SketchUp is a modeling and 3D design software that stands out for its ease of use and the professionals results that offers.
3D design programs usually are complex and require a long learning process. This is due to the large number of tools and options that these programs have. Despite this, the results are worth the time invested in learning and mastery these programs
SketchUp is presented as an alternative to these complex 3D programs, offering a simple and adaptable interface according to the type of project that we are going to start. For example, we can select different templates to start, each one of them will be focused on a type of work. We can select “general use” template, which allows us to design any type of 3D model, or we can also select the templates: “architects and designers”, “create models for Google Earth”, “engineers”, “product designers and woodworking”, “plan view”.
All of these templates are focused on a particular job and show the most appropriate tools for carrying out such work. An interesting is the so-called “beginning training template”, which is the template that we have to deal with if we're following the training courses available at the official website of the program. To follow these learning courses is something recommended for all those users who have first contact with this tool.
The program stands out for the simplicity of use, as from the very first moment we can begin to make our 3D design using only the mouse, whose management is very intuitive. Even without having read the user manual, we will be able to do basic and simple designs. Obviously if we want to take full advantage, we must follow a tutorial or learning using the user manual.
The user interface can be configured to use different unit of measure, such as: meters, millimeters, inches or feet.
The 3D models generated can be exported to different formats: .dae and .kmz. We can also save a 2D image of our model. This image can be saved as: .png, .jpg, .bmp, and .tif.
Another important feature of this program is the ability to import 3D models designed by other users. The program has access to a vast library of 3D models (3D Warehouse) that we can download and include in our design. In this gallery there are: football stadiums, designs of furniture, trees, cars, historical monuments, spacecraft, electrical appliances, aircraft, and a myriad of designs.
This program offers the possibility to create easily 3D models of real buildings. That is to say, we can create a 3D model from the satellite images of Google Earth. Once we've created the model, we can request its inclusion of our model in Google Earth, so that if our 3D building model is accepted, it will be visible by all Google Earth users.
The program is free for personal use, and there are other paid versions for professional use. The version that we offer here, is the one that is oriented to personal use.