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I have been planning to do a review of Matt Donley’s book SketchUp to Layout for some time now because it was the number one thing that helped take my SketchUp skills to the next level. I was inspired to post today after receiving an email from Matt with the announcement that he has reduced the prices on the book packages while he works on writing his next book.
Matt is also the author/owner of the Master SketchUp site, which is one of the best resources for learning SketchUp anywhere on the web. If you’re interested in building your SketchUp knowledge base, his site is a must read.
I purchased Matt’s book when it first came out, and it really helped clarify for me the relationship between SketchUp and Layout. It also provided step by step instructions on how to import my SketchUp models into Layout and turn them into great looking construction documents.
The book covers in-depth the process of creating construction documents in
- Planning your model.
- Organizing your model.
- Creating scenes.
- Configuring scenes for use in Layout.
- SketchUp styles.
- Importing your model to Layout.
- Printing and presentation.
The last section guides you through a whole house project with multiple levels, which is incredibly helpful in understanding how to organize your model. A key message of this section and the entire book is that good looking, successful presentation drawings begin with a well-organized model.
The best part of the book, for me, was the detailed kitchen project that follows the instructional chapters. The image below is a page from a set of drawings I developed for a kitchen remodel. I followed Matt’s tutorials from the book step by step to create this “hybrid” plan, which shows the layout of the cabinetry and other elements as well as well as providing some indication of depth and materiality. You can click on the image to see a larger version.
This image shows a sheet with elevations from the same project. I really like how you can add shadows to the otherwise 2D drawings to indicate depth in space.
You can purchase the original book on the SketchUp to Layout site. There are several program options. I highly recommend the Pro Package for $65.00. It includes the paperback version of the book as well as styles, templates, materials and other goodies that will help you make your presentation drawings look professional and stand out from the competition.
I can’t say enough good things about this book and Matt’s site and tutorials. If you are a professional designer or architect, I think that this book is a must have. I am also very excited for Matt’s second book – SketchUp and Layout for Architecture, which he is co-authoring with architect Nick Sonder.