Beginner Questions

Hi everyone just some quick questions as I’ve only just discovered sketchup. My drawing needs are very basic and I have tried other CAD type programs but I find them overly complicated and hard to use. I happened across Sketchup and watched a few tutorials and it just seems so intuitive to use or maybe the tutorials just mad routerlogine it seem that way. My main question is do you guys think sketchup is right for what I’ll be doing. I mainly do steelwork and maybe a few times a year we build a stairs and I have to draw it to get measurements off the drawing to cut out the steel pieces. I never bother nor don’t really need to draw out the handrails(although if it was easy I might), I only draw a side view of the stairs and pull my angles and measurements for cuts from the drawing. I presume this is no problem in Sketchup?

I recently got asked to provide a sketch of a fairly simple handrail attached to a concrete footpath and I’d like to do this in Sketchup. It can be 2d but I’d like the image to make the handrail look like stainless steel and the footpath look like concrete, rather than like a load of lines that I would have produced in CAD. Is this relatively easy to do for a beginner?

Final question is what download version of Sketchup should I look to get. When I went to the site it seemed to be either a choice of the browser based one or Sketchup Pro which is not free. I’d like a free version if possible but I’d rather avoid the browser version as my internet speeds are not the best. Thanks in advance.

Sketchup would work well for that. If you are doing this commercially, then you need either Pro (desktop) or Shop (web) and there’s no point in getting anything other than the latest version of Pro. (Except in the unlikely event that your computer isn’t able to run it, but can run a less demanding older version.)

If, and only if, it’s a personal or hobby project, you could use the free Make 2017 desktop version.

Both the Web versions (Free, for non commercial use) or Shop (for commercial use) are automatically the latest version.

Again, not difficult to do in SketchUp.

For commercial use, the latest version of Pro - currently 2021.1 is your best choice unless your computer is too old to run it. But try it first, for a free 30 day trial period.

For personal non-commercial use only (probably not applicable) you could use Make 2017.

It depends on exactly what you mean. In SketchUp you can give a color to surfaces bounded by edges. So it looks like a drawing, not a photograph. The railing would look like a solid gray or white color (not shiny) and the concrete could have a textured mottled look. To get more realistic pictures, closer to photographs with reflections etc. you need additional software. SketchUp can produce various styles of drawings but generally they involve lines filled with different colored textures. Even within SketchUp getting certain styles to look the way you want, takes some experience.

“Relatively easy for a beginner” depends on the beginner. In fact drawing in 2d in SketchUp is not as easy as 3d IMO.

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This would be typical of a straight from SketchUp image.

There are a variety of rendering applications available that can take the SketchUp model and create much more photo-realistic images if you need such a thing.

From what you describe it sounds like SketchUp Pro will be the version you need to use.