The Bottom Line
SketchUp does not create animations or super-realistic renders. However, SketchUp is a nimble program that will work on older, slower computers when beefier modeling programs would crash.
What SketchUp lacks in sophistication, it more than makes up for with ease of use. SketchUp can be downloaded from Google at sketchup.google.com.
- Free download
- Easy to learn
- Integrates with Google Earth
- Free version only exports 3D models for Google Earth
- Difficult to fine-tune modeling
- 2D rendered models lack realism
- Models export into Google Earth with the touch of a button.
- Measure exact distances in feet and inches or centimeters and millimeters.
- Share and import models by using Google's 3D Warehouse.
- SketchUp Pro offers more export and rendering features for $495.
- Google has an animated help menu that shows you how to use each tool as you go.
Guide Review - Google SketchUp 3D Modeling Software
SketchUp can be upgraded to SketchUp 6 Pro for $495. The pro version comes with additional export options and email technical support.
Do not expect Google SketchUp to compete with professional products like Autodesk Maya. SketchUp is nowhere near this level of sophistication. However, SketchUp does not require years of constant use to master.
Creating a model for Google Earth is easy. With both Google Earth and SketchUp open, the view from Google Earth can be imported into SketchUp with the touch of a button. Once modeling is complete, press the place model button, and the model moves into your copy of Google Earth.
SketchUp feels like an architectural modeling program. SketchUp even offers a variety of "sketchy" textures for models, and SketchUp Pro has a rendering option to make 2D renders look like they're architect's sketches.
Google SketchUp is a great tool for beginners or anyone looking for a simple way to make simple 3D objects. It's ideal for students in areas like interior design, where 3D models would enhance their presentations.