Will it do what I want?

Hi there, Community,

Complete newbie to Sketchup :slight_smile: Bear with me.

Have been dabbling with the free online software to see what I (and it) can do.

Before I commit to subscribing to the ‘Shop’ version, I need to know if the paid-for version can do what I want to achieve. So, my questions to you are:

Will I be able to change the stroke width of any lines drawn;
Will I be able to use custom colours dialled in using RGB (or even CMYK) recipes;
Is it possible to upload/import vector shapes/polygons and use them to build with;
Is it then possible to export finished drawings as 2D vector artwork, not just PDFs or JPGs?

Thanks in advance.


There are two options for edge thickness in SketchUp. Normal edges and Profile edges. This is the same across all versions of SketchUp. SketchUp is a modeling tool. The edges that you create are to outline surfaces. Line weight is a documentation thing. That can be done in LayOut however you will need SketchUp Pro for that. SketchUp Shop doesn’t provide access to LayOut.

You can set custom colors with RGB settings.

SketchUp Shop can import DXF, DWG and a few other vector file types.

You can export DXF, DWG and a few other vector type files from SketchUp Shop.

Thanks, DaveR !

I did not read anything about 3D in your requests. DO you need to model objects in 3D? SketchUp is fundamentally a native 3D environment. If you only want to import, arrange, or draw 2D shapes SketchUp is not the right tool and will be frustrating to use. Just checking that you are not planing on using a screwdriver as a hammer.

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You have been very specific in the detail but you have not said what kind of task you need SU for.

It’s important to understand that SU is a surface modeller. That is very different from a 2D CAD package and from a solid modelling package. Everything that is a 3D object in SU is effectively a collection of surfaces surrounding empty space. So what you might think of as a line is in fact always an edge and you cannot do very much to change how that looks (you can change its colours and you now have some ability to make broken “lines”).

Another limitation that flows from this is that circles and arcs are not true but a series of joined edges. Tubes resulting from extruding a circle or arc will therefore be faceted. You can alter the number of facets to give a close approximation to the real thing.

I need to create multiple views of existing multiple buildings. I figured recreating the buildings in 3D then rotating them and exporting 2D images of them from the various required viewpoints would be the best/quickest/cheapest way forward.

I can basically do what I want in the free version, but can’t change the colours and line-thickness to the styles I want.

Also: I have the 2D footprint of the buildings, so hoped that I could import that to use as a basis to build from.

It would be nice to export as 2D vector artwork, but it’s not critical.

There is no difference between free and shop in these respects. You can change the colors in Free, and both have limited (although some) control of how lines are displayed

I am also a building designer and SU works well for me.

You do have some ability to change line colours although the kind of freedom you have to alter line thickness, style, colour, etc, is not nearly as extensive as you might be used to from 2D CAD systems.

Importing a 2D plan and extruding it is something I do frequently.

FWIW, you don’t rotate the buildings. You move the camera in SketchUp to create the views you need.

Also, if this is for commercial use, you need either SketchUp Shop or SketchUp Pro for the license.

Combining SketchUp Pro with LayOut would be the best option for the sort of thing you want to do.

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OK, team… Can I replicate this style of illustration in the free versions of SU? (The blue colours are critical. I will need to be able to dial-in the RGB values):

Yes. You could do that in SketchUp.

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But I will need the SU Shop as it’s for commercial use.

Or SketchUp Pro. If you need to create documentation, LayOut will be a thing you want and that requires Pro.

FWIW, this is quick and dirty. I guessed at the colors. Not an exact match but if you supplied the RGB values…

Absolutely bob on, mate.

As an experiment to see if I could achieve what I wanted, I created the above using the free version, then screen-grabbed a black-and-white version. Took the screen-grab into PhotoShop and thickened lines/changed colours there. Works OK, but doing it ALL in the paid-for version of SU is clearly the way forward :slight_smile: Am off to subscribe!

Thanks for all your help.

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First off, if you are using the software commercially in any way, then you need to abide by the terms of the license agreement and use Shop or Pro.

That said, there is a way to get custom colors via RGB, or HSL, or Hex# in Free by assigning your geometry to a Tag. The colors of Tags are adjustable via RGB. Using the color by tag option displays your geometry in that color.

You can also adjust the color and weight of the lines in Free under the styles tab. Again, the colors of the lines are adjustable in RGB.

SO, by using colored lines and color by tag, I was able to make a similar building in custom RGB colors in SketchUp Free.

Got it. Again, thanks for all your help.

You can adjust profile lines or regular line weights. You can’t adjust lines individually, except in Layout.

Try these things out in the trial period.

You might also want to think whether you want to go for an annual subscription, or a one time fee for a permanent Pro licence.

The latter is several times more expensive, but if you intend long term use and your needs are met by the current version, that may be better value, and you know that even if you use it only occasionally, you can always open old models.

On the other hand, if you go for the annual subscription, then when it runs out you may lose access to your models (though you can save them locally, your professional program licence will have expired unless you pay another annual fee).

And it depends on your personal preferences too. I don’t like ongoing subscriptions much, and prefer to own the rights to use a program ‘permanently’, until it won’t run any more as technology advances.

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If you’re going for custom line widths and colors regularly, without compromise and full freedom, you’re talking about significant image post processing some of the time. Sketchup does not do that, but it can approximate a small bit of it.

If you export a pdf out of SketchUp Pro it is a perfect vector illustration ready for modification I’m Adobe Illustrator or similar. It can also import vector artwork for more complex shapes.

Sketchup is not a one stop shop for modeling and rendering. It’s a powerful tool, especially when combined with other tools.

No, you still have access to your models and you can edit and open them too. Everyone has a free Plan, which includes 10Gb file storage. (You’ll just loose the Shop-specific features)

That is always better