SketchUp Tips for AE's


Basic Tips for AE's Using SketchUp-4

SketchUp is required in several AE courses at Drexel and may be useful in others. The most comprehensive information comes from the companies website, in particular their "Hints & Tips" and their online video Tutorials. I recommend them highly. What's on this page are some simple things that I found useful when learning SketchUp - I watched the tutorials first.


Hint Title


What it's good for

  • Concept Design
  • Rapid visualization
  • Understanding Plan, section, elevation, perspective
  • Transfer to fancier programs (AutoCad or Microstation) after initial ideas.

Plan for multiple layers

You'll need to create a layer for the text describing each view of the model in order to be able to create and label different views.


Use them for windows, doors, furniture, landscape. They make life very easy.

You can create your own, but is not necessary for AE courses.


It's very worthwhile learning how to use SketchUp's groups. If, for instance, you want to draw a 2nd floor on top of walls, you'll almost certainly want to "group" the walls so you can add that second floor. If you don't you'll get apparently very strange behavior.

Single-Line vs. walls with thickness

Sketchup can work with walls that have a thickness, but for our projects it probably is not worthwhile. There are multiple difficulties in using them. Most noticeably, windows and doors doen't penetrate the walls as they do automatically with single-line thickness walls.

Interior partitions

Here's a good article on how to create interior partitions.

Drawing Sequence

You can get to the same point many ways, but I've found that it worked best for me:

  • Draw the floor plan first
  • Pull up the walls
  • Make a group if necessary
  • draw the 2nd floor on top of the walls, pull it up to give it thickness.

Holes in items with thickness

You can create a hole in an object that has thickness by:

  • Draw the shape of the pucture on a surface - e.g. a window on a wall
  • "Push" the object through the wall. That will create a hole.


As in other copies you can make arrays - see the help. It took several tries to understand how to get it to work properly, but it does.


Text is fixed in the window, you must plan carefully (including using layers) to get the text in the place where you want it to create a 2-D diagram (screenshot using "Export|2D graphic" from the file menu.


You can rescale the entire model to exactly what you want using the "measure" tool. Read about it in the help.

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Updated: 9/25/04