The 30 Second Secret To Creating Your First 3D Model In SketchUp

If you’ve never created a 3D model in SketchUp (or any other modeling program), the following steps offer a quick overview the basics:

Select the person, context-click the selection, and select Erase in the context menu that appears.


In the Getting Started toolbar, select the Rectangle tool ().


On the ground plane, in the space between the red and green axis, click the Rectangle tool cursor (). Then move your cursor to the right and click again. A rectangle appears on the ground, as shown here.

On the Getting Started toolbar, select the Push/Pull tool (), and place the Push/Pull cursor over the rectangle you just created, as shown in the following figure.


Click and drag your rectangle up into a 3D shape. Keep an eye on the Measurements box and release the cursor when your shape is about 5 feet tall.

Without clicking or selecting anything, simply type 6’ and press Enter. Notice how the height of your shape changed to exactly 6 feet tall, and the value you entered appears in the Measurements box.


In the Getting Started toolbar, select the Orbit tool (). Place the Orbit cursor above your shape. Then click and hold while you move the mouse down. Notice how the view of your shape changes, as shown in the following figure. Practice clicking and dragging with the Orbit tool as much as you like. It’s a pretty fun tool!

In the Getting Started toolbar, click the Zoom Extents button (). If you orbit around until you lose track of where you are in your model, the Zoom Extents button is a handy way to reorient yourself.


If you have a scroll-wheel mouse, scroll down to zoom out a bit. Working in SketchUp is much easier with a scroll-wheel mouse. However, if your mouse lacks a scroll wheel, click the Zoom tool () and you can zoom in and out that way, too.

No matter what tool is selected, holding down the scroll wheel activates the Orbit tool until you release the scroll wheel.

Top Tip!

In the Getting Started toolbar, click the Paint Bucket tool ().


In the Materials panel that appears, select Colors from the drop-down menu, as shown here. Then select a color from the options that appear on the Select tab.

Click one side of your model with the Paint Bucket cursor to apply your selected color. Experiment a bit with the different options in the drop-down menu if you like. For example, select Landscaping, Fencing, and Vegetation from the drop-down menu and apply pebbles to your model. Select Tile from the drop-down menu and apply a tile pattern that you like. Orbit around and apply different materials to each side of your model, as shown here.

Close the Materials panel and select Window > StylesWindows ONLY: The Styles appear in the Default Tray.


From the drop-down menu, select Sketchy Edges and then select a style option. In the following figure, Marker Wide is selected. Notice that the style completely overrides all the materials and colors applied. To see them again, select In Model from the drop-down menu and then select the Simple Style option.

Are you ready to give it a go? Every learning resource you could possibly need. Download the free version of Sketchup Pro and experiment for 30 days. Take the  brilliant v-ray for Sketchup free trial to discover legendary 3d rendering. And check out a huge choice of tutorials, here and here.

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Elmtec have been the UK distribution partner for SketchUp since 2010, and service a network of UK and Irish resellers. We have over 22 years’ experience within the digital design community.

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