Sketchup is a free program by Trimble that will allow you to start modeling in 3D very quickly. So go ahead, download and install it on your computer, then come back here to learn everything you need to know about Sketchup.
UPDATE: June, 2012 – Google has sold Sketchup to Trimble, but the official Sketchup website remains at the same address on the Google servers. Sounds confusing, but that’s what they decided to do.
Step 1 – Go to http://sketchup.google.com
Sketchup is Free, and can be downloaded directly from sketchup.google.com.
Step 2 – Click on Download Sketchup
Click on the blue button on the right hand side of the page that says “Download Sketchup”.
Step 3 – Select Sketchup Free -OR- Sketchup PRO
This page gives you the option to download the free version of sketchup, or to purchase the Pro version which includes Style Builder and Layout. If you are brand new to Sketchup, then you’ll want to download the free version. Don’t worry, it’s not a trial that expires after 30-days or anything like that. It’s a fully featured piece of software and you will get a full license to use it. You’ll want to click the blue “Download Sketchup” button again.
Step 4 – Select OS, read license, start download
Sketchup is currently offered for Windows and Mac. Don’t forget to check the system requirements before you download. Also, read through the license and if you agree with it, click “Agree and Download”.
Step 5 – Save File
You should see a window pop up that asks if you want to save the file. Click “Save File”. Depending on your browser configurations, the file may save in a default download folder, or it may ask you where you want to save it. You will have to look at your browser options to determine this.
Once you have downloaded Sketchup, open the folder where you saved the file, and open it. If you have trouble finding the file, you can use Windows search to search for the file name on your computer. The default file name for the windows installation is GoogleSketchupWEN.exe and it is about 37 MB. The default name for the Mac installation is GoogleSketchupMEN.dmg and is about 38.9 MB. Follow the instructions in the “Install Sketchup” post to walk you through the installation process.
Head over to my getting started page to learn how to create your first model in Sketchup.