The first two posts in this series discussed how to find lightweight, well-crafted models by the SketchUp team, and models offered by the subscription service FormFonts. This post showcases one more resource: Podium Browser.
SU Podium is pretty well known as a SketchUp rendering engine. Podium Browser is a collection of render-ready entourage models (trees, furniture, vehicles, people, etc.) These models are great to use even if you’re not rendering (or rendering with a different program) – they’re well-made, correctly-sized, nicely painted, all that good stuff. Most of the content is paid, but there’s a decent selection of free stuff, too.
Installing Podium Browser
There are two ways to get Podium Browser.
- Install just Podium on its own. Instructions for that are here. The download is a zipped RBZ file. If you’re using SketchUp 2017, the installation instructions they’re listed are outdated: instead of installing through the Preferences window, you now install through the Extension Manager.
- Install the entire Podium tool. You’ll get a free Podium trial, including Podium Browser which will continue working after the trial has expired. (You might as well try the whole thing – the rendering is pretty fun.) The download is an executable file that will automatically install into SketchUp when run. If you’re using SketchUp 2017, and don’t see the Podium toolbar, you may have to adjust the settings in your Extension Manager to enable it.
Using Podium Browser
Once Podium is installed, you should see this toolbar. The Browser is the second-to-last icon.
In the Browser window you can search a category, or try to find something specific. To find free models, check the “Show only free files” box.
At the time of this writing, the license to get paid content costs $59 – not a bad deal for getting a wide selection of good models. You can pay for content even if you don’t pay for the Podium rendering program.
You can also access Podium’s free content in the 3D Warehouse: enter “podium is:collection.”
Bonus: in addition to models, Podium also provides several nice materials. You download a box painted with that material, which then appears in your “In-Model” material collection. After that, you can erase the box.