SketchUp Is Really Great

By Todd Fratzel on Design

picture of sketchup modelRecently I discovered the power and value of a free piece of software that blows my mind. If you’ve ever used any kind of drafting software like AutoCAD then you know that 3D modeling is something left for the experts. Furthermore the software needed to do 3D drafting is extremely expensive. Until now that is, Google’s SketchUp is is absolutely free and a really powerful 3D modeling program.

I had heard about SketchUp recently but hadn’t taken the time to learn about it. Then two weeks ago I met with an urban planner for a project we’re working on and he showed us some 3D simulations that were produced using SketchUp and I was blown away.

picture of sketchup modelThere are so many great features that I can’t possibly discuss them all in this post. However, some of the highlights that I found amazing are:

  • You can import many different file types to use as your base map. You can import AutoCAD drawing files, digital photos and many more.
  • There are thousands of components or objects available online for free to enhance your models; chairs, doors, trees, cars, people, you name it!
  • It is very easy to texture surfaces to match real life structures, concrete, wood, steel, stucco, any kind of texture on an object is probably available. You can even apply digital photo images to surfaces (we just did this to a model with a picture of our office to make the model look realistic).
  • There are tons of tutorials online to learn from (especially on YouTube).

The list could go on and on but the point here is this is an amazing value. If you do any drafting or modeling you’d be crazy not to download this software and use it. I certainly plan on using it at work as an everyday tool and I also plan on using it to plan my home improvement projects. Stay tuned for some of my modeling in the future.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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2 Comments

  1. Anita says:

    My 11 year old is a Sketch-Up addict. It’s that easy to use… But remarkably powerful and all for free. I find myself doing a fist-pump under the table and muttering “Yeeah – Google!” :)

  2. Keith Bloemendaal says:

    Great post Todd, I was just checking SketchUp out the other day, haven’t had time to really dive in yet, but I plan too.

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