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SketchUp Hooks Up With Google Earth

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the happy-couple dept.

Software 139

zmarties writes "Having recently bought the company and 3d design product SketchUp, Google has now taken the next step of releasing a free personal version of the SketchUp software. Currently available for Windows XP, with a Mac version 'coming soon', the program allows for simple drag and drop design of 3d models - which amongst other uses can then be displayed in Google Earth. The pro version remains available for commercial use, with lots more features. Google are also introducing 3D Warehouse, designed as a repository for 3d models created in the program. The models can be viewed in Google Earth via a network link, so you can see geolocated models as you browse the world, rather than having to explicitly download them. Google has pre-populated the warehouse with a number of models which range from complete complex buildings, such as the Taj Mahal, through to individual design elements such as traffic lights and furniture."

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Vs. SketchUp Pro (4, Interesting)

chroma (33185) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213049)

Unfortunately, the pro version offers one critical feature that the free version doesn't:
  • Access to the following 3D export formats: DWG, DXF, 3DS, OBJ, XSI, VRML and FBX.
If you're going to have something manufactured from a SketchUp design, you'll need to be able to export in a format that can be read by something other than SketchUp. I'll save you the trouble of looking it up: the Pro version is $495.00 for both Windows and Mac. You can get a free trial [sketchup.com] of the pro version, though.

Re:Vs. SketchUp Pro (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213134)

That was one of the first annoying things I saw - the skp format is a nice binary format - probably nice and proprietary. In other words, look at Sketchup - but don't touch if you want access to your data.

Re:Vs. SketchUp Pro (4, Informative)

eMartin (210973) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214057)

"In other words, look at Sketchup - but don't touch if you want access to your data."

Do you do 3D work?

Some of us do. These days, we mostly "access" our data with 3D software. Not text editors. *Most* 3D programs use proprietary formats to store data specific to their own features.

With that said, Sketchup offers several import and export options to other standard 3D formats, and can be extended with plugins to support more.

Re:Vs. SketchUp Pro (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214566)

No, the PRO version has the ability to export to several standard formats. The free personal version does not.

Of course, almost anyone using it for "personal use" is going to be fine with just being able to access it in sketchup. Heck, most people using for personal use it won't have access to software that can read the other formats, which by themselves generally start at around $300 or so. The OP is complaining that people aren't giving their work out for free (as in beer or speech) to companies that are willing to fork out the money for programs that can read .dwg (AutoCAD native format; the LT [Light] version starts @ $899 IIRC), .3ds (Autodesk 3DS MAX format, don't remember the cost) and other formats that also require expensive software.

Sketchup is a toy and a tool both. As a toy, it can be used to create incredible looking models that can be shown off to friends via printing and screencapturing. This does not require coversion to other formats. As a tool, it can be wonderful for allowing a person to change a structure on the fly to match their requirements, and is (potentially) worth the money they spend on it.

Incidentally, I am a draftsman/designer by trade, and while I do think that the software is in general overpriced, the market is not exactly a monopoly anymore. If the price for software is too high, the items will simply not sell. Also, Sketchup is a great program for 3d modeling of some types of objects, but for 3d models of structures it is not the best tool for the job. The simplest and most useful software for that (that I have used) is Chief Architect, by ART Inc; Chief sells for $1295 for the cheap version (that lacks several very useful features) or $1995 for the full version.

If you want free CAD, try QCAD on Linux or IntelliCAD on Windows. But they aren't fully featured yet; apparently, nobody has been able to pay the people working on them enough to keep them working hard enough to make the program match AutoCAD.

Re:Vs. SketchUp Pro (2, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214902)

There are free programs that import and export many of the widely-used formats, so it is not accurate to say that the formats require an expensive product (other than on the SketchUp end) to work with. Sure, the product which makes each of the big formats popular is expensive, but that's not the same thing.

Re:Vs. SketchUp Pro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214965)



Trust me. The free programs may be able to convert formats, but they usually lose important information (textures, etc) and can't actually edit the changed file very well. What good is it to convert the file format if you can't change the file?

Re:Vs. SketchUp Pro (1)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215617)

"Trust me. The free programs may be able to convert formats, but they usually lose important information (textures, etc) and can't actually edit the changed file very well. What good is it to convert the file format if you can't change the file?"

Blender can handle 3DS, OBJ, and a number of other model formts fine without loss of the type of information that sketchup exports (some sketchup users use Blender to render currently since Blender is superior to sketchup for rendering tools).

LetterRip

Re:Vs. SketchUp Pro (1)

stienman (51024) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215468)

Given that it exports to google earth, and the google earth format is understood (if I understand correctly) then one should be able to create a program to convert from google earth to a number of other formats.

The limitation remains on features that don't get exported to google earth.

-Adam

Re:Vs. SketchUp Pro (1)

smartsaga (804661) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215543)

And if you are a student (see SketchUp's licensing page) you can get a one year license (which can be turned to full one year license at no extra charge) and after renewing it for 4 years you get the full thing. The nice thing about that is that you don't have to pay extra for the upgrades because your one year payment is for whatever version is out (if I remeber correctly).

Also, for those looking to just jump to buy SketchUp, it is not a solids modeler, is a facet modeler. If you need ACIS modelers, well, look at CAD programs like AutoCAD, TurboCAD, and others.

With SkethCUp you can render JPEGS, PNGs, and AVIs (supports DivX), too. Pretty cool for presentations and stuff.

I strongly recommend you visit their forums (slash dot em!).

I think http://www.objectivenetworks.net/ [objectivenetworks.net] WAS the website with free models for SketchUp which included furniture, electronics, outdoors, buildings, plants, people, etc, etc, etc, etc...

Have a good one.

Guess where this is going (2, Interesting)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213072)

I'd imagine a huge opensource type project where people contribute their own models of places into this. Then eventually the entire planet will be mapped in 3D.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Guess where this is going (1, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213105)

And all the girls will have huge boobs.

Guess where this is going-SimCity. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213114)

"I'd imagine a huge opensource type project where people contribute their own models of places into this. Then eventually the entire planet will be mapped in 3D."

Oh lovely. We're going to SimCity the planet.

Re:Guess where this is going (-1, Offtopic)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213326)

Captain Obvious, I've heard so much about you.

OT: Your link (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213523)

You already have the link in your homepage URL, there's no need to append it to every message you post as well. (And if you feel you must, making it your signature would be easier for you and more considerate to those who disable signatures in order to avoid that sort of thing)

Re:OT: Your link (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213610)

Hint: He's doing it on purpose. His entire (short, obvious) post was just an excuse to post the URL.

Re:Guess where this is going (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213704)

I'd imagine a huge opensource type project where people contribute their own models of places into this. Then eventually the entire planet will be mapped in 3D.
Yeah, with about as much accuracy and reliability as the Wikipedia or the IMDB.

Slight ? (1)

Catskul (323619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214509)

Was that supposed to be a slight ? ...because to me it sounded like an immense compliment.
"No entire planet 3D map" vs. "Wikipedia quality entire planet 3D map"

Why yes, I do think I will chose the latter.

Perfection will never happen because it is too expensive. Wikipedia is accurate and reliable enough to be extremely useful, and just as importantly, free. For that I am thankful.

Re:Slight ? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214750)

Was that supposed to be a slight ? ...because to me it sounded like an immense compliment. "No entire planet 3D map" vs. "Wikipedia quality entire planet 3D map"
I imagine from a certain fanboy point of view, yes - it could be considered a compliment. But from a realistic point of view, Wikipedia's coverage (outside of episode guides for The Simpsons and Star Trek) is spotty to say the least.
Perfection will never happen because it is too expensive. Wikipedia is accurate and reliable enough to be extremely useful, and just as importantly, free. For that I am thankful.
No one is asking for perfection - but I am asking for accuracy and usefulness. On not one single topic that I am knowledgeable about would I send people to the Wikipedia. [1] Even just random page jumping shows a preponderance of stubs, grammatical and logical errors, and information that outright wrong where it isn't misleading. It *seems* accurate and useful to the geek fanboi because it's accurate and useful in that minor subset of human knowledge that interests them. (Anime, SF, and computers.) But get outside of that, and it breaks down pretty quickly. (The geek fanboi doesn't realize how badly because his ability to accurately judge the value of a source isn't a good as he think it is.)

[1] And I did try editing - for over a year, but each and every one of my articles was re-edited into nonsense.

The one that galled me the worst was when an article was reverted because my edits couldn't be confirmed via a google search. Never mind they shelves of expensive reference books on the obscure topic in question that I own... To two editors and three admins - if it wasn't on Google, it didn't exist. That was the straw that broke the camels back.

Re:Slight ? (1)

PGC (880972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215612)

Sorry, the model of your house could not be found on the google 3d-world map ... you are homeless. No ... No.... I don't care if you have a building contract... it is not on google.

Juvenile (1)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215313)

I'd imagine all of New York City's major buildings would require Age Verification System within about 15 seconds of launch of this feature. You just can't trust people not to mess with the world...

free trial.. (4, Interesting)

joeldg (518249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213117)

if you have not tried out this program.. download it now..
the push/pull tool is amazing and so intuitive it is like .. "magic".. has been a long time since I have been that impressed at a program.

read some of the reviews out there and see what people are doing with it. The online galleries are inspiring..

you can import almost any model, export to almost any kind of model..

amazing amazing program I have been using for a few months now..

Re:free trial.. (2, Funny)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213510)

Cue annoying testimonial about how this is the first "easy" 3D modeling app that I can understand...

Oh, wait. It is the first easy 3D modeling app that I can understand. ;)

Re:free trial.. (1)

joeldg (518249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213944)

yes yes...
I am not normally a modelling app fanboy, but having no idea what I was doing, I modelled the building I live in and did it in under and hour.. so, I got very impressed...

and google owns them, so.. actually, cue the /. google-fan-boy-dom

Re:free trial.. (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215588)

modelled the building I live in and did it in under and hour..

I live in an empty appliace box that is almost a perfect cube so this really doesn't mean much to me.

Re:free trial.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213862)

Another thing news-reading nerds may like about SketchUp--- built-in Ruby scripting!

Taj Mahal? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213123)

The first priority should be putting 3d models of naked women sunbathing on rooftops.

Re:Taj Mahal? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213648)

The Taj Mahal is a tomb, you insensitive clod!

Re:Taj Mahal? (1)

klang (27062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215403)

Lara Croft, sunbathing on the rooftop, then!

Re:Taj Mahal? (1)

uradu (10768) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214671)

Or preferably on the Taj Mahal.

Linux version... (1)

slashflood (697891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213125)

in 10000000... 9999999... 9999998...

Re:Linux version... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213320)

Why would you want an easy to use program in Linux? Wouldn't you masochists rather be using the command line or something? :)

Re:Linux version... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213488)

I think you are missing a few zeroes from the starting count.

Re:Linux version... (1)

johno.ie (102073) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213529)

Assuming you're counting down in seconds, it should be out around the end of August.


I've tried the free trial version and in only 4 hours I did the tutorials and slapped together a pretty detailed 3d model of my house. On the other hand I've spent over 24 hours messing with blender and barely managed to get a few cubes attached to each other.

Re:Linux version... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213886)

Nah I just use emacs insteads

SketchUp rendering (2, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213127)

Everyone should try SketchUp out. It is great - you can make a scale accurate model of your house in no time.

The only problem with it from my point of view is that it isn't really made for rendering - its output is fairly blocky visually. Which brings me to my question - has anyone successfully used SketchUp to create complex models that they've then rendered in another application? If so, how did you do it and do you have an example image on the web we can see?

SketchUp rendering-Wings3D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213554)

Why not use Wings3D? [wings3d.com]

Re:SketchUp rendering (2, Interesting)

wordsofwisedumb (957054) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213709)

SketchUp works pretty well exporting to other programs for rendering. I am an architecture student, and many of my classmates export its models to Cinema 4D, some textures actually crossover. I have also seen exports to Lightwave and Maya, all very successful. It is best to try to find an importer plugin for the rendering program you are using as exporting from SketchUp to other programs turns all geometries into triangles. If you do not have any other rendering program, SketchUp can actually look very nice if you turn off the edges and profiles under the display settings palette. A little photoshop on the rendering can do wonders as well.

Re:SketchUp rendering (2, Interesting)

zxnos (813588) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213801)

that is the intent of sketchup... ...say it with me, SKETCH. [thefreedictionary.com] it isnt made for slick renderings, the point is to get a decent representation to a client for a low cost. another benefit is its sketchiness. when a client sees hard lines, they are less apt to approve something - or add input - for fear it is a final, you must do exactly this version. if you want to develop a design collaboratively, a sketch is the best thing for you.

Re:SketchUp rendering (2, Interesting)

eMartin (210973) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213941)

"The only problem with it from my point of view is that it isn't really made for rendering..."

That's not a problem at all.

A lot of people get into computer graphics and try to find one software package that does everything really well, but it just doesn't exist (or at least, they would get their work done a lot quicker with multiple tools).

SketchUp is a modeling program, and for certain types of work, it is very good at what it does, and offers several export formats to let you work with other programs for the other stuff (rendering, curved surfaces, etc.).

Personally, I've been using it for architectural modeling for about 4 years along with Rhino for curved surfaces and Maya (previously Cinema 4D) for rendering. No, I don't have work online to show, but you can browse the gallery forum at sketchup.com to see what others do with it.

Re:SketchUp rendering (3, Informative)

bsy_at_play (718756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214139)

i don't think the images are all that blocky, though limiting the number of polygons make smoothly curving surfaces difficult/not as nice. http://www.bennetyee.org/bathroom/ [bennetyee.org] contains a sketchup model that i made to help communicate what we want with contractors. of the complex shapes that i had to make, the lighting fixture took the most time and the sink is the least realistic. i didn't include additional surface images and only used the ones provided (with some stretching for the glass tiles), but i think it turned out pretty well.

This is what makes Google kewl (4, Interesting)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213153)

While there's definitely a market for a product like Sketchup, Google usually goes a step further and introduces features that may not necessarily make money for them, but are cool to use and fun to understand for regular geeks and lay-users.

In this case, it's the free version of Sketchup, the free design warehouse and "geolocation" feature within the free version of Google Earth. Quite cool, IMHO.

The downside (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213470)

While there's definitely a market for a product like Sketchup, Google usually goes a step further and introduces features that may not necessarily make money for them, but are cool to use and fun to understand for regular geeks and lay-users

The downside to Google's approach though is that it has a tendency to kill the competitive market for the technologies that they make available for free. On the one hand, this is an issue of natural selection, if you're weak, you won't survive. On the other hand, people have blasted companies that have monopolies in the past with killing third parties by introducing "free" or "built-in" functionality that already exsists in the market. The most obvious example being IE. As Google continues to bring about these technologies for free, it's good for the consumer in the short term, but is bad for other third party developers in the short term, and could be detrimental to the consumer in the long term.

Re:The downside (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215028)

tendency to kill the competitive market for the technologies that they make available for free

That is _exactly_ why open source (well, in this case it isn't open source, but it's free nonetheless) and free software encourages innovation. An idea is taken or is available free so you can't seem to get money from asking money for it ? Try to have a new, better idea. That's the whole point, it makes you think outside the box for a minute. For most people it indeed only takes only a minute because they just can't even imagine that this can work.

Re:This is what makes Google kewl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214307)

Oh Google is getting a return on this.. nothing they are doing is 100% "for free". You just don't notice it.

I'm planning the ultimate BF2 map (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213170)

With spawn points at the equator, and one tank at the North Pole and a jeep in Antarctica. Get your double-tapping fingers ready.

Who gives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213171)

a rat's ass? Until google can bring some of their nifty little offerings, including Google Earth, to linux I could really care less. For a company that uses linux internally to develop as well as run the largest and most popular search engine to shun linux users is just wrong. Granted we may not be the 95% M$ is but hey we wouldn't mind some attention either.

Re:Who gives (2, Insightful)

bhirsch (785803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213372)

We call it return on equity. If Linux had higher market share, developing applications for it would have a higher ROE. Google develops software with other people's money. Those people do not want to see their money being used to develop a product that yields a low or even negative ROE.

You can make the argument that if more apps were available for Linux, it would have higher market share. Unfortunately, not every company is (in fact very few are) interested in evangelism.

Even if Google developed for Linux and could yield the same ROE from developing for Windows, the risk of investment would be much higher while the return would not change. Ergo, it is not a sound financial decision.

(Of course there are many other methods of measuring return, but I think ROE is most significant in this case since it represents the money that the stockholders put into the company. In other words, it is the bang for their buck.)

Re:Who gives (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214156)

We call it return on equity. If Linux had higher market share, developing applications for it would have a higher ROE. Google develops software with other people's money. Those people do not want to see their money being used to develop a product that yields a low or even negative ROE.

And you can safely assume that any software which was initially written on Windows would need to be completely re-architected in order to be able to run it on Linux. There are probably few or no libraries etc which would make it easy to run on both -- unless you designed it like that from the beginning.
You can make the argument that if more apps were available for Linux, it would have higher market share. Unfortunately, not every company is (in fact very few are) interested in evangelism.

Indeed. Any many of us who are still supporters of OSS have capitulated and decided we need a Windows box and a FreeBSD/Linux/whatever you like machine.

The software I can run on my UNIX machine, I do. The stuff which is cool enough to install on my XP box (oddly enough, almost all of it free stuff) goes there.

Sure, in an ideal world, all software would be platform agnostic. The reality of it is, it's HARD to make graphical platform agnostic and still get any performance out of it. Especially if it was written on Windows first.

Depending on the age of the software (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215640)

For software written a several years ago, yes, you are very right porting is a pain in the arse when you are dealing with 3D graphics and even using the native windowing environment (the knife slices both ways, going from unix to windows isn't much fun either).

If you are starting out fresh... Qt or FOX or WxWidgets are all good cross-platform windowing toolkits. Only caveat with Qt is that it is GPL (unless you get a commercial license) whereas FOX and WxWidgets are LGPL.

For 3D graphics check out OpenSceneGraph. Very portable and built directly on GL. I am able to build projects (currenly using Qt+OSG, also working on FOX+OSG due to licensing issues) on both Linux and Windows with minimal effort in porting.

Re:Who gives (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213924)

You gave enough of a rat's ass to respond with your linux ranting. If you really didn't care, you wouldn't even have clicked through to the article. You can always "uncheck" the Google box if you don't want to be informed of all things Google.

Google slashdotted? (0)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213174)

Must be a coincidence.

Most notable item present in the warehouse (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213185)

I think the building that caught my attention the most is this one:
http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid =ce29f8b2336ba53f89c520fb34a01ba6 [google.com]
Most notable for being heating the neighbors accross the street into the 90's and blinding drivers as they drove across the road. Anything else that catches your eye? It seems to be at this point a bunch of outdoor items like a birdfeeder.

Blender is Already Free (5, Informative)

plaidhacker (950067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213195)

I recently wrote a KML (Google Earth) export script for Blender.org. Blender is certainly less intuitive than SketchUp, but its undeniably more powerful, as well as open source. It supports importing and exporting a number of other industry standards, so you could use it to transform models you already have.

Blender KML Export [ynniv.com]
Blender.org [blender.org]

Re:Blender is Already Free (2, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213249)

Blender is certainly less intuitive than SketchUp

You said it!

We need an Open Source modeller that is as easy to use as SketchUp. That would rock!

Re:Blender is Already Free (1)

saltydogdesign (811417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214355)

Wings has a pretty low learning curve, but can be hectored into doing some neat stuff.

Re:Blender is Already Free (3, Informative)

slapout (93640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214450)

Check out Blender: Noob to Pro [wikibooks.org] . Once you get used to it, the interface makes a lot of sense.

Re:Blender is Already Free (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215069)

Easy to use != powerfull. Blender is mostly not for the occasional wannabe but more for the somewhat willing to learn occasional hobbyist up to a somewhat professional level. Right tool for the right job.

Re:Blender is Already Free (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213357)

I think it should be possible to incorporate many of the UI features that make SketchUp so easy to use into Blender without too much work.

Google sure is expanding (0, Redundant)

ComradeSnarky (900400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213212)

They seem to be expanding into new product areas all the time. Search, blogs, maps, email, Picasa, now this. They're trying to take over the world!!! I haven't used this program before so I dunno how good it is, but the Google Earth functionality sounds really cool.

Cycas comparison? (2, Informative)

snopes (27370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213296)

I've used a program which runs on Linux called Cycas [cycas.de] for quite a bit of scale floor plans, but have found the interface frustrating and as a result never dig into 3D much and rendering at all.

Has anyone used both? Is SketchUp useful at all for something like a detailed floorplan, or just for big primitive, blocky structures? Is it really so unbelievably easy to use that it's worth booting into XP?

TIA-

Re:Cycas comparison? (2, Informative)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213500)

Has anyone used both?

For the sake of honesty, I must say no.

Is SketchUp useful at all for something like a detailed floorplan, or just for big primitive, blocky structures?

I've used it for floorplans before and found it quite easy.

Is it really so unbelievably easy to use that it's worth booting into XP?

I think so, but, again for the sake of honesty, I admit I have little problem with XP and use it as my daily operating system.

Re:Cycas comparison? (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215092)

I admit I have little problem with XP and use it as my daily operating system

He wasn't interested in the usability of XP, he was interested in whether this is worth the boot into XP for a try. I did the reboot, I tried it, and yes, I think it's worth the try, I hoenstly liked it pretty much. It's no Maya, it's no Blender either, but it's refreshingly easy to mock up some models in it. As many others, I also started with a house to see how easy it can get, and it left me quite pleasantly surprised.

Not interested until they use an open format (1, Troll)

expro (597113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213354)

They are being as bad in this respect as Microsoft, it appears.

Starship Enterprise in Google Sketchup (1)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213362)

Somebody did this nifty Enterprise model [google.com] - would look good integrated in Google Earth ... or Google Mars ...

First Impressions (3, Interesting)

kebes (861706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213383)

Just downloaded the program and am playing with it. My first impressions:

Pro:
Very intuitive interface. Unlike most 3D modelling programs, you can start creating and coloring objects immediately. You can create simple layouts very quickly, and then use the neat "tape measure" tool to measure distances. This is absolutely great for making a model of a room to consider different layouts for desks or whatever.

Con:
As in many cases, simplicity leads to limited designs. To make anything complex would be a nightmare. Also, I can't see any way to make things look "slick and cool" or to render them in anything but a simplistic cartoon-like style. It has none of the elegant programatic control of something like POVray, for instance.

Overall I think it's a neat toy that some people may enjoy, but I think anyone serious about 3D will give it a pass (including, I'm guessing, the Pro version). On the other hand, I would like to see some open-source projects get some inspiration about the interface from this program. An add-on to POVray for creating simple shapes (with the more complex work then being done in code) would be nice.

Re:First Impressions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213686)

There should be a way to add textures or something like that to add detail to the outside of a building. Maybe if you had a digital camera and could take pictures of the building from 8 angles, the computer could automatically make it look correct from any angle the software views it from.

I would also like to see Google add real weather data, seasons and night and day into the program. You would need a lot of satellite images for the 4 seasons though.

Very cool program though.

Re:First Impressions (4, Interesting)

zxnos (813588) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213921)

but I think anyone serious about 3D will give it a pass

as an architect, i use it all the time. i can spend 4 hours in sketchup creating a decent model with people and trees for a client to see the massing and a walkthrough of their house or office building. all kinds of other studies can be done quickly in sketchup.

or i can spend 16 hours in formz or some other rendering program. guess what the client usually wants early in the game... ...when marketing the slick image comes in. but then i can import the sketchup image and apply textures, lights, etc.

Re:First Impressions (1)

oxfletch (108699) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213963)

> Also, I can't see any way to make things look "slick and cool" or to render them in anything but a simplistic cartoon-like style.

It has texture mapping.

Re:First Impressions (1)

ckswift (700993) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213998)

Overall I think it's a neat toy that some people may enjoy, but I think anyone serious about 3D will give it a pass (including, I'm guessing, the Pro version).

I don't know about that. Take a look at their case studies. [sketchup.com] There are some pretty good models in there.

Re:First Impressions (1)

saltydogdesign (811417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214379)

I think anyone serious about 3D will give it a pass

Well, I don't think it's really meant to compete with, say, modo or Lightwave. But it makes a nifty pre-vis tool.

Does Google have a Linux strategy? (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213407)

I'm not quite as married to Google as other users although I use Google to search almost exclusively. But I'm disappointed that there is no Linux version of Google Earth. Now another Google offering that's not Linux. Frankly, I'm disappointed.

Re:Does Google have a Linux strategy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213658)

screw linux

Re:Does Google have a Linux strategy? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213812)

Yes. Google uses Linux extensively. They also support one of the premier browsers on Linux. I imagine the demand for the pro version of SketchUp on linux is basically non-existent. Why would they bother with porting the free version?

Re:Does Google have a Linux strategy? (3, Insightful)

saltydogdesign (811417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214417)

No Amiga version either. What the hell's the matter with those people? How do you explain a company making free software and not porting it to niche markets with little demand???

Anyone tried Wings? (4, Informative)

Peepsalot (654517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213433)

I haven't had a chance to use SketchUp yet, but from the screenshot it looks slightly similar to Wings 3d
http://www.wings3d.com/ [wings3d.com]

I may be completely off comparing the two, but it's definitely a fun program to play with anyways. Open source and more intuitive than other alternatives such as blender IMHO.

VRML back on the agenda ? (2, Interesting)

axonis (640949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213449)

Maybe this is where the old VRML school of thought will pickup again, how long until avatars, proximity tiggers, animation etc are added to google earth ?. Im shure there is an advertising angle for virtual bill boards etc.

Tried it under CXOffice (1)

gsasha (550394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213507)

Kinda works: the editor window appears to be OK, and it is actually pretty fast (does it use 3D acceleration????)
However, the toolbar icons and menus don't show up at all, making them accessible only through tooltips. Completely unusable :( Hopefully, somebody will fix some bugs, be it Google or Codeweavers.

Re:Tried it under CXOffice (1)

Crizp (216129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213990)

Do you really need 3D acceleration when the complexity of what you're making amounts to, say, a hundred thousand flat-shaded polygons, max? I'd think any CPU above a PIII-500 would be able to software-render that with 20~30 fps..?

A bit of perspective (1)

siphonophore (158996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213531)

At times like this you've got to just stop analyzing it and say "Holy Crap that's cool"

Pizza Delivery Drivers Rejoice! (1)

Ubertech (21428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213586)

All we need is for all the buildings in our cities to have models made. Then, we can impose those on Google maps. Combine that with in-car Internet, GPS, a direction finding divice, and a heads-up display. Then, you can get in your car and ask it how to get to a location, and the route with visual and audible directions will be on your windshield.

This should cut down on pizza delivery times, becasue we all know that hot fresh pizza is the real reason for any of this technology to exist.

Somebody get me a patent. It'll make billions! 8-)

Re:Pizza Delivery Drivers Rejoice! (1)

jlseagull (106472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213714)

Yeah, but then you'd be driving the Deliverator for Uncle Enzo. :)

Re:Pizza Delivery Drivers Rejoice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213827)

Which is - just in case you've been living under a rock - a Snow Crash reference.

Re:Pizza Delivery Drivers Rejoice! (1)

Ubertech (21428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214306)

That was in the back of my mind somewhere, but it's been a while since I read that 8-)

Re:Pizza Delivery Drivers Rejoice! (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213891)

This is freakin' awesome, if you're into Augmented Reality (like I am). Just think of all the cool things you could do if you combined it with stuff like this! [tinmith.net]

Re:Pizza Delivery Drivers Rejoice! (1)

Ubertech (21428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214331)

The ideas are endless. Paintball may be fun, but think of the meatspace possibilities for FPS gaming.

Re:Pizza Delivery Drivers Rejoice! (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215471)

Yeah, like AR Quake [unisa.edu.au] , which was made by the same people as the stuff I linked to before.

Thus begins the Metaverse... (1)

jlseagull (106472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213655)

Is there a waiting list somewhere for the Black Sun VIP passes? Where do I sign up?

what fun (1)

coaxeus (911103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213703)

I have made my house in 3-dimensions! (well, my dream house)

Re:what fun (1)

PeeShootr (949875) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214632)

That sucks.

Re:what fun (1)

BattleApple (956701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215642)

Apparently, we share the same dream of having two enormous slabs of ice on the lawn.

It does what it says on the tin! (3, Interesting)

happywillo (946486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213773)

Although looked down on by serious modellers, I find that sketchup models are better recieved by clients. I spent years with 3D Studio and lightscape trying to make realistic models that never quite seemed believable and now use sketchup as a tool to give clients an impression rather than a finished "as bought item". I find that it is perfectly suited to my discipline as it is just a maquette rather than a "disneyfication" of reality that most modelling programs achieve. The surfaces, shadows and light refraction may look real, but in the end the building always looks too crisp against the background photos used for montage (so lets stop pretending!). Just my few cents worth as an Architect/ IT manager for a firm of Architects.

SketchUp hooks up with Google Earth? (2, Funny)

bk4u (682315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213964)

hope they used protection

SketchUp's sweet (2, Interesting)

XenonOfArcticus (53312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214075)

It's a bunch of great guys in Boulder, Colorado (not too far from my company in Morrison). Their product kicks butt. If you want intuitive 3D modelling, get it. It's pretty cool that they have released a free version for Google modeling. I don't think it's really monopolistic/anticompetitive, because the free version ONLY works with Google Earth. It can't export to anything else useful. You still have to buy the $500 Pro version for that. And $500 is a bargain for what you get.

Yes, their freebie version is useful for people who want to model their own house and not use it in Google Earth, but really, you can't say they're shutting out anyone here by making it free -- there's Free Software like Blender and Wings3D that have been out forever that filled that niche too, and so far the market for 3D modeling tools has failed to collapse. (The difference being that ANYONE can learn SketchUp in a few hours. Really.)

Commercial diclosure and plugs: My company makes an add-on foliage library [3dnature.com] for SketchUp and a Google Earth Exporter [3dnature.com] for our 3D Landscape visualization software. But I don't get diddly for kickbacks from Google/SketchUp. I really do think they have a kickin product.

Similarity to Flash (1)

Markavian (867505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214113)

I just gotta say how amazingly similar this is to use Macromedia Flash, and I think its great. I was wondering if these guys were inspired by Flash. Seriously, its like drawing in Flash but 3D.

If the pro version wasn't so expensive I'd be much keener. The speed to build and publish ideas and models is fantastic, but as long as you can export to other 3D apps then rendering and utilisation of those models isn't a problem.

Whatever, this is a bit technological leap forward in 3D modelling in my opinion. I hope we see this more and more in the future, and I think its great that Google is helping by making it available to the masses - they've certainly seen the potential.

Google to implement Second Life over http (2, Insightful)

GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214163)

Think about it. Everything Google is building is going to allow you integrate many of the features articles are talking about with Second Life. Only you'll be able to do it over HTTP with AJAX and their web service APIs.

The map server can be used to create worlds, the 3d stuff can be used to populate them. They can create new environments based on domains, so the real world domain might only have real world details. But they could also build another model for say Google Groups Clubhouses®©. We've been seeing people use Second Life for these purposes, what if Google made it so anyone could integrate a Second Life type feature into their website or web services application?

Is Google Earth a play for the future virt world? (1)

bnf (16861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214278)

Is Google positioning to be the repository and data source for the snowcrash like virtual world which we will interact with?

Re:Is Google Earth a play for the future virt worl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214845)

They're building Teh Matrix!!!1!!!

Googlebots, agents, think about it...

Google is two-faced (1, Offtopic)

villekesekene (957836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214439)

Google has it's summer of code thing and Google supports Linux and OSS all the time, but none of it's apps are open source nor available for Linux!

Re:Google is two-faced (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215134)

It would make their image more shiny among FOSS people, but still, it's no necessity for them to be totally open source. They are pro-Linux all the time, they spend quite some money on FOSS/Linux support, and that's quite something.

Can the models have textures? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214617)

Like with photograph textures like you seen in games? I don't like those cartoon looking models, especially when using aerial views.
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