If you are new to 3D Modeling software you may not be aware of the most popular program available today – and that is SketchUp. Available for both Windows & Mac.
It is used by many tiny house companies to produce their plans and it is very easy to learn and use. For anyone with reasonably good computer skills, basic SketchUp skills can be picked up in less than a week and you’ll be creating complex designs within a month.
The best part of SketchUp is that it is “FREE”. You can download the free version “SketchUp Make” on their website. This is not a restricted version filled with limitations and restrictions, it is a robust piece of software that you can create almost anything with. That is not to say it will do everything or it will always be easy, but that is why they offer SketchUp Pro – for those that want more automated processes and features suited to Architects and high end 3D models etc.
Why Do You Need SketchUp?
Many tiny house plan publishers offer their plans with a SketchUp file that you can import into SketchUp and make changes to the plan. Getting a set of plans is one thing, but getting the SketchUp file for the plan really makes it easy to make changes, try ideas and so on.
In addition to this, SketchUp has what they call the “3D Warehouse” where you can import directly into your SketchUp workspace, models of furniture, plumbing fixtures, lighting, people and almost anything you can think of – most scaled to match real-life scale of your tiny house. This allows you to see how your tiny house layout will work with various sized furniture, plumbing, showers etc etc and make changes before you finalize your plan.
Although SketchUp is labeled as a 3D modeling program, it is very easy to export or print 2D layouts from your 3D models… takes just a few clicks.
Is SketchUp Hard To Learn?
Not at all! I have used numerous 3D programs over the years and SketchUp blows all the others out of the water in terms of learning curve, intuitive tools and 3D models – it is extremely user friendly and the tools are easy to learn and powerful.
If you are comfortable with any photo editing software or 3D software, you should be able to get all SketchUp basics under your belt within a week, spending only a few hours a day learning the program.
Where Do I Get The Free Version?
You can download the free version for Windows or Mac, and view tutorials using the links below:
Where Can I Watch Good Tutorial Videos?
I recommend checking out Matt Donley’s YouTube Channel MasterSketchUp. In particular, I would start with his 5 Part Video Tutorials on Building a Shed – these 5 videos will bring you up to speed with SketchUp in no time flat – they are very good and easy to understand! Look at the bottom of his videos on his channel for the shed videos.