I've written (just a few) handouts, manuals and books about using software, mainly graphics software. These programs are so full-featured it's easy to overwhelm a novice. When you're new to the subject, never mind the program itself, it's almost impossible not to feel at sea. Which is why we buy books like those in the Missing Manual series.
I hoped for a step-by-step procedure: Double-click the icon, this window appears, click this to have this happen, click that to set a preference, click this tool and do...something.
I began on page 13, Chapter 1, "Building a Bench: Your First SketchUp Model." After a short introduction to the program and the concept of 3D, the next page is "Firing up SketchUp for the First Time." Three different methods for launching the program for both Mac and Windows are given. Then the author talks about the first window that opens. Buried in the 12-line paragraph is a casual mention that if you're creating something (like the project later in this chapter?) you should choose the Woodworking template. Unmentioned (but pretty obvious) is "click OK to continue."
Then there's a tour of the interface and instructions on how to set it up and how to change how you're viewing your creation. Then there's a digression on templates and how to create templates (which I'm a long way from attempting). Then, finally, on page 32 is "Bench: Starting Your First Mode." And it begins with 1. Open a new SketchUp document with File > New. Hello! That's where you left me, some 18 pages ago! But at least here are instructions.
Things got much better down the road. The instructions are step-by-step, and there are frequent sidebars, call-outs and other notes that add more information as you go.
The book begins by orienting you to the three-dimensional world. Yes, we live in a 3D world, but working with one is a little (a LOT) different. Starting with a simple bench, you move on to create a house. Once the house is created, you can add textures or work with photos to create a realistic appearance.
The book is fairly-well illustrated with black and white screenshots throughout. The author is very good about providing instruction for both Mac and Windows users. Too often its assumed that both platforms work identically. It was nice to see the differences recognized and spelled out.
The last two chapters (of 15) contain instructions for working with features included with SketchUp Pro, the $495 version for industry professionals. Not having any plans to move up to that version, I skipped them.
By carefully reading and following the instructions I've been able to create and complete several projects. I'm finding that 3D is an entirely new ballgame. Learning my way around it has been quite an adventure.