What about a SketchUp for Building Design specific category?

It seems to me that building design presents many unique challenges. While there are a few books dedicated to SketchUp for Architectural Design I am having trouble finding any good general source of information on the subject.

I would think that providing basic resources specific to building design would encourage many more people to use this product in a professional capacity.

There seems to be a specific methodology that needs to be followed to manage the thousands of components that comprise a building. While the 3D Warehouse is an awesome resource trying to find consistent and quality basic components is very difficult. Particularly these days when there is more and more demand for BIM and realism it seems that it is very important that there becomes much better standardization.

Anyway I am thinking along the lines of a dedicated forum and resource library to help with that. Or maybe there is already one which I have not found?

I agree with your sentiments but maybe as BIM develops, standardisation will come with it. Importing a 3D DXF file into Sketchup produces some very weird results!

As for books, I can thoroughly recommend The Sketchup Workflow for Architecture by Michael Brightman. Not cheap but full of really useful stuff, particularly re setting up template drawings for building designers. Very useful if you already have a fairly good working knowledge of SU.

Yeah I saw that book it looks good, I will eventually get that one, or Architectural Design with SketchUp
and I see a book coming sometime in the future SketchUp to LayOut for Architects co written with Nick Sonder who probably created the gold standard for layout.

Each of those books seems to have a dedicated forum but I wish there was a more general source of standards and resources for building design.

I totally see where you are coming from - but we are used by SO many different industries, and while building/architecture is one of our main industries it would not make sense to make categories based on industries. I feel as though it would crowd the forum.

We ALL love architects but can’t show “favoritism” :wink: We do have industry specific workflows on our blog and on our youtube channel!

Feel free to add that specificity into your title! Thanks for the suggestion.


Interesting viewpoint.
I would have thought it would be in Trimble’s best interest to provide industry specific solutions if they truly want SketchUp to grow from a freebie (or cheap) add on used to supplement other software.

-to a full blown CAD solution.

Currently, will it is possible to do many great things with SketchUp, I see that the lack of industry specificity makes it a fairly unattractive solution for anyone but those who simply can not afford the price of a dedicated solution. While there may be a setup and extensions which make it practical to use as a standalone solution the learning curve is fairly steep because of the lack of easily available information.

I looked at the workflows and videos but they are so general in nature as to be useless. They seem to be more oriented to selling SketchUp as an Architectural Design solution rather than actually implementing it as one.

For example that video about Fat Pencil Studio was a very well produced and inspirational piece but really does not give any technical understanding of how they use it -or how much time it takes them to use SU vs. a dedicated solution.

Nick Sonder has produced some more technical video about how he actually works and I am sure his upcoming book will be very helpful to learn his process.

Again while it is a nicely produced video about what they use SketchUp for it really does not explain how they do it.

I think my point may not be clear. I do not need videos of people telling me how helpful SU is and how they used it to recreate an accident. I would like to see the process of designing a home in high detail step by step all the way from setting up a new installation to finished output.

Most of the help videos are only very basic and oriented to the beginner level.

I do understand that at the current price point it is not feasible for Trimble to create a detailed manual for each specific industry application and SketchUp generally relies upon individuals to produce this material like industry specific extensions and manuals.

The problem in my view with that approach is that it discourages new users because it is very difficult to determine what book or extensions you need to actually be productive.

I have been using SketchUp for a month and there is still absolutely no way I would attempt to create a real building design project because of the total lack of a clear process. For that matter I have not even been able to determine if SketchUp is actually feasible to use as a complete design solution.

There are case studies that talk about people using SketchUp for architecture but without more information I can not determine how much time they are spending creating a project vs. how much time the same project would take in a dedicated program. Time to completion is absolutely critical for my work. Much more so than the initial cost of the program. Hours equal money and you can’t spend a dollar to save a dime.

Anyway, my point it that with dedicated forums users could create there own industry specific resources which would in turn make it much more attractive to potential new users.

But that is just my opinion.

Hello Chris,

I am not entirely convinced of the need for a specific category for Building Design in SU. It seems fairly comprehensive in its ability to provide most (certainly not all) of the industry specific requirements.

Would it not be fair to say that the time required to complete a project will differ depending on the person doing the work? As the experience level increases, the typical expenditure of time consumed in performing specific tasks generally decreases. This is true regardless of the software platform, be it SketchUp, Acad, Vectorworks or anything else.

I understand and agree that little assistance is provided in seeing a video that shows what others may be doing with the software without going into detail to illustrate the process. You may need to search more diligently to find good “how to do such and such” examples for performing real world work, but some examples do exist. Recognize though that each individual approaches tasks somewhat differently so you may be required to modify your standard approach to resolving a particular “real world” issue. A well worded Google search can produce magnificent results.

Some videos developed from the various 3d Basecamps over the years may offer some great technical insight into how to do things. The following list is by no means to be considered exhaustive, but there may be one or two informative items included. Note that each video is about an hour or more in length and there is a considerable amount that is not referenced here:

(Here I think it’s appropriate to request that the SketchUp Team posts all relevant videos from the previous 3D Basecamps in a single easy to reference location!)

Approaching the process with an open mind goes a long way toward achieving the desired result. In this case, it may take more time than a month to become fully conversant with SU to the extent that you can ultimately create a real world project with it. The same applies to using any software. One necessarily must master the tools employed within the software in order to effectively utilize it.

What has worked for me? I immersed myself in the online training videos early on. (I started using SU with version 4.) I found the entire series to be an excellent tutorial resource, especially the Toolbar Series videos. I took the time to download, save and back up all existing SketchUp videos to a hard drive where each resides to this day. I reviewed every one of these videos in manageable bites, only studying a few within a given period until I was comfortable with the concepts discussed. When I felt my reach was not extended beyond my grasp, I moved to different videos and continued this pattern (probably for more than a month) until I became adept at constructing just about any form using the software. Eventually I felt the time had come to learn how to make use of Layout and followed a similar process although there are not as many videos available for that subject, so I resorted to all the printed materials I could find.

Bear in mind that I was a prolific (and expert) AutoCad and Vectorworks user during this period (I actually taught a CADD class among other duties as a professor of architecture), but I later decided to forego using these in favor of SU and LO because the latter software was more user friendly in my view. I like the ability to easily include color and texture in my finished presentations and construction documents. My clients prefer this feature and I actually received praise from contractors! Wow…contractors saying nice things about an architect. Can you believe that? But I digress.

The following playlists and videos were helpful in my learning process and I highly commend them to anyone who wants to improve their SketchUp modeling skills:

Pay particular attention to the playlists that are referenced.

Best of luck in your further learning experiences,

As a somewhat related aside, Trimble may want to consider compiling the many SketchUp Knowledge Base articles into a printed Users Guide. Many learning deficits can be overcome if users have a readily accessible source for referencing issues as they occur. A reference manual will better enable all users to get up to speed in less time.


Thanks for the advice and links.

Certainly it is true that speed comes with practice but if one program is always ten steps behind another, the fact that a user becomes faster with practice is irrelevant.

Yes that is what I am saying exactly. A dedicated forum can be used to compile printed information into a knowledge base which would make SketchUp more desirable to new users rather than the scattered and haphazard approach currently employed.