How to Use SketchUp for Beginners

How to Use SketchUp for Beginners: Create your first 3D Model

Whether you’re a student, hobbyist, or someone who wants to bring ideas to life, SketchUp is perfect for you! SketchUp is an easy-to-learn and easier-to-use 3D modeling software for a wide range of drawing applications. If you want to create your first 3D model design, this course is here to guide you. To get started, download SketchUp tool.

What Is SketchUp?

SketchUp is the most popular 3D modeling software worldwide that creates geometric 3D objects, including architectural models, interior design items, scale models and functional parts. This tool lets you create supersmart 3D designs with ease.

Creating Your First 3D Model: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Prepare the Workspace

SketchUp lets you choose a workspace based on the nature of the project you’re working on. The template tab holds predefined settings depending on the model you’ll be doing. Making a new model gets easier when you’ve selected the template with the correct unit of measurement. First, you have to choose your desired template in the Welcome to SketchUp dialog box. You can do this by going on the Files Panel and selecting a template and measurement. Default templates include Simple Inches, Architectural Feet and Urban Planning Meters.

Step 2: View the Most Important Tools

With SketchUp, there are various commands and tools you can choose from. As SketchUp opens, you’ll see the Title bar, Menu bar, Getting Started toolbar, Drawing area, Status bar, Measurements box and Default panels on your screen. The basic tools you need to begin with your 3D model are found on the Getting Started toolbar. Click on View > Toolbars to see additional toolbars then select the one you need and click Close.

Step 3: The Axes

The drawing area is where you build a model in which the 3D space is visually identified by the drawing axes. Similar to other 3D or architecture software, SketchUp uses the red, green and blue axes, allowing you to view your illustration from different angles. You’ll find the Axes tool on the Construction toolbar or Large Tool Set toolbar.

Step 4: Basic 2D Drawing

Several models usually begin with basic shapes such as lines, rectangles and circles. Follow the steps below:

To draw a line, select the Line tool (pencil symbol) on the toolbar or press the L key. Click anywhere on your screen to set the starting point of your line. You can press Esc to start over if you’ve got it wrong.  Drag the mouse to the desired area of the second point then click. If you want to set a precise length, you can type a value and then press enter.

To draw a rectangle/square, select the Rectangle tool or simply press the R key. Click at the desired location to set the first corner of your rectangle. Move the cursor diagonally and find the desired size and shape of your rectangle then click. You can also specify the length and the width on the Measurements box.

To draw a circle/ellipse, select the Circle tool or simply press the C key. Click to assign the midpoint of your circle and then move the cursor out from the center point to establish the circle’s radius, and then click to finish. Similarly, you can specify the circle’s exact circumference and radius on the Measurements box.

Step 5: Movement Controls

To view your 3D model on all sides, you can use orbit and pan tools. Activate the orbit tool or press the O key to rotate the camera around the model. You can also use the pan tool or press H on your keyboard to get a view from a horizontal or diagonal perspective.

Step 6: Making Your First 3D Object

Turn your 2D objects into 3D using the steps below:

1.Zoom in on the 2D object using your mouse wheel button.
2. Select the Push/Pull icon on the toolbar or press the P key.
3. Click the face you want to push, then move the cursor upward or in the direction you want to push.

Step 7: Dimension Tools

The Dimension tool allows you to quickly and effectively communicate key model dimensions. Here’s how to use this tool:

  1. Activate the Dimension tool.
  2. Click the starting point of your dimension and move the cursor to the endpoint you want to measure. Or, click the line to see the length of the object.
    3. You may also click to place the dimension entity.

Step 8: Moving and Maneuvering Objects

Here’s how to move your model:

  1. Activate the Select tool or press the M key.
  2. You can then select the object (or objects) you want to move. Wherever you click is your move point.
  3. Moving your mouse means moving your selection.
  4. Click the destination to complete the move.

Step 9: Creating Copies of Your Object

SketchUp allows you to create a copy of your object. The steps are as follows:

  1. Select the object you want to copy.
  2.  Click on Edit > Copy from the menu bar or press Ctrl + C.
  3. To paste the object, select Edit > Paste from the menu bar or press Ctrl + V on the desired place.

Step 10: Erase Tool

The Erase tool erases the lines or planes you want to delete. You can do this by selecting the Erase tool, then clicking on the areas you want to erase.

Step 11: Text

SketchUp lets you add different types of texts. Create screen text and leader text with the Text tool and 3D text with the 3D Text tool.

Step 12: Basic Cutting

You can cut or trim a section of your model with basic cutting. For instance, make a line on three points on the cylinder surface by using a Pencil tool. Start your first point on the edge of the top surface of the cylinder. Then, make the second point in the center and the last point on the surface that aligns the red axis. With Push/Pull tool, click on one half of the top surface of the cylinder and push it downwards to create the cut. Just click once done.

Step 13: Drawing an Arc

When drawing an arc, there are few different tools to choose from. These include the Arc tool, 2-Point Arc tool, Pie tool and 3-Point Arc tool. With the basic Arc tool or the Pie tool, click to place the center of your arc, then move the cursor to the starting point of your arc and click to set it. Afterwards, move the cursor to the ending point of your arc, then click to finalize.

Step 14: Scaling and Stretching

The Tape Measure tool or Scale tool enables you to resize and reshape your model. If you need to scale only one or two dimensions of your model, select the Scale tool or press the S key for edge or face grips. The green dots let you scale or stretch the object.

Step 15: Rotating

The Rotate tool is useful to spin your model. Upon selecting the model that you want to rotate, activate the Rotate tool. Move the cursor around to the desired direction or input an angle value. 

Now that you’ve learned these important tools, download SketchUp to get started and explore! It’s available in freeware and paid version. Unlock powerful features and functionality when you buy SketchUp Pro. Wordtext product subscriptions include:

Wordtext Systems, Inc. is one of the leading and pioneering IT distributors in the Philippines. Redefine your business with our CAD software. For inquiries, call us at +63 2 8858 5555. Want a preview of what SketchUp can do? Try our free trial today.

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