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If you’re not new to the world of interior design, you’ve probably heard of SketchUp. And if you’re like most people, you don’t want to invest in it without reading a SketchUp review or two.
That’s a smart move. With so many computer-aided design(CAD) software on the market, you can’t afford to invest in one that doesn’t get the job done. Doing so will not only interfere with the effectiveness of your work but will also cost you a lot of money.
So is SketchUp worth it or should you continue your search for a reliable CAD software? Let’s find out.
What Is SketchUp?
Before we get into the SketchUp review and whether or not it’s a worthy investment, it’s essential for you to understand what SketchUp is. With this information, you’ll know whether it’s a program you should be considering or not.
So what is SketchUp?
SketchUp is CAD software that’s excellent for creating and editing 2D and 3D models using a patented “push and pull” method.
Thanks to the “push and pull” feature, designers can extrude any flat surface into 3D structures. And the best part? It’s straightforward. All you have to do is to click on any object and begin pulling until you like what you see.
SketchUp doesn’t offer a wide range of built-in models. However, while researching for this Sketchup review, we found that it more than makes up for this by providing users with access to Trimble’s 3D warehouse. This feature makes it possible for users of different skill levels to achieve their desired results.
It’s an incredible software that can be used for different projects such as interior design, architecture, video gaming, and landscape design.
SketchUp Review: Features
The main features of SketchUp are:
- 2D models
- 3D models
- Lighting effects
- Layer manager
However, the manufacturers have made some remarkable improvements in their latest release. Some of these include:
New and improved welcome window
One of the upgrades we love is the new welcome screen that opens when you launch the software. It not only looks so much better than previous versions but also has added sections that make it very beginner-friendly.
On the new window, you can now access SketchUp Videos, SketchUp Forums, and SketchUp Campus. You can access so much information about the software and how to use it on these platforms.
However, you should know that they also renamed the standard template. So if you decide to try SketchUp, review the templates so you can become more familiar with them.
New line styles
The introduction of new line styles has got to be the best improvement the manufacturers have made on SketchUp.
It’s now possible to make lines directly on the software controlled by layers. There are different types of lines ranging from standard solid lines to dots and dashes — everything you need to create unique 2D models.
The only downside is that the line styles don’t work on section cuts.
Section fill improvements
Almost every SketchUp 2018 review complained about the section fill feature. The primary concern was that the tool didn’t work when faces were hidden. Fortunately, this isn’t something you have to worry about anymore. The section fill tool is new and improved. It automatically recognizes all hidden faces and fills when selected.
SketchUp Review: The Good and Bad
Now for the moment that you’ve been waiting for; the SketchUp review. You must be wondering what benefits this software offers and where it falls short.
So let’s get straight to business.
One of the benefits you’ll enjoy from SketchUp is its straightforwardness. The push and pull feature makes it easy for users of different skill levels to generate everyday items. Besides, the software has a well-crafted user interface that gives some of the most powerful CAD software in the market a run for their money.
And that’s not all:
The software also features customizable pallets that provide smooth navigation. And the best part is that you can rearrange the pallets to your liking. What’s more, the controls are easily accessible on the program’s icon.
We also love that SketchUp also offers 2D features, although its main focus is on 3D design. These features make it possible for beginners who want to familiarize themselves with the two design concepts.
As if that’s not enough, SketchUp also allows you to add lighting effects to any rooms or buildings you design. This is an excellent feature because it gives you and the client a clear picture of what to expect. This way, everyone ends up making an informed decision.
It’s also great that SketchUp caters to the needs of designers of different levels by offering various modules with different functionalities. Whether you are an expert or a beginner, there’s no doubt you’ll find a module that fits your needs.
Although SketchUp has so much to offer, it falls short when it comes to essential tools. Compared to other CAD software, SketchUp has limited basic tools. It could use more modern tools like mirror and round edges function.
All in all, the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to SketchUp.
Different Versions of SketchUp Available
Sketch up is available in three different versions to suit different needs. These include:
image via flickr
SketchUp Make is a freeware version. You can access it after signing up for a free account. You can use it for home, personal, and educational needs, and it comes with a 30-day trial period for the SketchUp Pro. It’s an excellent choice for beginners who want to learn the basics of design and familiarize themselves with a CAD program.
The only challenge you may experience using this version is the fact that it is no longer updated. In 2017, the developers released a different version and stopped making changes to Make. Nonetheless, you can still download it and use it free of charge.
SketchUp Free is the version that replaced SketchUp Make.
So what’s the difference between these versions?
image via flickr
The difference is that SketchUp Free is a web-based application and you must have a Timble ID and valid email address to use it. The software is also updated frequently and therefore, has better functionality compared to Sketup Make.
It’s also an excellent software for home, business, and personal use that doesn’t require a lot of sophisticated features.
For the professionals who require advanced features and better functionality, SketchUp offers SketchUp Pro. Some of the things you can expect from this version include the ability to export and import files in different file formats, access to a 2D documentation software, a style builder that allows you to create custom edge styles, and layout tools, among other functions.
Sketchup Review: User Satisfaction and Ratings
We understand that apart from a professional SketchUp review, you also need to know how the software worked for different users. Therefore, we scoured the internet to find out what users thought about this software to help you make an informed decision.
One of the things that users love about SketchUp is that it allows them to explore solutions in 3D. Think about it? If you have a client who’s having a hard time visualizing what you plan to do to a room, wouldn’t it be awesome and easy to have a way to show them precisely what you mean with visual presentations instead of words? That’s exactly what SketchUp allows you to do, and users are crazy about that.
Another thing users can’t stop raving about is the fact that SketchUp enables them to come up with professional design documents in the layout, such as design intent, plans for permits, and other important documents. With such features, you can save up on extra costs like hiring an architect for appropriately scaled drawings.
However, some users have complained about sudden software crashes that cause them to lose all their work. Some users also believe that some of the models are too complex, which makes the entire design process quite slow.
Overall, users seem to be happy with SketchUp, and the majority of them say that they would recommend the software.
They rated the software 8.2 out of 10 stars on TrustRadius.
FinacesOnline places the SketchUp user satisfaction at 97 percent and rates the software 8.9 out of 10.
SketchUp Review: How It Compares to Other Major Design Software
Before you decide to jump on the bandwagon, it’s also vital for you to know how SketchUp compares to other major CAD software on the market. Any reliable Sketchup review requires that we compare it to other design software on the market.
We selected some of the best CAD software on the market based on users and experts’ reviews for this SketchUp review.
Let’s jump right in:
CADmate is one of the most popular computer-aided design software on the market and for good reasons. The software is robust and scalable and provides a smooth learning curve.
But is it better than SketchUp? To answer this question, we’ll have to make a few comparisons of the two.
When it comes to features, CADmate has the upper hand. Here are some of its features:
- 2D Drawing
- 3D Modelling
- DWG Convert
- Object Outlines
- Break Object
- Block Break
- Simultaneous Drawings
- Object Snap
- Symmetric Drawing
- Graphics Comparison
With all these features, it’s clear you can achieve more with CADmate than SketchUp.
As aforementioned, SketchUp comes in three versions that cater to the needs of different users. This is something CADmate cannot compete with because it comes in only one paid version that is way more expensive compared to SketchUp Pro.
SketchUp has the upper hand when it comes to integrations because it’s compatible with both Trimble and SimLab while CADmate doesn’t offer any integrations.
CADmate also has the upper hand when it comes to user satisfaction. Some of the few things customers complain about when it comes to CADmate is its price and the lack of a free version.
FinancesOnline places CADmate’s customer satisfaction at 100 percent and gives the software a rating of 7 out of 10 stars.
The choice of whether to go for SketchUp or CADmate will depend on your individual needs. If you need robust and advanced CAD software, CADmate is the way to go. However, if you only need software you can use for day-to-day design tasks that don’t require all the bells and whistles in CADmate, SketchUp will get the job done.
Another popular CAD software on the market is Envisioneer.
Envisioneer is a multi-purpose unified suite of 3D building information modeling (BIM) that caters to the needs of various professionals in the home design sector.
But how does it compare to SketchUp?
Let’s find out:
Envisioneers gives SketchUp a run for its money when it comes to features. It offers more features than SketchUp, which means you can complete more tasks using Envisoneer. These features include:
- Construction suite
- Matching framing methods
- Seamless business integration
- Simple estimates
- Refining with endless options
- Custom library
- Faster approval
- Built-in library of design and drawing details
- Building wizards
- Generation of construction documentation
- Virtual reality capabilities
Similar to SketchUp, Envisoneer strives to cater to the needs of every designer despite their skill level. For this reason, they offer four versions of their software with different pricing plans.
- Personal Architect
- Pro Architect
- Building Essentials
- Construction Suite
The price of these four versions varies depending on the features available on the software. Personal Architect is the cheapest and is most suitable for hobbyists and homeowners. Construction Suite has the most features and is the most expensive and more suitable for estimators, LBM suppliers, and educators.
Pro Architect and Building Essentials are reasonably priced and are suitable for professional designers and builders and remodelers, respectively.
We believe Envisoneer has one up on SketchUp when it comes to its software versions because there’s a version for every skill level out there.
Envisoneer is not here to play. This software not only allows for integration with accounting and third-party POS systems but also offers more integrations compared to SketchUp. These include:
- SketchUp (who would have thought!)
- Simpson Strong-Tie
So what do users feel about Envisioneer? According to FinancesOnline, which uses a customer satisfaction algorithm, this software has a 95 percent user satisfaction. This is lower than SketchUp’s score of 97 percent. The site also gave the software an overall score of 7.5 out of 10.
It’s safe to say that Envisioneer is the better alternative compared to SketchUp in terms of features and the fact that it caters to different skill levels. However, it falls short when it comes to user satisfaction, which is a concern considering that every user seeks a hassle-free experience from any software they invest in.
The other software we compared SketchUp to is CADopia.
CADopia is a computer-aided design application that gives you access to advanced 3D functionality and all the tools you need for your design projects.
So how does it compare to SketchUp?
CADopia has more features compared to SketchUp. These include:
- Hatch and color fill
- Blocks and external references
- Viewing options
- Layer management
- Multiple file support
- Audio notes
- Migration assistants
- Text and editing tools
- Printing and plotting
- 3D Solid modeling
With all these features, there’s no doubt you’ll be able to accomplish more on CADopia compared to SketchUp.
There are two versions of CADopia, the standard and professional edition. They are both more affordable compared to SketchUp, and they’re also available in 32-bit and 64-bit.
CADopia doesn’t support any integrations but gives you access to the program’s COM API.
It’s not easy to determine what users think about CADopia because there aren’t many user reviews for this software. In fact, it’s one of the things expert reviewers mention as a disadvantage. Due to inactive user forums, it can be challenging to decide whether or not this software will work for you.
Should You Get SketchUp?
There’s no doubt that there are great CAD applications out there. However, most of them don’t provide a great user experience, which is precisely what you need from CAD software to complete your projects successfully.
For this reason, our conclusion for this SketchUp review is that you should give it a shot. It comes with incredible features, and it’s reasonably priced compared to other alternatives.
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