Finally after months of back-room discussions on forums and in chat rooms, Google has announced the official release of SketchUp 7! With the release of SketchUp 7, LayOut is out of beta and has been upgraded to LayOut 2. There is a ton of new features – many of which were requested by the community (us included!). They also released a Pro version of Style Builder! Many of these features we’ve been waiting a long time for and have been making do with plugins or workarounds. The one I’ve been looking for, personally, is the vector support in LayOut 2 and the ability to explode a model and edit the lines, particularly for line weight. Kewl! 8)
It would seem that the results of our poll on the biggest “missing” features of SketchUp 6 was, perhaps, a bit too hopeful? Most users, myself included, felt that incorporated lighting/rendering was the biggest missing feature, which as you can tell, was not incorporated into SketchUp 7. That is a big leap forward so here’s hoping it gets into SketchUp 8! Thank you to all for voting! I am sending the results to Google. Maybe we’ll see some of the features we felt were missing from SketchUp 6 that are evidentally still missing in Sketchup 7, make it into future updates.
I hope to upgrade and start trying out the new features within the next week or two. I’ll keep you posted. Feel free to comment to this post any experiences you have using SketchUp 7 and LayOut 2 – we’d be really interested to hear from you!
Here is the list of the biggest features and changes in SketchUp 7 and LayOut 2 direct from the Google SketchUp 7 webpage:
Crossing lines break automatically
When you draw a line that crosses another line on the same plane, both
lines are split where they meet. Most folks think this is how SketchUp
should have worked from the start. Well, now it does. Say goodbye to
tracing over edges to make them split.
Scale without stretching
Dynamic Components are special: they’re programmed to know what they
are. When you use the Scale tool on a dynamic staircase, it
automatically adds or removes steps as you make it bigger or smaller.
No more stretching, no more distortion.
Configure objects with Component Options
Some Dynamic Components are hooked up to the new Component Options dialog
box. Instead of breaking out the modeling tools to make a change, just
choose options and watch the component reconfigure automatically. It’s
modeling without the mess.
Introducing the Interact tool
Clicking things is fun – especially with the new Interact tool. Some Dynamic
Components can perform animations, rotate, move, resize, change color
or move to a scene in your model when you click on them with Interact.
PRO Build components that know what they are
With Google SketchUp Pro 7, you can turn any component into a Dynamic
Component. Endowing your models with behaviors like animation and smart
scaling makes them easier for you and everyone else to use. If you can
use a spreadsheet, you can build Dynamic Components.
PRO Custom attributes
Need to keep track of metadata like Part Number, Weight or Cost in your
models? With SketchUp 7 Pro, you can tag your models with luscious
meaning and information to make them more useful and easier to carry
forward in your workflow.
Learn more about using Dynamic Components in Google SketchUp 7 »
SketchUp 7: Sharing and Collaboration
Search the 3D Warehouse
We’ve added Google 3D Warehouse Search to the Component Browser, which
gives you access to jillions of models (give or take a zillion) right
inside SketchUp. You can also save particular searches as Favorites,
making it easier to find stuff quickly later on.
Download models locally
You can save anything you find on the 3D Warehouse to your local drive,
making it easy to work even if you happen to be offline. Better yet,
you can download models to local collections up to a dozen at a time.
Take (and give) credit
Tag your models with your nickname so that people will know who built
them no matter where they end up. And since Credits automatically keeps
track of the stuff you use to build your own models, it’s easier than
ever to give credit to your collaborators
You can include all of your organization’s proprietary Styles,
Watermarks and components in a custom Template so that every member of
your team has everything they need, right from the start. In SketchUp
7, saving custom templates is a breeze.
PRO Generate reports
Use the metadata embedded in your components to create tabular reports.
In SketchUp Pro 7, you can export detailed lists of every named entity
and their corresponding attributes in either HTML or CSV format, for
use in your favorite spreadsheet application.
And that’s not all!
We improved the inferences to make them more visible and easier to use.
There’s a new area of the Status bar that tells you more about your
model. The VCB is now called Measurements, and you can change its
location on your screen. You can make textures unique, and choose to
edit them in the photo-editor of your choice. You can apply
anti-aliasing to textures to make them look better from a distance.
See the complete list of changes in SketchUp 7 »
PRO LayOut 2: Create professional presentation documents, fast
Work bigger with Vector Rendering
LayOut 2 makes it easier to work with complex models and larger paper sizes.
Switch to Vector Rendering when you want clean, resolution-independent
drawings. If you want to tweak the line weights a bit, you can
“explode” your model to vector edges and tweak it line by line.
Long live Measurements
You know the little text box in the lower-right corner of the SketchUp
modeling window? The one you use to enter dimensions, angles and other
stuff? Now you can key in numbers in LayOut just like you do in
SketchUp. Be accurate to your heart’s content.
Curves are fun again
Its boring name notwithstanding, LayOut 2′s new-and-improved Line tool
has superpowers. It’s simple and intuitive, and it incorporates
everything you already love about SketchUp’s inference system. Try it
and you’ll see — it’s like taking off your mittens to tie your shoes.
Double click any shape in LayOut 2 to edit its control points. Drag any
point onto an adjacent one to make the first one disappear. Hold down
Ctrl (Option on a Mac) to add a point or make a smooth curve pointy.
Reshape any curve fluidly by dragging its handles. Delicious, no?
Move, rotate and scale
We’ve completely redesigned LayOut’s geometric manipulators to be
easier to use and to stay out of your way. You can move, scale and
rotate anything on your page without changing tools, and the new
“heads-up” display helps with accuracy as you work.
Export to images
Need JPEGs or PNGs of your pages? LayOut 2 includes direct export to
these formats, which saves you from having to use another tool to
rasterize your PDFs. We suggest using your extra time to do something
for yourself. Maybe buy a hammock.
In-place Group edit
Use the Select tool to double click a group to edit its contents. You
can move, scale, rotate and copy/paste inside the group, then click
outside to go back to the rest of your file. No more ungrouping and
regrouping just to make a change.
For LayOut 2, we’ve fixed problems and added some new functionality for
text. You can now create both bounded (confined to a box) and unbounded
text, depending on your need. Text can be aligned to top, bottom, left,
right or center within its bounding box, both vertically and
Right-click on any placed SketchUp model and choose Explode. Depending
on how it was rendered, you’ll get vector lines, raster images, or a
combination of both. It’s the easiest way to get vector geometry to
edit directly, hands-down.
And that’s not all!
We made improvements to almost every corner of LayOut in its first
non-Beta release: rectangle pick targets, styles handling, text
editing, layer visibility, toolbars, presentation mode, overall
stability, view performance, memory management — you name it, we made
Learn more about LayOut 2 »
PRO Style Builder: Make your own sketchy-edge Styles for SketchUp
Turn models into sketches
Showing a hand-drawn sketch does two things: It abstracts detail so you
and your client can talk about what’s important, and it communicates
that your concept is open for discussion. With Style Builder, you can
create personalized sketchy Styles that tell the story of your design.
Brand your models
The Styles you create with Style Builder are completely unique. When you
apply them to your models, you’ll have computer models that look like
you made them. After thirty years of CAD, isn’t it about time
everybody’s drawings stopped looking the same?
Use any medium at all
Your Styles can be based on any mark you make, in any medium. Marker,
pencil, crayon, burnt stick, technical pen, ballpoint, gouache, smudgy
finger, pen and ink, highlighter… You get the picture – anything.