If you have an existing licence, you may have received notification that the latest version of Sketchup, is now available for download and perhaps you are deciding whether it is worth the risk.
First thing to note is that the free version of Sketchup, Sketchup Make has now been discontinued. I have to admit that this is kind of disappointing because Sketchup Make was the entry point for many professional users who were not quite sure if they wanted to invest in the software until they were satisfied that they could use it effectively. The 30 day trial is just not enough for most people so hopefully they look to extend the trial period of Sketchup Pro. You can still at this moment download Sketchup Make 2017 by going HERE.
If you are worried about upgrading and needing to cope with a host of major changes, you can relax. The changes and new features are minimal, with the majority being behind-the-scenes fixes for known issues with Sketchup 2017. Most of the newly implemented features are also user-friendly and quite easy to use.
I have found that most of the new features are targeted towards improving the workflow of people who want to use the software for architecture and building design, which is great for our industry but perhaps other industries may not appreciate the bias so much. Anyway, I have summarised these new features below:
The Section tool has had a bit of a makeover and is now easier to handle. When you go to place a section, you are prompted with a section name and 3 letter code which becomes visible at the 4 points of the section plane definition. This is a handy addition especially when you start using multiple section definitions in the one model file.
There is also now an automatic option to fill the section cut ends of objects, something that used only to be possible with the SectionCutFace plugin found on Sketchucation. Implementation of this is very smooth and the cut fill adjusts automatically when the section plane is moved. You can also change the colour of the fill in the model options of the Style palette to whatever you like. You can see in the screenshot below that I have changed my Section Fill and Lines to yellow by modifying these settings in the Style palette.
There are a few cosmetic things that have changed. The Entity Info palette is icon driven now rather than having tick box options, and there are additional properties you can assign to your components which enable more advanced reporting functionality. You can now optionally create a Rectangle using the centre as your start point and the Tape Measure tool can give you lengths and areas by simply hovering over your objects. Just little things like that. You now also get an option to increase the anti-aliasing (smoothness) of the modelling window which is a nice little addition. See below.
Trimble have also made some decent changes to Layout which are going to delight architects and building designers.
The main new feature is that you can now draw to a nominated scale on your Layout page. A new Scaled Drawing palette has been added and you can assign a particular scale to an existing group of lines, or you can start drawing from scratch at the scale of your choice. I used to use the dimension tool as a way to work around this problem but this is an excellent solution and implemented very cleverly to what was a significant issue in previous versions.
But it doesn’t stop there…! The biggest news is you can now import DWGs directly into Layout and use the Scaled Drawing function to reconfigure it to the size that you need. You can either import the DWG line data directly into Layout entities or import it like a model window which you can adjust as you would if it were importing a Sketchup model file. There is now no excuse to make the jump from Autocad to Sketchup because all of the time you spent drawing those 2d construction details in Autocad can now be moved over to Sketchup/Layout without minimal fuss!
All of the courses at sketchuptraining.com.au will be updated where necessary to capture the changes brought about by the new version; it has become a regular annual event. Also the new Sketchup Training School videos will be updated/or created with the latest version of Sketchup so that everyone who has done our courses can keep their knowledge up-to-date. All part of the service!