Difference Between AutoCAD and SketchUp
AutoCAD was developed keeping in view the computer-aided design (CAD) architecture and is a drafting software. AutoCAD is primarily used in designing of blueprints and floor plans by various production and construction companies. The software was first developed and marketed by Autodesk as a standalone microcomputer application. Eventually, it was released as a full-fledged OS-based software. AutoCAD was later also released as an online tool with the name of AutoCAD 360. Files created in AutoCAD have the extension .dwg. Sketchup is another 3D modeling based design software that was initially developed by Google and Last Software. It was released under the name of Google Sketchup. The software is owned by Trimble Inc.today. Sketchup is useful for creating models for civil, mechanical engineering, filmmaking, etc. A highly versatile software, Sketchup is available as a free web-based application with a paid version offering added functionality. Designs in Sketchup are saved in SKP format with the extension .skp.
Head to Head Comparison between AutoCAD and SketchUp (Infographics)
Below are the top 6 differences between AutoCAD vs SketchUp :
Key Differences Between AutoCAD and SketchUp
Both are popular choices in the market; let us discuss some of the significant difference:
- AutoCAD is a tool that is primarily used to draft and design 2D designs and print those designs on paper for use on the field, whereas SketchUp is a 3D modeling tool that helps you design models based on how they would look in the real life.
- AutoCAD has many features and plugins available so that you may customize the designs precisely as per your needs. This makes learning AutoCAD a time-taking task. On the other hand, SketchUp has a simpler interface and can be learned relatively fast.
- AutoCAD does not import many different file types for editing and integration, while SketchUp is less adamant about it. AutoCAD can only import .dwg files, while SketchUp can also load 3DS files, which is a popular format.
- AutoCAD is comparatively better than SketchUp when it comes to rendering the details. Models in AutoCAD can effectively replicate shadows under various lighting conditions. Designs in SketchUp are not as detailed compared to AutoCAD and one can tell looking at the design it is software work.
- AutoCAD has developed twelve extensions for discipline-specific applications. SketchUp does not offer a different vertical for different applications.
- AutoCAD monthly subscription plans start from INR 10,000. Sketchup is available as free software with two paid plans; one plan with INR 8500 per month. SketchUp can also be purchased for a lifetime license for approx. INR 50,000.
- AutoCAD has no official library to which different users can upload and share their designs. SketchUp has a huge library under the name of 3D Warehouse which involves thousands of users who regularly upload and download different designs directly from the portal.
- AutoCAD does not allow importing files from the internet directly. It must be first downloaded on to your system before loading it into the software. SketchUp can directly fetch designs up to 50MB large and load them directly into the software which you can download later.
- AutoCAD is also available in a student version which comes at a smaller price while SketchUp does not offer a student concession.
- AutoCAD can support many APIs such as AutoLISP, Visual LISP, VBA etc. so that you may customize and/or automate your tasks to some extent. SketchUp does not support many APIs and features a native integration for LayOut API.
- While AutoCAD has its own large set of plug-ins available for integration, it does not support and third-party plugins. All plug-ins must be installed from the Autodesk App Store. SketchUp can integrate third-party plug-ins which can be added from the Extension Warehouse, a site hosted for the same purpose.
- AutoCAD is available in more than 10 different languages and documentation can be done in additional languages too. On the other hand, Sketchup is only available in 9 languages at the moment.
- Since AutoCAD has a lot of tools to choose from, the UI may appear cluttered at times. SketchUp has a comparatively simpler UI and can get the user acquainted quickly.
AutoCAD vs SketchUp Comparison Table
Below is the topmost comparison:
|The basis Of Comparison||AutoCAD||SketchUp|
|Definition||It is a computer-aided design (CAD) based computer application.||It is a 3-D modeling based computer application.|
|Usage||AutoCAD is used by civil engineers, architects, town planning companies, graphic designers etc.||Sketchup is used by architects, interior designers, film-makers, 3D modelers etc.|
|Features||AutoCAD supports a large number of APIs and allows conversion of files into other formats.||Sketchup can create 3-D models with near realistic rendering. The models can be placed into Google Earth.|
|Platform||AutoCAD is available on computer as a standalone application with multiple extensions. It is also available as an online tool.||Sketchup is a proprietary software and is available for download as well as an online tool.|
|Libraries||AutoCAD has a large repository of plugins available on the Autodesk Exchange Apps store.||Sketchup has a user-based library where users can download and upload their designs to share.|
|Licensing||AutoCAD is available as a full commercial software as well as with a student license. It also has a free plan with limited functions.||Sketchup is available in Free, Pro & Make versions with different functionality depending upon the plan.|
To conclude, AutoCAD vs Sketchup are both great software to create and publish designs for different things in a professional manner. While AutoCAD is great for 2D and 3D designs that revolve around civil, mechanical engineering and architecture, SketchUp can help you design 3D objects and render them on the world map as well. Your choice of software depends upon the needs of your clients as well as the nature of your work.
If you are an engineer or an architect, who needs to design floor plans and/or big designs on the whole, then AutoCAD would be your software of choice. On the other hand, if you happen to be a filmmaker or a graphic designer, or a production engineer who needs to design 3D models of parts, then SketchUp would be your pick. Financially, AutoCAD is comparatively expensive than SketchUp. At the same time, AutoCAD offers much more customization options as compared to SketchUp.
Both AutoCAD vs SketchUp platforms are great and work very well. Both AutoCAD vs SketchUp can be learned quickly and don’t take much time to get used to. In the end, it all depends upon your preference and requirements which one you find more suited to your needs.
This has been a guide to the top difference between AutoCAD vs SketchUp. Here we also discuss the AutoCAD vs SketchUp key differences with infographics, and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –