by: Mario Georgiou, July 2004, send
to the web site
MHz processor, Windows 98, NT4.0 w/SP3, 2000, XP or later
(you must be logged on as Administrator to install on
NT, 2000, and XP), 64MB RAM, 20MB free disk space; mouse,
pen, etc., Internet Explorer 4.0 or later; 3D accelerated
graphics card that supports OpenGL and 800 x 600 resolution.
Mac OS X, 400 MHz 128 MB RAM, 100% OpenGL compatible
3D hardware acceleration card, 20MB free disk space and
a scroll wheel 3 button mouse
Howard Carson (Managing Editor) and Lianne Reitter (reviewer,
HotLinks Editor) originally reviewed SketchUp 2 a couple
of years ago, it was already a very powerful and useful
tool for conceptual development and presentations. What
SketchUp does is allow the designer, engineer and architect
to quickly explore ideas and concepts with a tool set that
is quite intuitive and very powerful.
exposure to SketchUp occured a few years back at a time
when I was looking for a quick tool for designing furniture.
I had a look at a variety of solutions and came across
SketchUp after reading a review on one of the many design
sites I visit. I decided to give it a go and after viewing
several of the many online tutorials available for the
software I was quickly able to model and try out some of
my ideas. To my immense pleasure SketchUp very much lived
up to its promise.
review mentioned several issues about the lack of text
handling and some of the drawing options, most of which
have been very nicely addressed in the current version
of SketchUp. The addition of features such as dimensioning
and annotation, improved polygons and primitives, material
transparency, output of movie and vector files and export
to 3DS and Piranesi EPIX have greatly improved this already
powerful tool. The export feature for EPIX is especially
nice because Piranesi is rapidly becoming the tool of choice
for many architectural and design renderers.
feature set of SketchUp allows you to very quickly put
concepts using a number of primitives, shapes
and objects. You can then push, pull, cut, infer, texture,
light, sketch and apply many other features with great
ease. You can then set up a number of parameters—time
of day, location, render type, viewpoints, etc.—and
even create walk-throughs of your concept. These views
and walk-throughs can be exported to a variety of video
formats all of which are optimized for size. Although the
rendering in the program is not photo-realistic you can
use drag & drop to add photographic textures to your
concepts which is very effective choice when simulating
The @LastSoftware web site includes a very large assortment
of support materials, FAQs and video based tutorials. It
also has instruction manuals in PDF and you can order printed
manuals and books too. The user forums are especially useful
as there is literally an army of helpful users out there
in addition to the many useful libraries of freely downloadable
objects and materials.
The video tutorials are highly recommended as the features
are quite often touched upon several times during the tutorials.
The hints given during the tutorials are very useful and
add to your understanding of how to use SketchUp. I highly
recommend you view the tutorials as I found them immensely
useful and very well prepared.
Cons: Small set of rendering features with a reliance
on third-party software. A limited number of 3D file formats
supported though plug-ins may appear for a number of them
soon. The lack of real curves.
Features I'd like to see include a fade or fog command
to add a distance feel to rendered objects and an option
to transition a rendering between two different rendering
styles, very cool for focusing on selected parts of a project.
Pros: This major release has an improved feature set combined
with the ongoing dedication that @Last Software has shown
to user education and its many useful and informative newsletters.
you are a designer, architect, engineer, modeler, carpenter
need a tool to quickly model in 3D, SketchUp is a very
powerful and serious program which can make your work feel
like you are playing. This is a very cool program and is
highly recommended. Try it, you'll like it. As in our 2003
review, it is still "Absolutely delightful."
Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org