If you’re an expert with 3D design and architectural drawing
tools, go away—this Fast Track isn’t for you, and neither is
SketchUp. You’ll be happier with tools like AutoCAD and 3ds
Really now, shoo.
If you must stay, however, know this—while SketchUp isn’t as
evolved as the aforementioned tools, it’s far from a beginner’s
toy. It combines shocking levels of usability with even more
shocking levels of functionality, and has, in fact, been designed
so that even eighth-graders have no trouble with it (so if you’re
still not comfortable with it after this Fast Track, shame on you).
So if SketchUp’s so simple and user-friendly, why this Fast
Track? Couldn’t you just install the software, fire it up and get
going? In truth, yes. SketchUp even gives first timers a helpful
guide the first time you run it. What we’re doing here, however,
is showing you what SketchUp’s really capable of—functionality
that you won’t see if you’re just playing around.
We’ve approached this book in the way thatmany of youmight—
with no prior knowledge of SketchUp or 3D modelling concepts in
general. There are no assumptions on expertise (besides that you’re
handy with a keyboard and mouse), so if you find us getting too
basic, this is deliberate, and we’ll forgive you for skipping ahead.
Every 3D modelling tool has its forte—some are great for
organic models, some for special effects, and so on. So what do you
do with SketchUp? If you take a trip through the online 3D
Warehouse, you’ll see that a majority of the community is making
buildings—we’ve assumed that you’ll be doing so too, and that’s
how things will progress in this book.
Google has designed SketchUp primarily to help even
ordinary people model buildings with varying complexity (not
that you can’t do other stuff, mind you). These buildings can
then be put into Google Earth, and hopefully, we’ll see all the
world’s cities in 3D some day. It’s a massive crowdsourcing
operation by the big G—some might even call it a huge Matrix-
like human farm—but heck, we’re all doing it anyway. Enough