Sketchup General Questions

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Forum topic by pashley posted 03-23-2008 02:36 PM 2194 views 3 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1044 posts in 3746 days

03-23-2008 02:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sketchup

I’ve been considering using Google’s free sketchup program to design my projects. I like the fact that you can print out templates and simply cut from them. Currently I use a 3D program called Bryce which does some great renderings, but you cannot print out templates, and measuring is a little weird. Some questions I had:

1) Once you do your “sketch”, can you export it to a popular 3D format, so that you can make a fine rendering in (in my case) Bryce? It seems the Sketchup renderer is a bit lacking here?

2) How steep is the learning curve? I’ve worked on computers for years.

Any other thoughts would be appreciated….

-- Have a blessed day!

40 replies so far

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3903 days

#1 posted 03-23-2008 04:04 PM

It doesn’t look like you can export 3D models, but there are some rendering plug-ins that do a much better job than the built-in rendering engine. You might be able to find a plug-in that will do 3D export, too.

If you are used to modeling programs, I don’t think you’ll have too much trouble with SketchUp. Most people pick up on the basics really quickly.

-- -- --

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3903 days

#2 posted 03-23-2008 04:15 PM

I am far from computer illiterate, and somehow ScetchUp has beaten me at every turn. Your mileage may vary.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3844 days

#3 posted 03-23-2008 05:06 PM

the free version does not allow exporting (Except to Google Earth). Here is a link to the files for the pro version.

As for the learning curve, It takes some time. I tried several other programs before landing onn this one. I still like it better.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Paul M's profile

Paul M

89 posts in 3748 days

#4 posted 03-23-2008 05:53 PM

I have fiddled around with Sketchup a couple of times, but found the measuring lacking the accuracy I want. The 3D seems cool, but of no real value to me. I use a AutoCAD, and have never bothered with the rendering, since all I need is in 2D. Learning curve on most of these is prety steep, so since I know a number of keyboard shortcuts, I will stick with a standard type program.

-- Paul from New England "No man is a failure who is enjoying life". William Feather

View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 3746 days

#5 posted 03-23-2008 07:36 PM

I think I might take a stab at it, and get a “for Dummies” book to help me out.

Can someone point me to some renderings done with these plugins? I’d be interested in seeing them….

-- Have a blessed day!

View ww_kayak's profile


70 posts in 3753 days

#6 posted 03-24-2008 04:32 PM

It looks like a fair amount work (depending n your experience), but the common theme is to convert KMZ files to whatever you need, however you can:
Sketchup to Bryce

Blender is also a free 3D program, but don’t even think about just trying to guess how to use it ;) If all you’re doing is opening and exporting, it shouldn’t be too bad.

-- Tom, Central New York

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4080 days

#7 posted 03-25-2008 01:32 AM

I’ve been trying to learn SU for a few weeks now…

I have found it VERY FRUSTRATING… until I’ve learned how to handle my specific problem(s).

I have been fortunate to run into a SU GURU on one of the forums who is willing to help me with whatever my problems whenever I have problems. He has helped me alot.

I too have been working with computers since 1962, operating, programming, systems design, teaching, managing, etc.

I have found SU to be very hard to learn… not very user friendly… my friend disagrees… I’ve almost quit using the programs a couple of times now… to rest, think about it, only to try it again… getting better and better each time.

There are Tricks to it’s use… subtle tricks… still learning… getting better…

I’m currently learning how to rotate (orient) and move components to create the Model. That Rotate tool can be SO frustrating, it’s enough to really “get” to one…

I have alot to learn… the more I use it & learn, the more I like it.

I have learned alot from this LINK…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 3841 days

#8 posted 03-25-2008 02:12 AM

robertpaul~Lacking the accuracy you want- What are you building that you need better than a 64th?
You can always go to decimal mode….it reads to 0.000000”


Edit: To change units:
Window-Model Info-Units

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here:

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 3868 days

#9 posted 03-25-2008 02:29 AM

Sketch up is the best thing ever invented on the computer for woodworkers :)


-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 3746 days

#10 posted 03-25-2008 03:39 AM

Yes, I’ve seen the SU videos on YouTube, and I think they will help me. I guess it’s like any program – you have to learn it, the hard way. Wish Apple had made it; I’d have had the Queen Mary done by now… :)

I’ll keep pecking away at it – I think it will be worth it in the long run.

-- Have a blessed day!

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4114 days

#11 posted 03-25-2008 04:19 AM

As mentioned the free version will not export 3D models other than kmz for import to Google earth (pretty cool to play with that though) Clients think its pretty cool to zoom in on their project from outer space…:)

The sketchup render is better than most people think. The key is to get good materials textures. There is an extraordinary bunch of wood textures at:
Click on the thumbnails and then save the resulting page jpg to your materials directory. They are huge files so you’ll want to resize them. I used some in the Skecthup challenge:

I haven’t played with Bryce in years. I used to love the landscapes it would generate.

There is a very good blog (Design, Click, Build) on Sketchup at I used to contribute to it (you’ll find some of my video tutorilas there) but dropped it when I found LJ. Tim Killen on FWW is doing some amazing design work with it. FWW’s online subscription is a must for any serious woodworker IMO, amazing knowledge base there. I’ve done a few tutorials for Sketchup here as well. Just look at my blogs. I’ll try to add some more and feel free to ask any questions. Probably best to PM me so I’ll be sure to see it.

Sketchup is easy to learn for some and tough for others. I think it has to do with taking the time to view the tutorials avialable on the web and paying attention to the items that catch people. Sketchup has a very different way of creating geometry and its the subtle things that Joe mentions above that cause problems…stickiness and inference are just two that come to mind. One rule…you can’t make too many components. I make components of just about every piece in a design.

Accuracy isn’t a problem. You can type in the exact accuracy you need for almost any command. One of my blogs here talks of setting up Sketchup for woodworking.

I’ve said this many times and I’ll repeat it here. I have 30 years of design/drafting experience. I’ve used Autocad, Microstation, and other graphic and 3D design software professionally for over 20 years and use Autocad almost every day. I do all my woodworking design in Sketchup. Its the easiest and best software package I know of for creating accurate 3D designs.

I have a plugin for Sketchup that extends its realism but don’t use it much. I have seen some very realistic things done with some but they aren’t free. The native renderer suits my purpose 90% of the time. Especially for woodworking.

-- Bob

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4080 days

#12 posted 03-25-2008 06:39 AM

”There is a very good blog (Design, Click, Build) on Sketchup at ... (you’ll find some of my video tutorilas there) ...”

That’s the guy that emailed me and is helping me alot! Dave Richards… a real expert / guru on SU!
(hope I’m not Name Dropping out of turn.) :(

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 3774 days

#13 posted 03-25-2008 11:05 AM

G.I.G.O. and additionally R.T.F.M. nuff said . . .

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4080 days

#14 posted 03-25-2008 05:07 PM

How about G.I.R.G.O.?

What is R.T.F.M.? :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4020 days

#15 posted 03-25-2008 05:35 PM

RTFM – Read the fantastic manual. At least I think that’s what the F stands for….

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

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