This course will explore the techniques and methods for the design and creation of 3D models in SketchUp. You will presented with a series of informative assignments that in turn illustrate the tools needed to create a final project geared towards your design profession.


SketchUp, formerly Google SketchUp, is a 3D modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, landscape architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film and video game design. SketchUp is owned by Trimble Inc., a mapping, surveying and navigation equipment company. There is an online library of free model assemblies (e.g. windows, doors, automobiles), 3D Warehouse, to which users may contribute models. The program includes drawing layout functionality, allows surface rendering in variable “styles”, supports third-party “plug-in” programs hosted on a site called Extension Warehouse to provide other capabilities (e.g. near photo-realistic rendering) and enables placement of its models within Google Earth.

3D Warehouse is an open library in which SketchUp users may upload and download 3D models to share. The models can be downloaded right into the program without anything having to be saved onto your computer’s storage. File sizes of the models can be up to 50 MB. Anyone can make, modify and re-upload content to and from the 3D warehouse free of charge. All the models in 3D Warehouse are free, so anyone can download files for use in SketchUp or even other software such as AutoCAD, Revit and ArchiCAD – all of which have apps allowing the retrieval of models from 3D Warehouse. Since 2014 Trimble has launched a new version of 3D Warehouse where companies may have an official page with their own 3D catalogue of products. Trimble is currently investing in creating 3D developer partners in order to have more professionally modelled products available in 3D Warehouse. According to the Trimble, 3D Warehouse is the most popular 3D content site on the web. SketchUp designers may visit 3D Warehouse to discover new products or for inspiration when designing their own.

Course Description

Ideally suited for designers, broadcasters, architects, engineers as well as anyone who would like to learn to create 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional study models with ease and sophistication, this course delivers a well rounded introduction to the power of Google’s SketchUp. Students are enabled to draw using a familiar pencil and paper paradigm in a software context. Google SketchUp makes 3D modeling easy enough for anyone to learn, and fast enough to use under real-world time constraints. SketchUp will allow students to demonstrate to clients what a new building will look like, recreate and fly through the scene of an accident, or visualize a theatrical set before it’s built. At the conclusion of this course, students will be comfortable creating, animating, and displaying 3D environments at a sophisticated level.


  • Course Introduction – review of syllabus
  • Templates
  • Toolbars
  • 2D Drawing Tools: line, rectangle, circle, polygon, freehand,

Assignment #1

  • 2D floorplan / drawing of a space
  • groups
  • components
  • layers
  • outliner
  • Drawing tools: push/pull, follow-me,
  • Orbiting tools: zoom, pan, orbit, zoom previous, field of view, look around
  • Modification tools: offset, move, copy, measurement
  • solid tools

Assignment #2

  • Massing Model (Due Session 3)
  • creating roof pitches
  • inferences
  • axes lock
  • move/copy
  • tape measure

Assignment #3

  • Massing Model (Due Session 4)
  • textures
  • images
  • from illustrator
  • photomatch

Assignment #4

  • 3D Model with textures
  • from google earth
  • from autocad / .dwg
  • from pdf
  • from building maker
  • terrain / contours

Assignment #5

  • 3D Model with context of choice
  • scenes
  • styles
  • animations
  • exporting still images
  • section cuts
  • layered image exports to photoshop

Final Project Status

  • review and storyboard final project
  • creating materials
  • edit in model
  • edit in photoshop / image software
  • creating advanced components
  • saving components
  • component library
  • Final Project
  • Begin development of final project/presentation (Due Session 10)
  • 40% of grade
  • paperspace for SketchUp
  • presentation template

 Topic: Plug-ins & Extra Features

  • 1001 bit tools
  • 1001 shadows
  • drop at intersection
  • from contours
  • podium
  • shape bender

•     continue to develop massing model, components, & textures

  • from google earth
  • from autocad / .dwg
  • from pdf
  • from building maker
  • terrain / contours
  • completed model
  • begin creating scenes and views for final presentation
  • show final storyboard to instructor

Topic: Final Presentations

  • 5-10 minute presentation
  • feedback
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