Google’s SketchUp can be used as an alternative presentation tool, somewhat similar to Prezi. Some of the advantages of SketchUp over Prezi are that it uses a 3D paradigm instead of Prezi’s 2D world and that the desktop version is free. To use SketchUp for presentations, one would do the following:
- Create – or better import from the 3D warehouse – a 3D world.
- Import pictures into the World (jpeg, png, etc) and place them on walls or wherever you want. If you’re familiar with PowerPoint, you could build your slides with PowerPoint and export them as JPEGs.
- Define scenes, including the correct camera and zoom positions.
- Step through the scenes with PageDown (forward) or PageUp (backward).
Although this is usable in itself, one really misses a full-screen function, as window title, menu and status bar cannot be removed from SketchUp. There is a workaround to achieve this however:
- Download and install the WindowManager utility from DeskSoft’s site.
This utility allows one to define resize settings of the main window of any program. It has a 30 day trial period and will only cost you 10 US$ to use after that. By the way, I am in no way affiliated to the makers of the program.
- Run SketchUp.
- Open the WindowManager UI and double-click SketchUp in the Windows tab.
- Click the template button to promote SketchUp as a template.
- Switch to WindowManager’s Templates tab.
- Select the SketchUp line and MoveUp until it’s at the top of the list.
- Double-click SketchUp.
- Remove the content of the Window caption and Window class fields (or alternatively include caption text if you don’t want the SketchUp resize behavior for every file it opens).
- Set Delay, Wait for text change to 1000 milliseconds.
- Set Position to Move to, This position.
- Set Size to Size to, This size.
The effect of these settings is that from now on WindowManager will reposition and resize the main SketchUp window as soon as you start SketchUp. The only thing left to do now is to set the correct X and Y coordinates for the position and the correct Width and Height values for the size.
Basically, the X position determines the number of pixels you want to remove on the left side (if values are negative) and the Y position the number of pixels you want to remove from the top (if values are negative). For SketchUp, you don’t need to remove pixels on the left and you need to remove some 72 pixels from the top, assuming you only have the title, menu and scene tabs visible. Just experiment with this value though.
The Width size determines the number of pixels you want to remove from the left plus the right side. The new Height size determines the number of pixels you want to remove from the top and bottom side. For SketchUp, you don’t need to remove pixels from the right either so the Width is equal to the actual screen size (1680 in my case). To remove the status bar from the bottom you need to remove about 30 pixels. So the Height size would be the actual size plus 30 plus 72. As my screen height is 1050, the new size would be 1152.
That’s it! Now every time you start SketchUp it will reposition itself to full-screen. If that’s not what you want, just hit Windows-key + up-arrow on your keyboard to view the menu and status bar again.