Secure and Save before time runs out with Bitdefender Exclusive Clearance Offer! Get Bitdefender Total Security 2018 Now!
Google Sketchup Pro 7
Google’s 3D sketching software SketchUp offers a great way to lay out an initial design for a 3D scene or artwork.
- Dynamic Components use and authoring, Interact tool, texture enhancements, Layout 2, Style Builder, custom metadata and report generator, free for standard version.
- Price has jumped for Pro version, limited animation, screen becomes cluttered easily.
Google Sketchup Pro recently jumped in price, but while it may not be quite the bargain it once was — and while some of its functions are clearly more for CAD than digital content-creation — there’s still much here for 2D and 3D artists.
Price$ 495.00 (AUD)
Google’s 3D sketching software SketchUp offers a great way to lay out an initial design for a 3D scene or artwork. Illustrators and digital artists can use the free version for occasional work, then take their sketches into Photoshop and Illustrator to create artwork. Animators and 3D artists — and illustrators who use it regularly – should look to the paid-for Pro version, which offers 3D output to professional 3D suites, project-management tools and client-presentation functions.
3D geometry is created easily, by selecting faces and using a ‘push/pull’ tool for extruding surfaces. It works like a simplified version of Carrara’s Dynamic Extrusion tool, and is as useful for rapidly creating objects. Various rendering styles are available, from rough sketches to a blue-pencil look, while there’s also enhanced support for Dynamic Components.
These can be used to create objects that are ‘aware’ of their purpose. This can be seen when scaling a staircase or stack of boxes – if the object uses dynamic components, the individual blocks that make up the stairs or boxes will increase in height or dimension, keeping their form rather than becoming distorted.
This effect is possible because to change the individual components, you have to adjust their attributes directly. Dynamic Components can be used in scenes in the free version of SketchUp, but you’ll need the Pro version to create them.
The Components Attribute dialog makes this task straightforward: a menu of predefined and custom attributes can be added either individually or as a group to your components. Within the dialog, you can allocate values to attributes, or insert formulas using the spreadsheet-style selection menu.
In fact, the whole dynamic component workflow is a bit like using a spreadsheet. This is welcome, if not unique to Sketchup – something similar to this intelligent design can be seen in Amapi Pro, but the use of formulas to control position, rotation and scaling makes it possible to animate the dynamic geometry.
Such animation can be activated using the new Interact tool, which takes advantage of behaviours applied in the Dynamic Component dialog. It’s not full timeline animation, but it’s useful. Textures have been enhanced too, and can now be tied to Dynamic Components, so that they don’t distort when geometries are scaled.
A Combine Textures feature can create a single texture from several co-planar faces, removing edges between faces and so reducing overall polygon counts. Textures can be set to be anti-aliased and swapped out for smaller versions at different viewing sizes. This produces a smoother look, and also uses less memory.
Sketchup Pro 7 introduces custom metadata, so that you can add part numbers and the cost of the real-world materials your objects represent. There’s an export facility for such data, to create spreadsheet reports for quantities and materials tracking. This is useful for product and building design, rather than Digital Arts readers.
Also shipping with Pro, the Layout 2 presentation application offers new drawing, manipulation and editing tools, and the ability to set different edit and output quality, for working on high-detail models without sacrificing performance. You can now import from 3D Warehouse’s repository of .SKP models directly into SketchUp, which was especially helpful after the application crashed when importing a dynamic door from the desktop into an older model.
The Pro version recently jumped in price, but while it may not be quite the bargain it once was – and while some of its functions are clearly more for CAD than digital content-creation – there’s still much here for 2D and 3D artists.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P20 Pro review: See it and believe the hype
- 2 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 3 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Peak performance from a home entertainment heavyweight
- 4 Sony Xperia XA2 review: One last hurrah for OmniBalance
- 5 Fitbit Versa review: New look, better price, same limits
Latest News Articles
- Opinion: Is Microsoft already killing off Windows 7?
- Google bring SMS to PCs with Android Messages for Desktop
- WWDC 2018: Apple gives us a first look at an all-new Mac App Store
- Budget 2018: Government seeks to boost Australian AI capabilities
- Dropbox Rolls Out New AdminX Tools for Data Management
PCW Evaluation Team
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
- Huawei P20 Pro review: See it and believe the hype
- Computex 2018: Nvidia launches new AI-focused hardware and software platforms
- Computex 2018: Everything you missed at Asia's biggest tech tradeshow
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?