Does FREE sketchup work on a MacBook Air?

I had someone create a skp file of the house I am going to build and loaded it into the free version of sketchup and the program doesn’t work. I’ve been able to change the color of like 3 things in the past 5 days. It is frustrating. I wanted the program to be able to decorate my new home. Will the free version work? Will it work with a MacBook Air? If not, will the paid version work with it? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

The free version of SketchUp is a web based program. It should run fine in a browser on your MacBook Air.

How are you accessing SketchUp when you are using it? Through a browser window like chrome or safari?

Is it possible the program is working fine and that you don’t yet understand how to use it?

I am on safari and it maybe user error but I select the area I want to color, pick the color, click on the paint icon and then click the area. It should be that easy, right? It doesn’t change… I mean sometimes it does… just not quickly and sometimes not at all… Please help.

I can’t answer your specific question about applying a material to a surface without seeing the actual file you are working on. There are many different circumstances and classes of “surfaces” and many behave differently, it may well not be “that easy”. Even SketchUp for web is still a complex 3D modeling environment and has a lot of different options.

Post the file you have with a more specific question, along with some screen shots of what you are seeing. Also, consider saving yourself much frustration by investing some time in learning the program. SketchUp campus has a good course on the basics of SketchUp for web here:

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See this video : Paint What and Why by Aaron

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Are you trying to paint groups or components? You should get inside the group/component and paint the loose geometry.

Thank you. I definitely will. I think my file is too big.

I was doing groups but that wasn’t working so I tried one individual window and tried to color it white. It didn’t work. I think my file is too big.

Share the .skp file with us so we can see what you’ve got. I expect there are things you can do to improve it.

Well, I just tried to upload it here and it says it is too big… do you know how to resize it? I had the guy who did it for me do it in sections instead of the whole house on one file. This is just the first floor I am trying to upload.

There’s really no resizing a SKP file without going in and deleting some of the assets. You can upload it to someplace like DropBox or Google Drive and share the link that way.

Well, it’s not too much a surprise that model overloads SketchUp Free. It contains over 1.4 million edges and 875,000 faces. That’s a complex model even for SketchUp Pro! No doubt all that complexity comes from over-detailed entourage components. I’ll take a better look and let you know the worst offenders.

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Wow!!! Would it work better if I purchased the program or is the file still too large??

It is workable on my MBP using SketchUp 2023 with 32GB of RAM, but it is very bloated with over-detailed entourage. The top examples:

  • the living room set contains over 314,000 edges and 207,000 faces, mainly from the overstuffed couch and chair. In monochrome mode with view hidden geometry turned on, look at how dense those edges are! The display turns black because they are too close together to see.

  • Next worst is the dining room set, with over 250,000 edges and 162,000 faces, mainly from the 6 chairs.

  • Then all the doors. The doors themselves aren’t too bad, but the latches on them are way over-detailed

I could go on, but by now you should have the idea that this model is going to overwhelm many computers and likely is too much for SketchUp Free to handle in a browser.

These objects are triangulated as if they came from and stl file or similar triangle-based format, though perhaps you uploaded these from the 3D Warehouse? There are a lot of models there that are ok if they are the sole subject of an entire model, but way over-detailed for use as entourage where they aren’t the main message of the model. The standard advice is before loading any entourage objects into your model, first open them stand-alone and examine them for quality and suitability of detail. If, like these, they are over-detailed, try redrawing them more simply using fewer edges and faces. Or, if you get SketchUp Pro, there are various extensions that can help simplify them.

There are also a fair number of reversed faces in the model, which become visible as blue-colored if you change to monochrome view. All objects should show only front faces. Reversed faces are ignored by most renderers, even if you painted a material on them in SketchUp.

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You are so wonderful for helping me! I appreciate it. Can I delete those specific examples from sketchup free and then add in ones that I like better or should I pay for the lowest version and have an extension take care of it for me?

All I want to do is decorate my new house virtually. LOL

You can delete those, but then you will have to draw or find something simpler to take their places else the model won’t show the house decorated the way you want. Since those examples contain tiny details nobody can see unless you zoom in very close, you should be able to make do with much simpler ones with little impact on the big picture.

Overall, 58MB is not bad. I’ve seen far worse. Your designer’s work is actually really impressive. I’m used to these being bogged down with a lot of “invisible junk” files that are hidden but still taking up storage, that kind of thing. This was generally very efficient. It’s a good final presentation file, good for showing off to clients, but not easy to work with.

Here’s my “nuclear” take on the file, brought down to about 16MB. I tested it in the browser version, and while it still gave me a warning about the size, it was far more easily navigable than the original.
Nuked Ground floor.skp (15.3 MB)
I’d also recommend using the Chrome browser over Safari. I’ve always had better luck with that.

If you need more work done, let me know. We can always take out the doors.

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I gave it another go just now and got it down to 11MB.
2nd Nuked Ground floor.skp (10.9 MB)
There were some textures that were a tad heavy.

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