Instant Roof, instant productivity

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:

Selecting just a face produces a hip roof.

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:

Select an edge to tell the script where to draw a gable.

Selecting edges on opposite sides of the building results in gables over both:

Select two edges to create gables on both ends of the roof.

If you select three edges, you end up with a shed:

Selecting three edges produces a shed.

The script handles increased complexity beautifully:

Once I'd wrapped my head around what I was doing, this roof took 3 seconds to generate.

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.

The script comes preloaded with a few parameter presets, but you can create and save your own.

And if that's not enough, Instant Roof can also create a few different roof details: mission tile, shingles, standing seam and sheet metal.

Mission tile and metal standing seam are two of the roof details you can apply with Instant Roof.

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:

Visit Chuck's website for videos and printable help resources galore.

About the Author

Aidan Chopra

Aidan was a beloved member of the SketchUp team for 10 years. He birthed this blog, taught countless SketchUp classes, authored the SketchUp For Dummies book, and is a jolly fellow indeed. If you'd like to learn a little more about Aidan and his new endeavor, check out Bitsbox.

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