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SketchUp is a 3D modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, landscape architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film and video game design. It is available as a web-based application, SketchUp Free, and a paid version with additional functionality, SketchUp Pro. Previously, a freeware version, SketchUp Make, was also available.
|Original author(s)||@Last Software, Google|
|Initial release||August 2000|
January 5, 2019
|Operating system||Windows 7 and later|
OS X 10.9 and later
|Available in||English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional)|
|Type||3D computer graphics|
SketchUp is owned by Trimble Inc., a mapping surveying and navigation equipment company. There is an online library of free model assemblies (e.g. windows, doors, automobiles), 3D Warehouse, to which users may contribute models. The program includes drawing layout functionality, allows surface rendering in variable "styles", supports third-party "plug-in" programs hosted on a site called Extension Warehouse to provide other capabilities (e.g. near photo-realistic rendering) and enables placement of its models within Google Earth.
SketchUp debuted in August 2000 as a general-purpose 3D content creation tool and was envisioned as a software program "that would allow design professionals to draw the way they want by emulating the feel and freedom of working with pen and paper in a simple and elegant interface, that would be fun to use and easy to learn and that would be used by designers to play with their designs in a way that is not possible with traditional design software. It also has user friendly buttons to make it easier to use."
The program won a Community Choice Award at its first tradeshow in 2000.
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On January 9, 2007, Google announced Google SketchUp 6, a free downloadable version of SketchUp, without some functionality of SketchUp Pro, but including integrated tools for uploading content to Google Earth and to the Google 3D Warehouse. A toolbox enables a viewer to "walk around" and see things from different viewpoints and supports labels for models, a look-around tool and an "any polygon" shape tool. Google SketchUp Pro 6 introduced a beta version of Google SketchUp LayOut. LayOut includes 2D vector tools and page layout tools allowing presentations to be produced without the need for a separate presentation program.
On November 17, 2008, SketchUp 7 was released with changes intended to make it easier to use, integration of SketchUp's Component Browser with Google 3D Warehouse, LayOut 2 and dynamic components that respond to scaling. Windows 2000 was no longer supported.
Geolocation information is always stored in the KMZ file. The building designs themselves are saved in SKP.
Trimble Navigation (now Trimble Inc.) acquired SketchUp from Google on June 1, 2012 for an undisclosed sum. In 2013 SketchUp 2013 was released. A new site was provided, Extension Warehouse, hosting plugins and extensions for SketchUp.
SketchUp comes in multiple editions; all are proprietary software.
|Edition||desktop or web||extensions||price|
|Studio||desktop||yes||$1199 / year (as of 2021)|
|Pro||desktop||yes||$299 / year (as of 2021)|
|Shop||web||no||$119 / year (as of 2021)|
|Free||web||no||free (as of 2021)|
Everything in the pro plus Building energy analysis, Daylight analysis, HVAC sizing, Thermal comfort analysis, and Carbon Emissions
SketchUp Pro includes the functionality of SketchUp Make plus importers and exporters to common 2D and 3D formats, access to LayOut (2D documentation software) and Style Builder (create custom edge styles for SketchUp models). SketchUp Pro 2016 has native integration with Trimble Connect, treat 3D Warehouse models as references, a rebuilt Generate Report and now LayOut offers web-friendly reference objects as well as a new LayOut API.
SketchUp Pro licensing is cross-platform and works on both Windows and Mac machines.
SketchUp Shop is a version of SketchUp specifically for DIY designers, makers, and woodworkers. It has a feature set designed to meet their needs (e.g. interface with 3D printers, CNC routers and other shop machines). A major difference between Shop and Pro is that SketchUp Shop is a web application that you run in a browser while connected to the Internet whereas SketchUp Pro is a downloadable application that you can use offline.
In November 2017, SketchUp Free was released as a web-based application which replaces SketchUp Make. Drawings can be saved to the cloud, saved locally as a native SKP file, or exported as an STL file. Compared to Make, SketchUp Free does not support extensions, creation and editing of materials.
Sketchup Make (formerly SketchUp for Home and Personal Use), introduced in May 2013, was a free-of-charge version for home, personal and educational use. It began with a 30-day trial of SketchUp Pro. After that time, users could agree to the Terms of Service and continue to use SketchUp Make for free. There were no further releases of Make after November 2017; users were expected to migrate to SketchUp Free.
On June 4, 2020, Trimble announced that SketchUp is transitioning to a subscription business model. After November 4, 2020, SketchUp will no longer sell perpetual licenses and maintenance & support plans.
3D Warehouse is an open library in which SketchUp users may upload and download 3D models to share. The models can be downloaded right into the program without anything having to be saved onto your computer's storage. File sizes of the models can be up to 50 MB. Anyone can make, modify and re-upload content to and from the 3D warehouse free of charge. All the models in 3D Warehouse are free, so anyone can download files for use in SketchUp or even other software such as AutoCAD, Revit and ArchiCAD - all of which have apps allowing the retrieval of models from 3D Warehouse. Since 2014 Trimble has launched a new version of 3D Warehouse where companies may have an official page with their own 3D catalog of products. Trimble is currently investing in creating 3D developer partners in order to have more professionally modeled products available in 3D Warehouse. According to the Trimble, 3D Warehouse is the most popular 3D content site on the web. SketchUp designers may visit 3D Warehouse to discover new products or for inspiration when designing their own.
SketchUp holds U.S. Patent 6,628,279, granted in September 2003, on its "Push/Pull" technology.
SketchUp 4 and later support software extensions written in the Ruby programming language, which add specialized functionality. Many such extensions are available to others on the Trimble Extension Warehouse and many other 3rd party websites as well. SketchUp has a Ruby console, an environment which allows experimentation with Ruby.
SketchUp Free, the web-based version, does not support extensions which severely limits the functionality of the tool.
VRcollab LITE allows users to import and view SketchUp and other BIM model files in virtual reality for design review, requirement approvals and coordination meetings.
Kubity — the first mixed reality multiplex, is a system to instantly visualize 3D models on multiple devices: desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, augmented reality gear and virtual reality glasses. They also developed rvt2skp, a free plugin to export any Revit project to a .skp file.
The Wild is a collaboration software program that allows architecture and design teams to experience their SketchUp models together in virtual and augmented reality.
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