Thursday, April 27, 2006

Google releases free SketchUp

Google, which bought @Last Software's 3D modeller SketchUp earlier this year, has released a free version. The download is available now for WIndows, but Mac users will have to wait a little longer, as the Mac version is labelled as 'coming soon' on Google's site.

Given Google's habit of releasing freesoftware, that's not exactly a surprise, but it's good news for anyone who has wanted to dabble in 3D but never been able to justify the cost. As expected, the free version includes support for Google Earth.

@Last said in a statement on its website: 'It's perfect for people who love SketchUp but who can't justify the price of SketchUp Pro. Do-it-yourself kitchen remodelers, backyard rocket builders, basement model train obsessives; Google SketchUp will let just about everyone build and show off their creations in 3D. I think it's a great day for 3D nerds everywhere, and I mean that in the best possible way.'

In addition to the free version of SketchUp, there's a Pro version which has several features not available in the free application. These include the ability to print and export raster images at higher than screen resolution, access to more 3d export formats, and the ability to export animations and walkthroughs as MOV or AVI files.

Also, Pro users get two years tech support and access to Sandbox tools and Film & Stage tools. Only the Pro version is licensed for commercial use.

@Last said that it had also launched 3D warehouse which it describes as 'place in cyberspace where you can go to find and download SketchUp models…..where you can upload and share models you've made yourself'

The free version of SketchUp is available now from Google

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