Prepare Yourself

Hardware and software requirement

To start working with this tutorial, you need to check whether your computer specification is capable of running SkecthUp and to download SketchUp software, as well as some additional files which I will provide.

Hardware and Operating System

Google SketchUp is released only for Windows XP /Vista/Window 7 and Mac OS X. However, this blog will only deal with the Windows version.
The minimum specifications required to run SketchUp is actually quite low. Minimum requirements for running SketchUp in Microsoft Windows XP are:

  • Processor: 600 MHz Processor (Version 7),  1 GHz  (version 8)
  • 128 MB RAM (Version 7),  512 MB RAM (version 8)
  • Available disk space: 128 MB  (Version 7),  300 MB  (Version 8)
  • 3-D Graphic Card that supports OpenGL version 1.5 or higher
(More information on this link)

Currently, it is very difficult to find computers with such low specification, even from used computers. On-board graphics card with 3-D capability and Open GL 1.5 have been around for quite sometime. Therefore, in general, hardware is not an issue to model with SketchUp. However, the above minimum specification will restrict you from modeling rather large / complex 3d models.

Actually, the computer requirement will depend on the complexity of the model you are making. Most of the time, I use a 1.83MHz Dual Core Notebook, with 1 GB RAM, nVIDIA Graphic Processor On-Board running under MS Windows Vista Business. This is sufficient for my modeling needs.

Up to the current version (version 8.0), SketchUp has not been able to take full advantage of parallel procesing capability of multi core computers. Thus, there is no guarantee that SketchUp will be running faster on a computer with dual core processors compared to a single core one (e.i. Pentium IV).

It is not the case with video card (GPU). SketchUp will definitely works faster if your computer has a dedicated video card (in notebook computer it is often mentioned as dedicated memory for video). Even if it is only 128 MB. It should be noted, it is suggested that the video card should be nVIDIA processor, not ATI nor  Intel

So is with your computer memory (RAM), the bigger the better. The maximum memory is only limited by your operating system. Though, Microsoft Windows XP/ Vista 32-bit can only hold a maximum of 4 GB RAM.

Software Requirement and other files

The only software required is a Google SketchUp (free) for Windows. Actually, you can also install SketchUp Pro from the beginning. You can use the Pro version for 8 hours (usage time) without a license. Thereafter, if you don't enter a valid license key, it will automatically become a free version. But I suggest for the moment, you need to install only the Free version. When you have some mastery with SketchUp, you may need to install the Pro version since there are some features that are only available in Pro Version, such as making neat hardcopies of your model (with scale, annotation, and all).

(All SketchUp 8 documentation and support content is currently maintained online and isn't available for download)

also provide you with some ready made Sketchup components (Quicky). As the name suggest, they can speed up the modeling of your home.

The components are a hinged door component, a sliding door (both can be set a to be a single/double leaf door), a window component that can be configured with each other to have some alternative shapes. Each of this component can be configured down to the jamb/header and rabbet dimensions.

Another Quicky is a stair component (with option for straight and letter-u stair) that can also flexibly be configured to shape the most crazy stair design you can imagine. The final quicky component is a spiral stair components. This will come handy if you want to design a stair in a rather restricted area. Just like a straight/u-shape stair, the height of the each rise, the total height is also configurable to your liking.

All of these components are Dynamic Component, a new breed of component introduced since SketchUp version 7.0. These component can be sized simply by mouse clicks and drags, while maintaing their core specification such as jambs/threads etc. Doors and Window component has opening/closing animation ability for you to play around. A more detaled discussion about this will be available in Quickies Anyone (Part One and Part Two)

Which version?
This blog was prepared using Google SketcUp version 7.x free version, However it is no longer avalailable on their site. I've used the 8 version and confirmed that all the steps and instructions provided in this blog are still valid.
If you are not too sure, you can dowmload and install SkectUp 7.x pro and use it untill the pro trial expires AND also install Sketchup 8 just for the fun of it since different versions can co-exist.

Requirement for Internet Connection

In version 6, SketchUp by default will install several basic components (such as doors, chairs and other items) to our computer (local hardisk). Since SU 7.x, components are no longer stored locally, but are available on demand  from Google 3d Warehouse.

I do not really like this workflow. Up till now I still keep all the components that I like locally. Whenever there is a need for another component, I'll look through the internet (not just on Google 3d Warehouse) and then save it in local a folder. For me, "always on connection" is not required.

Google still provide you with all previous components and materials for you to download and install onto your computer (Sketchup 6 Bonus Pack). This component is 100% compatible with SU Version 7 and above.