3D models of the CMS detector and events in SketchUp

1 Pencil Introduction

SketchUpCMS is a project in which we recreate the CMS detector as 3D computer graphics in SketchUp and offer solutions to a variety of problems related to 3D representations of the CMS detector. From the CMS Detector Description, we accurately and precisely reproduce the geometry of all CMS detector subsystems, including the geometries of the original CMS detector, phase 1 and phase 2 upgrades.

It is easy to browse a 3D model of the CMS detector in SketchUp; you can comfortably zoom in and out or orbit around the model. It is also easy to rearrange a model in SketchUp. For example, you can easily hide, move, or rotate particular pieces of the model.

With SketchUp Pro, it is possible to produce high quality vector images of the CMS detector, which can be used in formal documentation, such as technical design reports. Furthermore, by using many rendering plugins available in the market, it is possible to produce photo-realistic images of the CMS detector, which can be useful for presentations for public outreach, such as websites, magazines or TV shows.

2 Persons Contacts

3 Legal Citation

The citation for the work in this project is the proceedings for CHEP2013

4   Download a SketchUp Model of the CMS detector

A SketchUp 3D model of the CMS detector can be downloaded from the following link.

- CMS-OUTREACH-2019-002 — the model is shared under Apache license 2.0.

In the SketchUp file, the 3D model is organized in layers. Each subdetector and variation of cutaways are in a different layer. You can turn on and off each layer and choose subdetectors and cutaways. The SketchUp file includes five scenes with different layers on. Below is an image of each scene.

5   Detector figures

Cutaway views of the CMS detector

- CMS-OUTREACH-2019-001 — These figures are now shared under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Run-2, 2017–2018, after phase-1 pixel upgrade

The phase-1 pixel upgrade was installed in early 2017 during the extended year-end technical stop (EYETS).


Run-2, 2015–2016, before phase-1 pixel upgrade

The fourth layers of muon endcaps (ME4/2) were installed during LHC long shutdown 1 (LS1). The right figure was used in the Bs rare decay CMS and LHCb joint paper in Nature. The figure with labels is on the CMS official website.


Run-1, without ME4/2

The initial CMS detector configuration. These figures were originally created for the CMS Higgs boson discovery summary paper in Science. These figures were shared on Facebook and other social networks.


Pixel phase-1 upgrade

The phase-1 pixel detector alongside the initial pixel detector. These figures were originally created for Technical Design Report (TDR) for the Pixel Detector Upgrade. The right figure was also appeared in articles about the TDR in the old CMS website and the CMS Times

6   Event displays with ispy-webgl

The images show 13 TeV collisions recorded by the CMS detector:

This images were created with ispy-webgl. The SketchUp model of the CMS detector was imported in ispy-webgl. The events were rendered by ispy-webgl.

7   CHEP 2013

We have presented a poster about the project at CHEP2013: Computing in High Energy Physics 2013, 14-18 Oct 2013, NIKHEF, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

8   Projects using SketchUpCMS

Diagram: CMS detector update during LS2

Feb. 2010

Brochure: CMS at CERN

Jun. 2014

Poster for HCPSS 2014

May. 2014

The geometry of the CMS barrel was used in the poster created for 9th Annual Fermilab-CERN Hadron Collider Physics Summer School, held at Fermilab in August 2014.

Phase-I Upgrade Posters at Fermilab

Jan. 2014

Four posters on Phase-I Upgrade were created and posted in the Wilson Hall 11th floor at Fermilab.

Poster for the 8th CMS Data Analysis School (CMSDAS)

Dec. 2013

The geometry of the detector subsystems in the CMS barrel was used in the background of the poster created for 8th CMS Data Analysis School (CMSDAS), held at the Fermilab LPC in January 2014.

The image file of the geometry can be found at DocDB:

A film on the Higgs boson from the University of Oslo.

Dec. 2013

"A beautiful video on the Higgs boson from the University of Oslo. What is it, how does it work, and why is it important?"

"Prof. Alex Read from the University of Oslo explains what the Higgs Boson is, and why it is important."

The CMS detector drawn in SketchUp starts showing up at 2:50.


Oct. 2013

Poster for CERN Opendays

Sep. 2013

A giant poster (2.4 x 2.0 m) made for the CERN opendays includes a figure of the CMS detector created in SketchUp

The poster in the original size in a pdf file can be found at:

CERN Courier

Mar. 2013

Figures of the CMS detector with and without ME4/2 and that of the PIXEL upgrade are in the article "CMS prepares for the future" in CERN Courier Volume 53, Number 3, April 2013

One of the figures is on the cover:

"ZOOOM" : Posters at P5

Oct. 2012

A series of seven A0-size zooming-in SketchUp posters are installed at P5.

The CMS public website has an article about the posters:

CMS shared on Facebook, Google+, Twitter

The full size image files of these posters can be found at DocDB:

9   SketchUp

SketchUp is a 3D modeling program. It has a highly intuitive user interface. It is easy to use and easy to learn, yet has a precise dimension and is used by architects, mechanical engineers, graphic designers, filmmakers, game designers, artists, and other professionals. In fact, SketchUp has been used to visualize a particle detector and build a prototype of an event display at the STAR experiment.

SketchUp was originally developed in 2000 by startup company @Last Software. Since this company was acquired by Google in 2006, SketchUp had been called Google SketchUp for several years. Then, in 2012, Google sold SketchUp to Trimble. Now, it is called SketchUp again and its logo has also changed.

9.1   SketchUp Free and SketchUp Pro

SketchUp comes in two versions: SketchUp Free and SketchUp Pro. While SketchUp Free is free and a web-based application, SketchUp Pro is available for purchase. SketchUp Pro has more functionality and includes LayOut.

You can browse and edit models of the CMS detector in both SketchUp Free and SketchUp Pro. While both SketchUp Free and SketchUp Pro can produce raster images in JPEG, TIFF, and PNG, only SketchUp Pro can produce vector images in PDF and EPS.

9.2   Learning SketchUp

SketchUp is particularly easy to learn. When SketchUp was released for the first time, it had the tagline "3D for everyone." Before SketchUp was released, 3D modeling programs were primarily only for professionals who received a long period of formal training. With its intuitive user interface, SketchUp has made "3D for everyone." The learning curve of SketchUp is very gentle.

There are many resources for learning SketchUp available, including books, online tutorials, videos, training courses, and user communities.

The SketchUp website has guides for learning SketchUp:

9.3   SketchUp Ruby API

SketchUp has an application programming interface (API) by which you can call functions of SketchUp in the Ruby programming language.

SketchUpCMS extensively uses SketchUp Ruby API in reproducing the geometry of the CMS detector in SketchUp.

10   Screenshot

This is a screenshot of SketchUp Pro on Mac OS X with a 3D model of the CMS detector in it.

schetchup screenshot 20160518.png
A screenshot of SketchUp Pro with a 3D model of the CMS detector

11   CMS Detector Description

We obtain the geometry of the CMS detector primarily from the CMS Detector Description. The CMS Detector Description is the master source of the CMS detector geometry used in the CMS event reconstruction and the CMS detector simulation. The CMS Detector Description is described in detail at:

The CMS Detector Description is written XML and is stored in CMSSW packages under CMSSW/Geometry.

12   Development at github

We develop Ruby scripts which read the CMS Detector Description, written in XML, and, using SkethUp Ruby API, build the 3D models in SketchUp. The development is ongoing at github:

13   Gallery

A gallery can be found at

Responsible: TaiSakuma

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