Shaping Ogee Feet With The Intersection Tool Google announced the availability of SketchUp 8.0 on September 1, 2010. Both the free and Pro versions can be downloaded by going to the SketchUp Download Page. Before getting into some of the improvements, and there are some very significant ones, let me make an observation that is a little troubling. It appears that Google is implementing the “Bait and Switch” strategy with this release. In the past all versions of SketchUp had a free and Pro version. The free version was fully featured as far as modeling was concerned, i.e. all the drawing tools were present in both versions. In this version Google has implemented five drawing tools which are only available in the Pro version; and these tools are not just nice to have tools, they are significant productivity improvement tools.

To me this signals a trend where the free and Pro versions will grow substantially apart in the future, encouraging, even making necessary, users to purchase the Pro version if they wish to enjoy the drawing capabilities of SketchUp. I suspect this is a result of the enormous popularity of SketchUp brought about by the availability of the free version. Now that SketchUp has reached the “ubiquitous” milestone  we may even see the free version phased out altogether, or become so featureless as compared to the Pro version that it dies on its own. I hope not, but to this point SketchUp has been a little too-good-to-be-true, and all good things come to an end at some point.

To see all the new features in SketchUp 8 go to What’s New in Google SketchUp 8. But the five drawing features I have referred to above, which are only available in the Pro, are:

  1. Union – joins together selected solids. (Solid is a new entity in SketchUp. It is a group or component which is totally enclosed and with no dangling lines or surfaces.) As far as I can tell on quick inspection, this tool is the same as a  new tool included in both versions called Outer Shell, but I need to investigate further to see if there is any significant difference.
  2. Intersect – makes a new solid group from the intersection of selected solids and discards the non-intersecting entities.
  3. Subtract – The intersecting portion of the first solid is subtracted from a second solid. The first solid is eliminated. Google refers to this as a cookie cutter.
  4. Trim – The same as the Subtract except the first solid remains in place.
  5. Split – Creates three solid groups out of two overlapping solids: the first solid minus the overlap, the overlap and the second solid minus the overlap. Similar to Intersect but the non-intersecting entities remain in place.

These logical operations are the missing operations found in most 3D CAD tools. Till now we have had to rely on the Edit/Intersect/Intersect with Model tool and lots of cleanup to perform these operations. The Pro version of SketchUp also comes with LayOut 3 and Style Builder 2. The improvements in these tools are also explained in What’s New in Google SketchUp 8. All-in-all this version release seems to be a significant improvement over SketchUp 7, especially for the Pro users.

It is really too bad that these new logical operations tools will not be part of the free version. I feel like I should personally apologize for Google, but since I have no relationship with Google I can only hope they will apologize for themselves.

Leave a Reply