SketchUp - Look Back in 2013

Natasha Sikdar - Content Writer

SketchUp is the most effective software for creating a 3D model in the most simplified and error free manner. In an effort to simplify the entire process of 3D modeling continuous up-gradation and enhancement of the software are crucial. In 2013, various plug-ins and software have been introduced to make the application of SketchUp smooth and even more user friendly.

In the past one year a range of efforts have been made keeping in view the convenience of SketchUp users. In the month of January 2013, PolicyPak Software, desktop management and Group Policy released a management Pak for Google Sketchup which allows the IT admins to enforce an “Auto-Save” feature that helps the users to protect their unsaved works from losing. In the same month, The University of Utah's iSTAR educational program was organized at Universal's theme parks for students with autism to create 3-D models of their own individual design. The program uses Trimble's SketchUp to check the childs spatial-visual strengths. Certified SketchUp instructor and designer for Universal Creative, Steve Gross, mentored children on how he used SketchUp to design attractions like Transformers and the amazing world of Harry Potter. The SketchUp design program proved to be easy to learn and use for these students and helped in enhancing their confidence and interacting skills.

For an improved user experience of rendering with Shaderlight, version 2.4 of the leading interactive and intuitive rendering plug-in to SketchUp was also launched which was available to existing Shaderlight v2 customers for free. This release made rendering fast and efficient and also reduced memory usage up to 90%. On January 24, 2013 at the University of Iowa Main Library, Public Digital Humanities for Lunch (PDH4L) offered users a free tour of 3D modeling software. Computers were offered to interested participants. Cory Taylor refers Trimble SketchUp as intuitive 3-D modeling software which is remarkably easy to use and has a very short learning curve. PDH4L talks continued throughout 2013 to focus on the nature and role of public digital humanities in contemporary culture.

SketchUp - Look Back in 2013

SketchUp gained a new status with its application in crime scene reconstruction. In the month of February, SketchUp was used in an absolutely different domain by Albert Schade, a detective in the Forensic Services Unit for the Berks County District Attorney’s Office and the mind behind a website that details workflows for modeling crime scenes in 3D, Crime Scene Interactive. SketchUp aids to model real measurements easily and has the ability to add on features via Ruby along with a wide range of import/export options. As per Schade, SketchUp is highly useful in reconstructing the crime before the court, through the varied data collected at the crime scene.

Keeping the popularity of SketchUp in mind, Free Google SketchUp Tutorials were offered throughout the year. Google SketchUp had offered all of the support options in the tutorial like video tutorials, tips and tricks, a journal, and an assist touch. To cater to the growing user base, Mansycom Consultants, a Yash Birla Group company, partnered with Google to market and distribute 'Google SketchUp Pro' in India. "Learning SketchUp Tutorial", a comprehensive training guide to learn and master this 3d modeling program was released Infinite Skills Inc. in February. Scott Onstott, the author of the course is a design consultant. The course was designed and developed to assist beginners as well as experienced users to maximize the capabilities of the program and included various topics like designing architectural models, mastering surfaces and edges, and covering final publishing, presentation, color control, and importing & exporting procedures.

eDrawings Publisher SketchUp Google was also presented in March. The downloadable free eDrawings for Google SketchUp are available for System with Google SketchUp version 5.0 (Free/ Professional) or Google SketchUp version 6.0 (Free/ Professional).

SketchUp - Look Back in 2013

New Plugin, Canvas v1.0.6 Beta, was released by Renderiza (Rafael Rivera) in 2013. Easy to activate, deactivate and use, this canvas can interactively paint groups and components in a spray type manner.

A special modeling party in Eindhoven was organized by the SketchUp Pro Super Modelers in May. Sponsored by Design8 the event was ideal for amateur as well as experienced users as there were crash course SketchUp for beginners and a special modeling event for the more experienced SketchUp user. Elaborate explanation of the various tools of SketchUp and tips & tricks to speed up modeling process were provided by highly experienced SketchUp users. Design8 was present with 3D Printer to show how to make a tangible plastic object from a 3D SketchUp model. 3D building modeling for Google Earth was also discussed in the workshop to enhance the knowledge of experienced SketchUp users.

Improved LumenRT 4.1 Studio, which added extended capabilities for large MicroStation models and Revit export was also introduced in this month. The new LumenRT 4.1 Studio included improved Revit export with more complete textures, better Mac performance, enhanced support for exporting larger Bentley MicroStation models, new animated water materials like ocean, sea, lake, pond and various other features.

The month of May, 2013 also witnessed the release of the new SketchUp plugin by SketchUcation. Through SketchUcation plugin store, it is easier to find, download, install and manage plugins which are difficult to find.

The much awaited version of 3D modeling platform, SketchUp 2013 was introduced by Trimble. This version features an Extension Warehouse for add-on tools. This release included varied improvements in SketchUp Pro's 2D documentation capabilities, including enhanced vector drawing tools, faster rendering and zooming, and customizable hatching styles. These updates made SketchUp Pro powerful, precise and customizable for detailing, dimensioning and organizing models in professional documents.

SketchUp - Look Back in 2013

In July, Sefaira Concept released new plugin compatible with sketchup 2013. This made uploading SketchUp 2013 flies directly to Concept and use of the Sefaira SketchUp Plugin with SketchUp 2013 easy. The Sefaira Concept SketchUp Plugin helps create Concept-ready SketchUp models quickly and allows visualizing how Concept will interpret the model etc.

From 22nd to 26th July, Blue Marble Geographics ( presented a conference on the COAST Tool at the 2013 MAPPS Summer Conference. Blue Marble's geospatial data manipulation, visualization and conversion solutions are used worldwide by thousands of GIS analysts at software, civil engineering, oil and gas, mining, technology companies, surveying, as well as governmental and university organizations.

In August, Abvent introduced us to Artlantis 5 with new features which is claimed to be the latest version of the fastest, stand-alone 3D and photo-realistic rendering application created especially for designers and architects. The application includes various innovative features like a completely redesigned interface; a new Artlantis Media catalog and InApp store; and a free iVisit 3D option for panoramas and VR objects. Artlantis 5 also optimizes the display of the project and provides a larger preview size.

In the same month, RaySupreme v1.1 was released for 3D modeling and rendering. It is an enhanced version of BrainDistrict's 3D software which includes new technology (text-to-3D) to enable users to create 3D objects and scenes by typing texts in the keyboards. The new version of the software includes up to 10 new modeling tools, viewport background references, true point and spot lights etc and is available for Mac OS X, Windows 7/8 and Linux.

SketchUp author Bonnie Roskes introduced a comprehensive guidebook for teaching in 3D, SketchUp 2013 Hands-On: Student Coursebook. The book covers all the tools and features of SketchUp with illustrations and step-by-step instructions. The book also provides an add-on guide to 35 popular SketchUp extensions.

E-on Software, creators of the leading solutions for Digital Nature, unveiled Plant Factory in the same month. Plant Factory has a unique technology for creating and rendering top quality 3D plants and is developed for the CG, SFX, Architecture and Gaming communities. It offers customized solutions to the users and is competent to create any kind of vegetation with high end detailing and animate all plant aspects by using precise wind and breeze algorithms, render stills and animations for compositing jobs as well as for billboards, generate procedural geometry and materials of unlimited detail etc.

SketchUp - Look Back in 2013

In October, final releases of LightWave 11.6 software for 3D modeling, capturing, retargeting, animation, and rendering and NevronMotion plug-in were made available. NevronMotion plug-in uses the Microsoft Kinect camera to capture motion in real time for retargeting to 3D or live-performance characters.

With continuous and consistent up-gradations and newer versions, SketchUp has turned into the most reliable 3D program for designers, engineers, architects and others as it is widely used in varied domains. In this year, 2014, we anticipate receiving even advanced programs for simplified and efficient application of the software.