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Google SketchUp for Site Design: A Guide to Modeling Site Plans, Terrain and Architecture Paperback – August 24, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0470345252 ISBN-10: 047034525X Edition: 1st

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Google SketchUp for Site Design: A Guide to Modeling Site Plans, Terrain and Architecture + Rendering in SketchUp: From Modeling to Presentation for Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Interior Design + The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture: Modeling Buildings, Visualizing Design, and Creating Construction Documents with SketchUp Pro and LayOut
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047034525X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470345252
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This book adds valuable information about features not even mentioned in the "Missing Manual". This book allows you to create settings for your creations. SketchUp provides a "sandbox", an interface with tools that create organic geometry. In other words, you can push and pull "terrain" around to create hills and valleys. Then using other tools create streets, sidewalks, and planters. Place the buildings you've created on the terrain, and add vegetation around them - suddenly you have a world! This is a solid book, with good start-to-finish instructions in creating 3D objects, whether a bench or a cathedral." (eJournal of the Tucson Computer Society, December 2009)

"This book illustrates a holistic approach to SketchUp, how it works and more importantly, what to do with it." (San Francisco Book Review, November 2009)

From the Back Cover

Google SketchUp for Site Design

A Guide to Modeling Site Plans, Terrain and Architecture

The design professional?s guide to harnessing the power of Google SketchUp

Site design professionals can now use the powerful tools of Google SketchUp for their own practices. This clear and focused illustrated guide explains how site professionals can use the SketchUp tools and functions to construct expressive models of exterior spaces and architecture.

Utilizing the methodology known as SketchUp Process Modeling, the guide takes you step by step from the basics to more advanced methods that incorporate terrain, AutoCAD, and the creation of complex forms. Covering drafting, modeling order, and organization, you will learn how to:

  • Use the SketchUp Sandbox Tools to design conceptual grading, terrain, and elevation

  • Design and model a variety of custom components including architectural detail, pedestrian lights, benches, and other site elements

  • Integrate AutoCAD and SketchUp to easily create 3D-articulated models

With helpful tutorials and useful tips for both beginners and advanced SketchUp users, Google SketchUp for Site Design: A Guide to Modeling Site Plans, Terrain and Architecture will quickly have you creating models that are highly detailed and organized, easy to work with, and optimized for computer performance.

Included with the book are Web links to free SketchUp exercises, models, and YouTube tutorials that expand on book concepts.

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Customer Reviews

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn Sketchup and learn it well.
B Rad 16
Daniel has created an extremely valuable resource for site design professionals using Google Sketchup.
Brad Cantrell
Given the complexity and abundance of instructional material, this book is organized very well.
M. M.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Rashad on September 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a new sketchup user (going on 3 months) and a purchaser of four books on how to use Google's Sketchup, this book is without a doubt, the most comprehensive introduction to utilizing an amazing tool to design (in 3D) to your hearts desires.
Being a newbie to sketchup can be a daunting experience, such a powerful, yet easy to use tool can get one into all sorts of trouble and lead to many a sleepless night. Aidan Chopra's `Google sketchup 7 For Dummies' was a godsend, as were the numerous online tutorials on Youtube and various online sketchup forums.

Tal's book however has made all the difference, by offering a concise and easy to understand process of how to model effectively. He delivers it with an engaging style that makes all the difference when one is trying to learn something new. The book doesn't suffer the dryness that `Google sketchup 7 Bible' sadly offered. He makes it fun because it really is fun.

Daniel Tal's book is an altogether different beast. A guide book that encourages one to simplify ones approaches by getting organized from the outset, it's all about the process to get the most out of sketchup and ease up on the headaches and sleepless nights that can often entail- no small feat to accomplish in the written word, I can assure you.

The book is set up in four parts the first of which covers the rudimentary tools. The second is where Daniel's expertise and knowledge really start to unfold. On every page, for me at least, there were numerous A-ha moments. So, that's how it's done!!, it's all so easy when one knows how.

The other benefits of the book are the tutorials. These provide numerous exercises' to hone ones skills and climb the ladder to "Sketchup awareness".
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By J. Palmer on September 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
A trip to your local bookseller searching for the precise book which holds the secret to getting from a blank screen to a finished model using SketchUp often ends up with the hopeful user being fifty dollars poorer and having another book to fill their software library shelf. It seems like most of the books that target SketchUp training are aimed at taking the reader through the process of teaching you every nuance of the program and then turning you loose to figure out, on your own, how to apply your new tool set of skills on the problems that sent you to the bookstore looking for a software Rosetta Stone in the first place.

Google SketchUp for Site Design takes a different approach to bringing you up to speed. The cover of the book provides an example of what you can expect to be able to do with SketchUp if you chose to purchase the book and take the time to work through and mastering SketchUp methods introduced early in the book. Daniel calls this SketchUp Process Modeling and it's a great way to model with SketchUp.

Treating the task of software mastery by breaking it down into easy understand method the reader is guided through the process of building and managing complex models. I found each exercise helped me to understand how to model in SketchUp as well as why to model the way the author suggests. This is the first software book I have purchased that truly lives up to the subtitle on the cover. It really is a guide for modeling site plans, terrain, and architecture.

Daniel Tal walks you through the integration of CAD and SketchUp and introduces you to modeling workflow with more than one application, which is often left out in software training books.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Rob on October 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
My experience with SketchUp instruction manuals is limited (this is the first one I've read), but overall, I was happy with the book, however, I have reservations before recommending it to others.

The examples that Tal includes were very clear, well-explained, and organized in a logical order. The images are helpful, and go a long way in showing what SketchUp is capable of in terrain modeling. Tal's approach makes it easy to learn some of the more complex techniques dealing with terrain grids, follow contours, and the like. That said, I felt that the book was generally thin in complex techniques. By the time I read this book, I'd been using SketchUp for a couple years, and had already learned most of this stuff through Google's online tutorial videos and the Go-2-School podcast series, both free. I also left the book a little hazy on some of the finer points of terrain modeling, like drape vs. stamp, etc, and wish that Tal had really spent more than a couple paragraphs on these.

I also wish that Tal had devoted more space to explaining how best to present a finished model. This could include using Scenes effectively to export images, describing the ideal views for a project, proper workflow to see a project through from beginning to end, and even on using LayOut (included in SketchUp Pro). I would think many readers, who spend a number of hours building a model, would want to know the best, cleanest ways to show off their work.

In the end, Tal's book is very useful for someone who would like to use SketchUp for terrain modeling, but 1) hasn't really started to explore the software's features, and isn't sure where to start, and 2) doesn't really know what SketchUp is capable of in terrain modeling exercises.
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More About the Author

Daniel Tal, RLA, ASLA, is a licensed practicing landscape architect in Denver, Colorado, and a Google SketchUp specialist who conducts workshops and seminars on SketchUp for landscape architects and architects. Daniel also consults on SketchUp tools and future SketchUp developments to meet the needs of landscape architects and architects, and helps Beta test SketchUp releases.

For more info on the book such as Table of Contents, videos and more visit:

Also visit my YouTube Channel at:

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Google SketchUp for Site Design: A Guide to Modeling Site Plans, Terrain and Architecture
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