Google recently announced SketchUp 8, the latest version of the popular 3D modeling application originally developed by @Last Software and acquired by Google in 2006. Since the search giant acquired the Colorado developer the major releases of SketchUp have come at a slower pace, but not without some major feature additions and improvements. Version 8 of SketchUp is no different.
What’s Really Hot in SketchUp 8
For quite awhile now modeling pros have talked up SketchUp’s famed ease-of-use but often criticized its lack of being a true solids modeler. New in SketchUp 8 are Solid Tools, only available in the Pro version. We are not sure yet how the company added “true solids”….whether they wrote their own modeling kernel or have incorporated a third-party modeling engine.
The Solid Tools in SketchUp 8 Pro will allow faster and more capable modeling, featuring union intersects, deletes, adds, subtracts, splits and trims. There is a video of some of these tools in action here.
Also very powerful in the pro version are several features aimed at helping modeling be faster and more precise, integrating with other professional tools and working with angles. In Pro you now have precise move options in LayOut so you can create custom snap points. Pro also features the latest AutoCAD DWG/DXF 2010 formats for import/export. This extends to LayOut 3 where you can export your drawings from LayOut 3 into other programs like AutoCAD or DWG/DXF capable CAD systems.
There are several new features that all SketchUp users will find important right away. Back Edges turns obscured edges into dashed lines and forms an alternative to X-Ray view mode. SketchUp 8 now has Push/Pull pre-selected faces, which helps you confirm the face you are affecting. Entity Info now displays volume data and reports it in SketchUp Pro. And finally another Pro features is that Dashed Lines are fully configurable in LayOut 3 in the Pro version.
Other Key Features
Maps have now been built right into SketchUp 8, making geo-location based information easy to incorporate. This will be immensely useful to urban designers and architects who want to work with accurate site and map data with their designs. And aerial imagery is now in color in included 3D terrain data.
Match Photo has had some minor improvements to make it easier to generate models from tracing photos imported into SketchUp.
SketchUp 8 has a new compliment in Google’s Building Maker tool. Building Maker is a tool for modeling buildings and adding them to Google Earth. You select a city in the world, build your model from photos Google provides, and then save your building for review for inclusion in Google Earth.
There are several new videos of the new Google SketchUp 8. Visit this page to find out more information.