Anyone who's ever stumbled upon this blog before knows that I am a very loud proponent of Google's modeling software, SketchUp. I have been working in it for more than a year and I've become pretty proficient. I never took a class, I just jumped in and figured it out by trial and error. But that's just how I operate and I realize that that's not the approach for everybody.
At the same time, I believe very firmly that anyone can learn to use this software. It's not just for designers and architects. SketchUp is a go-to solution for every space planning and visualization problem out there. In the hands of an expert, SketchUp can generate a set of plans a builder would use to construct a house. In the hands of the eventual owner of that house; he or she can use it to preview furniture plans, figure out where to put a garden, or decide which sofa to buy.
With all that said, I realize that diving into new software can be a daunting prospect for some people. I never bothered to look when I was in the early stages of learning SketchUp, but YouTube is full of SketchUp training videos. Here are the first three lessons that Google came up with themselves.
So there are the first three official videos from Google. Google being Google and the Internet being the Internet, YouTube is also full of very informative, user-generated how-to videos. YouTube is well-organized and you can work your way from novice to pro in a matter of days with these videos.
My friend Eric started producing his own training videos that are specific to kitchen designers and he finished another one yesterday. His videos are particularly well-produced and he has many more coming. As he builds his library though, you can take a look at what he's already produced by going to SketchUp Training Blog. Here's a preview of Eric's lesson on designing a kitchen with the help of Google's 3-D Warehouse.
See? It's no so daunting. Download a copy of SketchUp and start playing around with it. At the risk of sounding like a total geek, it's fun.