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SketchUp is a program for modeling relatively simple three-dimensional objects – buildings, furniture, interior. In March 2006, it was acquired by Google along with a small firm @Last Software. In April 2012, Google sold SketchUp to Trimble Navigation, the amount of the deal was not disclosed. There are two versions of the program – free for non-commercial use, limited in functionality to SketchUp Make (primarily with respect to exporting to other formats), and paid SketchUp Pro.
Compared with many popular packages, this one has a number of features, which are positioned by its authors as advantages.
The main feature is the almost complete absence of preset windows. All geometric characteristics during or immediately after the instrument expires are set from the keyboard in the Value Control Box field (parameter control field), which is located in the lower right corner of the workspace, to the right of the Measurements label (measurement panel).
Another key feature is the Push / Pull tool (Pull / Push), which allows any plane to be pushed to the side, creating new side walls as it moves. This tool is claimed to be patented. You can move the plane along a predetermined curve, for this there is a special tool Follow Me (“Keeping”).
You can also note the following features:
Plugin support for export, visualization, creation of physical effects (rotation, movement, interaction of the created objects among themselves, etc.)
Support for creating macros in Ruby language and calling them from the menu. Macros can automate repetitive actions. The function of downloading and using numerous ready-made macros provided by other users is available.
Support for creating “components” – model elements that can be created, then used many times, and then edited – and changes made to the component will be reflected in all the places where it is used.
Library of components (models), materials and styles of the working area, which can be replenished with your own elements or downloaded from the Internet.
A tool for viewing the sectional model and the ability to add callouts to the model with the designation of visible dimensions in the style of drawings
Ability to work with layers
The ability to create dynamic objects (for example: opening the cabinet door by clicking the pointer)
The ability to build sections of objects
Ability to work with scenes (the scene includes the camera position and drawing mode), and animate transitions from scene to scene
Support for creating models of real objects and buildings
Indication of actual physical dimensions, in meters or inches
Mode of inspection of the model “from the first person”, with control as in the corresponding 3D-games
It is possible to set geographically reliable shadows in accordance with the given latitude, longitude, time of day and year.
Google Earth Integration
The ability to add to the model the surface of the earth and adjust its shape – the landscape
SketchUp projects are saved in * .skp format. It also supports the import and export of various formats of two-dimensional raster and three-dimensional graphics, in particular: * .3ds, * .dwg, * .ddf; * .jpg, * .png, * .bmp, * .psd, * .obj.
Importing raster graphics has several possibilities: inserting an image as a separate object, as a texture and as a basis for restoring a three-dimensional object from a photo. Export to * .jpg format is carried out as a snapshot from the working area of the application window.
Additionally installed plugins allow you to export to the formats * .mxs, * .atl, * .dae, * .b3d, etc. The subsequent editing of the exported file in the corresponding applications can be carried out without any restrictions.
V-Ray for SketchUp plugin allows you to visualize three-dimensional scenes.