The Absolute Beginner's Guide

Visualizer lets anyone get high-quality realistic photos of their ideas, without needing to do complex setup. The process is nearly instant for any SketchUp user -- but what if you aren’t already a SketchUp user?

To get SketchUp, click the red button!

At MakerFaire, we had the chance to meet a lot of makers, carpenters, woodworkers, parents, teachers, kids, hackers, and designers who all liked the pictures Visualizer makes, but who had never used SketchUp before. We took the challenge to show them how -- and we ourselves learned a lot in the process:

Anyone -- really anyone who came to the booth, at almost any age or skill level -- could learn to be making pictures of their ideas with SketchUp and Visualizer in just a very few minutes.

The process was so simple we’d like to share what we and our visitors learned (at our tent and also in SketchUp's WikiHouse booth). You can try it just as easily at your home or office right now. All you need is a few minutes, and it won’t cost a cent to get started.

How To Get Started Making Pictures with SketchUp and Visualizer

To get started using SketchUp and Visualizer, first we’ll need to get copies of both SketchUp and Visualizer. That’s two different downloads, that are both easy and free. Once they're installed, we can start making pictures.

Step 1: Install SketchUp. You can get a free copy of SketchUp Make directly from SketchUp.com. It works with either Windows or Mac and the download process is as simple as you’ll find anywhere. Run the SketchUp installer and you’re done with step 1.

Step 2: Install Visualizer. You can download Visualizer for free right here on our site. Just like SketchUp, we run on either Windows or Mac and the download/installation process is simple. Run the Visualizer installer, and… we’re ready to start making pictures!

Step 3: Let's Make Pictures! Follow-along with the five-minute video, or just watch it and start making your own models. 

Some More Resources

As you saw in the video, SketchUp already has great help right in the application. For more learning, there are lots of resources, and here are just a few that we like a lot:

  • Sketchup's 3D Warehouse contains thousands of fun and useful models and components that you can use in your own models, that all look great in Visualizer. 3D Warehouse is available right inside SketchUp from the "File" menu, too.
  • Video Tutorials at SketchUp.com cover all levels of expertise
  • School has a wide variety of tutorials for different aspects of the program
  • 3DVinci is full of resources for both Pros and K-12 learning
  • SketchUp for Woodworkers makes SketchUp easy for anyone used to woodworking