Is Sketchup a necessary skill?


I’ve been learning Sketchup and attempting to add it to my process because I notice that many firms and many of my colleagues use it.  I really don’t like the program.  I’ve always worked out my projects by sketching, building models, etc.  Then I would begin to model the project in Revit and it would evolve from there.

To get to the point, is Sketchup a necessary skill?

Oct 24, 13 7:37 pm

ugh old ppl go wild for it...because they feel comfortable with the user interface and like that when looking at the computer screen they feel like they are looking at a "sketch". At least that is what I noticed from the past two offices I worked at. If you know revit you can learn sketch up in half a day. Don't bother adding it to your process because soon you will notice it is slower and more cumbersome then doing actual sketches, physical models.


You work process sounds fine, sketching, building models then revit. Stick with that.  

Oct 24, 13 8:01 pm

well, is any program that we as designers use really necessary?

I would say no on the basis that design is best with pen paper and a brain.

But it is a helpful 3-d visualization tool that is intuitive and free to use.

If your firm or the firm you're applying for uses it, then it is necessary.

If not, it is just one of those useless items used to pad one's resume.

Oct 24, 13 8:27 pm

Not necessary, but useful. Sketchup is in wide use due to familiarity and convenience. It can be a lot faster to build some kinds of things in sketchup than other programs, so it's not just a matter of old people liking it.

I generally say use the right tool for the job, which in our case usually means we're developing the design by hand drawing, photoshop, rhino (with or without grasshopper), sketchup, revit, and 3ds max all simultaneously and interchangeably. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Together, they are more powerful than separate, even if the transition from one to another takes some care and forethought.

Oct 24, 13 8:30 pm

I would echo gwharton's comments, and to expand: Revit is probably the more useful/marketable software to understand. However, that being said, Revit seems to typically require more time investment in terms of learning, and of actual use in practice. On the flipside, Sketchup can provide rediculously quickly early studies that can be edited or thrown away - and I believe that is why it is still so prevalent in firms.

Me personally, I found that I exhausted Sketchup's usefulness after about 2 years of academia and 1 year of professional experience. I made a conscious decision to expand into Rhino + Grasshopper for my M.Arch because there were ideas that were not able to be pursued in SketchUp due to its limitations. That said, I still pull out Sketchup all the time if I need to explore an idea quickly and don't plan on using it for anything in-depth or finalized.

One last point - learning the fundamentals of Sketchup is IMO the best way to transition to Rhino at a high level, as they follow a very similar hierarchy of building digitally. Again though, if you are already getting well-versed in Revit, then maybe its not even worth it for you.

Oct 25, 13 12:47 pm

Thanks everybody for your thoughts and comments concerning Sketchup!

My Revit experience is part of the reason I don’t care for Sketchup.  I’ve been using Revit for almost seven years now.  I’d never even heard of Sketchup until I’d been using Revit for two or three years.

Oct 27, 13 11:24 am

SketchUp and Photoshop based tutorials (sometimes additional software depending on tutorial).

For more details : 

Oct 28, 13 1:47 am

I'm an italian architect and in my past work experiences in my country  i have seldom used sketchup becouse it isn't considered so good than software like Rhinoceros, Autocad or 3dS, but i think you can learn it quickly and it'll be one more  knowledge. 

Sorry for my not perfect english.

Oct 28, 13 12:55 pm

sketchup is amazing for schematic design.  you can model quick and have 20 variations in a couple minutes.  i've also taken stuff from revit and and  added a thing or two before sending it off to render.  also very easy for an intern with no prior experience to be able to pick up or add to an existing model.  i consider it the trace paper of 3d modeling.

as long as you're not doing crazy curves (i.e. you're out of school) it should work fine.

Oct 29, 13 3:36 am

Sketchup is probably the easiet software program of them all, worth the time to learn it. I can't see it taking more than a week to pick up. Working with plug-ins get's a little more complicated.

Oct 29, 13 9:28 am

It's an excellent skill to have.  The fact that you are even asking this question is shocking.

I've been working for many years now at big deal firms and I still use sketchup.  Can't go a day without using it.  And in many cases it's to show people how something works 3d - not even necessarily for rendering.

Oct 30, 13 5:14 pm

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