Review: SketchUp Light turns images into sketched drawings

SketchUp Light combines multiple filters designed to turn your existing photos into hand-drawn variants on your iOS device; but because of slow load times and at times frustrating feature layouts, the app never delivers fully on its promise.

The opening screen for SketchUp is actually very attractive. It shows what pencil sketching can look like, though it may be misleading in that it is almost certainly a unique sketch, not a converted photo from the app. After you open an image and start converting it, the app's issues start to surface. While there are numerous sketch filters, from hand … Read more

Create, view, and modify quickly 3D models with SketchUp Pro for Mac

Drawing 3D models can be a challenging experience, and learning to use CAD can take a lot of time. A powerful and yet easy-to-maneuver tool, SketchUp Pro for Mac, allows you to create new 3D models or modify existing ones in no time.

Available as free to try, at around 65MB in size SketchUp Pro for Mac takes a bit longer to download on slower connections, but it is well worth the wait. The installation is quick and easy, and the program is stable and performs very well. Even though the interface is easy to navigate and very intuitive, if … Read more

Making real estate look good in Google's 3D world

In the physical world, people knowing they'll be judged on appearances often prefer to put their best foot forward.

But there's a direct analog of the real world taking shape inside thousands of Google computers, a collection that began with addresses and roads and that's extended to photos and 3D buildings. What do you do when it's time to spruce up for virtual visitors?

You can of course learn how to create 3D models and submit them to Google. But a New Zealand start-up is hoping you'll do the same thing most people do when … Read more

Google SketchUp 'plug-in' offers energy analysis

An updated software tool combines energy-use evaluation with Google's 3D-modeling program to help improve building design in its early stages.

OpenStudio, a free, open-source tool introduced last year, now integrates EnergyPlus building analysis with Google SketchUp, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory announced this week.

"OpenStudio is lauded around our office as one of the most complicated plug-ins ever written for SketchUp," Christopher Cronin, Google's strategist for SketchUp, said in a statement.

While Google may see OpenStudio as a plug-in for SketchUp, OpenStudio's creators may instead see SketchUp as an add-on to its simulation program.

The … Read more

Google SketchUp 7 wants to shape you into a 3D artist

Google has released SketchUp 7 (download), the latest free version of its 3D modeling software, along with its premium counterpart, SketchUp 7 Pro.

Like previous iterations of the software, SketchUp 7 will enable you to model just about anything you'd like as long as you start with a predesigned template. The new version, released Monday, offers simple templates that help you gauge size through feet or meters, but it also includes architectural design, Google Earth, and a product design template to aid you in your modeling endeavors.

Once you choose a template, you're brought to a relatively simple … Read more

Featured Freeware: Google SketchUp

We all know that Google is more than capable of doing excellent webware for productivity, but isn't 3D design a bit of a stretch?

Google SketchUp for Windows and Mac is a 3D-modeling program of powerful drawing tools that boasts an intuitiveness many design programs fail to achieve. On first impression, SketchUp looks like it sacrificed function for simplicity, but that's not the case. Despite the extremely user-friendly interface, SketchUp offers a high-end range of powerful 3D-drawing tools that let you experiment and play with new designs.

Using basic shapes in 3D space for your outline, you can … Read more

Google SketchUp makes modeling easier

Long before I got into the business of writing about tech and Mac stuff, I worked with 3D graphics on Macs for my father's visual analysis firm. We were hired to create 3D models of architectural projects and superimpose them on photographs of a proposed site to study how a project would look before it was built and how it would affect its surroundings.

Some of our clients wanted to make the project look nice for city officials so it would get approved by city planning departments, while others wanted to prove that the new project would obstruct the … Read more

Google eyeing its own 'Second Life?'

For some time now, we here at CNET have been hearing whispers that Google might be looking to get into the virtual world space, particularly in light of the increasing interest of existing environments like Second Life, and the success of Google Earth and the search giant's purchase of the Sketchup technology.

Well, now we might finally be on to something. According to TechCrunch, Google may already be testing its own 3D virtual world technology, in a secret experiment at Arizona State University.

And according to a report published Monday from eMarketer, Google is "planning enhancements … Read more

Google's Earth from above: A 3D look

"Google Maps is changing the way we see the world," journalist Evan Ratliff declares in a June article for Wired magazine. I couldn't agree more. Google's universal mapping project isn't just changing the portals for viewing the world online, it's also changing offline understandings of how the world is best viewed--from Google's services, of course. Google has gained influence fast, by ambitiously developing innovative, interactive mapping software; integrating multiple online services into the majority of desktop and online apps; and familiarizing users with a particular Google-branded aesthetic.

In creating a suite of map apps to encourage users to contribute to Google's greater project and personalize locally-stored versions of a map, Google is not just bringing cartography to the masses, Ratliff points out, but is getting users to help build out its universe. This, of course, makes complete sense. With Google Earth, Google SketchUp, and MyMaps (watch the CNET "how-to" video,) Google's mapping software has surpassed competitors like NASA in digitizing the world. In so doing, Google has captivated the imagination of loyal users who will return to the company's Earth and maps programs to find business listings, explore culturally significant architecture, and plant personal photos and videos.… Read more

Help build the world with Google Earth 4

Google Earth 4, released January 8, continues to improve the landscape of Google Earth's digital globe with 3D representations of famous buildings from the Eiffel Tower to Fenway Park. Along with the free application Google SketchUp 6, the latest model of Google Earth helps star modelers create the thriving, textured 3D metropolises you see with the 3D building layer turned on. If you've got a yen for accurate modeling, some of those contributions could come from you.

Contributors to Google's digital landscape start their modeling magic in Google SketchUp. An intuitive toolset and a new feature lets … Read more