you don't have to memorize and keep track of a bunch of little tool icons. The input method for telling the script where to put gables and sheds couldn't be simpler.
To use Instant Roof, you select a face and choose Plugins > Instant Roof > Make Roof. In the following image, I chose to use the California Ranch roof style:
By default, the script produces an entirely hipped roof; it slopes in all directions. To produce a roof form with a gable, select an edge in addition to the face, then run the script:
Selecting edges on opposite sides of the building results in gables over both:
If you select three edges, you end up with a shed:
The script handles increased complexity beautifully:
Here’s Chuck showing off Instant Roof on YouTube:
Instant Roof includes a number of roof styles, but they're all just preset combinations of parameters that you can fiddle with to produce almost anything you need. Slopes, eaves, fascia, rafters – they'e all infinitely adjustable.
And if that's not enough, Instant Roof can also create a few different roof details: mission tile, shingles, standing seam and sheet metal.
Instant Roof comes in two flavors: free and Pro. The latter gives you the ability to choose from a much larger number of roof slopes; that's critical if you're using the script to do serious work. At US$39, it's a bargain. I can only imagine what impact Instant Roof will have on urban designers, art directors, set designers, concept artists and anyone else who needs to whip up convincing built form, quickly.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this script's author has done a phenomenal job of creating tutorials that should answer all your questions. Visiting his site will be one of the best things you do today – I guarantee it. Here's a screenshot of what you can expect to find there:
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