In our start-up days at @Last Software, one of our team mottos was ‘3D for the Rest of Us.’ The ‘rest of us,’ were professionals who didn’t want -- or couldn’t afford -- complicated, confusing CAD. SketchUp was generously priced, easy to learn 3D modeling. It wasn’t free, and at the time, it wasn’t really meant to be for everybody.
Fast forward sixteen years and we have extended our founding vision of simple, easy-to-use 3D modeling to everyone. Today, we’re proud to introduce SketchUp Free, the easiest way to draw in 3D… now in a web browser.
The real magic of this new product is that it’s the same SketchUp you already know and love: the same inferencing engine, the same rendering pipeline, the same simple-yet-powerful capability. And since SketchUp Free runs in a web browser, you can use it anytime, on any Internet-connected laptop, no matter which operating system you’re on. (Yes, even on Linux!)
In SketchUp Free, we’ve honed in on core tools, so that novices can learn unencumbered by excessive menus and dialogs. (Even SketchUp has collected a few of those over the years).
So without drop-downs and utility trays, where is everything you need to draw? Let’s take a closer look at SketchUp Free…
The SketchUp Free Toolbar lives on the left side of the modeling window; click in to a tool family to find the tool you need. Arc tools live together, polygon tools live together, camera tools together… you get the point. As soon as you start drawing, the fly-out icons disappear until you call them up again. Simple, right?
SketchUp’s inference locking and default keyboard shortcuts work too. And you won’t have to look far for the familiar status and measurements bar.
When you need to inspect, organize, and style your models, look to the right-oriented Panels for friendly SketchUp utilities. Get 3D Warehouse models from the Components panel, or configure and save scenes from the Views panel.
We have also introduced a new utility for Display Settings. Here, we’ve centralized into one place control for geometry visibility, section planes and cuts, shadows, and fog. Click around: we bet you’ll find some SketchUp magic you never knew existed.
What’s a web app without a hamburger menu? Expand the Home Menu to manage your project: select a template, set unit preferences, add a location for your model, or share it on 3D Warehouse.
This menu is also where you can tap into Trimble Connect. When you click “Save” in SketchUp Free, your model will automatically sync to Trimble Connect. (You can also download your model as a .SKP or .STL file). Using Connect to host your projects, you’ll find that your SketchUp files are accessible and up-to-date in any of our applications: desktop, web, mobile, and mixed reality too. Annnnd, Connect projects can be shared via the Web with access control: that means people can view your models without downloading and installing SketchUp.
Bringing our web modeler out of beta is just the beginning for SketchUp Free. Aside from the benefit of always using the fastest, most stable build of our software, you’ll probably notice new features and improvements to SketchUp Free on an ongoing basis. So we hope you’ll (continue to) give us feedback on our web modeler. We’re building out this software to be the most widely-used modeling app in the world… SketchUp is, after all, 3D for everyone.