How to create a 3D model in Sketchup

by Raphael G. A. on 08th January 2018

Three-dimensional (3D) modelling is arguably the most revolutionary tool in today's world. Whether you need it for a simple 3d printer project or for a colossal architectural project, 3D modelling has proven to be professional, convenient, relatable and very creative. To most people, such software seems extremely complex and difficult to learn. However, the truth is, it is very easy to learn, and SketchUp is the best software to acquire these skills and effortlessly create a 3D model.

Both the free 2018 version of Sketchup and Sketchup Pro can be downloaded from the link here.

Here are a few tips on how to use SketchUp effectively.

Choose Template

After you've finished installing SketchUp, start up the application. In the application window, you will be prompted to select a template. A template basically is a collection of settings involving environment, type of measurement and starting point of view. Certain templates show a green ground and a blue sky while others may show a grey sky and a darker tone for the ground. The project below was created using the Architectural Design - Feet and Inches template.

Choose Camera View

Depending on the type of template you have selected, you would get a different camera perspective. However, returning to a generic camera view will help very much in making 3D models. To do this, start by going to the topmost ribbon of the application window. Click on the heading Camera and move you cursor over to Standard Views to open a dropdown menu. Select Iso to get the default camera view.

Default Camera View (Iso)
Default Camera View (Iso)

Now you're ready to create a 3D model!

Rectangle Tool

This is the most basic modelling tool in Sketchup. Start off by going to the second ribbon with icons at the top of the app window, and click on to use the rectangle tool.

Rectangle Tool

To create a rectangle, move your cursor to a point on a plane and right-click once. Then choose another point and Right-click again. You will notice that a rectangle has appeared between these two points.

Rectangle Tools

Push/Pull Tool

This tool makes it easy to create a 3D model. To use this tool, go to the same ribbon with icons and select Point your cursor on the rectangle you have created. The rectangle will be highlighted. Right-click once on the rectangle and move your cursor upwards.

Push Pull Tool

You will notice that the 2D rectangle will morph into a 3D rectangular box. Right-click again to finish the rectangular box. You have now successfully created your first 3D model!

Orbit Tool

This is a camera tool which you can use to explore your 3D model. Select to use this tool and right-click and drag on the model to shift your perspective. Now you can admire your 3D model as well!

Below is a 3D model of a Catapult I created for a project:

Catapult 3D Model
Catapult 3D Model

SketchUp is an easy-to-learn application, and you can create lots of 3D models. In addition, there are 2.2 million models you can download for free in the SketchUp Warehouse which you can customize for your own projects.

Post a comment


Corrine | January 20, 2018 12:46 AM |

Wow! Raphael you really nailed it!

TJ | January 18, 2018 1:55 PM |

Thanks for the resource.

Adam | January 9, 2018 2:01 PM |

Hey, nice work! It’s funny actually, I was thinking of making some models for a game called VR Chat. If the Unity game engine can work with Sketchup models, I might be onto something here 😀

Raphael | January 9, 2018 6:20 PM |

Hi Adam. Sketchup models (.skp) can be directly imported into the Unity software, and also can be edited within Unity. You can either click on 'Import New Asset' to import the .skp file, or you can just drag the .skp file into the project window. You can find more information here: Importing Objects From SketchUp Good luck!