20 Reasons to consider learning Blender

Hey gang,

While I’m not quitting SketchUp, I am going to start using Blender as my main go to poly modeler and here’s why:


I think there is not much doubt in this, but I guess many people still ask the same question with a “how”.

And too often our mind gets distracted by the more urgent over the more important problems, or tends towards just taking out the simpler tool over taking the time to learn the more powerful one.


Why are you leaving out Sketchup Make? It’s free (for non-commercial use) and although it’s not going to be updated anymore we’re likely to be able to use it for many years to come!

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Great video @chippwalters, pinpoint explanations, I totally agree with most of them. In fact I did a similar transition to Blender with almost exact same reasons couple of months ago. I still can’t believe we have such a powerful free/open-source 3D software and it’s growing rapidly.

Looking forward to see Blender 2.8 release later this year.

By the way, as a person who also knows 3ds Max, learning Blender wasn’t that hard for me. Most of the tools are similar and work-flows are alike.

Interesting video.

Are there many SU fans also using Blender at present? I am thinking in particular of using the rendering capabilities if you can transfer files between the two programs (can you?). Doing that would presumably allow more photorealistic presentations whilst still doing the initial design work in our much loved and familiar software. But getting used to Blender might also future proof us if we think SU might develop in a way many of us wouldn’t want (as warned about in the video).

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Blender imports and exports most of the main formats (as seen below). I highly recommend glTF file format (plugin available for both) as it has numerous advantages comparing to others such as: embedding materials/textures/animations/cameras/rigs , faster import/export.

It’s difficult to see for sure but I don’t see SKP files under the import options. Is it there?

It’s in a plugin.

The .skp fileformat seems not to be very popular to be supported by open source/cross-platform applications because its only reference implementation is in the closed SketchUp SDK. But the SDK is not compatible with all releases that Blender wants to support and Blender cannot adapt the SDK to their needs. There exists also no other reader for .skp that they could use and include by default.

No, there is not a .skp option and probably there won’t be (as @Aerilius gave the reasons). There was a BlendUp plugin but i think it’s abandoned (maybe similar reasons?).

Also glTF plugins were not available at that time and it might be even faster workflow this way (everything embedded and working properly when you import). Why don’t you give it a try, everything is for free :slight_smile:

I’ve come across a very clear Youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08jR6UJmbnY) suggesting you export first as a Collada file as that can be imported by Blender. The video is dated 2016 so I’m not sure whether it still applies. As you suggest, maybe I should just have a go as no cost is involved.

You cant argue with free. Random pick, but this quick video shows a simple project and how easily you can work… Blender Guru has some good resources.
Your’e kind of getting 3DSmax for free…and a renderer thrown in - the cycles renderer looks great. Undoubtedly Blender has so many more capabilities. The hurdle will always be the learning curve, the first of which is to switch the left and right mouse buttons!

But as the OP video states, for those in a more architectural field, the simplicity of SU and Layout is hard to beat.


A video on how to install and configure Blender for SU Newbies:


A video on how to navigate in Blender. It is pretty much IDENTICAL to how one navigates in SketchUp.

BTW, are these videos of value? I was planning on creating a whole series based on SketchUp’s current interface and how it maps to Blenders.


Hello, @chippwalters!
Nice work with this tutorials!
I’ve seen the videos so far and I’ll watch your next videos, not necessarily to change my favorite software - SketchUp, but to ease and improve my work on some 3D elements (eg vegetation, terrain …).

SketchUp, for me, remains the product that Google offered for free, a product which together with Google Earth has given people with a free virtual 3D discovery and modeling tool of the world and, in a sense, to feels a taste of this kind of freedom.

The fact that people around the world gathered in a huge number in a community, 3D Warehouse, and contributed and still contributes free of charge with their models, it’s part of that freedom offered by SketchUp.

Thanks to those who have worked and are working on developing this software!

Although they have been shadowed by the changes that have occurred and the fact that there will be no free desktop version, but as long as possible, it will be a pleasure for me to work with this software.

Returning to the main topic, the tutorials are well done and easy to follow and understand. Congratulations on the idea!

Using Google Translate, feel free to correct me! :wink:


Thanks for your kind words.

Here’s the next video:

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I’ll wait to see the other three episodes, because in SketchUp, a GIZMO with move, rotate, scale and pivot for groups and components is the one I miss the most.
And because I’m using Make, I hope ThomThom will put this feature in the next version of Vertex Tools.

The one on Rotate

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Great series of videos, very well done.
I found myself in Blender recently exploring the video editor they have under the hood.
Just mentioning that as it appears many are not even aware it exists…hope not too off topic to mention it.


Or you could look at it a different way…

  1. Show Trimble some of the features other products have may inspire them to improve their offering
  2. Helping others learn another toolset doesn’t mean they have to stop using SketchUp
  3. SketchUp users could use a free animation / rendering system for their projects.

Besides, if you bothered to look at the videos, you would see where I talk about features where SketchUp is better than Blender.

Just because some are satisfied with the serious feature limits of SketchUp doesn’t mean everyone else is satisfied. FWIW, I’ve been using SketchUp since before Google bought it. IMO, not a whole lot has changed (with the exception of the wonderous plugins and 64-bit support).


It sounds like rotating objects in Blender takes more steps than in SketchUp. What’s the benefit of that?