When you are new to SketchUp, it can seem overwhelming – I know firsthand! It’s easy to fall into some traps that can waste a tremendous amount of time, and this post shares the top 7 that I have seen, and how to avoid them.

1. Searching for YouTube Videos for Basic SketchUp Skills

I admit, I tried this route when I first decided I was going to learn SketchUp. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some really great tutorials out there and in theory I’m sure you could learn everything there is to know about SketchUp and V-Ray on YouTube. But the time it would take to find those videos, curate them, and watch them would be astronomical. And there are so many videos that may teach a skill or show how to do something, but not focused around interior design – could be a car, landscape, or toy.  Not to mention, when you start out in SketchUp, you don’t know what you don’t know, so it’s almost impossible to efficiently gather all the videos you need to learn SketchUp for Interior Design.

In FOCUSED SketchUp for Interior Designers, I’ve tailored a series of modules that build upon the previous one, and is organized in a very FOCUSED way to give you the information you need to learn, and nothing else.

My goal for this course is to give you everything you need to learn, in the easiest way possible, to make high-quality models and renders in the least amount of time. Period.

2. Not Using Keyboard Shortcuts

It will feel awkward at first, but trust me, your fingers will learn the keys, and when they do, together with your three-button mouse, you will be able to model so much quicker than if you relied on clicking buttons and menu options with your mouse. It’s like learning to type on a computer at first. Super awkward. But then you practice, you get the hang of it, and you can type so much faster than if you used the one-finger method.  SketchUp Keyboard shortcuts are the exact same way.

In FOCUSED SketchUp, I give you my Keyboard shortcut file that you can import into your SketchUp software. I also give you my cheat sheet that has the shortcuts listed so you know what keys map to specific functions.

3. Creating Objects Yourself

95% of the time, you can find a pre-existing 3-D model that you can import into SketchUp.  Creating objects can be extremely time consuming and difficult – especially when the object has curves and complex geometries.  You do NOT want to spend your time messing with that.

In FOCUSED SketchUp, not only teach you about the built-in 3-D Warehouse in SketchUp (a great free resource to find pre-made objects), but I also share with other sites that have huge libraries of objects, and I tell you which one I use the most (and it’s not the most popular one). Also, for those times when you can’t find an object pre-made anywhere, I tell you the best way to get that object made for you.

4. Not Using Extensions

Remember the first iPhone? I had it! You had only the apps that came with it from Apple. No AppStore, no custom Apps of any kind.  Apps on the iPhone are kind of like extensions in SketchUp. They just make things easier and give you way more functionality! 

To be efficient in SketchUp for Interior Design (and just in general), you need to use extensions to do the heavy lifting for you. For example, you could make your crown molding by hand using the rectangle tool, compass tool, and follow-me tool, but it would take you hours to complete this for a room. Alternatively, you could use an extension to easily point, click, and add that crown molding to your space in a matter of seconds. There are other extensions like this, and in FOCUSED SketchUp I tell you what they are and how to install them correctly.

5. Trying to Find Good Extensions

Similar to the previous point, but slightly different. You may say to yourself, Ok, I know I need an extension to help me do XYZ faster.  Great! You go to the Extension Warehouse, type in your keywords and 25 extensions are returned that seem to do what you need to do.  Now you are spending time reading each one, looking at reviews, maybe even downloading free trials, or paid versions to see if they solve your problem.  It’s a waste of time and money, and can be extremely frustrating!

In FOCUSED SketchUp, I tell you the extensions you need for interior design, and I go through how to install them and how to use them efficiently.  Saves time, saves money, and saves frustration!

6. Spending Too Much Time Trying to Tweak V-Ray Settings

V-Ray is awesome – you can make renders that look just like photographs! But, do you really need that level of render to impress your clients? No. I know, because I do plenty of eDesign and rendering work for my design firm Arched Manor, and they are always impressed with the renders I produce in V-Ray.  You don’t need to spend the extra 8 hours tweaking renders in V-Ray and Photoshop – the ROI is not there. 

In FOCUSED SketchUp, I show you the render settings that I use and my techniques for materials, lighting, scenes, and more.  These are what I use to create awesome renders in the least amount of time. The course has an entire module dedicated to rendering, and I walk you through every step of the process. 

7. Rendering on Your Machine

Yes, you can render on your machine! If you are rendering a medium quality image that’s small (800px wide), then it will take 30 seconds to 2 minutes to render, depending on how detailed the model is. Not bad, but what about when you need the high-resolution 2500px wide rendering for your client presentation? Now it’s taking 85 minutes to render one image, and you can’t use SketchUp while it’s rendering! Ouch. Don’t do this! 

In FOCUSED SketchUp, I show you how to use the Chaos Cloud to send your renders to so that they render in a fraction of the time and you can use your machine while it renders. I also show you their Batch Render feature, which is great if you have 3 or more scenes that you need to render.  A HUGE time saver!

Ready to start learning SketchUp for Interior Design the right way? Awesome – we would love to have you in the FOCUSED Family!  In addition to the online, self-paced course, you also get access to our private Facebook group for students, bi-weekly live zoom coaching calls, 1000’s of pre-made downloadable objects that I created for interior design, and more!