Google SketchUp

SketchUp is one of those cool tools that even design-impaired plonkers like me can get excited about. It’s a 3D modelling tool that’s not quite CAD, but much more than a toy. But no matter how interesting it sounded I was never quite excited enough to fork-over the US$500 to get hold of it.

a sample model from the 3D Warehouse

Liked it so much …

Well it appears that Google also liked it. In fact they liked it so much that they bought the company (@Last Software). And yesterday they released a free-for-personal-use version of SketchUp. Apparently this isn’t just a re-badge of what was previously the trial version - Google SketchUp is a distinct product from the “Pro” version. But in any case, it sounds good.

Support stuff

When it comes to 3D tools the term “easy to use” is relative. I bet it’s got a heck of a learning curve but there are some good video tutorials on the old SketchUp site (they’re better than the lame ones on the Google SketchUp site). And to help beginners along the way, the newly created 3D Warehouse is full of ready to use models. You can search the database from within SketchUp or from the warehouse page itself.

a sample model from the 3D Warehouse

In a clever move, they have also released a Google Earth plugin with excellent Google Earth integration. Add Ruby scripting and you’ve got a tinkerer’s delight. Look out for all sorts of innovative applications coming to a Google Earth mash-up near you.


But alas the free version is only currently available for some obscure operating system (”Windows”, I think they called it) - as usual Mac users will have to wait. The ubiquitous “coming soon” strikes again, which is odd because an OS X version of SketchUp existed well before the Google take-over.

Well that’s probably a good thing otherwise I might have had a happily wasted weekend in front of me twiddling around with it. Obviously that lost weekend will have to wait - but hopefully not as long as we waited for Google Earth to appear on Mac…

via Make

One Response to “Google SketchUp”

  1. floppybunny Says:

    the google sketchup free version is great. no need to buy the real version