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Free, User friendly, 3D Software, and it’s Great for Artists

Do you know about SketchUp? It can be a really handy tool for artists. SketchUp is a free 3-D modeling program simplified so that almost anyone can use it.

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Most 3-D software is very complex to use where as SketchUp was designed to be accessible by anyone. This software is available in both free and professional versions. As well as being very easy to use, SketchUp also offers a 3-D warehouse where users have uploaded 3D objects like windows, cars, trees, buildings, and a plethora of other objects.

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Example from comic artist Leinil Francis Yu, using Google Sketch Up to create the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange and then integrate it into his drawing.

Why is SketchUp free?  SketchUp was developed by a startup company called @Last Software in Boulder, Colorado. It was co-founded in 1999 by Brad Schell and Joe Esch. Google acquired SketchUp when they purchased @Last software on March 14, 2006. Google’s thought behind purchasing @Last and SketchUp was to incorporate SketchUp into Google earth. By Giving users a free, easy to use 3-D modeling program users would help generate a virtual globe that people could only get by using their product, Google earth. But in April 2012 Google sold SketchUp to Trimble Three GPS software. The two companies will now collaborate on running and further developing SketchUp and it’s 3D Warehouse.

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SketchUp for artists
I have found SketchUp to be a wonderful addition to my software repertoire. I use SketchUp when laying out large cityscapes and indoor environments. Being able to create simple shapes like boxes for buildings has really sped up my workflow. Before when I wanted to create a cityscape I would have to lay down three or four vanishing points. Then go back and continue adding more and more lines until I had a city. Now I just create simple shapes inside SketchUp then lay my line work over the top not having to worry about perspective because the software takes care of most of it for me.

Here’s a great article that will show you what I’m talking about (Click Here to read the article).  Even companies like Naughty Dog, the creators of the Uncharted video game series, used it for laying out stages in their game Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Check out the on charted to video here.

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If you’re interested in learning more about this software check out the SketchUp YouTube channel where they have tutorials to get you started. You can download SketchUp here and get going creating 3D models for free. SketchUp is available for Windows XP/Vista/7 and Mac OS X (10.5+)

Let us know what you think about SketchUp in the comments or if you have any other suggestions for 3-D software.

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