3D modeling and printing with a clean interface | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

3D modeling and printing with a clean interface

Design, modify, and print simple or complex models with SketchUp for Mac.

SketchUp for Mac is a 3D design app that allows you to create 3D models and, using an online service, get those models built. SketchUp for Mac installs easily but was not available from the App Store when we tested the software, instead requiring a download from the publisher. SketchUp for Mac is a free app, but there's a Pro version for additional cost with more features and capabilities.

SketchUp for Mac lets you create surprisingly complex and detailed 3D models, but there's a learning curve to doing so. The interface is surprisingly clean and easy to work with. The top and left panes have colorful icons for the various tools, and a set of pull-down menus and pop-up dialogs let you control your illustration. It will take a few hours for anyone new to SketchUp for Mac to get comfortable with the software, but once you do there's a lot of power here. We went from simple models to relatively complex ones in a couple of days, and never felt limited by the program.

Whether you are creating a new design for a chair or something far more complex, SketchUp for Mac is designed to allow you to create a model easily. If you have access to one of the new 3D printers, you can print directly from the app, or you can send the files out to a third-party print house and get a model back in the mail. While the Pro version has more features, most people will find that the basic SketchUp for Mac has more than enough to keep them happy.

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