Why Go Pro?

What’s the difference between SketchUp Free and SketchUp Pro?

First things first – SketchUp Free is for non-commercial use ONLY. If you are using SketchUp commercially, you will need to purchase a licence of SketchUp Pro.

If you’re not using Pro, you’re missing out on a range of features designed for producing professional-grade work.

SketchUp Free is a very capable and powerful tool for drawing in 3D, so why would you want to upgrade to SketchUp Pro? Here are our pick of the key features that SketchUp Pro can offer:

  • Design Presentation Features

Rendering and Walk-through Animations in High Resolution

Imagine shrinking into a tiny person and jumping into your computer to check out (or show off) your 3D models.That’s basically what SketchUp’s walkthrough tools enable you to do. But instead of altering your entire body composition, you just click a few tools — namely the Position Camera, Look Around, and Walk tools.

SketchUp can animate scenes of a 3D model. Animations are a great way to show off your model from different angles or share shadow studies. For example, say you create a scene with a morning shadow, another scene with a noon shadow, and a third with an evening shadow. With SketchUp’s animation feature, you can watch the shadow transition from morning to evening. Then there’s rendering; that’s what’s really going to bump up your whole game.

Rendering using SU Podium
Design Presentations with LayOut and Create Detailed Construction Documents

We’ve written at length before on LayOut. LayOut and SketchUp Pro are designed to work together. Obviously we use 2D drawings to convey design and details when presenting work to clients. However, LayOut is the most efficient way to turn SketchUp models into diagrams, drawings, CD sets, presentations, or even just scaled prints. With SketchUp and LayOut, there’s no need for ourher providers; it does it all. We love it and so will you.

LayOut and SketchUp
  • Workflow Features

Start from As-Built Drawings

With Pro, import whatever drawings you like.

Export to Other Software

SketchUp plays nicely with all the others out there.

  • Pro Power Tools

Sandbox Tools

This is native to Pro. Terrain is important to many SketchUp modellers: Your building needs ground to stand on, or maybe you’re modelling the ground itself to create a landscape. But wait. SketchUp’s Sandbox tools — the tools you use to model terrain — can also create forms completely unrelated to terrain. How can terrain include all these other possibilities? The secret is in the hidden geometry. When you’re modelling terrain (or other shapes) with the Sandbox tools, you’re technically sculpting a special type of geometry called a TIN, or triangulated irregular network. That’s a fancy way of saying, “a group comprised of triangles.”

Solid Tools

With SketchUp’s Solid tools, you can create new shapes by combining or cutting one shape with another, making it easy to model an outer shell or joinery. SketchUp’s Solid tools work only on SketchUp solids. In SketchUp, a solid is any 3D model (component or group) that has a finite closed volume. A SketchUp solid cannot have any leaks (missing faces or faces that do not meet at an edge).

Dynamic Component Tools

SketchUp components enable you to reuse objects. For example, pretty much every building has at least one door and window. Instead of modelling these common objects, you can insert a component that someone else has already made. Hours, if not days, of work time saved with this one feature alone.

Advanced Camera Tools

The Advanced Camera Tools (ACT) are designed for people in the film and television industry who use SketchUp pro to create storyboards, design sets, visualize scenes, and plan locations. Use ACT to place real-world cameras in your SketchUp models and preview real camera shots.


Feast your eyes on this. Extensions bring SketchUp Pro to a whole new fun and efficient way of working. Have a read of our pick of the best free extensions in Pro here.

The Extension Warehouse. All this could be yours! But only with Pro 😉
Questions about SketchUp Free? SketchUp Pro? Send them our way!

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