SketchUp is a 3D modeling program optimized for a broad range of applications such as architectural, civil, mechanical, film as well as video game design — and available in free as well as 'professional' versions.

The program highlights its ease of use,[1] and an online repository of model assemblies (e.g., windows, doors, automobiles, entourage, etc.) known as 3D Warehouse enables designers to locate, download, use and contribute free models. The program includes a drawing layout functionality, allows surface rendering in variable "styles," accommodates third-party "plug-in" programs enabling other capabilities (e.g., near photo realistic rendering) and enables placement of its models within Google Earth.

In early 2012, Google, the previous owner of Sketchup, announced it will sell the program to Trimble[2], a company best known for GPS location services[3] .


SketchUp was developed by startup company @Last Software of Boulder, Colorado, co-founded in 1999 by Brad Schell and Joe Esch.[4]

SketchUp debuted in August 2000 as a general purpose 3D content creation tool, with the tagline "3D for everyone" and envisioning a software program "that would allow design professionals to draw the way they want by emulating the feel and freedom of working with pen and paper in a simple and elegant interface, that would be fun to use and easy to learn, and that would be used by designers to play with their designs in a way that is not possible with traditional design software. It also has user friendly buttons to make it easier to use."[5]

The program won a Community Choice Award at its first tradeshow in 2000.[6] Key to its early success was a shorter learning period than other 3D tools[says who?].

Google acquired @Last Software on March 14, 2006,[7] attracted by @Last's Software's work developing a plugin for Google Earth.

On January 9, 2007, SketchUp 6 was released, featuring new tools as well as a beta version of Google SketchUp LayOut. LayOut includes 2D vector tools, as well as page layout tools intended to make it easier for professionals to create presentations without jumping to a third-party presentation program. Other features were added to allow the user to extrude and widen as well as the ability for a face to "follow" the cursor around an object.

On November 17, 2008, SketchUp 7 was released, featuring ease-of-use improvements, integration of SketchUp's Component Browser with Google 3D Warehouse, LayOut 2, dynamic components that respond appropriately to scaling and enhanced Ruby API performance. Support for Windows 2000 was also removed.[8]

On September 1, 2010, SketchUp 8 was released. Improvements include model geo-location with Google Maps, color imagery and more accurate terrain, match photo improvements, Building Maker integration, and scene thumbnails. Support for Mac OS X Tiger was dropped in this version.[8]

On April 26, 2012, Trimble announced it would buy SketchUp from Google.[9] The two companies will "collaborate on running and further developing SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse."[10]



A model of a car made in SketchUp

SketchUp holds a U.S. Patent 6,628,279 on its "Push/Pull" technology:

"System and method for three-dimensional modeling: A three-dimensional design and modeling environment allows users to draw the outlines, or perimeters, of objects in a two-dimensional manner, similar to pencil and paper, already familiar to them. The two-dimensional, planar faces created by a user can then be pushed and pulled by editing tools within the environment to easily and intuitively model three-dimensional volumes and geometries."

The patent was applied for in November 2000, and awarded in September 2003.

Google SketchUp


Many different 3D and 2D exporters are available in SketchUp for uses such as rendering. This model was made in SketchUp and rendered in Kerkythea.

On April 27, 2006, Google announced Google SketchUp, a freely-downloadable version of SketchUp. The free version is missing some functionality of SketchUp Pro, but includes integrated tools for uploading content to Google Earth and to the Google 3D Warehouse, a repository of models created in SketchUp. A new toolbox enables a viewer to walk, see things from a person's point of view, labels for models, a look around tool, and an "any polygon" shape tool.

The free version of Google Sketchup can export 3D to .dae and Google Earth's .kmz file format. The Pro version extends exporting support to include the .3ds, .dwg, .dxf, .fbx, .obj, .xsi, and .wrl file formats.

Google SketchUp can also save elevations or renderings called "screenshots" of the model as .bmp, .png, .jpg, .tif, with the Pro version also supporting .pdf, .eps, .epx, .dwg, and .dxf.

Neither is available in a native format for Linux, or Mac OS earlier than 10.5[11]. However, Sketchup v.8 use under Wine has been rated "Gold"[12].

GPS location information is always stored in the KMZ file.[13] The building designs themselves are saved in SKP.

SketchUp and Ruby

SketchUp 4 and later support software extensions known as Ruby Extensions or "Rubies" which are written in Ruby programming language and augment the capabilities of SketchUp by enabling specialized functionality. Developers may make their Rubies freely available on SketchUp Ruby Forum.[14] SketchUp also has a Ruby console, which is an environment where developers can experiment with Ruby commands and methods.[15] The free version of SketchUp also supports Ruby scripts, including workarounds for the free version's import and export limitations.

See also


  1. "What makes SketchUp great". Google SketchUp website. Google. March 25, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  2. Bacus, John. "A new home for SketchUp". Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  3. "Linking Positioning to Productivity". Trimble Navigation Limited. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  4. "@Last gets 'Googled'". March 15, 2006. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  5. "Sketchup to IMVU Exporter - beta". Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  6. "DigitalMediaNet Announces DigitalCAD Community Choice Award Winners". November 16, 2000. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  7. "SketchUpdate". Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named sysreq
  9. "SketchUpdate". Retrieved April 26, 2012. 
  10. "Google to sell SketchUp to Trimble". 3D World. Retrieved May 16, 2012. 
  11. 2012-05-23
  12. 2012-05-23
  13. "Can I export my SketchUp models to other programs or formats?". Google SketchUp Help. Google. February 19, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  14. "Google SketchUp Developers". Google Groups. Google. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  15. SketchUp Ruby Documentation Page 1.

External links

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