Direct Action Required

Hi Y’all. . .

Most people call me Jock. A photo ain’t happening-its kinder that way!

My thread is about how to go about promoting myself online as an artisan designer and custom furniture maker. I want to create portfolios of drawings, sketches, and renderings in SketchUp and show them on my (so far) unpublished website to attract new (paying) patrons/customers without having to make the furniture pieces first!

I have done a lot of my creative design work in SketchUp (free versions) for some time now and I love that aspect of Sketchup but until now I have had a just-enough detail to ‘git-r-dun’ approach to the plans I have created for my own use. Frankly, I am not a huge fan of the unreal world of the digital age nor do I have the amazing skills Y’all take for granted. My Sketchup work does not compare with the great works of art and imagination I see on your forums, crafted by many very skilled designers & illustrators. Bluntly - I just want to show and talk about my ideas with potential clients and get back into the workshop to make real stuff.

I am a self-taught (online videos and several books/e-books - sporadically active with Sketchup Free/Make over too many years for the limited skills I have retained. So let’s say intermediate level on a good day! No boot camps - the real one I went to too many years ago put me off them for life!

I have a custom built (not by me) 64 bit Windows 10 PC - 2 screens and Sketchup Make ver 17.2.2522.- 64 bit. I recently subscribed to Adobes monthly service plan and have very limited skills with Photoshop etc - based on watching youtube videos!

Some questions . . .

I think I need the pro version - straight answer please - Yes or No?
Is layout the way to create the material to be uploaded onto my website?
How much work is ‘rendering’ images in Sketchup - or should I use/learn more about Photoshop?
How do I upload a Sketchup file image I have created-so far I have not been able to!

What don’t I know that I need to know to make this project succeed? I will make it happen one way or another but hopefully, you can steer me in the right direction

As for babes/bros/beaches/Ferraris et al - it was fun but I ain’t talking to anyone here about that stuff!!!

Thank you for whatever you can and are willing to offer as advice to a struggling hopeful



I think it’s worth buying SketchUp Pro.

That will come with Layout and Style Builder.

From there I’d just focus on learning these programs on their own. You’ll need a solid foundation with these before you’ll have great success with the rendering stuff anyhow. SO decisions about what to get (rendering wise), can ultimately be pushed down the road a few months… and all will be that much clearer once you have mastered SketchUp and Layout.

You’ll just be in a lot better place to determine what’s worth it—once it becomes time to pay for all the toys.

The rendering world is pretty much a separate craft. As with all crafts, it takes time to be good, and a lot of time to be great.

Personally I mainly advocate for just SketchUp, and Layout.

From there Photoshop is good (even great), but probably not necessary, as you can spend a fraction of the money to get the same results. Take a look at Affinity Designer, and Affinity Photo as just a couple of alternatives.

I use photoshop… but I’ll tell you unless you want to really learn that program—it’s not worth it.

Far too many people buy into it and only ever use about 5% of its full potential… I think it’s better to buy photoshop when you’re committed to at least learning a solid 40% or more. Otherwise you’re not getting even close to your money worth out of it.

It’s a pretty impressive program with a ton of potential… and also very unnecessary for the casual users… but then there’s bragging rights, or peer pressure, and folks like to think they’re professionals, so…

And YES, you can certainly get nice images from SU and Layout in order to get things up and running on your site.

Make sure to start things off by downloading the 30 day trail version of SU Pro… so you can test it out, and see if it’s worth the money… and Use this forum as a backup support group… so you get up and running fast.


You’ll see this tool bar after you’ve click on the reply button.

Quality of the drafting doesn’t matter as much as being able to clearly communicate with your clients.

SU and Layout can help with this.

Layout in particular is focused on giving you the tools you need to printout the 3D models you make in SketchUp.

These prints can be valuable as shop drawings, and as presentational info for you clients.

It’s the photorealistic renderings that will be pushing the envelope here… in terms of how necessary they actually are.

Looking at this from a minimalistic viewpoint… You could easily justify holding off a SU Pro purchase for a while.

Instead get up to speed with the version you already have… Once you have that all together… then download the trail version and focus primarily on what Layout has to offer.

The features Layout brings to the table, will be a big deciding factor on whether or not SU Pro is worth it for you.


Thank you for your prompt advice. I am going to go for the 30 day trial of pro and will likely then buy it and I like the idea of staying close to its capabilities. KISS always makes me smile and feel better about myself!

I looked at Affinity designer and it looks like a very suitable alternative to Adobe Photoshop and all the rest of their programs I don’t want to work with.

I will keep you posted.

Again many thanks


FWIW, I think you’ll find SketchUp and LayOut a great combination for your use. Although I use SketchUp for a wide range of modeling purposes, my primary use is for furniture and other woodworking sorts of projects. You can create images for your website, proposal and presentation packages to send to clients, and construction plans with as little or as much detail as you need. You can also generate cutlists almost instantly from properly built models, create full size patterns for templates, and files to use for CNC work or 3D printing.

If you want to see a few examples of pieces I’ve modeled in SketchUp, see here.

In order to use SketchUp for commercial purposes, either SketchUp Pro (the desktop version) or SketchUp Shop (the web version) is required according to Trimble’s license terms.

Neither SketchUp Make (no-cost desktop version) nor SketchUp Free (no-cost web-based version) are “licensed” (terms of usage) for commercial use.


No surprise there friend. Thanks for the heads up. I am anticipating getting the pro version after the 30 day free trial.




Thanks for the feedback. The work you have on your link is more than adequate for my needs so that is a great confidence booster when I really needed it. I have signed up for the 30-day trial and expect to upgrade to pro at the end of that. In the meantime, I am diving right back into trying to create even one finished model on my website.

I appreciate the support and feedback.


Direct Action Taken but more HELP Required! . . .

Hi Dave . . .

I got the free trial version of SU Pro and quickly concluded I have not been using components/layers/scenes in the free SU as I should have so I have been practicing incorporating them over the last 2 weeks and the process makes much more sense now - although I need lots more practice.

I have created scenes in SU Pro sent them to Layout and exported Layout’s png/jpegs files to my website where I have an image displayed - Yeeehhaaa (sorry Texas talk) - again much more to do of course.

So I want to thank y’all for helping me get over those initial hurdles. A successful outcome is at least on the horizon.

Your excellent portfolios incorporate many styles I would like to emulate but this is an area where I have NO desire to re-invent the wheel - is there a way to find a particular style’s settings - good whiskey for favorable responses should be anticipated!!! Sketches that look like sketches, technical drawings that look like technical drawings and images that look enough like the real thing is all I want!!! Once achieved I will not change them very much.

One strange stumbling block . . . SU Pro’s wood images are very poor fodder for furniture makers. I cannot find suitable wood plank images - - not in 3d warehouse or through long google searches. Surely there is a directory of 10’ long planks of various widths of all the usual species furniture makes use that we can apply? Dave R - in DCB you imported images from a file you had acquired but I have not found anything like them in my searches.

Once again, my gratitude for your generous support-I am no blogger so I am duplicating this reply in the original blog - hope it works


Hi Jock,

Check your private messages.