Tuesday, January 19, 2016

7 Common Questions About SketchUp with Mark Lauricello

This week we talk to Mark Lauricello from Trimble SketchUp about the powerful, yet simple, design software.  Mark is a SketchUp guru and ambassador for the brand with years of expertise explaining the benefits of SketchUp and the 3D Warehouse. 

With its roots in the architectural and construction space, SketchUp has created a lot of buzz in the interior design and contract furniture industry.  Mark answers some common questions about SketchUp and gives us insight into how manufacturers can use the platform to reach thousands of potential customers.

1. What is SketchUp anyway?

SketchUp is 3D for everyone. We try to make SketchUp the most intuitive way to draw in 3D. 

SketchUp was first developed as a 3D conceptual design tool for architects moving from the drafting board to the computer, but it’s abstract and intuitive nature makes SketchUp great for any application where 3D visualization is important including interior design, product design, construction, engineering, and set design.

We believe SketchUp is the most popular 3D design tool on the planet. 

SketchUp gained a lot of popularity while it was with Google, but it’s now owned by a company called Trimble. Trimble’s focus is on building design and construction, making it a great home for SketchUp.

2. I’ve heard SketchUp is a free software?  Is this true?

This is sort of true. We offer two versions of SketchUp. SketchUp Make is our free version anyone can use for personal home design and DIY projects. SketchUp Pro is our paid version that’s licensed for professional use. Basically, if you’re using SketchUp to make money, we ask you to pay for it. We think it’s pretty inexpensive for what it delivers.

The core experience is the same for both versions, but SketchUp Pro includes features geared for professionals and comes with LayOut -- our presentation and documentation application.
3. Why is it important for the contract furniture industry to learn more about SketchUp?

We think SketchUp is important for the furniture industry because SketchUp provides a common design language for communicating in 3D with project architects, interior designers, builders, and owners. 

We believe that communicating design intent in 3D is important because we see our world in 3D and anyone can look at a 3D model and understand what a finished project will look like.

Most people can’t understand 2D CAD drawings and no one wants to pay for proprietary BIM software to participate in a project, but because of this trend toward 3D and BIM, property owners expect to see photo-real renderings and real-time 3D walk-throughs of a project before they commit. 

SketchUp provides an incredibly forgiving and cost-effective platform for accomplishing this and for overcoming many of the challenges involved in collaborative design-build projects.

4. Do interior designers really use SketchUp?

Absolutely! Behind architecture, interior design is the most common use for SketchUp. 

We know this by looking at SketchUp registration stats, but thanks to our incredible education program, we also know that interior designers have been learning SketchUp in school for years and continue to today.

5. Where do SketchUp users find SketchUp models?

SketchUp comes with 3D Warehouse, our content sharing platform. 3D Warehouse is a free resource where anyone can find, download, and share SketchUp models. With nearly 3 million models, we think 3D Warehouse is the biggest library of models on the web. 

And best of all, every model on 3D Warehouse is free!

One pro-tip for using 3D Warehouse: try the advanced search. 3D Warehouse is so big that it can overwhelm users. 

The advanced search helps narrow your search based on model attributes, popularity, and other parameters that help you zero in on the perfect model.

If you just can’t find what you’re looking for on 3D Warehouse, I recommend checking out Podium Browser, FormFonts, and SketchUcation for great SketchUp content.

6. What’s the best way for contract furniture manufacturers to use SketchUp for marketing?

There are many ways contract furniture manufacturers can use SketchUp for marketing. If connecting with architects and designers is the goal, the best way to do this is by offering light-weight, architecturally appropriate SketchUp models of your products for download on your website and on 3D Warehouse.

You let the design community know your company speaks SketchUp when you share product models. 

By inviting project architects and designers to explore how your products interact with their space in 3D, you can connect with designers when critical decisions are being made and help initiate conversations with project stakeholders.

SketchUp is also great for internal marketing efforts. SketchUp works great for product illustrations both in print and on the web. 

SketchUp provides an excellent visualization platform for setting up renderings. SketchUp even works great for trade show booth design.

7. What’s SketchUp’s future?  Why should I get involved now?

SketchUp’s future is incredibly bright in my view. Trimble has invested a lot in SketchUp since acquiring it and we’re now starting to see this investment bear fruit. 

In just the last year, we’ve added functionality to SketchUp that enables users to work with data from Trimble’s 3D scan technology, we’ve integrated Sketchup with Trimble’s new collaboration platform -- Trimble Connect, and we’ve brought SketchUp into the world of augmented reality thanks to Trimble’s partnership with Microsoft and its Hololens platform.

While I can’t talk about future features, you’ll see us continuing to focus on these themes of reality capture, collaboration, and augmented reality or as we call it “mixed” reality going forward. 

Overall, our plan is to continue SketchUp’s legacy of being an incredibly versatile 3D design tool for everyone.

The best way to get involved is to start designing in SketchUp and communicating your products and ideas in 3D! You can download a free trial of SketchUp Pro at sketchup.com. 

If you’re interested in offering your products in SketchUp format but aren’t sure where to start, please contact Erik for more information about getting started.

Contact us to learn more about SketchUp model creation and SketchUp's 3D Warehouse.

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