Monday, November 17, 2008 at 6:00 AM
It's my pleasure to announce the launch of Google SketchUp 7. If you've been putting off getting familiar with Google Earth's 3D modeling "other half", now's the time to do something about it. After all, nothing makes a nicer holiday gift for your spouse than a 3D model of your dwelling or dream dwelling. Well, almost nothing.
So what's new in SketchUp 7? Lots of stuff, but here are some of the highlights I think you'll find most interesting (take a look at the SketchUp website for a complete rundown).
- Edges now split other edges where they cross, automatically. Modeling in SketchUp is more intuitive now.
- The inferencing system (SketchUp's colored points and guide lines that help you draw in 3D) is clearer and more consistent than ever.
- When you need help using a tool, click the "?" icon at the bottom of your modeling window; the Instructor panel pops up to give you more information.
We've added three things to SketchUp 7 that make building photo-textured models (like the ones you see in Google Earth) infinitely easier:
- Make Unique Texture crops your textures to the face you're editing; this makes them smaller and your models lighter. Google Earth likes small models.
- Combine Textures "stitches" together adjacent textures to reduce their numbers and further reduce your file size.
- Edit Texture lets you open textures directly in the image editor of your choice to fiddle with them. When you're done, the texture you edited updates in SketchUp automatically – no more re-applying a whole building facade just because you need to clone out a parking meter.
The Google 3D Warehouse is where models live online. It's an enormous, searchable repository of stuff from modelers all over the world. Recently, we introduced Google Docs-style sharing and collaboration: now you can upload a model and specify who gets to use it – and what they can do with it. You can make it private, share it with a select group of invitees, or set it completely free. If you model a building and make it editable by anyone, there's a good chance it'll evolve over time. It's wiki editing for the 3D world.
As I mentioned above, there's tons of new stuff in SketchUp 7. Visit the website to learn all about it, and have fun.