SKETCHUP 8, the latest version of Google’s 3D design program has just been launched. As I’m still in holiday mood, I downloaded it this morning and took my time going through the tutorials. Rather like a child learning to draw, they start you off with a basic house.
Taking things a bit further, you can specify precise dimensions as you draw; for instance this second house (right) started with two rectangles of 12×30 and 20×10 feet, joined to make an L-shaped plan.
The Offset tool is useful for creating the overhang of the roof and the frames of doors and windows, while the follow-me tool was used to take the plinth along the lower edge of the house from one side of the door frame to the other.
This elegant hall table has ended up rather deeper than intended but by following the tutorial through I’m beginning to grasp the principles of making components such as the legs and drawer fronts. Make modifications to one of the legs and the others update themselves to match.
To work on an interior you delete two walls of your house (you can always put them back in later) and switch to a wide angle ‘camera’ so that you can navigate into tight corners to work on your model. Those comfy armchairs are easy to download from the Sketchup website and, like every other component of the model, you can change their colour or pattern with a click from the paint bucket tool.
You’re encouraged to upload your own models for others to use. I’m going to have to improve a bit before I submit my efforts but I’ve enjoyed spending a few hours learning the basics today.
You can get a free download of Sketchup from http://sketchup.google.com/
You can find the video tutorials that I followed on Sketchup’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/sketchupvideo?gl=GB&user=sketchupvideo