One of the most popular 3D modeling apps around, SketchUp makes producing detailed schematics a breeze. These simple tips will take your SketchUp skills to the next level in short order.
Find the Right Extensions
SketchUp is a tremendously powerful application thanks to its ecosystem of add-ons. You can find a bevy of plug-ins for SketchUp at the Extension Warehouse.
Memorize the Default Shortcuts
The official list of keyboard shortcuts is easily the most helpful SketchUp guide around. Committing these keystroke combinations to memory will save you plenty of headaches.
Save Your Work Frequently
While SketchUp is far less prone to crashes than Photoshop, it will occasionally freeze up. Setting the auto-save interval to 5 minutes is a prudent move.
Network with Other Users
Arguably the best thing about SketchUp is its cult following. If you need a question answered, the folks on the SketchUp Community forum always come through.
Move Objects in Multiple Steps
If you’d like to re-position an object in SketchUp, eyeballing it is tough. Moving it step-by-step along all three axes is a lot more effective.
Sort Model Parts into Groups
Most models have many similar objects that could be lumped into one category. You can create a group by clicking on the “Surfaces” menu.
Make Object Copies Automatically
You can multiply and position objects easily using the Move tool while hitting the CTRL button. Many SketchUp tutorials explain this process.
Use Your Axis and Arrow Keys
Locking an object to an axis as you’re moving it is incredibly helpful. Right is red, the left is green and up is blue.
Optimize Your Toolbar
SketchUp’s toolbar allows users to quickly and easily arrange icons as they see fit. Customizing your toolbar will save you countless hours in the long run.
Get Familiar with Scene Manager
The scene manager utility allows users to view projects from different angles. Sketchup Help is the best resource for mastering scene manager.
Rely on 3D Warehouse Models
SketchUp boasts a slew of 3D prototypes that make modeling easy. The 3D Warehouse probably has a template for any project you’re working on currently.
Avoid Using Too Many Layers
While layers make it easy to expedite workflow, they can add needless complexity. A good rule of thumb is to minimize layers whenever possible.
Take Advantage of Reference Points
Reference points make it easy to create multiple objects in seconds. Just pick an object to replicate, choose a reference point, and hit CTRL.
Save Time with Visual Styles
Many SketchUp beginners are unaware of how convenient built-in visual styles can be. These pre-programmed “looks” make whipping up specific models a walk in the park.
Use Geo-Locate for Outdoor Projects
Many SketchUp projects revolve around models that will cast shadows in the real world. The geo-locate function allows users to see how future structures will impact their surroundings.
To read more on topics like this, check out the design category.
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