SketchUp software is used to create 3D landscape models. ​By passing information from gCADPlus to SketchUp, an accurate 3D model can be created quickly. SketchUp tools allow application of textures to surfaces in the model, create 'see though' and hidden line views, take sections through the model, orbit around the design and creating a walk through the 'virtual' site.

There are two versions of SketchUp, SketchUp Make which is free to use and SketchUp Pro, a commercial application with more features than the free version. Both versions run under Windows and Macs

Tip: If you download a and install SketchUp Make, it will run in Pro mode for one month and then revert to the (free) Make version.

Why learn to use SketchUp?

SketchUp is designed to let you create models of your intended design in a 3-D environment. It aims to make you feel that you are designing in much the same way as you would with pencil and paper and so computer modelling becomes an intuitive process.

Once a 3-D model has been built, SketchUp contains tools which allow you to apply rendering to surfaces in your model, create 'see though' and hidden line views, take sections through the model, orbit around the design and create a walk through the 'virtual' site. Because it can do all these things, the software is a tool much used by architects and other construction and engineering professionals.

In short, SketchUp can help clients to understand a proposed design better than they can from a 2-D plan. 

Tip: The database describing SketchUp models differs markedly from those 3-D models created in GardenCAD, AutoCAD, IntelliCAD and MicroStation. These latter CAD tools use a complex mix of Coons patches, ruled surfaces, surfaces of revolution and so on to describe their 3D model. SketchUp has a much cleaner and faster method of recording the model geometry than other CAD tools because it uses a triangular mesh. As a result, SketchUp can be used effectively on quite modest computer equipment. There is however a limitation when models of plant species are included in a design, especially when these are downloaded (for free) from the SkeychUp model warehouse on the internet. Operations such as zooming and panning become much more difficult and require more powerful computer resources.

Some examples of SketchUp models built from gCADPlus information are shown below.

Acievable garden

Park area

Tip: The database describing SketchUp models differs markedly from those 3-D models created in applications such as AutoCAD and MicroStation. These CAD tools use a complex mix of Coons patches, ruled surfaces, surfaces of revolution and so on to describe their 3D model. SketchUp has a much cleaner and faster method of recording the model geometry than other CAD tools because it uses triangular meshes to describe the model. As a result, SketchUp can be used effectively on quite modest computer equipment. Performance issue are seen when really complex models of plant species are used.

SketchUp Training