Make designs in seconds with this stable program that is easy to use
Windows 8 / Windows 7
Google SketchUp offers a free but limited 3D modeling software that can be used as an alternative to expensive software like Cinema4D or 3DSMax. With SketchUp, you can create amazing 3D art or models in exquisite detail, and you can upload your projects to Google Earth for public access.
One of the greatest things about SketchUp is that it lacks a lot of the technical wordage that would typically deter an inexperienced designer from even trying to use the software. It's designed to essentially walk you through the learning process as you use the different functions. For instance, one of the default functions within SketchUp is 'snapping' shapes, which involves the user starting to draw a shape and the app finishing the shape perfectly. This saves you the hassle of having to carefully try to draw freehand shapes, and it does so without any changes to the settings.
Even with such easy utility, the software isn't lacking any major functionality. You'll find all the standard filling and drawing functions you might assume were in such an artistic app. On the top of the app screen is a toolbar where all these tools are accessible. If the system senses you pausing over an icon or function, it will send you a small pop-out with hints and explanations.
You can choose to open several modular palettes at once to save time searching through various menus, or you can access every option from those menus as you need them to leave your workspace more open. One palette many 3D artists enjoy is the palette for Materials, which includes swatches like glass, metal, and vegetation, along with more than 100 others. Another palette gives you control over Shadow Settings, which helps you produce shadows of varying intensity.
SketchUp is part of the Google family of apps, so it has complete integration with Google Earth and Google Maps. After you've finished your work, you can export the art to Google Earth. It gives you the option to email your designs to someone or save them in the 3D Web Warehouse owned by Google. With Google Maps integration, you can geo-tag your work, and the system will import aerial imagery and 3D terrain info for the area surrounding your creation.
Of course, like almost all apps, SketchUp does have its downsides. For example, it's particularly difficult to use the Push/Pull function to make domed shapes, but that same function works fine with lines. The software is free, so it doesn't come with any of the classic advanced functions found in benchmark apps from the same category. With a simple UI and unlimited creative freedom, anyone can use SketchUp to design something unique.
SketchUp Make 2015 is a 3D modeling and CAD software system that tries to change the way people see such software, and the idea is to create a free version that is intuitive, integrated, and powerful.
Many of the most popular industry standard CAD programs on the market are incredibly overpriced, including such examples as 3DSMax and Cinema4D. SketchUp, on the other hand, is an entirely free package that offers nearly the same exact utility as those more expensive options. Not only that, but in-app creations can easily be shared thanks to the app's integration with Google Maps and Google Earth.
3D modeling software tends to be a bit overcomplicated for the standard user, and a lot of that stems from the complex jargon that is used by those apps. That problem doesn't exist in SketchUp because the system is designed for those even with no experience. The system also includes several hints, tips, and tricks for taking full advantage of the powerful tools at your disposal.
One of the most intuitive aspects of the software is the innovative 'snapping' feature, which basically helps create shapes in regular patterns. As you create a shape, even freehand, the app will start to detect what is being drawn, and it will essentially auto-complete the process when it detects the end points are close.
Many users might assume that since SketchUp is free and requires little or no skill that the software lacks basic function, but that couldn't be further from the truth. All the most popular drawing and filling tools are right at the fingertips of the user, and the toolbar contains a number of other options for manipulating the workspace. Hints are also constantly popping up to help the user on the way.
The app uses a semi-modular style of organization, so the user can open certain palettes and swatches to increase productivity in the workspace. An interesting palette filled with preset content is the 'Materials' pane, which includes textured swatches like metal, glass, and vegetation. That palette includes roughly 100 different swatches, and there are dozens of other palettes to use.
After the creations are completed within the app, they can be shared with the world thanks to the app's integration with Google Earth and Google Maps. Users can easily upload images of 3D creations to the 3D Web Warehouse created by Google specifically for that purpose, and geotags can be placed in creations thanks to the Google Maps integration.
Free software does tend to have some downsides, and the same is true for SketchUp. There are some issues with the Push/Pull tool when attempting to manipulate domed objects, but straight lines are no trouble. Professionals might notice a lack of the more advanced techniques and tools they require for top-tier work, but the standard user won't miss those features.Pros
Google Sketchup is a 3D modeling program designed by Google. It is designed with users of all experiences in mind by catering to the novice, while still reserving functionality for the advanced user.
While competitors of Google Sketchup tend to come with hefty price tags attached to them, Google Sketchup challenges the norm by remaining free. With an easy to use interface, the program also challenges other titles in the same genre with simple controls and intuitive features. Even when a creation has been completed, a user can upload it to Google Earth for public viewing, and it can even be geo-tagged so that others can see exactly where it came from.
One of Google Sketchup's strongest points is that it does not overwhelm its users with technical mumbo jumbo that novices are likely not going to understand. For example, the "Extrude" action that is commonly found in many 3D modeling programs is simply renamed as "Push/Pull" in Google Sketchup. Google Sketchup is highly intelligent too; it helps users create their models by providing guides and hints along the way. For example, Google Sketchup can inherently infer where you want to place endpoints when drawing shapes, and it automatically helps you by snapping them together before you waste twenty minutes trying to figure out how to do it yourself.
Even though Google Sketchup is a viable tool for users of all walks, it is often speculated to lack in features due to its simplicity and ease of use. However, it comes pre-packaged and jam-packed with any tool you'd find in other 3D modeling programs. When users are working on models, the program will provide hints along the way to point the user in the right direction if they show signs of having trouble. Basic functions are all grouped together in a toolbar at the top, and other features can be found in the menus of the program. If you'd like to have faster access to your favorite features, you can create new palettes that contain them so that you don't have to waste time clicking around in menus continually. Google Sketchup also offers many features for adding realism to your models, such as "Materials" presets and "Shadow Settings" for applying realistic shadows.
Once a user completes a model in Google Sketchup, they can upload it to Google Earth, send it to friends with email, or store it with Google's 3D Web Warehouse.
Users might run into a few snags with Google Sketchup, however. The "Extrude" tool can be a bit tough to use when creating domed surfaces, and it lacks features that other competitors offer mainly due to being free.
Overall, Google Sketchup is a great free tool for any user, from the beginner to the advanced.
Pros and Cons
The pros of Google Sketchup include:
The cons of Google Sketchup include:
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