March 24, 2016
Since the release of SketchUp by its creators @Last Software in 2000, this 3D modeling program quickly become widely used by industry in various professions. A quick google search of SketchUp produces various video tutorials on YouTube and numerous websites, blogs, and articles dedicated to discussions and Q & As. SketchUp appeals to many first time users due to its straightforward interface. The software imitates the traditional drawing process, where the mouse acts as a pencil to draw on the monitor acting as paper. There is even an option to use a stylus and pad that work directly like pen and paper.
From a 2D sketch, the program then allows you to step into your drawing. Basic animation also allows users to communicate movements in designs. The program is intuitive, allowing for a quick learning curve, which might be the reason for its popularity. SketchUp allows users to picture and showcase anything in 3D; from creating apps for an Android phone, through game modding, set design, to city planning. Supporting professional such as architects, civil engineers, interior designers, and video game designers, to name just a few, SketchUp has become an integral part of industry.
Recent efforts have attempted to make SketchUp accessible in more places, such as phones. SketchUp has an undeniably large base of applications, and it will continue to be pushed in new directions.
Some users encounter limitations with the software for the very reasons it is so popular to many. Users who need more control and complex capabilities need to look for other options. It is more difficult to get photorealistic results from SketchUp and the program has limited animation capabilities. Where users meet the limitations of the program, other companies have stepped in to fill the gap for professionals. For example, 3D rendering and animation companies are offering to take the SketchUp model provided by a professional. These companies then rework the model to create high quality renders and animations. For example, an interior designer is remodeling a kitchen for her clients and has used SketchUp to showcase the space. Her clients are unsure of the kitchen layout, but the architect’s reassurance of their concerns are not sufficient. Her clients are still worried the kitchen countertops won’t work with the appliances. The architect can now turn to a 3D rendering and animation company with her SketchUp model and have photorealistic images produced to support the communication with her clients.
Update: Check out some sketchup render plugins