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Author : Rajib Dey

Review of SketchUp in the year 2012

We are going to keep our footprint in another new era i.e. 2013. We have found lots of evolutions & happenings with SketchUp in previous year.

Acquisition of SketchUp by Trimble: If you look back in 2012 the most amazing news is the acquisition of SketchUp by Trimble, an USA based recognized positioning and engineering firm. Google acquired SketchUp from @Last Software in 2006. Now the SketchUp team and technology have joined Trimble to develop news features and innovations for SketchUp software in near future. We expect that there will be availability for free version of SketchUp 3d modeling software in the upcoming year.

Trimble has been successfully providing an integrated set of solutions in the virtual construction fields and possesses some entrenched brands like Accubid Systems, Meridian Systems, QuickPen, and Tekla. Now Trimble adds a new wing to its portfolio of technologies. All these combinations will provide great benefits to the construction modeling system. The Trimble will take SketchUp to a superior level by preserving the existing functionality of SketchUp.

New logo of SketchUp: After acquisition of SketchUp by trimble the first remarkable change comes in the design of logo from a house with pencil to some red and white steps. The change is done with the SU8 M3 maintainance update. The new logo has been created by combining SketchUp symbol, layout and style builder. LayOut is symbolized with an orthographic top outlook in the form of the stair-step figure. Style Builder is marked as outline and rendered with some elegant edges. All three icons belong to SketchUp Red and knot with each other.

New logo of SketchUp

SketchUp 3D Basecamp 2012: Trimble SketchUp group had arranged an informative event in Boulder, CO. The first day was scheduled at the Boulder Theater where some good presentations were provided by the SketchUp management team, numerous plugin developers and a keynote presented by Bre Pettis of MakerBot. The first day start with the welcome messages by Mr. Aidan Chopra, the organizer of the event and SketchUp’s Product Evangelist. In an introductory speech John Bacus, the Product Manager for SketchUp introduced the audience with Trimble Sector vice president Bryn Fosburgh. In his speech Bryn offered some new development of SketchUp like release of SketchUp 2013, new version of 3D Warehouse containing WebGL technology, open-source code development for SketchUp, updated new extensible Ruby console with multi line editing features, launching of TestUp software to test and debug plugins for ruby code developers and other Ruby components, launching of a STL importer/exporter.

There were also two “Ruby 101″ half-day courses and three hours of beginner Ruby training which occurred at Hotel Boulderado. Some interesting presentations provided by Daniel Tal, Nick Sonder, Mark Carvalho, and teams from 3skeng, ARmedia and SightSpace 3D.

Tent Logo on white

The last day included ruby developer conference and design charrette in which 15 teams were entrusted the task for designing “A wired, wireless classroom for the next 50 years” and “A system for organizing portable devices”.

A New book on Architectural Design with SketchUp: Alex Schreyer wrote a new book on SketchUp highlighting various aspects of SketchUp for architects, designers and modelers. The book mainly highlights on component-based modeling, plugins, rendering and Ruby scripting. In this book Alex teaches on how to create forms to model in SketchUp by utilizing ruby script. Go through the to the companion site to get more details of the book.

Architectural Design with SketchUp

2012 Model Your Town Competition: The competition was organized by Google to support group of people from all over the world to make a 3D mock-ups of their towns and regions for Google Earth and Maps. The competition was concerned with Geo Modeling to create photo-textured models of real-life buildings which will be shown in Google Earth. Near about 212 team joined the competition and over 24,000 models were generated. The communities and local modelers meet collectively to reconstruct their towns and present the model to the Google warehouse. The participants utilized SketchUp in combination with Google Earth or even the Building Maker software to produce the 3D models. Gipuzkoa, Spain won the 2012 Model Your Town Competition. Pedro Domecq Aguirre alias "PeterG" created the models Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain which got highest votes. The model was represented in 3D in Google earth. The winning team got a prize money of $25,000 and out of which €18,400 was granted for a local school.

Trimble SketchUp

Go through the following link to get the detailed rules and regulations for participation.

Release of SketchUp 8 - Maintenance 5: SketchUp 8 - Maintenance 5 was just released. It is the ultimate maintenance release designated for SketchUp 8. It would be available in multiple languages which ranged from English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Korean, Simplified or Traditional Chinese, Russian, Dutch and Brazilian Portuguese. It is compatible with Pro and free versions.

Go through the following links for being updated with the alterations like the newest features, upgrading, and bug fixes in SketchUp

New logo of SketchUp

Launching of several new plugins for SketchUp

SKPEngineering: Renowned engineer & SketchUp professional Osvaldo Salas launched this engineering plugin for SketchUp. It is also known as “Section Properties Calculator”. It is available with limited free version and pro version. The Pro version costs $26 and contains several new functionalities alongwith a toolbar, and reporting. Section Properties Calculator is an engineering plug-in designed for SketchUp. By utilizing this plug-in the SketchUp users can measure mechanical properties of any closed planar face characterized in SketchUp.

The plug-in will be useful for structural designing of aluminum extrusions, steel, wood and light gauge metal steel members.


Free Download | Buy Pro

Version 1.4 of Sketchfab uploader plugin: This plugin will facilitate SketchUp users to position their models on upload like private and allocate a password (providing the user has at least a PRO account). The SketchUp users will be able to view their models on the web interactively in 3D. The plugin has come up with the following new features.

  • Get through restructured API along with private/password functionality
  • Integrate SketchUp source tag in JSON
  • Exports edges through default at the moment
  • Get rid of thumbnail upload (is not supportable any longer by API)
  • Improved string cleaning on upload

Downloadable link -

IRender nXt 5.0 for Trimble SketchUp: Render Plus Systems, Inc. launched IRender nXt version 5.0. IRender nXt 5.0 empowers SketchUp users & designers to enhance their rendering workflow and generate render-ready SketchUp models and make amendments and strong control over render settings rapidly. Materials, lights, reflections and scene settings are all accumulated in the SketchUp model with the intention that the model can be rendered as a three-dimensional image exclusive of redefining the scene subsequent to the 3D Export.

The new release contains some powerful innovative and updated features like IRender Ready Lights, Mirrors, and Trees/Rotate View at the time of Rendering/ Background-Layer Wizard etc. with which designers will get the ability to make nice images and videos of their work.

The SketchUp users can utilize the AccuRender Ray Trace engine straightforwardly from SketchUp. The customers who had already brought IRender nXt in the past 12 months, did not have to pay for using the plugin.

Downloadable link -

SightSpace: Limitless computing launched SightSpace Free-D, a free version of its exclusive SightSpace 3D model viewer containing Augmented Reality features. The new version is available in different languages like English, Spanish, French and Chinese.

SightSpace Free-D can be obtainable on the iTunes App Store. All of the existing features of SightSpace 3D can be accessed as in-app purchases and all are customizable together with a purchase for loading more models.

The free version lets the SketchUp users to load in up to 3 models similar to KMZ format (SketchUp free and Pro contain KMZ export). The users can also apply Augmented Reality feature for positioning a model on a particular background.

The SketchUp users can load up the application with some added functionalities like 3D Warehouse download, annotations, or bookmarks (99cents each), Augmented Reality, unlimited models, or advanced viewer ($4.99 each).

Downloadable link:

ArielVision: ArielVision is an inexpensive, user-friendly, renderer for Trimble SketchUp. This plugin contains an advanced rendering engine with improved interface that helps sketchup designers to make photorealistic renderings of their models and nicely rendered high resolution images, from right inside SketchUp.

ArielVision is easily compatible with SketchUp 7 or 8, Free or Pro. (Windows only). The plugin contains some useful features like reflection and transparency controls for getting pragmatic materials, HDRI skies and backgrounds, Material & Light wizard, Self glow, physically-based ray-cast lighting etc.

Get 30 days free trial

Podium Walker: Cadalog, Inc has launched Podium Walker, a CPU based photo-realistic, synchronized, animation plug-in for rapid photo-real visualization and video animations. It is well versed with SketchUp 7 or 8. The plugin contains a ray tracing engine & ambient occlusion which support SU Podium V2 reflections, bumps, lights and Podium Browser content.

The SketchUp users can easily generate keyframe animations and record their camera navigation. The users will be able to make animations straightforwardly from SketchUp scenes or from SU Animate paths. Podium Walker will export to video formats such as .mp4 and .avi.

Downloadable link

Besides we found lots of other new plugins for SketchUp like BuildEdge PLAN, parametric building modeler for SketchUp, Skelion, a solar energy design plugin for SketchUp, The SketchUpBIM plugin, model buildings and engineering structures inside SketchUp, Raylectron, a photorealistic rendering plugin for SketchUp.

So we found lots of enhancements with SketchUp in 2012. We hope Trimble will make the software more intuitive preserving the same capabilities, functions and services for the users and will see more free version of the 3D modeling software.

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