Recommended Book for SketchUp Starter

Hi, I am an Interior Design student and I am trying to self learn SketchUp. I was browzing through the Learning resources of books and I found many books for interior design. Since I am a college student, i won’t be able to afford all, so i was wondering if you could recommend which book would be the most helpful in teaching me how to use SketchUp. My knowledge for SketchUp is 0, which means I have whatsoever no familiarity with the program. I am looking for a book that could start with the basics and move on to big projects, also hopefully to the stage of 3D rendering them. I would be very much obliged if you could help me. Thank you very much.

Hey there! Welcome to the forums. I’m a Design student too, getting my degree in a couple of months. Congrats on choosing SketchUp, you won’t regret it. If your faculty is more or less similar to mine, you’ll go far with it.

I’ve been using SketchUp for about 6 years and I learned it by myself as well. It’s fairly easy if you keep playing with it and use it all the time. I personally haven’t used any books, only YouTube. If you’re ok with video tutorials, I can advise you to watch this “Getting Started with SketchUp” video, which is one of my personal favourites. Also, you can search YouTube for other lessons yourself.

For rendering, I’d suggest V-Ray, which is arguably the best one on the market. Here’s their gallery: V-Ray SketchUp Gallery. It takes time to learn but the results are usually fantastic.
Corona Renderer is also planning to release a SketchUp-compatible plugin. Here’s Corona’s gallery: Corona Renderer Gallery. There are some free rendering softwares out there too but I’d suggest mastering SketchUp and 3D modeling first, then thinking about the actual rendering.
Also, you can come back to these forums and ask for help. Best of luck! :slight_smile:

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Aidan Chopra has a nice book. He used to work for SketchUp and he really knows the software and material well, and he also has some valuable videos to go along with it.

Aidan’s YouTube Channel

Having said that, I’ll also make a case for this forum being among the best learning tools there are.

Why? because:

  1. You get a variety of opinions, more than what typically make it into a book. And they will be specific to your real world examples/issues.

  2. You’ll be putting your work up for a light hearted critique, which holds the value of letting others point out possible issues with your model which you may not even be aware of yet… [ a benefit of exposing pitfalls before you discover them on your own, or they become more serious ].

  3. You’ll get to see what others do with your working model, and how they go about fixing things, and what their thought processes are. Tips that are offered on how to save time, or get better results with less effort… basically being exposed to best practice modeling & efficiency techniques.

  4. Every idea posted, is itself, up for improvement by anyone else. so there’s a collective review process which keeps things aligned to a best practices, and best tips approach.

  5. And this one could very easily be moved higher up on the list… The Forum Archives. . . Reading and researching questions that have already been answered and discussed. It’s unlikely anybody has a problem which hasn’t already been addressed here. Folks keep up the questions and answers because it’s fun, and it’s social… but for those who truly want to read… Reading random question on the forum is a great way to pick stuff up.

Don’t forget about the SketchUp Knowledge Center which is available from the Help menu within the software.

…And for that matter SketchUP has been having what they call <a href">SketchUp Basecamps, One is about to happen in a couple of months… You could still attend, but even if you didn’t it doesn’t really matter. . . they records the conference sessions and post the videos up online. so you can always watch them after the fact.


I’d also like to put in a plug for “SketchUp Guide for Woodworkers: The Basics,” a DVD by Dave Richards published by Taunton Press. Dave is a constant presence on this forum (look for the groundhog in top hat avatar) and a a SketchUp expert. Don’t let the the title put you off. He covers basic good practices and techniques that will stand you in good stead no matter what your calling. You can order the DVD by following this link:

A book I found most helpful is The Sketchup Workflow for Architecture by Michael Brightman. It is admittedly less to do with how to draw in SU and more to do with presentation and organisation, but that is really important. Trying to do this kind of stuff from first principles means a very steep learning curve.

Welcome to the forums @amyat! You say that you have no knowledge of SketchUp. If that is the case, I would recommend reading up on some of the tools and just experimenting with SketchUp for a hour or so to see what you can figure out on your own as a first step. Based on what you find to be easy and what you find hard or tedious, you can get a better idea of what tools you need to focus on learning. There are many different books for SketchUp, some will have a much greater focus on specific tools.

Also, as others here have mentioned, the knowledge center, the forums, and youtube are all great resources for learning SketchUp.

If you are willing to try working on a simple project in SketchUp just to try out some of the basics, let me know and share some pictures or better yet, the .skp file itself so I can get a better idea of what skills you might need to work on.

I vote for “the knowledge center”

For the basics level user, it helps so much to just read up on a single tool and its function.

You will keep finding another function of the tool that you didn’t know before. (modifier key, referencing, different value in VCB, and etc.)