About

MattMasterSketchup.com is a place for the SketchUp community; to learn, and to create. I offer high quality tutorials, reviews, resources, tips and tricks, videos and downloads for free. You will find plenty of information whether you are new to SketchUp, or if you can orbit around in SketchUp like nobody’s business!

My name is Matt Donley, I live in Rhode Island, and I have been using SketchUp personally since 2007. Working in the construction industry I was naturally inspired by the ability to create things in 3D space. My first experience with 3D modeling was actually with a game called Duke Nukem 3D! (The original versions of that game were a 2D side scrolling game, so they actually called it Duke Nukem 3D in order to differentiate.) I can remember stumbling upon a program simply called “Build.exe” hidden in the game folders. It turned out to be a map editor that allowed me to actually build my own levels for the game!!! How cool is that, right? I can tell you, it was nothing like SketchUp, though.

When I first started using SketchUp, I didn’t really follow any instruction, just dove right in and started using it. I began to draw jobs I was working on. (At the time I was running my own residential remodeling company.) So if I was doing a bathroom remodel, I’d draw it in SketchUp and export pictures to show clients. I loved using SketchUp for drawing kitchens.

I then jumped into the commercial casework industry (cabinets for laboratories & schools pretty much.) I used SketchUp to communicate issues to the design team, and to help me figure out design details.

In early 2014, I released my first book and video course, SketchUp to LayOut, where I teach how to use LayOut, and how to prepare your SketchUp models for LayOut. Because of my book, I’m able to work online full time.

Besides that, I’m really not a professional designer or architect or anything like that. I’m just someone who downloaded SketchUp and started using it. So thanks for checking out this website, I truly appreciate any comments you leave on this site, or on my Facebook page. Or if you’d like, you can contact me directly at matt@mastersketchup.com

I created MasterSketchup.com to help everyday people, who’ve had no professional training in design, to learn how to use Sketchup to its fullest potential. Sketchup is the first tool to ever make 3d modeling easy, and I want to help make it easier for anybody to learn how to use it.

Comments 56

  1. Jeremy

    After 12 years of log/hybrid home design with ArchiCad (AC) I got laid off with the major down turn in the housing industry. I still design a little on the side and help a friend with his cabinet business. I knew Sketchup (SU) existed but never really dug into that much. Not that I am trying to get my friend up and running on a software, I came across CabinetCruncher parts in SU. After getting back into SU, I can not stop till I know it in and out like AC. It seems like the possibilities are endless similar to AC. I came across your website today and thanks for the tutorials. I plan on digging into SU more and more everyday. Knowing that Google is backing it gives me confidences that SU will be around for awhile.

    1. ANdrew

      HI Jeremy, good to hear from an Archicad user that now uses Sketchup. Do you use Sketchup models withf Archicad? I basically have been using Skethcup since version 5, my clients and tradies love it as it shows what you will get before we build it. I now employ drafts people to draw up my plans and I have had a lot of Archicad users apply for the job but as far as I knew Sketchup and and Archicad don’t like each other. Apparently the models come in way tooo big? Can you contact me aadbuild@gmail.com? As I may have some work for you converting components to be able to be used in Archicad… If you are interested of course. Thanks Kind regards Andrew http://www.aadbuild.com/

    2. james g

      i am a sketchup enthusiast as well. i own a small cabinet business and have been using
      sketchup to help clients visualize their projects. to take it one step further try Twilight Render plugin. very easy to use right in sketchup has lights and materials and creates beautiful renders without taking too much time to learn. jim g

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    Matt Donley

    Thanks Jeremy! I felt the same way when I first found Sketchup. It totally consumes you with all the endless possibilities. I found I did the same thing and scoured the internet to try to find as much info as I could. I’ve been using Sketchup for years now and I’m still learning new things everyday. I’m glad you like the tutorials I’ve created. More to come! Thanks for the comment!

  3. Matt

    Hey Matt,
    I learn something new every time I visit Master Sketchup.com.
    I’m curious and optimistic about the recent Google/Trimble changes you highlight with hopes it brings positive development to the SketchUp platform. Thanks for the heads up on this one… it would have been awhile before I learned of it otherwise.

  4. Exchel

    Hi .. my name Exchel, I am 15 years old and my hobby is playing sketchup. What I’m doing now is making a project to make the city, I had twice made ??the city, but when I enter the properties of components, causing me to slow google sketchup once. Matt if you could help me, ok thx

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  5. Lyn

    I just finished watching your 2 youtube videos. They were exactly what I needed to give sketchup another try. I like to do little woodworking projects in my free time. The place I work throws a lot of wood away that is used as packing material for things they purchase to use in manufacturing. Things like motors come shrink wrapped onto plywood panels and stuff like that. So I take some of that scrap material home and make useful things out of it. Like bird houses, bird feeders, etc.. Anyway, I want something to help me make some drawing of ideas I have and sketchup seems like it would do the trick nicely. There is one question I have though. After I’ve created my drawing like your birdhouse in your second tutorial, how do I print measured 2d drawings of the objects on paper to take out to the wood shop and start cutting? I’d really love to see a tutorial on doing that!

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      Matt Donley

      The best way to turn your Sketchup model into a drawing is to use Sketchup Pro, which comes with a program called Layout. It’s specifically designed to create detailed drawings of your Sketchup model to scale. If you don’t have Layout, there are ways to add dimensions and print your model to scale. That does sound like a good idea for a tutorial!

      1. Peter Cortiel

        Yes that would be a great idea
        dimensioning a 3d model looks ridiculous. but buying the pro version is too expensive for a hobby modeler.
        how can I make 2d plans without paying 500+ $$
        just for fun and for business?

        Thanks for a great site

        Peter (soon to be a retired application engineer/ programmer)

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  6. Pam Rodriguez

    Hi Matt,
    I’m glad I found your tutorials. They are very informative and easy to follow.

    I have been a kitchen designer for a number of years and am currently transitioning my web business to creating 3-D renderings exclusively. I use Chief Architect software but have been importing models for many of the details in my spaces from Sketchup’s 3-D Warehouse for years. Now that the major focus of my business is modeling, I want to be able to create my own custom 3-D models instead of always adapting somebody elses.

    In the past I’ve always been afraid to learn yet another software as I have already spent years learning Chief, 20-20 Design, AutoCad and others in the past and found Sketchup to be intimidating. Your tutorials are very easy to follow and have taken the fear away. Thanks so much for your generosity in sharing your knowledge.

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      Matt Donley

      Pam, thank you so much for your kind words. To know that I’ve taken the fear away from learning Sketchup is very encouraging. That’s exactly what my goal is. I want to show people how easy it is to use Sketchup. It’s such a powerful tool!

      I’ve seen Chief Architect at the JLC convention, but I’ve never used it. It looks like a very good program for modeling houses. I think it’s similar to Envisioneer from CADsoft. I should check it out.

  7. Richard

    Under window and door casings you refer to free CAD programs.
    Check out Draftsight by Dassault Systemes. It’s very similar to Autocad Light
    and totally free.
    Nice to see a web site for a carpenter, keep it up.

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  8. Javier Cordero

    Hello, Matt.

    Thank you very much for dedicating your time to show the great tool that SU is. I have drawing in AutoCAD since I was a kid but I enjoy the most with SU, it is much more fun.
    I am writing you from Spain and since I have discovered your website I have decided to create a blog to help companies to develope their projects in SU and show to the world. In the Spanish community is difficult to find people that use SU so I decided to create my own tutorials for the Spanish speakers.

    You inspired me! Thank you.

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      Matt Donley

      Javier, I saw you on LinkedIn and got your comment on my podcast, Thank you. I think it’s awesome that you are starting your own Spanish Sketchup site. I wish you all the best. It takes a lot of time and dedication, but it’s really fun and rewarding knowing that you’re helping people.

      -Matt

  9. Zoran

    Today I’ve discovered this page.
    I work with AutoCad & SU for past few years and still learning about the tools within.
    Many good things and tips I saw here!
    Hope to read from you in the future and maybe ask for something that I can’t figure out in SU.
    Wishing U all the best in 2013
    Zoran from Serbia

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  10. Richard Sidinger

    I received my copy of Alexander Schreyer’s book last week
    and think it’s one of the best Sketchup’s books out there.

  11. Bernard

    Hi Matt,

    Love the tutorials you have made. Picked up some new tips and tricks to make my life easier in SU8. I have done some room re-designs, and in Layout, I usually include some SU rendered “foto’s.” Hence the question….the current model bogs down my renderer (IDX Renditioner Pro V2). I have tried to make the file as small as possible, cleaned all the edges and faces, and it still hangs.

    Is there a renderer that you have used that works well with large SU files? Perhaps a stand-alone renderer as opposed to SU plugins? Would love to hear your take on this…

  12. Klaus

    Hi Matt
    Great job you are doing. Your tutorials are very easy to follow and the sound quality (which I find important) are very good.
    So please keep up the good work.

    Cheers from New Zealand
    Klaus

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  13. Janet Stephenson

    Matt,
    I am so impressed with your website. So much to learn for people out there and you have people from all over the world looking at your website. Keep up the great work. Janet

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  14. christer eriksson

    Hey Matt!

    My name’s Christer, I follow you from Sweden. I found your tutorials on youtube and it was exactly what I have been looking for! I find answears to all my problems with SketchUp! I’m really happy!
    I’m also a carpenter who likes to draw and make models of my projects. I show my clients Ideas and help them to picture how kitchen, interior, furniture can look when it is done, one of my best tools for sure! I have learned a lot from you so far and I will learn a lot more for sure! thank you again, and keep up the good work.

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  15. Tony Gushanas

    Love your story Matt. I kind of have a similar story. I used to design levels for Quake :). Then I went to school for architecture, and now I’m working in the field and blogging hacks for designers on the side.

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      1. Tony Gushanas

        Thanks Matt! I just noticed you replied. Your website is fantastic! I drop a link to your site every chance I get in my articles. Your site is an invaluable resource for learning sketchup. Can’t wait for your book to come out!

  16. sabari

    Hey matt..Thanks for your mastersketchup website.It really helps me out.I am learning sketchup. We are energy modellers.when i try to export modeled building into energy modeling softwares like equest,IES, I found very difficult.actually i can’t.So i am looking forwardly with hope for your help.

    Thanks

  17. Rick Killoran

    Hi Matt, I am a retired engineer who has worked mostly with machinery using AutoCad 2002. I have Sketchup 8, but have not used it. Thank you very much for the tutorials. They have made it easy to get started. Sketchup is very different from 2D AutoCad. I think it is going to be tuff to start thinking in 3D while modeling. My wife and I are remodeling a bathroom, so this is my chance to learn Sketchup. Please keep up the good work and thanks again.

    Rick

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      Matt Donley

      Hi Rick,

      Thank you for the kind remarks. I think you’ll find SketchUp very fun to use when compared to CAD. It’s not too hard to get started. Let me know if you get stuck on anything.

      1. Richard Killoran

        Hi Matt, my biggest problem so far is that I am using SketchUp on an iMac instead of Windows. I could not make the copy function work by tapping the control key out of the move function. On the iMac it is the Alt or Option key. Took me a while to find it, but my next hurdle is the group function. I cannot make it work. I will keep trying.

        Thanks again,
        Rick

  18. Sant Chaiyodsilp

    Hi Matt

    Just to say thank you for your tutorial I and II. You are an excellent teacher.

    I am a cardiac surgeon working in Thailand. I start using Sketchup to help doing my serious hobby better. I love carpentry and use that skill to help people create or repair this and that at times. You tutorial does help me tremendously.

    Sant

  19. Emmett Ross

    Hey, heard you on the SPI podcast and just stopped by to say hi! I’ve used a lot of 3D CAD software, primarily CATIA, but I’d love to know more about Sketchup. Are the models interchangeable with other CAD systems? Is there an easy way to implement macros to automate repetitive processes within Sketchup?

    Emmett

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      Matt Donley

      Hi Emmett,

      SketchUp Pro is compatible with a ton of different 3D file formats (import and export). There is also a Ruby console which allows you to write scripts for repetitive tasks, or you create your own plugin using the API. The other option is to create dynamic components which give you control over the parameters of an object in a user friendly menu or using the interact tool.

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  20. Robert Hughson

    Hi Matt,
    I’m using Sketchup Make and am having a problem scaling the materials to the correct size and also imported models from 3D Warehouse arrive in the model microscopically small or invisible.
    Is there an easy solutionM
    Look forward to your comment.
    Regards
    Robert

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      Matt Donley

      Robert,

      It sounds like you are not modeling to the correct scale. Make sure everything you draw in SketchUp is to real world scale, by typing values into the VCB. You can use any unit of measurement you like.

  21. Paul Childs

    Matt, Thanks so much for building this great forum / website. Most of all thanks for all of your great tutorials and videos. I’ve been trying to learn sketchup for the past month and a half, and have learned more in the first 30 min. video than in the past 6 weeks! As a builder / remodeler, I think this software will allow me to take my business to the next level…..and you have given me the knowledge to use it. Thank you very much. Once I’ve got it figured out and catch up on my projects, I’ll share some of my designs and ideas.

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  22. Rashid Garuba

    Matt,

    Great site. I have been in the 2D world for 25 years and dabbled in Archicad and Chief Architect but never got “over the hump” to escape velocity.. The flexibility of Skecthup is a big plus for me and so I am about to dive in.. with the help of your book. Here is my question: Insertion of Doors and Windows in DOUBLE WALLS with related 2d swing representation is something I must make as painless as in the 2D world (In an average year I work on over 20 houses so LOTS of doors and windows) How do you handle this?

    Thanks

  23. Siraj

    Sir you are really awesome bcs your tips have saved alot time in using sketchup…thankx alot for making such platform for those who cant afford such types of tips and tricks… Thankx

  24. Angela

    Hello Matt,
    i’ve used VectorWorks for about 2 years and never actually liked it. A friend suggested SketchUp and I started learning by my own with your website. The thing is, I’m obviously way behind in mastering the software, therefore I’m thinking into buy your book. I like the 2D plans in Vector, but not the 3D modeling and that’s why I’m willing to change softwares.
    My question is, do you think is worth buying it, even though I still have a lot to learn of the basics? Should I wait a little longer?
    Thank you so much

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      Matt Donley

      Hi Angela,

      If you’re still learning how to model, my book SketchUp to LayOut Isn’t going to provide much value to you, because it assumes at least some basic knowledge inside SketchUp. If you’re just starting with LayOut, however, then my book would definitely help you pick it up much faster. It helps you set up your model for LayOut, and it teaches you everything you need to know about LayOut.

  25. duane

    I’ve just started with sketchup. I’ve made some simple drawings and on my first two I was able to increase the size of the dimensions because 12 point numbers are too small for me to read. But I have forgotten how I did it and where I learned how to do it. I’m a woodworker and I’m printing on letter sized paper so I don’t to have to use glasses to read my drawings.
    Thanks
    D E

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  26. Matt K

    Hi Matt,

    Read many of your articles. Excellent work! Ive got a question that i think you can help me with. Im modeling a office park in sketchup. I went and turned off the edge style so that no black lines show up anywhre in the model. Is there a way to leave the edge style box uncheck yet draw some new geometry that has its lines visible. that way i can draw the geometry, hide the faces, group those elements and use them to add linework only where i need it in my model.

    i know how to hide hide lines independently per component however ive already drawn so much geometry that id be hiding lines forever if i did it that way.

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