SketchUp is used by engineers, architects, designers and other creatives to communicate their ideas visually in 3D.
Both beginners and seasoned pros can take advantage of the software’s robust set of features. However, like with any software, there are learning curves.
Common user challenges include using key modifiers to navigate, remembering keyboard shortcuts and dealing with unnatural movements while modeling.
This post will show you how to overcome these common SketchUp challenges and get more out of the software.
Problem 1: It’s Difficult to Memorize Keyboard Modifiers and Shortcuts
Learning keyboard combinations and shortcuts can be a time-consuming, strenuous process—especially when there are over 45 keys to memorize. Try printing this quick reference card to glance at periodically as you work towards memorization.
But this is a temporary option. There’s a better solution: Use a 3D mouse.
A 3D mouse works with your standard mouse to supercharge design sessions. You push, pull, tilt and rotate the 3D mouse’s controller cap to navigate your 3D content, while your standard mouse does what it does best: moving the cursor to click select and draw.
The result is a smoother, more intuitive SketchUp experience. This unique two-handed work style isn’t a novelty; it’s a revolutionary work method that increases productivity, comfort and creativity. And 3D mice give SketchUp users some serious advantages.
A 3D mouse eliminates the need to toggle between SketchUp’s orbit, zoom and pan features. It also gives you the option to preset favorite key modifiers on the mouse’s programmable buttons. Set these to your most commonly used tools and you’ll greatly reduce the need for the keyboard. You also won’t need to memorize as much, resulting in a speedier and more rewarding experience from day one.
Problem 2: It’s Not Always Easy to Select and Rotate Models
Selecting the right components or rotating models in the right way can be frustrating—especially if SketchUp’s rotate tool isn’t cooperating. That can lead to mistakes and wasted time spent trying to make your model do what you want.
It doesn’t have to be that difficult. A 3D mouse’s patented 6-degrees-of-freedom sensor solves these problems.
You can intuitively control motion without clicking and dragging the mouse. The effect is like holding the model or camera in your hand: no more clicking, dragging and banging your head against a wall trying to navigate.
This superior 3D navigation makes your work better, faster and smarter—giving you a deeper connection to your model and enhanced creativity in SketchUp.
Problem 3: Navigation Requires a LOT of Clicking
There are two typical options for SketchUp navigation: a two-button mouse, or a three-button mouse. On their own, either option limits your design potential.
A two-button mouse will force you to either click between your navigation tools or trigger appropriate shortcuts by moving your hand to the keyboard. This is time-consuming, inefficient and leads to wrist / hand strain if you work for long periods in SketchUp. A laptop trackpad poses similar problems.
The three-button mouse works slightly better. The third button (or scroll wheel) gives you slightly more control over your 3D environment. The third button, when pressed and held, will activate the orbit tool. Doing the same while holding the Shift key will pan. To zoom in and out simply scroll the third button up and down.
The result, however, is a jerky and unintuitive navigation experience. Furthermore, you can only perform one movement at a time which is slower and more disruptive to your design flow and really not great to look at.
However, a 3D mouse, which is used in conjunction with one of the above options for a smooth, intuitive two-handed workflow, solves these problems. The 3D mouse positions content while your standard mouse does what it does best: moving the cursor to click, select and draw.
That means far less clicking, since navigation is now handled by the 3D mouse’s controller cap. In fact, 3D mice reduce mouse movements and clicks by 50%
What are your biggest problems in SketchUp? How have you solved them?
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Image Source: MHKE via Flickr