Using SketchUp for Modular Bag Design

Hello, I’m a tech-savy individual venturing into a new area - 3D modeling. My first project is designing a modular bag / backpack. Would SketchUp be a good fit for this? Would there be a steep learning curve?


Normally the learning curve into SketchUp isn’t steep at all… but typically folks are using it for architectural models where it excels at working with rectangular, and planar faceted geometry.

Taking SU into the realm of modeling organic shapes—and the natural draping which fabrics will have—is going to be a step or two past the initial learning curve… and while I wouldn’t say the extended learning curve is so much harder, I DO think that you’ll be in for a trial of patience, as it will take a little time before you’re fluid enough with the tool set, and well versed in the options which the plug-in/extension world have available.

It’s all going to depend upon how much organic modeling you’re looking to do.

Chance are for the ‘clean design’ of concept models as they are used for production and manufacturing diagrams SU will do a good job here, and be a good fit. You can go through many rapid mockups of an idea fairly quickly.

For more finished illustrations of these bags and all of the bending around they might be going through in daily use… you’ll be swapping out the rapid prototyping and instead bringing in a slower, and much more deliberate based workflow. You can model organics in SU, but typically you’re better off if you know what your looking to do in advance. Finding a finished solution through random freeform modeling is often a frustrating approach.

I think the best thing you can do is to download the trial… and set some time aside so you can quickly push through the initial learning curve… and get to the place where you need to be for modeling the organic shapes which you’re looking to do.

Use this forum to side step some of the dead ends to be found by going it alone.

Somewhere in week 3 of the trail I think you’ll be in a good place to decide if SU is going to be the right fit or not.

FWIW, I used SketchUp for the drawings I submitted for a provisional patent a few years ago. Then later, I used SketchUp again to do the drawings that a 92-year-old friend needed to secure a patent for a polyethylene holder for a takeout coffee cup. Organic modeling in SketchUp is possible, if you go about it the right way.