I have spent a lot of time using all sorts of 3D CAD software designing everything from small handheld products to full blown 100’ x 100’ trade show exhibits, so I was a bit skeptical when I finally got around to trying out SketchUp, a free 3D CAD software application from Google. Ever since Alias Sketch! was cancelled it has been difficult to find a quick and easy replacement to create 3D models on a Mac, but to my surprise I was impressed. Now SketchUp doesn’t have the rendering engine to generate incredible 3D photorealistic images like Alias Sketch! did, but it does good enough and includes texture mapping and animation capabilities ideal for doing an interior fly through of a proposed Digital Signage installation. SkecthUp also does not have the sculpting ability that other 3D CAD applications have to create complex organic shapes, but for modeling 3D store interiors, kiosks and merchandising fixtures it’s a breeze. In addition, thanks to Google’s efforts to model all the worlds’ architecture with SketchUp in Google Maps, there is a HUGE repository of all sorts of SketchUp 3D models available for free download. Using this library helps add detail and accuracy to your models quick and easily. Google SketchUp is currently available for free or a fee but with all the functionality packed into the free version there is plenty you can do at no charge. More consultants and integrators specializing in digital signage should use SketchUp to help avoid common miscommunications with clients in advance of those costly and time-consuming on-site installation misunderstandings.