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Google SketchUp

Posted By On May 5, 2006 @ 2:33 PM In Free Downloads | Comments Disabled

Google SketchUp

I guarantee this week’s Download of the Week is going blow you away. I know I have done a few different 3D modeling programs over the past year, and that’s because I think they are so cool, but I feel they intimidate most people, with myself included. So, if I can find some free quality applications out there that you can sink your teeth into before dumping tons of cash on a program that confuses the ever livin’ daylights out of you, I will.

Well, I would like to take credit for today’s download of the week but I can’t. I had it e-mailed to me by our message board administrator. She had seen this posted in one of our threads and thought it would be a good download for you all. After I gave SketchUp a once over, I and hopefully you, will agree that this isn’t a good program at all, but it is rather a great one!

Google Sketchup is a simple, yet robust, program that helps you create, view and modify 3D projects. More simply put, you can draw 3D models, such as houses and buildings with great ease, thanks to the simple and intuitive editing tools in this program. With SketchUp, even a complete beginner will be whipping out projects within the first hour of use.

If you still aren’t convinced that you could learn 3D modeling, then keep reading. I haven’t even started talking about all the helpful resources that are available. SketchUp has tutorials on every aspect of itself. They want you to be completely comfortable using their program and it’s obvious. There are general tutorials on how to use any of the tools from the main interface, with a simple Tip of the Day popup window. All of the Tips of the Day have links at the bottom of the tutorial for related, yet more advanced, procedures that follow along the same lines as the current tip.

That is just the tip of the iceberg. There are complete video tutorials at SketchUp’s Web site that you can view before downloading the software, so you can see the program in action. These video tutorials come complete with audio and are perfect for following along within SketchUp. The tutorials pause so you can perform the lessons on your own. It’s like having your own SketchUp teacher right there in the room with you. Between the simple interface and video tutorials, SketchUp, in my opinion, is the best 3D modeling software for new users.

Another really cool feature of SketchUp is that you can upload your creations into Google Earth, which if you remember from one of our older downloads, is a great global navigation application. Google Earth creates a very detailed representation of Earth on a 3D virtual globe. Users can completely control the navigation around the globe and view things down to a house level. You can actually upload your creations to the Google Earth (there’s a complete walk through on the Web site) where you and others can view your creation on the map.

This program is an absolute blast to use. I had so much fun playing around with it and following along with the tutorials that I almost didn’t get the article done. I highly suggest downloading and checking out SketchUp, and see for yourself how easy creating 3D models can actually be!

Google SketchUp is actually the free version of a more powerful commercial version that runs almost $500.00, so make sure you’re downloading the right one. This program also supports Macs, so you Apple users can enjoy SketchUp as well. Here’s a full list of system requirements.

PC Requirements:

PC Software:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000, XP Home or XP Professional
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later
  • For multimedia tutorials: Windows Media Player or Quick Time 5.0

PC Hardware – Minimum:

  • 600 MHz Pentium III processor
  • 128 MB RAM
  • 80 MB of available hard disk space
  • Graphics card that is OpenGL compliant (make sure you have the latest graphics driver for your card)
  • Windows compatible pointing device

PC Hardware – Recommended:

  • 2 GHz Pentium 4 processor or higher
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 80 MB of available hard disk space
  • Graphics card that is OpenGL compliant (make sure you have the latest graphics driver for your card)
  • 3-button, scroll-wheel mouse

Macintosh Requirements:

Mac Software:

  • Mac OS 10.3 (Panther) or later
  • Safar
  • For multimedia tutorials: Quick Time 5.0

Mac Hardware – Minimum:

  • 400 MHz PowerPC™ G4
  • 128 MB RAM
  • 80 MB of available hard disk space
  • Graphics card that is OpenGL compliant (make sure you have the latest graphics driver for your card)
  • Macintosh compatible pointing device

Mac Hardware – Recommended:

  • 1 GHz G5 or higher
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 80 MB of available hard disk space
  • Graphics card that is OpenGL compliant (make sure you have the latest graphics driver for your card)
  • Apple Mighty Mouse or compatible 3-button, scroll-wheel mouse

Google SketchUp can be downloaded here.

Hope you enjoy!

~ Chad Stelnicki


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