Google SketchUp is the first FREE (along with a Pro/paid version) and open source software to design professional 3D and 2D models with ease simplicity. It’s major advantage is that the learning curve of Google SketchUp is very small and most users can learn how to operate the program within hours of first using. That means YOU can learn RIGHT NOW and start designing within a days time! Whoa!
Google SketchUp is open source, meaning that it is a platform is open for Rubyscript programers to develop plugins for this software. Allowing it to have versatility seen by no other design program. With the open source comes an immense amount of plugins available for the software. The possibilities are endless!
The newest version is Google SketchUp 8 which offers some new features:
- Add Location Button – this is a replacement of the old get current view button. This feature gets an accurate Google Map clip into your model in color.
- Google Building Maker Button – this allows you to bring models started in Google Building Maker directly into SketchUp 8. And helps you create models of existing buildings.
- Solid Tools – Once you create a solid object that is water tight, you can calculate volumes by clicking the entity tool. The Solid tools allow you to manipulate objects by using the set of tools provided. Including The Union Tool, The Intersect Tool, The Split Tool, The Trim Tool and the Outer Shell Tool. (This Feature is Only Available on Google SketchUp 8 Pr0.
- Layout 3 – Layout 3 comes with new features to assist in creating layouts. Some of these features include: Precise Move, Custom Line Styles, Angular Dimensions and CAD Export.
The major drawback of Google SketchUp 8 is that it no longer supports the AutoCAD Import function for the free version. Also there are many plugins, some reviewed on this site, that no longer support SketchUp 8. But developers are working hard to update this plugins.