From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
SketchUp is a 3D modelling program designed for professional architects, civil engineers, filmmakers, game developers, and related professions. It was designed to be intuitive, fun and flexible allowing designers to play with their designs, unlike most other 3D CAD software. It is marketed as an easy-to-use conceptual tool with a simple interface.
Some of its key features include:
A smart drawing cursor (inference) system that allows users to draw 3D objects using a 2D screen and mouse.
Simple massing study capability via "push-pull".
An interactive Heliodon, or sun angle simulator.
A fast, easy way to animate camera and sun movements.
Models can be individually colored with an assortment of solid colors, textures and materials.
SketchUp was developed by startup company @Last Software, Boulder, Colorado which was formed in 1999. SketchUp was first released in August 2000 as a general purpose 3D content creation tool. It won a Community Choice Award at its first tradeshow in 2000 (A/E/C SYSTEMS Fall 2000). It quickly found a market in architecture and building design industries, however, and was revised to suit the needs of working professionals. The key to its early success was in its shallow learning curve, allowing for a shorter learning period than other commercially available 3D tools.
The newest version, SketchUp 5 possesses options to allow the user to extrude and widen as well as the ability for a face to "follow" the cursor around an object.
On March 14, 2006, Google acquired @Last Software, attracted by their plugin for Google Earth.
One add-on allows the user to export the 3D model as a .kmz file which can then be opened in Google Earth. This allows accurate geo-referencing of SketchUp models and accurate placement of those models in Google Earth. It also allows SketchUp to import modeling context (photographic + terrain model) from Google Earth for modeling reference.