Trimble SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp) is a 3D modelling tool to create open format 3D Content for any compatible site or application, especially Earth and the 3D Warehouse. It was launched in 2000 but became free when Google took over in 2006. In April 2012, Google announced that they will sell SketchUp to Trimble, a company best known for GPS location services.

SketchUp is the upload and download, or input and output tool for the 3D Warehouse.

Download Edit

Download SketchUp from Trimble for Mac OS X and Windows. System requirements can be found here.

Export formats Edit

Information on SketchUp exports can be found here.

Pro Version Edit

Trimble & co. promote the SketchUp Pro Version heavily, giving the SketchUp free version a mildly controversial "personal use only" license. The Pro version provides high res presentation, more export formats, features, and professional support.

Building Edit

Align the (X, Y, Z) axes to your subject, which should be "cornered into" the axes.

Build for good display rendering performance with "low poly" techniques.

  • Use as few faces as possible.
  • Ensure faces are "outward" using "View > Face Style > Monochrome", and to reverse a face use "Right click select, Reverse Faces".
  • Use components for repeated features: Select geometry (location), then "Edit > Make Component".
  • Delete faces that are not visible and erase extra lines.
  • If you see flickering, eliminate Z-Fighting by deleting excess faces and reducing the total number of faces.
  • Clean up using Purge Unused.

Networking Edit

SketchUp exports 3D Models as KMZ files containing industry standard COLLADA models. These are powerful formats with broad interoperability for other applications and tools beyond Google and Trimble.

Programming Edit

SketchUp can be extended using simple little Ruby scripts.

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