Share your Sketchup Model

So you’ve created a few models, and you can’t believe how easy it is to use Sketchup. You’re so excited about what you’ve created that you just HAVE to share it with the world. So what do you do? How do you show your model to other people? Or maybe you’re a professional Sketchup user and you need to review your design with a client. Do you just send them the Sketchup file and have them look at it themselves? Here are the best ways to share your Sketchup models with other people.

Google 3D Warehouse

If you haven’t heard about the Google 3D warehouse by now, get ready to blow your mind. It’s a collection of free models you can search and download directly into Sketchup. These are models made by people just like you, from all over the world. It’s a great resource if you’re ever looking to add something to your model but just don’t want to spend the time to make it yourself. It’s also a great way to share your models with the world. You can upload any model to the 3D warehouse, and send links to your friends so they can download them and check out what you’ve made.
Google 3D warehouse

Email

Don’t forget about good ole’ classic email, right? Create your model, attach it to an email, and send it off to your recipient. This is actually a great way to share Sketchup models with clients for a few reasons.
email

  1. Revisions of the model are easy to keep track of because they are dated and timestamped by the email itself.
  2. You can add notes in the email directing the client to look at something specific.
  3. Changes and requests are recorded in the emails, so if there were any confusion over what was intended, you can always look back through the emails for clarification.

There’s a big problem with both the 3D warehouse and using email. These methods depend entirely on the ability of the recipient to use Sketchup and navigate through the model you’re sending them. Maybe they don’t even have Sketchup! Oh no, I can’t even bare to think of someone who doesn’t have Sketchup! But it’s true, there are many people out there who have yet to discover the wonderful world of free 3D modeling and many have no desire to download it and learn how to use it just to view your awesome model.

Google actually thought of this and created a “dumbed down” version of Sketchup, called the Sketchup Viewer.

The Sketchup Viewer

For those who don’t want to install the full version of Sketchup, they can install the Sketchup viewer instead. It’s basically stripped of all the editing tools and is left with all the navigation tools and some styling tools. It’s the perfect compromise for those who want to look at someone elses model but are too intimidated by the full version of the software.

If you’d like to download the Sketchup viewer yourself or send the link to someone else, it can be downloaded at http://sketchup.google.com/intl/en/download/gsuviewer.html

Sketchup ViewerThis makes it easier to share our models with people unfamiliar with Sketchup, but it’s still not good enough for me. I’ve had many situations where I’ll be on the phone with an architect trying to explain something over the phone, and I just can’t seem to explain it good enough verbally. Of course, at the same time I’m making all sorts of hand signals and gestures expecting he’ll magically see what I’m doing thru the phone!

He’s too busy to be bothered with downloading Sketchup and opening my model. And even if I did manage to convince him to do that, we’d be in the same situation of him looking at his screen, and me looking at my screen, hoping we’re both looking at the same thing and trying to communicate details over the phone.

Enter Join.me

Screen Sharing with Join.me (My favorite!!!!)

It’s the most confusing website to tell people about, because it’s missing the typical “.com” we’re all so accustomed to. But it’s actually a website. http://join.me is a free screen sharing service that allows you to share a live streaming video of whatever you’re looking at on your screen with other people you invite to your private session. This is hands down, my number one way to share Sketchup models with clients.
join.me
If you’ve never heard of or tried a screen sharing service before, this will really impress you. If you have tried screen sharing before but were unsatisfied with the quality, you need to give this a second look. The technology has come a long way, especially with high speed internet. A quick glance at the website gives an initial feeling of, “Something doesn’t look right, this looks too easy.” But it really is. It’s VERY easy. And it’s so fun too, people get blown away by this all the time when I do it, I love it.

If I’ve got a model I want to talk about with an architect, this is what I do, step by step.

  1. Go to http://join.me, click “Share”, and download a little app that allows it to share my screen.
  2. Send an email to the architect with a link to my private screen sharing session.
  3. I give them about 5 minutes to scratch their head before giving them a phone call and I say “Hey Mr. Architect, there’s a detail I want to go over with you, did you get that email with a join.me link in it?” Architect – “Yeah… I just clicked on it…Oh, is that you? ” – clears throat..cough cough, “yeah, OK Matt I see your model what is it you wanted to talk about?”
  4. lol, It totally catches them off guard. I just start orbiting around and pointing out exactly what I need clarification on. I have complete visual control over everything.

That’s the main reason why I like Join.me. It keeps me in control of everything. It makes the whole process more efficient, and it doesn’t waste anyone’s time. I know exactly what I want to show them, so why not be in control of model while we are talking about it?

Why Screen Sharing is better than sending a model

It shows that you respect their time. You are not asking them to download something and learn how to use it. They just click on a link and they see your desktop right in their browser. You talk about any questions over the phone while you’re looking at it and you’re done.

By having complete control over the model, you also know what details of the model are drawn accurately to scale, and what other parts of the model are just quick sketches. This is a HUGE benefit because there is no question about if something is drawn to scale or not. This is great during the initial brainstorming/design stages when you are just looking for quick feedback on a design.

Since you are not actually sending a file to the client, you are preventing them from building up a collection of various phases of the model. This will make it easier to discuss design changes, without them having to sift through a bunch of files. After getting feedback and tweaking the model, you can send it to them at specific chosen phases in the design process.

I hope you enjoy using join.me as much as I do. I absolutely love it when I find free tools like this that really over deliver. There are many other features in join.me that I didn’t even touch on in this post. Let me know what you think of it and if you have thought of some other clever ways to share your models.

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About Matt Donley

Sketchup user since 2007, I launched MasterSketchup as a way to help other people learn this fun program. My goal is to create easy to follow tutorials that help make 3D modeling more accessible to anyone interested in learning. You'll find many of my videos and tutorials featured on the official Sketchup Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages.

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8 Responses to Share your Sketchup Model

  1. Matt says:

    Hey Matt,
    Thanks for sharing about sharing!
    I’ve got a model in the design phase that I need to review with clients. So far its been a bust trying to view a PC sketchup file on a Mac and trying to view a PC .wmv video on their Mac hasn’t worked either. RRRRRRR
    So I’m excited to give join.me a try. Seems straightforward enough and with the complete walk-thru you provide I anticipate pleased clients.

    Thanks again for valuable content on your new site!

    Matt

    • Matt Donley says:

      Let me know how it goes with join.me. It’s so easy, you’ll feel like you’re missing something because you’ll expect it to be harder than it really is. I know screensharing has been around for a while now, but technology has just really caught and made it so simple.

  2. Matt Jackson says:

    Matt,
    join.me is slick as slick can be.
    I guess I appreciate it all the more after my futile flash drive attempts but screensharing is the ONLY way to go!
    I’ll join you in emphasizing how fast and easy it is… and my clients were duly impressed, and impressed by my first experience with join.me no less.

  3. laurent says:

    Nice review. I would like to add to your list a new free tool called Spread3D Free Edition
    which converts sketchup models into webpages powered by Flash that you can easily share on DropBox.

    • Matt Donley says:

      @laurent – Thank you! I just checked out the spread3d.com site and that is really cool. I might even use that on my site at some point. I’m going to add it to the list of resources, thanks for adding it to the list.

    • David Thompson says:

      Real shame there’s no Mac version looks like a great tool

  4. Alex says:

    What about when your skp. file is too large to mail after the client opens the viewer?

    Can they open my too large .skp file after they get viewer.

    just a little confused.

    • Matt Donley says:

      Alex,

      Most email systems have a limit on the size of the file you can send. So if you transfer the file using another method like Google drive or Dropbox, they will be able to open it in viewer no problem.

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