3D modeling can be very useful when trying to visualize certain DIY projects. There are many programs out there, but most come with a hefty price tag. Unless you do this for a living or plan to use the program over and over again, it would probably be hard to justify the cost. As I was designing the Chicken Coop for my daughter’s daycare, I was really wishing I had a 3D modeling tool to better convey my design. Then it hit me: Google has a free 3D modeling tool called SketchUp. I had seen the program in passing a while back, but really had no use for it at the time. Below is some information on the tool, and some tips on getting started.
Once you have downloaded and installed the software from Google, you are ready to start the learning process. Google offers several tutorial videos on their website, and they even have certified courses around the world to teach this program. The video tutorials are a great place to start, and are probably all you will need. I strongly suggest that you spend some time going through them before getting started, because you will learn several tricks that make the program very user friendly. I looked past the tutorials when I started and jumped right in, which resulted in frustrations and wasted time, so learn from me and watch the tutorials. Below is the first tutorial, which shows how to do some very basic stuff.
You can fill surfaces of your model with different textures such as brick, gravel, or fencing.This can really help your model come to life, and the free version of SketchUp comes with several common textures. You can also create your own texture by uploading a texture picture.
Another cool feature of SketchUp is the ability to add your models to GoogleEarth and GoogleMaps. I have yet to do this, but here is a link with more information on the process. Below are some reasons Google gives for why you would want to do this (I just think it is cool).
If you haven’t tried SketchUp yet, I encourage you to play around with it. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.