Sketchup: A Fast and Easy 3D Modeling ToolContributor: Swinerton Blogger | February 14, 2017
A 3D representation can be a great way of conveying information in our industry, but often times people automatically think of expensive, complicated BIM software when they hear the words “3D models.” While the BIM process is an excellent tool and has many use-cases, sometimes all you may need is a quick three-dimensional graphic for a meeting or presentation.
Trimble has both a paid and a free version of their 3D modeling program called Sketchup (originally created by Google). Sketchup isn’t really BIM because there is no information in the model, but it provides the graphical capabilities you may need on the fly and is very simple to use.
Learning to use Sketchup is relatively easy as well. It can be self-taught or learned through YouTube videos. The free version does almost everything the paid version does with the exception of some presentation tools like fly-throughs and templates for boards.
With it, you can quickly create 3D site layouts, classrooms, or details. You also get free access to their 3D library which allows you to download models made by the community into you model.
For example, if you wanted to incorporate a model of a crane into my site logistics plan, you could download it from the library instead of having to draw the crane yourself. There are plenty of uses for Sketchup. Right now, Trimble is working on a web-based version that will allow you to model in your web browser from any computer with internet capability. If you are interested in learning more, check it out at http://www.sketchup.com/.