Sketchup is a 3d modeling program that is very “drawing oriented” and has been adopted by several storyboard artist friends of mine as a way to segue into the world of 3d. I’ve never used it, but have been aware of it for years. Most 3d programs like Maya or LightWave make use of “primitives”, ie: cubes or spheres, from which you can create complex objects by extruding faces or dividing and shaping the primitive. Sketchup actually allows you to “draw” shapes in a 3d window and “pull” other shapes out of it. Some video tutorials of what I’m talking about can be seen here. It seems like a great program especially for creating archetectural objects like buildings and rooms.

This program used to cost about four or five hundred bucks. Now it’s free. No kidding. You can check it out and download it here. I guess Google bought it and is making a version of it free to download for PC.

I’ve had several friends use it to generate background images for storyboards, and the results are impressive. And, as I’ve said, it may be a good stepping stone from the world of drawing into the world of 3d, if one were inclined to go that way.