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Sketchup is a 3D CAD program, which is mostly used for architectural, interior, furniture, and landscape design. Available for the past 20 years, Sketchup has always been differentiated by its intuitive design tools and its simple workflow, which enable users to quickly take control of the program. This simplicity is complemented by the 3D warehouse, an extensive 3D model library that users can navigate to generate pre-set objects and work out their scenes quickly.
If you are wondering whether or not you should dive into this program or go for another one, there are alternatives to Sketchup you may also want to consider. Based on what you want to do, other CAD and 3D programs provide similar features and can help you achieve similar results as well. So let’s get started !
Developed by Autodesk, Fusion 360 is a parametric CAD Software targeted at mechanical and product design applications. The integrative approach Fusion 360 has been designed with allows companies to take ideas from concepts to functional 3D models, but also to run simulations, render objects, and fabricate them.
Even though Fusion 360 and Sketchup aren’t tailored to the same types of workflows, similar objects can be modeled using any of these. It is for instance possible to design furniture across these two CAD software, and if that’s what you are looking forward to, Fusion 360 can be an alternative to Sketchup.
Now why would you choose Fusion 360 over Sketchup? First, Fusion 360 allows you to design objects using parametric modeling. In other words, each part you are going to create will be assigned specific dimensions, which may refer to the thickness of a wall, the height of a surface, and so on. Parametric modeling, in turn, enables users to adjust dimensions by entering new values. Models will change based on the new parameters, and Fusion 360 will make sure the object remains constrained to other surrounding surfaces. The design tools that Sketchup offers, on the other hand, may not enable you to adjust parts without remaking them.
Well known for its great versatility, Blender is an open-source 3D program that allows you to handle all types of 3D works, from modeling, rigging, animation, VFX, rendering, and so on.
Unlike CAD software, Blender was hence not primarily intended for architectural design. Yet, as a generalist 3D Software, it does present features that poise it as an interesting alternative to Sketchup.
The first reason why Blender is interesting is that it allows creating organic shapes with an intuitive surface subdivision system, and gives access to more advanced polygon editing tools for bevels, offsets, and other features. Talking about polygons, Blender handles greater amounts of them on a single scene than Sketchup can. Modeling apart, Blender opens up to better-looking visualizations than Sketchup, first because of its ability to map textures over surfaces, and also thanks to its built-in Cycles and Evee rendering engines.
Credit: Blenderartist.org, Modern House, MArtur
Touching upon Sketchup alternatives, one may argue that the ideal pick should also respond to Sketchup’s ease of accessibility. But with programs like Fusion 360 or Blender, we are definitely moving away from this simplicity.
So if you are looking for a solution that makes 3D CAD as intuitive as Sketchup, Tinkercad may be for you. Also owned by Autodesk, Tinkercad is, in contrast with Fusion 360, a browser-based tool designed to help newcomers get familiar with 3D Design. Even though Tinkercad relies on a narrow set of editing tools, Tinkercad allows you to start from pre-set polygons that can be refined into more complex, organic shapes. Hence, the balance between technical performance and intuitiveness that Tinkercad reached makes it an appropriate alternative to Sketchup, and can likewise be used to work out functional 3D designs in a matter of minutes. You can also find TinkerCAD alternatives.
Credit: Tinkercad.com, Build A Castle, kchris 262
Cedreo is the only 3D home design software where you can create conceptual designs in just 2 hours. It allows home builders, contractors, remodelers, real estate developers and interior designers to create a complete design presentation for potential clients including 2D and 3D floor plans, as well as interior and exterior photorealistic 3D renderings.
Cedreo is the best alternative to SketchUp for housing professionals who want better design proposals twice as fast. Cedreo is a piece of software dedicated to home design with features which are tailormade to make house drawing easier. It has a quick learning curve and it’s intuitive, straightforward features mean that you will be able to master it after completing just one project.
Floor plan drawing: With Cedreo, you draw the layout in 2D and can instantly visualize it in 3D. You can upload an existing blueprint and then customize it, mirror it and resize it in just one click. Adding an opening is very easy, you select windows and doors from the library and place them on the layout. You get a complete color-coded 2D floor plan with symbols and measurements as well as the surface areas automatically updated. Unlike SketchUp, you don’t need to push and pull 3D shapes or create holes to insert a window. You also don’t have to export your model to another solution to get a 2D floor plan to present to your clients.
Roofing: with Cedreo, you can add a roof automatically with just one click.
Furnishing and materials: Cedreo comes with an extensive library of 3D products, such as furniture, decoration and materials, to customize your home design. You don’t need to buy additional products and import them.
Last but not least, photorealistic 3D renderings: 5 minutes is all it takes to get 3D renderings with Cedreo.
In addition to the speed and ease of getting them, their quality will impress your clients. It is possible to generate indoor or outdoor renderings as well as daylight or sunset views of the houses. No need to buy and learn how to use a rendering extension.
In short, switching to Cedreo allows you to cut your drafting time by 2 and surely get the wow effect from your future clients.
As you may have noticed by now, the alternative to Sketchup that will tie into your needs best depends on how you conceive 3D design. The programs we went over each have their own approach and design tools. So when choosing among them, it all comes down to the degree of complexity you expect to face, as well as the nature of the project you need to address.
Note that regardless of your final choice, either of these programs works very well for architectural 3D Printing applications. If you wish to 3D Print the future models you will achieve with these tools, you can upload them on our 3D Printing service. Do not hesitate to sign up to our Newsletter to get more Software updates.
Credit for main image : sketchupartists.org, Snoopywang
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