What did the big tomato say the the squished tomato? SketchUp!
April 27, 2006 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Google Releases Sketchup for All. Google has released a free version of SketchUp (video and tutorials), quite possibly the coolest and most intuitive 3D authoring tool. An added bonus of SketchUp is it's integration into Google Earth. Google has also provided a 3D Warehouse for the posting of your models, which can be downloaded into either application (SketchUp for editing, Earth for displaying). Kind of gives you some insight into their plans for using Google Earth as an Automotive (Honda and Volkswagen) GPS service. (Sidenote: how long until this is seen as a threat to national security?)
posted by rzklkng (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
BTW, found via the OUTSTANDING popurls aggregator.
posted by rzklkng at 10:56 AM on April 27, 2006

I'm stoked to hear this news, though I wish the mac version was released on day one. This could be huge now that the software is free.
posted by mathowie at 10:57 AM on April 27, 2006

The first thing I thought of when I read this on slashdot is if/when this will be integrated with myspace, gps implants and eventually, the rapture.
posted by dobie at 11:02 AM on April 27, 2006

What's the best way to make interiors? As an apartment dweller, I'm not overly concerned with the exterior box.
posted by smackfu at 11:03 AM on April 27, 2006

[Um..is it usual for google to use Bugsplat to report crashes? I didn't send the error report simply because until I looked, I didn't know who/what they were.]

Anywaaay, this looks to be very cool. I downloaded (20Mb) it an hour or so ago after seeing the google blog entry. I sense many hours will be sunk here...if it doesn't crash again.
posted by peacay at 11:07 AM on April 27, 2006

This is really great. (But note that to produce images at greater than screen resolutions, you need to pay at least $495 for the Pro version.)
posted by 327.ca at 11:08 AM on April 27, 2006

This is cool, but why is Google doing this? What angle is Google working here?

In the past, we've seen Google provide information services--email, search, IM, WiFi--so that it can serve ads more closely tailored to your interests.

But this trend doesn't follow as applied to Google Earth and SketchUp. Are they just perks to rope people into Google's products? Earn brand loyalty?
posted by Brian James at 11:20 AM on April 27, 2006

Well, they can start compiling 3D models of the planet, and not just urban cities. They make money of off eyeballs - anything that brings more eyeballs makes more money.
posted by rzklkng at 11:23 AM on April 27, 2006

Brian: The overlap between Google Earth and Maps is pretty big. Buying Keyhole got them Maps, and Maps ties directly to their search/portal/Yahoo-killer approach, and Keyhole already had something to base Earth on.

I don't know the equivalent for SketchUp.
posted by mendel at 11:38 AM on April 27, 2006

Cool SketchUp is a neat program.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 12:04 PM on April 27, 2006

This is cool, and exactly what I thought would happen when they bought SketchUp. I know some people who bought it recently will be pissed off, but I couldn't be happier.
posted by Eekacat at 12:13 PM on April 27, 2006

It may be free, but it's sure as hell not easy to use. Since I don't have any need for 3D modeling and they block Google Earth here at work, I uninstalled it. But if this was something you need and can use, it's nice that Google did this.
posted by tommasz at 1:16 PM on April 27, 2006

I think Google's plan is that enough people will build enough real-world buildings that they'll eventually have a 3D model of a good chunk of the buildings on this planet.

And then someone will turn it into a zombie-killin' game.
posted by bondcliff at 1:24 PM on April 27, 2006

I think Google's plan is that enough people will build enough real-world buildings

Fuck that. I'm gonna be like Corbusier with the Plan Voisin.
posted by LionIndex at 1:28 PM on April 27, 2006

Meh. If you can't draw a helical staircase, what use is it? I'll stick to the expensive stuff, thank you very much.
posted by fuerloins at 1:47 PM on April 27, 2006

After looking at the differences between the free and the pro version, it seems that the free version is more like a crippled demo than a real product. No 3D export in the free version, particularly, means no better rendering or texturing than Sketchup's own... until someone makes a KML to 3DS/OBJ/whatever converter (KML is XML-based so it shouldn't be too hard).
posted by elgilito at 2:19 PM on April 27, 2006

Say, do any of y'all know how to make a cube in this thing? Not a rectangular solid, but an actual cube with all six faces the same size?
posted by Richard Daly at 2:53 PM on April 27, 2006

But it's sure as hell not easy to use... Since I don't have any need for 3D modeling...

Second sentence kind of explains the first one, no?

Actually, Sketchup is dirt simple to use, if you have any experience or skill in 3d modelling at all.
posted by signal at 3:56 PM on April 27, 2006

Richard: draw a square (type in the coordinates like: "10,10"), then pull it the same distance (type "10").
posted by signal at 3:57 PM on April 27, 2006

Watch the tutorials to get a good idea of how easy it is. One thing I like about it is that you can do any manipulation via the mouse, and then type in a distance to change the approximate distance you did to the real one. I also like the 'inferring" that you can do to lines, surfaces, axes, etc. It is not intended to compete with the heavy lifters in the 3d modelling category. For what it's worth I used it to optimize the layout of my shop and I use it to design furniture.
posted by RustyBrooks at 4:06 PM on April 27, 2006

You can type in dimensions? I did not know that. That's cool.
posted by smackfu at 4:17 PM on April 27, 2006

Download link for the Mac version.

It's behind a signup page and then another one that requires you to turn off popup blocking, but it's there. Maybe it's an earlier version than the one Google wants to promote as the official Mac version, though, and that's why Google says the Mac version isn't available yet.
posted by emelenjr at 4:53 PM on April 27, 2006

Actually, it looks like this free Mac version is a little newer than the Windows version Google is offering. 5.0.262 for Mac vs. 5.0.245 for Windows.
posted by emelenjr at 4:55 PM on April 27, 2006

I love Sketchup! My dad the architect uses it for architectural "idea sketches," whereas I use it for some of my concept design work. I'm really slow in 3DSMax or Maya so Sketchup is perfect for me to do layouts for environments.

It's especially great for preliminary game level environment design, because I can pretty quickly sketch-model an entire space, and then export to 3DS file, where the environment modelers can just open it up and use what I've built as a template. Great for walkthroughs and considering camera angles and sightlines too. I guess that part of my job is pretty similar to my dad's... :)

Wish I could show you some of the stuff I've used it for, but it's all under NDA, *sigh*.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:08 PM on April 27, 2006

I love Sketchup and have used it demo-like for years. Im so happy. I have designed data centers in it and tried to remodel my car. I think I am going to send this to my dad.
posted by subaruwrx at 10:19 PM on April 27, 2006

Interestingly, AutoCad 2007 (yes, they're using car-model years now) features a shitty copy of the Sketchup interface, including push/pull, dynamic UCS, etc.
posted by signal at 6:39 AM on April 28, 2006

Awesome!! A simple, easy-to-use 3d program with emphasis more on speed and simplicity than advanced features, is exactly what I need to knock up simple 3-d models to use as the basis for sketches.
posted by Drexen at 6:40 AM on April 28, 2006

Google is building AI. All there information tech, buying up dark fiber, and now creating virtual environments so that humans and the emerging consciousness can interact.
posted by Grod at 10:43 AM on April 28, 2006

This is ideal! Being at the beginning stages of a major home remodeling project, I've been working with a couple of 'professional' 3D drawing packages. I should say 'fighting' with them. This is so much more intutive; thank you for the post!
posted by Ochiee at 10:48 AM on April 28, 2006

For those just diving into Sketchup: Do the tutorials, won't take hardly no time at all, and you'll be able to do some pretty neat stuff at the end.
posted by signal at 12:54 PM on April 28, 2006

This is great news, I downloaded the trial version a while back and was hooked completely. Then came the dilemma: "Hmmm-My rent or sketchup? "

Rent won, but now I no longer have to mildly regret that decision.
posted by stagewhisper at 3:55 PM on April 28, 2006

I own — as in paid-for — SketchUp 5 Pro. I'm using it in house renos so much that it's paid for itself simply in avoiding mistakes.

I hope to turn this into a semi-professional job.

SketchUp rocks.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:30 PM on April 28, 2006

So, what is the deal with the Sketchup--Google-Earth link? Am I right in thinking they want people to model buildings for them so they can put 3d data into G.E.? Why would people bother to do that beyond maybe knocking up a replica of their own house? And how would they know the models were accurate?
posted by Drexen at 8:35 AM on April 29, 2006

Why would people bother to do that beyond maybe knocking up a replica of their own house?

It's not just for modelling existing stuff. I use it to mock up projects in their actual locations, and be able to show the topography and rough landscape around them

posted by signal at 8:42 AM on April 29, 2006

emelenjer, that Mac download is not equivalent to the Google free version. It's just an 8 hour demo.
posted by teg at 10:22 AM on April 29, 2006

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