Trimble Buildings Group have recently released SketchUp 2014, the latest version of its 3D modelling platform for architects, engineers, design and construction professionals. With "more than 30 million unique activations in the past year", SketchUp is claimed to be the most widely used 3D modeling software in the world today. The latest incarnation of the simple tool features a new 3D Warehouse and some interesting integrations into the world of Building Information Modelling (BIM).
A Rebuilt 3D Warehouse
SketchUp's 3D Warehouse is "an online repository for finding, storing and sharing useful 3D models." SketchUp 2014 sees a rebuilt warehouse making it much easier to find the models you need and organise into collections. Perhaps most useful is the interrelation of WebGL, meaning that users can preview and orbit models in full 3D before downloading them into the software. Notably, SketchUp's maximum size for uploadable models has also increased from 10 to 50 megabytes.
According to Trimble, SketchUp Pro's "interoperability with other commonly used tools and data" has been significantly improved. In incorporating three new features to export and classify models, the program is making key steps into the world of integrated design.
- IFC Export - since the information embedded in information models is often used by other software programs, SketchUp Pro 2014 now includes another important industry standard to its roster of supported exports—the IFC 2x3 file type.
- Classifier - this feature allows users to classify objects with the pre-loaded IFC classification, use alternate classification types, or create a customized system for their specific needs.
- Component Options - provides editable options relevant to an object's classified type, allowing pertinent data about each object to be managed throughout the information modeling process.
"BIM workflows are often complex and rigid processes, and we believe they don't need to be," said John Bacus, director of SketchUp product management at Trimble. "With this new release, we are enabling users to participate more effectively at any point in the information modeling process. We've added simple tools for adding structured information to a model in a way that is helpful to SketchUp customers, allowing them to easily pass information to others on their project teams, regardless of the tools being used."