Google Sketchup v. Punch BathroomMar 05 2010 | 15:23:35 | No Comments

Winner, Google Sketchup.  Punch Bathroom Design really sucks.

Spent $10 on Punch, Sketchup is free.  Sketchup rocks.  With no training and very little ramp-up on the interface, I had a working model of our master bath remodel and was able to mock up the custom shower stall that we want to build, found 3D models of toilets, sinks, vanities, clawfoot tubs, fixtures, you name it.

Caveats: Sketchup has no 2D view (although you can swing around to a bird’s-eye view and look through the ceiling without too much trouble once you get the hang of it).  Sketchup does require some patience when your toilet is 300 feet away from where you want it and you can’t quite get Sketchup to intuit what you are doing.  That said, nine times out of ten it is unbelievably good at intuiting what you want to do.  A lesser program would misinterpret most mouse movements, but there is some intelligent engine at work in Sketchup that seems to be aware of what you are seeing and almost always does what you mean.

Punch was infuriatingly dumb.  You had to tie everything you put into the space to a wall, and if something overlapped temporarily while you were adding something else or resizing a wall, the items on that wall just get deleted.  You couldn’t just grab things and move them with the mouse, and the 3D walkthrough was impossible to navigate.  Simple things like looking right or up or backing out, making walls temporarily see-through, etc. are SO easy in Sketchup and simply not possible in Punch.

A few tips to get you started in Sketchup — you definitely want to use a three button mouse with a mouse wheel.  Rolling the wheel zooms in and out, and holding down the wheel button while you move the mouse rotates/swings your 3D model around (this is a very powerful and satisfying feeling) no matter what tool is currently active.  Press H to get the “hand” cursor (grab and slide the model in any direction), Press space to select things, hold down shift to select multiple things.  Press M to grab things and move them.  Selecting and moving a face of a box will adjust the rest of the box as necessary to remain intact.

Hide walls, ceilings, whatever, by right clicking it and selecting ‘hide’ on the popup menu.  Sketch away!