09 February 2010

Real World SketchUp

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!


  1. I use the "free version" to adjust models that I am able to then use in Chief Architect. Other Chiefers I know use it as an intermediary software to create photo realistic renders (because they don't like POVray that comes with Chief --I being one of them.) My knowledge of Sketchup is rudementary to say the least. Chief uses symbols made in versions up to SU6. I'll definitely take a look at Go-2-School. I've been amazed at what I've been able to figure out all by myself just futzing around with SU.

  2. I do love it for its ability to render a rendering. I present in it almost exclusively these days; it just looks better. I use the Pro version and it has a layout program in the free version that sets up presentations better than anything else I've seen.

  3. Oh, and if you're at KBIS in Chicago this year, come to my SketchUp demo!

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