Google Sketchup 8 review
New and deeper integration with Google’s online technologies add to SketchUp’s existing strengths, but it’s thin pickings for professional users
Review Date: 8 Dec 2010
Reviewed By: Tom Arah
Price when reviewed: Free
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Google SketchUp 8 Pro
That’s about it for the free Google SketchUp, but users wanting more power can turn to Google SketchUp 8 Pro (US$495). The main advantage of the commercial release is that it goes beyond bitmap and KMZ/DAE output to offer a much wider range of 2D and 3D export options such as EPS, PDF, 3DS, OBJ and FBX. Support has been further extended in this latest release to include the popular DWG/DXF 2010 format.
Pro takes further advantage of the program’s volumetric handling to offer five new tools – Union, Intersect, Subtract, Trim and Split – for creatively combining solid objects. Such subtractive and additive modelling can certainly make life easier, but SketchUp’s system only works with groups and components with no holes and no overlaps. It’s also worth pointing out that users of the free version can achieve the same results if they can to get to grips with the existing Intersect with Model command.
SketchUp Pro also includes two important support applications for handling presentation: Style Builder, where you control the hand-drawn styles that helped give the program its name; and LayOut, where you can place, orientate and annotate your models to produce advanced 2D plans and drawings. Disappointingly, Style Builder is unchanged and the new editing capabilities in LayOut 3, such as support for precision moving, angular dimensions and customisable dashed line styles, fall into the tweaks category.
The ability to export LayOut 3 drawings to the DXF/DWG format for ongoing workflows is more useful and, along with the new solid tools, is just about enough to justify the upgrade price (US$95). However, SketchUp 8 Pro and LayOut 3 add little to previous releases and raise questions about Google’s commitment to SketchUp’s original user-base and those new users who want to move beyond geo-modelling.
For the average user, however, there’s little to complain about. SketchUp has always offered exceptional 3D creativity and version 8’s deeper and wider integration with Google’s online technologies – Earth/Maps, Street View, 3D Warehouse and now Building Maker – make it more powerful than ever. And the fact that it’s still completely free doesn’t do it any harm either.
Author: Tom Arah
- Google ditches OpenSSL in Chrome
- Apple and Swatch to buddy up for iWatch release
- StubHub fraud: how hackers stole $1m using tickets
- Mobile success boosts Facebook's profit by 138%
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Unlock your Moto X with a "tattoo"
- Samsung continues Tizen OS push with Galaxy Gear "upgrade"
- Killing the Surface Mini hit revenues, Microsoft reveals
- How to report website overblocking and miscategorisation to ISPs
- iPad sales stall as owners "too happy to upgrade"
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone
- Meet the robots helping teach children
- PaperLater: would you pay to print the internet?
- Amazon vs Kobo: how much to make the ebook switch?
- Phishing emails: how I nearly got caught out
- Hacking the Internet of Things: from smart cars to toilets
- BlackBerry Passport release date, specs, features, and rumours: when is the new BlackBerry coming out?
- What's changing in the computing curriculum
- Teaching kids to code
- Best free translation apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone
- Five worst SMB security threats... and how to solve them
- Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows 8 – what's the best compact tablet OS?
- The 12 best tablets of 2014: what’s the best tablet on the market?
- How to free up hard disk space
- Driverless cars: could your next car be driven by a robot?
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?