"Intermediate User" is a fairly loose term and not as advanced as it might sound. In order to be able to cope in the Intermediate courses that we offer, if you can comfortably do all or the majority of the following operations with Sketchup then you should be up to the required standard:
- Draw and model basic 2d and 3d objects like circles, boxes, walls, prisms, etc. to accurately defined sizes (using the input dialog box)
- Navigate easily around a 3d model environment
- Use of x-ray mode and hide operations
- Basic editing such as move, rotate and scale 3d objects
- Group geometry together to form Solids
- Understand the difference between a group and a component
- Create saved scenes and re-save with different settings
- Use the paint tool to place basic textures on objects
- Use of layers and ordering of geometry
Completing the beginners Sketchup Modelling Essentials course will easily qualify you as an Intermediate user though I would recommend that unless you are a really confident beginner, maybe spend a bit of time practicing before attempting the intermediate courses.
I am an Interior/Landscape Designer. Are your classes suitable for me?
Yes. My courses use both landscape and interior design examples and exercises. While the focus is on building design (of which interior design is a subset), they also incorporate landscaping and built landscape objects like raised planter boxes, entry gates, terrain modelling and the placement of components such as trees and plants. Sketchup Modelling Essentials covers the basic operations that a landscape designer would use to design a garden.
For interior designers, Sketchup Modelling Essentials is an excellent course for learning how to model detailed interior fitouts and includes some special interiors tips.
I am a complete beginner and generally only use my computer for fairly simple things. Which is the best course for me?
The Sketchup Modelling Essentials course will be the best course for you. Bare in mind that while Sketchup is one of the easiest CAD programs to learn, it still can be quite difficult for complete beginner learners that have not used other types of design software before. On the other hand, someone with Autocad experience, for example, will find the transition to using Sketchup relatively easy. As people with varying computing experience enrol in the beginners course, not everyone achieves the same outcomes by the end of the 2 days; some people are able to start modelling their projects and produce images for design analysis and presentations; while others need to continue to practice and work with the basic tools to become more used to how the program works. I do my best to help people in the classes but like any skill that is worth learning, it takes time and practice to become proficient in Sketchup.
Classes are run at the nominated venue. Computer systems and software are supplied and there are Apple Macs and PC systems to choose from. While we cannot guarantee that you will get the computer system of your choice, we can always swap around during the classes so that everyone gets some time on their preferred operating system.
Class sizes are a maximum of 5 people so that you get plenty of personalised attention. A minimum number of people is also required to run the class. We have a very low class cancellation rate; most classes run.
When do I need to register for a course?
Our shortcourses are popular and often only run a couple of times a year per city so if you see a course that you want to take, it is important to register your interest as soon as possible. Don’t hold off registering because it gives us an idea of numbers. We do not ask for any payment or deposit when registering so there is no reason not to do it early.
If a class is full, we will put you on the standby list and notify you if a position becomes available or if another class is being scheduled.
At the same time, if there are insufficient numbers at the registration cut-off date for a particular course, it is likely that the course will be cancelled. Especially for courses held interstate, venues have to be secured in advance, flights and accommodation must be booked; and if it appears that these costs won't be covered, then the course won't run. This is rare and as stated above, most classes run.
We will send you a 7 day invoice to pay for the course about a month before the date of the course. You are expected to pay the invoice within that time period and your place in the class is only secured on receipt of payment. If your course fee is not paid within the stipulated period and someone else wants your place in the class, you could potentially lose your spot without warning or notice, so please pay on time.
While we can understand financial hardship or payment delays caused by large organisation accounting procedures, the bottom line is if fees for a course have not been paid in full by the date of the course, then you will not be able to attend the course. There is no exception to this rule.
We have formulated our cancellation policy to be as fair and reasonable as possible: if you pay for a course and then must cancel, provided you give reasonably sufficient notice for us to find someone to take your place in the class, we will refund you. If you cancel within a week of the course date then it is up to our sole discretion if we offer you a refund or credit for another course. Please note that we are obliged to pay our booking fees for venues, catering and the many other expenses for these event in advance and thus cannot afford to refund people who simply withdraw.
In the event that a shortcourse that you have paid for must be cancelled for any unforeseen issue and it is our fault, naturally we will refund you in full or offer you a credit for another course - whichever you prefer.
Sketchup is meant to be easy and intuitive to use, so why then do I need to go to your classes?
Sketchup is a fantastic program and people often dive right in and can produce work that is quite reasonable straight off the bat. However most new users run into common problems and get bogged down in accuracy and rogue geometry problems that eventually become quite tedious to work around. I teach good modelling technique which steers you away from these sort of issues and introduce an array of shortcuts and quick methods that you could spend months trying to find out about.
Beneath the simplistic surface of Sketchup lies an extremely complex and powerful program that can produce amazing work at surprising speeds. The quickest way to mastering Sketchup is by learning from someone else who knows their stuff and can point you in the right direction.
Why can’t I learn what you teach off the internet?
You absolutely can. It generally takes several months of continuous use and being fairly inquisitive to master Sketchup. There are also countless plugins that can simplify complex tasks and knowing about these is an ongoing process. Various books about Sketchup are available but lots of these quickly become outdated when new versions of Sketchup are released.
Videos are good for learning about specific operations in Sketchup but nothing compares to having Sketchup on a computer in front of you and me as your experienced teacher to guide you. As well as teaching the ins-and-outs of the software, I show you how to organise your work and best modelling practices from the perspective of someone who designs buildings, something hard to learn from videos, and where most self-learners come unstuck.
I would estimate that my beginners course will save you at least 3 months worth of frustration!
And if you don't want to attend face-to-face classes, you can now purchase access to our Sketchup Training School and watch our shortcourses as an online video series. Everything you need to know about Sketchup can now be found in the one place!
There is a free version of Sketchup, called Sketchup Make. What is the difference and can I use this for professional work?
Sketchup Make is a cut-down version of Sketchup Pro and is indeed free for non-professional use. Sketchup Make has been discontinued and the last available version was published in 2017. It does not include Layout and various operations such as DWG exporting and boolean functions are disabled. You can still download Sketchup Make 2017 from here if you wish to try it. There are also web browser based versions of Sketchup but they do not have the same functionality as the desktop pro version.
How much does a commercial licence for Sketchup Pro cost?
A Sketchup Pro licence currently costs US$695 (approx. AU$930 at current exchange rates) and there is a US$120 yearly maintenance fee which entitles you to download any new updates of the program. However if you purchase from the Australian Sketchup Reseller, the cost of a licence is AU$869+GST which works out a bit cheaper.
You can just buy the licence without the maintenance fee and it will work fine for you (I still have Sketchup 13 on my Mac and it works fine), though as coders/developers write new plugins and extensions for Sketchup, they are generally only going to develop them for the current version of Sketchup. Also future changes to your computer's operating system may mean that older versions of Sketchup stop working.
You can also download the 30-day trial and/or buy a licence from the official Sketchup website found here though it is better to go through the Australian reseller because they provide good customer service (and are a bit cheaper as I mentioned). Click HERE to contact them through our licensing page.
If you are a full time student or teacher from a registered training organisation, you can also purchase an educational Sketchup Pro licence for AU$71.50 that lasts for a year. Again, you can obtain one of these by clicking HERE to get to our licensing page. You will need to provide your student/teacher ID when purchasing.
Would it be more valuable to do a 2-day shortcourse for Revit or Archicad?
There is no doubt that Revit and Archicad are used widely in the building design industry and sound knowledge of these programs would be very useful when it comes to gaining employment as a draftsperson/architect/etc. However, a two day course for either of these complex programs will barely scratch the surface of what you need to know to operate the software effectively. You generally need lengthy on the job training with both of these programs to become productive.
The process for operating Sketchup is much more intuitive and at the end of the Sketchup Modelling Essentials course for example, a beginner user should at the very least be able to model a reasonably complex building, and turn it into presentation images that are embellished with people, cars and trees to a standard suitable for display to clients. For a 2-day course, that is useful outcome.
It is our preference that you pay for your course by bank electronic transfer as indicated on the invoices. It is possible to pay by credit card but due to the high fees that we must pay for this transaction service (2.9%), unfortunately we must pass this cost on.
NZ customers can pay by Paypal or credit card. You will receive instructions when your invoice is sent to you.
Can you come to our office and run a training course?
Yes. Our Sketchup courses can be run in your office to reduce the downtime on your staff members. All of our equipment is completely mobile; we just need a space to set it up in. Special courses that suit your business can also be tailored to your specific needs too. A number of firms have already taken advantage of this service and in many cases it could be a cheaper way of training up all of your staff at once rather than sending them to shortcourses one at a time. Best to call and discuss your particular needs.
Yes we do and we take provision of this support very seriously. We are happy to re-explain any of the concepts that were covered by the taken course and when it is too difficult to explain by email or on the phone, Skype is great or we might send you a short explaination video. **Please note however that we cannot get involved in specific office project work.
My course support also includes Sketchup Training School access. What is that?
The Sketchup Training School is a comprehensive series of videos of our short courses available online. They are handy if you ever need to go over something again, or you can purchase access to other courses separately. There are also bonus videos on the end of each course showing you how to do trickier things that we did not have time to look at in the class. Extra videos are also added to from time to time. As part of your course fee, if you attended one of the face-to-face classes then you will be able to access the course video series for that class in the Sketchup Training School. Just let us know and a username and password will be sent to you.
Can I allow other people to access my purchased courses in the Sketchup Training School?
If you purchased access to one of our shortcourses in the Sketchup Training School, your username and password is allocated to you alone. If it is discovered that other unauthorised people are using your account to access the training videos, then your subscription will be cancelled. If you are a company and want multiple people to be able to access the shortcourses, please contact me to purchase a company subscription.
I want to learn ultra high realism rendering. Is the Sketchup for Visualisation course for me?
The 3rd party rendering plugin that we teach for photorealistic rendering in Visualisation for Sketchup is called Twilight Render. It is a fully featured rendering engine which is relatively simple to use and inexpensive in comparison to some of the other ones around, like V-ray for example. We have chosen this particular Sketchup rendering plugin because it integrates well with Sketchup’s interface and the authors of this plugin have created it with architects and building designers in mind. There are many preset materials and functions that focus on the rendering of buildings and architecture, and the results with this plugin are excellent. That said, overall results vary between users' artistic perception and ability to use the software.
All of the rendered images found in the galleries on this website were produced with Twilight Render.
Does your Technical Drawing with Sketchup course teach the fundamentals of architectural drafting?^^
No. This course is not a general architectural drafting course. It is expected that students undertaking this course have some general background in architectural drafting (the difference between plans, elevations and sections is fundamental) and at least the basics of building construction for the 3d modelling component.
Can your technical drawing technique be used for major complex buildings?
Yes it can, but it also depends a bit on what you mean by complex. The documentation technique that we teach in Technical Drawing with Sketchup does require that you enter a fairly high amount of detail into the model in order to create a decent base for technical drawings and older computers with slow GPUs will struggle with the associated high polygon count. Projects that require complex landscape terrain modelling also tend to be quite taxing on a computer’s resources. There are a number of rules you need to follow to keep filesizes manageable and a disciplined approach would be necessary to ensure its success.
Can multiple users work on a Sketchup model during the documentation process?
Yes absolutely. While Sketchup is not specifically designed to have multiple users working on a single project, you can divide models up into different sections and then reference them into a master model. When a change is saved to the referenced model, simply reload the imported model to update the data. There are now a number of new plugins that make this process work smoother and I refer to them in my Technical Drawing with Sketchup short course.
Trimble Connect is also a new feature integrated from Sketchup 2016 which makes multiple users and reference sharing quite easy. You can export and import models to their project based website and it makes reference handling very simple. It can also be used to share project information with outside users. Trimble Connect is a subscription service that starts at US$100 a year.
Can I get Architect's CPD points for completing your course?
Absolutely. The courses meet the criteria set out in the national CPD framework model under the following category:
- Seminars at educational facilities, in-house seminars, workshops, courses, conferences, online and distance learning
As such, under the CPD framework, two formal points can be claimed for completing each course. A certificate of completion can be provided on request.
More information about the Architect's CPD framework model can be found here.