Toolbar Talks: Popular Software We Use Apps for Designers - Designers Show #113

designers show Oct 23, 2023

Staying updated with the latest tools that Designers use can give you a competitive edge. From the intricacies of Google Earth Pro's historical imagery to the quick video communication capabilities of Loom, there's a plethora of resources available to streamline your workflow.

Dive into our recent discussion at the Designers Show where we explore a range of apps and tools, including OneNote for organized note-keeping, Grammarly for impeccable writing, and WeTransfer for hassle-free large file transfers.

Whether you're a seasoned designer or just starting out, these insights will undoubtedly enhance your productivity and client communication. Join us as we delve into these game-changing tools and more!


Here's a summary of the Designers Show with timestamps:


Introduction and Welcome (00:00 - 00:25)

  • Introduction to the designer show with Dan, Renee, and John.
  • Mention of Robin's absence due to teaching commitments.

Discussion on Apps and Toolbars (00:25 - 01:06)

  • Casual chat about various apps and tools.
  • Mention of a possible confusion about the show's title, which seemed to suggest a discussion about the Chief Architect toolbar.

Upcoming Classes Announcement (01:06 - 03:35)

  • Announcement of upcoming classes in Minneapolis.
  • Details about the beginner-intermediate class with only six sign-ups, making it a small and intimate class.
  • Introduction to the intermediate and advanced classes in November.
  • Emphasis on the importance of having a basic understanding of Chief Architect before attending the intermediate and advanced classes.
  • Brief discussion on the difference between beginner-intermediate and intermediate-advanced classes.

Summit Announcement (03:35 - 04:34)

  • Mention of the summit from March 1st to 10th.
  • Emphasis on the transformative nature of the summit and its impact on attendees.

Discussion on Chief Toolbar (04:41 - 06:18)

  • Introduction to the Chief toolbar.
  • A quick Q&A session addressing an issue with missing viewers in the library.

Rene's Custom Toolbar Layout (06:23 - 08:17)

  • Rene showcases his custom toolbar layout, which includes kitchen tools, shower tools, style palettes, and more.
  • Mention of Rene's website where these toolbars can be purchased.

Creating a Custom Icon in Chief Architect (08:20 - 10:31)

  • Step-by-step demonstration on how to create a custom icon within Chief Architect.
  • Explanation of how to customize toolbars and add specific icons for different functionalities.

Customizing Toolbars with Library Items (10:37 - 11:27)

  • Demonstrates how to link a library item (like a toilet) to a custom toolbar icon.
  • The system auto-generates potential icons for the library item.
  • The custom tool is linked to the specific library object.

Limitations and Tips on Toolbar Customization (11:27 - 12:50)

  • Drawbacks of custom toolbars:
  • Can't be shared on other computers.
  • Limit of 400 items.
  • Can't transfer a toolbar from one configuration to another within the program.
  • Recommendation to build a comprehensive toolbar in one configuration.
  • Mention of potential changes in future Chief Architect versions to make sharing toolbars easier.

Toolbar Backup and Restoration (12:50 - 14:00)

  • The importance of backing up custom toolbars.
  • How to copy and store toolbar configurations.
  • The process of importing a toolbar configuration if needed.

Extended Tool Configuration (14:00 - 16:29)

  • Discussion on the extended tool configuration.
  • The presenter's personal toolbar setup and the reasons behind it.
  • Mention of potential toolbar crashes and the need for backups.

Customizing Toolbar Icons (16:29 - 20:58)

  • How to customize the appearance of toolbar icons.
  • Each toolbar has an associated PNG file that can be edited.
  • The process of accessing and editing these PNG files.

General Toolbar Tips (20:58 - 21:04)

  • The importance of creating a comprehensive toolbar system for efficiency.

Discussion on Apps and Hotkeys (21:19 - 21:40)

  • Mention of an app that can detect if the library browser window is open or closed in Chief Architect.
  • The app allows users to set hotkeys to target specific library items.

Sharing Favorite Apps (21:45 - 22:01)

  • Encouragement for viewers to share their favorite apps in the chat.

Customizing Toolbars with Hotkeys (22:05 - 23:03)

  • Discussion on the benefits of setting up hotkeys for frequently used tools.
  • Mention of the "E" key as a hotkey for the "Open" function in Chief Architect.
  • The importance of setting up hotkeys for tools used with the left hand.

Using Juxtapose for Image Comparison (23:03 - 28:41)

  • Introduction to Juxtapose, an app for creating image sliders to compare two images.
  • Demonstration of how to use Juxtapose to create before-and-after image comparisons.
  • Discussion on the benefits of using Juxtapose for presentations and client interactions.
  • Mention of the need to store images in Dropbox for Juxtapose to work.
  • Explanation of how to create animated GIFs using Juxtapose.

Using Heyzine for Flipbook Presentations (28:41 - 32:59)

  • Introduction to Heyzine, an app for creating flipbook-style presentations.
  • Demonstration of how to use Heyzine to create a flipbook from a PDF.
  • Discussion on the benefits of using Heyzine for client presentations and sharing designs.
  • Demonstration of how Heyzine transforms uploaded PDFs into flipbook-style presentations.
  • Mention of the ability to download the source code or flipbook from Heyzine.

Using KUULA for 3D Tours (33:03 - 34:01)

  • Introduction to KUULA, a platform for creating 3D tours.
  • Demonstration of how to use KUULA to create point-to-point 3D tours.
  • Discussion on the benefits of using KUULA for client presentations and showcasing designs.

Discussion on Exporting DWGs from Chief Architect (34:01 - 40:09)

  • Tips on exporting DWGs from Chief Architect for engineering purposes.
  • Emphasis on paring down layers and sending floor-by-floor exports.
  • Mention of potential issues with large 3D files and the benefits of using software like TwinMotion.

Using 3D Warehouse for SketchUp Symbols (40:09 - 41:02)

  • Introduction to 3D Warehouse, a storage platform for SketchUp symbols.
  • Discussion on sourcing 3D models, such as people, from 3D Warehouse for use in Chief Architect.

Using Substance Suite for 3D Texturing (41:02 - 41:49)

  • Introduction to the Substance Suite, a tool used by Chief's content team for creating textures.
  • Discussion on the ability to paint textures, bumps, roughness, and height onto 3D meshes using Substance Painter.
  • Mention of the process of enhancing 3D models from 3D Warehouse using Substance Painter.

Using Google Earth for Mapping (42:01 - 42:06)

  • Brief mention of using Google Earth for mapping purposes.

Using Google Maps for Scaling (42:12 - 44:05)

  • Demonstration of how to use Google Maps to measure distances and capture views.
  • Tips on how to scale images in Chief Architect using the measured distance from Google Maps.

Rene's Website and Tools (44:19 - 45:45)

  • Rene introduces his website and its features.
  • Discussion on the "Industry Tools" section, which includes a code lookup and resources.
  • Mention of the "Plot Site Contour Map Generator" tool on Rene's website for generating contour maps.
  • Plug for Rene's Discord server, which offers VIP content, including terrain videos.

Using Snagit for Screen Captures (45:51 - 49:44)

  • Introduction to Snagit, a tool for screen captures.
  • Demonstration of how to use Snagit to capture entire web pages, grab text, and mark up images.
  • Mention of the benefits of using Snagit for documentation and communication.

Using Zillow for Property Information (49:49 - 50:54)

  • Discussion on using Zillow to gather information about properties before visiting them.
  • Tips on collecting images, property details, and other relevant data from Zillow.

Using Canvas and Matterport for 3D Scans (51:03 - 51:44)

  • Introduction to Canvas, a tool that provides Chief Architect plans based on 3D scans.
  • Mention of Matterport, which offers high-quality 3D scans.
  • Discussion on the benefits and limitations of both tools.

Using Hover and Eagle View for Exteriors (51:57 - 52:33)

  • Introduction to Hover and Eagle View, tools geared towards exterior contractors.
  • Discussion on the usefulness of these tools for capturing exterior dimensions and roof pitches.

Google Earth Pro for Historical Imagery (52:41 - 54:32)

  • Discussion on Google Earth Pro's feature of viewing historical imagery.
  • Demonstration of how to access and view historical images of specific locations.
  • Mention of potential uses, such as checking for unpermitted additions to properties.

Google Earth Pro vs. Google Maps (54:32 - 55:01)

  • Comparison of features between Google Earth Pro and Google Maps.
  • Emphasis on Google Earth Pro's measurement capabilities.

Using OneNote for Keeping Notes (55:13 - 57:08)

  • Introduction to OneNote as a tool for keeping and organizing notes.
  • Demonstration of how to search for specific notes and topics within OneNote.
  • Mention of OneNote's integration with Microsoft 365.

Using Loom for Quick Video Recordings (58:13 - 60:40)

  • Introduction to Loom, a tool for creating quick video recordings.
  • Demonstration of how to record, save, and share videos using Loom.
  • Discussion on the benefits of using Loom for client communication and support.

Other Useful Apps and Tools (60:40 - 62:43)

  • Mention of various apps and tools, including:
  • Grammarly for grammar and spelling checks.
  • WeTransfer for sending large files.
  • Asana for task management.
  • Notability for handwritten notes.

Closing Remarks and Class Announcements (62:43 - 62:55)