While there are many 3D and CAD modeling programs out there, none are as simple to use as Google’s SketchUp. If you’re not familiar with 3-dimensional programs, then SketchUp may seem daunting at first. But once you figure out the basics, it’s easy to design logos, furniture, and even houses.
If you’re familiar with most computer programs, especially drawing programs, you’ll notice some similar tools. The select tool, pencil, paint bucket, magnifying glass, and different shapes are some of the tools in SketchUp that you will recognize right away. To do to start designing, take the line or the shapes tool and click anywhere, move your mouse to the length or size you like and click again.
Just remember that you are working in a 3D landscape, so it is easy to get lost! Using the scroll wheel on the mouse to zoom in and out. Stick to the x, y and z axis when drawing lines and shapes and that will make the whole 3D atmosphere a lot less intimidating. Try to imagine the screen as the viewfinder to a camera that can pan, tilt, zoom and reposition anywhere you’d like.
Check out some tutorials online at sketchup.com/learn/videos or at lynda.com.
A great book that you can check out here at Fountaindale is Google SketchUp: the Missing Manual. Not only does it cover the first steps but goes well into detail for more advanced users.
There’s more to Google SketchUp then designing for 3D printing. You can also use it for architecture and construction, interior design, game design, woodworking, and film and stage design.