IN THIS CHAPTER
Comparing SketchUp with other 3D software
Finding out what you can and can’t do with SketchUp
Looking around the application
Once upon a time, software for building three-dimensional (3D) models of things like buildings, cars, and other stuff was hard to use — really hard. People went to school for years to learn that software. And if that wasn’t bad enough, 3D modeling software was expensive — so expensive that the only people who used it were professionals and software pirates (people who stole it, basically). After debuting in 2000, SketchUp changed all that.
In SketchUp, you don’t think about 3D models as complex mathematical constructs (the way computers think). You build models with familiar elements: lines and shapes. To use SketchUp, you don’t even need to know how to draw. In SketchUp, you just build, and SketchUp takes care of stuff like perspective and shading for you.
This first chapter is about putting SketchUp in context: where to get it, how it compares with other 3D software, and what you can (and can’t) do with it. In the last part of the chapter, you go on a quick tour of the program, so that you know where things are. ...