It's no big secret that I am a user and a big fan of Google's SketchUp 3D modeling software. I've been using it successfully for a year-and-a-half already and I'm petty adept at it. At least I think I am. SketchUp's deceptively easy to use and just under the surface of that friendly interface lurks a software package of surprising complexity and strength.
I'm fortunate to have good mentors and friends who are pretty active in the SketchUp scene and sitting at the top of that pile is my friend Mike Tadros. Mike's one of the owners of LA-based Igloo Studios. Igloo makes SketchUp models for use in the SketchUp 3D Warehouse and in Google Earth. Igloo's also very active in the world of SketchUp training and having an in there is a real boon to me personally.
In addition to being an all-around great guy, Mike's now a published author and the cover of his new book, Real World SketchUp graces the top of this post.
Mike's book is not a beginner's guide and it's perfect for intermediate users like me. Chapter one starts with a thorough review of how to set up SketchUp's preferences and that's pretty important stuff. In a lot of ways, SketchUp's likea Swiss army knife. The same tool can perform a host of tasks. SketchUp's software can be used to design shoes, tools, flower beds or kitchens for that matter. The key to getting the most out of it for a specific use is in the proper set up of SketchUp's preferences. Mike's easy to follow prose and ample illustrations and screen shots make this process painless.
Real World SketchUp goes on to cover such topics as creating templates, extensions, importing CAD files, importing images, mastering scenes and components and then wraps everything up with a chapter on exporting SketchUp images to other programs. It's a keeper and I'm glad I have a copy of Real World SketchUp in my library.
Again, Real World SketchUp is not a book for beginners, but you're not left out completely. Igloo Studios has a huge library of how to videos on YouTube and even more on their website, Go-2-School.
Step into the wayback machine and here's Mike's first episode of the SketchUp Show from 2007.
Here's a more recent episode.
And that's just what's on YouTube. The entire collection of SketchUp show training videos, DVDs, webinars, forums and one-on-one training are available through Igloo Studios' website Go-2-School.
So, if you're looking for a great, intermediate guide to SketchUp, Real World SketchUp is the best thing out there. If you're a newbie, then head over to School. And finally, if you're an industry type and you'd like to know more, look for the SketchUp Show LIVE from the floor of KBIS in April. My sources tell me that there's a designer/ blogger from St. Pete Florida who'll be appearing there as well. Bravo Mike and congratulations!