The Autodesk Company offers a free cloud-based version of SketchUp Free, which is one of the best options for new users. SketchUp Pro and SketchUp Studio, which offer more features and are based on a subscription model, are more expensive. Even so, directly competing companies charge significantly less.
SketchUp offers free and reduced-cost versions for students and educators, as well as fully functional trial versions that you can try out before buying.
In addition to architecture, interior design, urban planning, civil engineering, and construction, SketchUp is used for visualization and planning in a variety of industries.
SketchUp’s user interface is rather undeterred for first-time users.
Even beginners who are interested in understanding 3D modeling software basics won’t be overwhelmed by too many tools out front. Drawing up a simple 3D printable model takes only a few hours as SketchUp’s tools are intuitive and allow users to navigate the program.
Using SketchUp increases the range of features with increasing prices. With higher prices, more features will become available.
Here are the features included in the most affordable version of SketchUp:
- Three-dimensional models in 3D Warehouse are available for unlimited access.
- Viewer for mobile augmented reality.
- You can store unlimited data in the cloud.
Difference between Free Version & Paid Version in SketchUp
Since there are several versions of SketchUp software, it is worth knowing the major differences between Free and other versions.
- You can create CAD designs using all SketchUp offerings since they all feature the same basic tools. The free version is adequate for basic 3D modeling. Nevertheless, you will find that the program is more user-friendly and otherwise a more professional program in many other aspects.
- Modeling buildings is one of SketchUp’s standard tools. SketchUp’s free version will not be sufficient if you want to model organic shapes, such as terrain. The paid version of the software includes advanced tools like a sandbox to create organic shapes.
- The rendering also differs significantly. It comes with a simple renderer that can create standard resolution images of your work using SketchUp’s free version.
The paid versions allow users to render and export high-resolution images.
- The paid version allows you to create animated sequences along with static images. So your work comes to life.
- The most valuable feature of SketchUp might be its Extension Warehouse, available only with the paid edition. The program’s plug-in system provides users with access to an array of tools and features. Developers can purchase some of these extensions for a fee, while others are free. The creation and upload of extensions are encouraged.
- A processor with a clock speed of more than two GHz.
- A minimum of 8GB of RAM is required.
- Hard disk space is 700MB.
- An ideal 3D video card should have 1 GB of memory or more, as well as hardware acceleration. It is important to ensure that your video card driver supports OpenGL 3.1 or higher.
Wrapping it up
The free version of SketchUp lets you learn some of the basics of 3D modeling without burdening your computer. You can use this if you want to design from a Chrome book or other less powerful device.
SketchUp Free does have some limitations, and one of the main disadvantages will be its limited import and export options. If you want to design mainly from scratch or use 3D Warehouse files and download models as STL or SketchUp files, you should be fine, but anything more than that will start causing issues.