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3D Sketching with Google Sketchup

April 2015

Google Sketchup is ideal for those interested in 3D sketching. This is a tool meant for 3D modeling, and has a user-friendly interface. The executable file for Google Sketchup can be downloaded for free from the internet .After the installation of the file and the tool for 3D sketching, it can be launched. With the help of the toolbar, one can draw simple lines, add geometric shapes and can even navigate created models in Google Sketchup. For convenience, there is a learning centre to assist users when using the program and Sketchup forums are available online. With Google Sketchup, revolution in multimedia can be taken to a new level of excellence.


Google SketchUp is a 3D modeling tool that is very simple to use. It is available free at http://sketchup.google.com . Once the executable file is downloaded, double-click it to start the installation program. This operation requires two to three minutes. After installation, launch Google SketchUp. The learning center will open automatically. If you're not familiar with 3D software, we suggest you take a look at the advice.

SketchUp allows you to make very complex shapes easily with just a few clicks, thanks to an ergonomic interface.


To draw a house, click the "Rectangle" from the toolbar (hover over an icon with the mouse to display a tooltip, if you have trouble identifying the tools). Then draw the basic shape of your home, on the floor.

For more precision and speed, enter the dimensions in the text box in the lower right corner, just after your layout rectangle (eg "10 m 5 m" for a floor area of 50 square meters). Confirm the values by pressing Enter.

The shape you draw is, for the time being, a rectangle. To become a home, you should first apply a volume. To do this, click the "Push / Pull" in the toolbar (or menu "Tools > Push / Pull"). Then click on your rectangle to select it. You can stretch up or down. If you are not comfortable with the mouse, you can once again enter a specific value in the text field.

Once the form is created and it is 3D modeling, it is interesting to navigate in your creation. SketchUp has three tools to view your creation:
  • Orbit is used to turn around the subject.
  • Panoramic view moves laterally.
  • Zoom brings you closer or away from the form.


You can add as much or as little detail to your sketch as you wish. To make a more realistic image, simply add more geometric shapes. Each one is independent and can be individually adjusted to suit your design. Using 'Arc" you can create rounded shapes. "Circle" allows for cylindrical shapes.

You can also draw simple lines with the "Line" tool. It is ideal to form the window frames for example. Note that the geometric shapes must be closed so you can stretch them or reduce them.

Tip: Google has set up a bank of public 3D images. You can get very elaborate figures by clicking on File > 3D Warehouse > Downloading models.

At the moment, the shape you have designed is an empty shell. For the full 3D modeling experience, we must now apply textures. Select a surface model and click on the bucket of paint (Color) in the toolbar. A new window appears. It provides you with all the colors and textures you can use in SketchUp. Pull down the menu to select the texture that suits your needs and put it on the area.

However, despite the very realistic textures provided, you will get a better result using a real photo as a texture. To do this, click Choose File > Import. Select one of your pictures on the hard drive and select the radio button "Use as texture".

To learn more about the software, the best thing to do is experiment. You can also visit the forums for help and advice: http://www.sketchucation.com/forums/scf/viewforum.php?f=51.
For unlimited offline reading, you can download this article for free in PDF format:
3d-sketching-with-google-sketchup.pdf

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Original article published by ChristophePineau. Translated by netsa77. - Latest update by Jeff
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