As the name suggests, this version of SketchUp is a free web-based application which means that all you need to access it is a stable internet connection. SketchUp Free is a great way for beginners who don’t have a lot of disposable income to get started with 3D modelling. It’s a good suit for people who want to do basic modelling or who just want to play around with a design software and see if they like it.
If you decide to try out SketchUp Free you’ll gain access to quite a few features, including: 3D Warehouse, Extension Warehouse, SketchUp Viewer and SketchUp Community Forms.
As good as it may be, just like with any free version, SketchUp Free has its limitations. One of the main ones is that if you’re a designer who wants to use the software for his clients this version won’t be a good fit, as it can’t be used for commercial purposes. Furthermore, this version doesn’t allow users to import CAD (.dwg) files or add custom textures and styles.
Last but not least, SketchUp Free also has a limited amount of space which you can use to save your projects. Depending on how big and complex your designs are, that space can fill up pretty quickly.
All in all, SketchUp Free is a great option for beginners and design enthusiasts who want to try out software for free and work on personal projects. However, if you’re looking to work with clients or trying to find a suitable software for your company to work with, then you should probably look into SketchUp Pro.
As the name suggests, SketchUp Pro is the premium version of SketchUp Free and is the software that most professional designers go for. This version, unlike the free one, is suitable both for commercial and personal use.
One of the things that makes SketchUp stand out from other design software out there is the low learning curve. It’s designed to be as easy as possible to get the hang of, which makes it a great choice for beginners.
Unlike the free version, SketchUp Pro can be used without an active internet connection, which means that you can get your work done everywhere as long as you have your laptop with you. Furthermore, users get two licences so you can set up your account on two separate computers.
Compared to the free version, the best part of SketchUp Pro are the extra features that come along with it. You can fully customise your creations by importing real world textures and applying them to your 3D models. Users can also change their drawing styles, create dynamic components like opening and closing doors and import CAD (.dwg) files.
If you decide to get SketchUp Pro you’ll also get:
- Unlimited cloud storage
- Customer support through both email and phone
- Unlimited 3D Warehouse extensions and downloads
- The ability to view your models using augmented reality VR sets.
- The ability to import PDF construction plans, measure them, and turn them into 3D models
The only con of the premium version, compared to the free one, is obviously the cost. However, SketchUp offers clients the opportunity to purchase their software on an annual subscription model, which helps keep the costs lower. Furthermore, for those still not completely sold on the idea, SketchUp offers a 30-day free trial so that users can test it out before they commit to an annual subscription.
All in all, both the SketchUp Free and Pro version can be extremely useful depending on what you’re going to use them for. The free version is perfect for beginners and people looking to design one or two personal projects, however if you’re running a business or plan on regularly using the software for commercial work, then you’ll certainly be better off paying for the premium version.