Things You Ought to Know About SketchUp 2014 - dummies

Things You Ought to Know About SketchUp 2014

By Aidan Chopra

Operating under the assumption that lots of people may want — and need — to make 3D models, SketchUp’s inventors designed a program that works more intuitively than high-end modeling programs. In SketchUp, you don’t think about 3D models as complex mathematical constructs (the way computers think). You build models with familiar elements: lines and shapes. Here’s some information you may need:

  • You get SketchUp by downloading it from the Internet. Read through the first page of the SketchUp website. Click the links to download the application to your computer, and then follow the installation instructions on the web.

  • SketchUp works in Windows and Mac OS X. SketchUp is available for both operating systems, and it looks (and works) about the same way on both.

  • SketchUp comes in two flavors: SketchUp Make and SketchUp Pro. The 3D modeling part is nearly identical in both versions, but there are some significant differences when it comes to importing and exporting, document preparation, terms of use (the legal stuff), and tech support. The SketchUp website spells out the differences between them in detail; in the meantime, here’s the condensed version:

    • SketchUp Make is the free version that anyone can download and use for noncommercial purposes. As long as you’re not using it for work, SketchUp Make’s user license allows you to model anything you like, for free, forever.

    • SketchUp Pro is the full-featured, professional version that you can buy if you need it. The Pro version includes several terrific features that folks like architects, construction pros, and other design professionals need for exchanging files with other software. SketchUp Pro also includes a whole separate application — dubbed LayOut — for creating documents from your SketchUp models.

If you know you need SketchUp Pro, go ahead and download it. You have eight hours of trial time to use it before you have to buy a license. After that, it stops working until you license it.

If, on the other hand, you’re undecided about which version to use, go ahead and download Make. You’ll still have eight hours to try all the extra features in Pro (it starts off in evaluation mode), but after that, only the Pro stuff stops working.

You’ll still have SketchUp Make forever and ever. And if you ever decide to upgrade to Pro, all you have to do is buy a license — there’s nothing else to download.