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Monday, September 7, 2009

Coming Soon in Google SketchUp...No more DWG import/export

For a company that pretty much gives away everything for free, I'm amused to see Google stick it to architects who use the free version of Google Sketchup. Sketchup is great because you can bring a model right into Revit and turn it into CDs. Such a terrible shame that Google would do this.

I was reading some of the comments on the post and it's funny that people are threatening to stop using Sketchup unless they keep it the same. Let's summarize. Google Sketchup is a free program. People are threatening to stop using the free program. Am I missing something ? Threatening to stop using a free program really doesn't have the effect you think it will. Oh well, time to start using Revit and it's conceptual massing feature I suppose. Who's going to now start paying $495 for SketchUp Pro when you have the same great features already built into Revit?


Coming Soon in Google SketchUp...

I don't often talk about new things we're building before we nudge them gently out the door, but this time I thought I'd provide some info to everyone. We've been working hard on our next release of Google SketchUp since late last year, and have cooked up a bunch of new stuff that I know you're going to like. But we're also doing a little housecleaning. More on that in a bit.

We originally designed the Free and Pro versions of Google SketchUp for pretty different groups of people. Google SketchUp was intended to be a tool that anyone in the world could learn to use. It contains every single modeling tool that we've ever developed without any restrictions on file size, rendering quality or performance. If you've got a 3D problem to solve, we want you to use Google SketchUp to solve it. That's why we give it away for free!

In addition to that, Google SketchUp Pro offers a collection of special tools to help Pros go about the daily business of design, visualization and client communication. This means all of our presentation, analysis and documentation tools along with an industrial strength set of file translators to get models in and out of the myriad of tools in a professional's workflow. Along with all those great modeling tools.

We originally assumed that our free Google SketchUp users would never really need to export models into other tools. As it turned out, folks wanted to use Google SketchUp models in all kinds of crazy ways. Things that we could never have imagined! We decided that Google SketchUp users should be able to export their models into some easy-to-read and fundamentally hackable file format to make this easier. Your models should be yours to do with as you see fit.

Our pick for that new format is COLLADA, a 3D model exchange format that is open, extensible and public. We've been using COLLADA internally for some time now for 3D buildings in Google Earth, and there's a lot to like about it. It's easy to read, easy to write, and easy to extend for new features. I hope you'll like it, too.

In our next release, we're going to make COLLADA an official first-class format for all modelers. You'll be able to import and export COLLADA models, as well as COLLADA models wrapped up in the KMZ format for Google Earth, with any version of SketchUp.

Unfortunately, this improvement won't come without a cost. Import/export capability is tough for us to maintain and tough for you to use effectively. There are just so many fiddly little settings on both sides of a file exchange that it is always a challenge to get everything working just right. Looking forward, we decided to make a trade-off.

In the next release of Google SketchUp, our free modeler, we've decided to remove the dwg/dxf importers. We know how important these importers are to our professional customers, especially those who depend on CAD products in their daily work. And for that reason we'll focus our attention on supporting them in Google SketchUp Pro, where we really understand all the nuances of your workflow and where we can provide professional support to troubleshoot your issues.

I hope you'll agree with our decision once you've had a chance to play with COLLADA, but I realize that making a change like this unannounced might disrupt projects you've already got under way. That's why I'm giving you some advanced notice so you can prepare for the change.

Our next version will be ready soon, and it will be a free upgrade if you've got a full Google SketchUp Pro 7 license (if you've got a license for an earlier version of Pro, you can still upgrade to the new version for $95). We want you to try it without any fear that our changes will upset your ongoing projects. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by many of the changes we've made. For those of you who depend on the importers we plan to remove, we'll be providing an optional download that enables them again. But remember! This installer will only be available for a limited time, and it will not be supported at all in our next major release.

If you aren't yet a Pro user and you're using SketchUp in your daily work, I hope you'll consider upgrading to Google SketchUp Pro. Just in case you're still on the fence about this, we'll give you $100 USD off a single-user license if you purchase before September 30, 2009 (enter promo code S7MPTR in our online store).

Thanks for your attention, and I look forward to sharing the next version of Google SketchUp with all of you soon!

Original: Official Google SketchUp Blog: Coming Soon in Google SketchUp


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