Google have released SketchUp 8, the latest version of their easy-to-use 3D modelling tool.
New features include geo-location integration with Google Maps, improved and more accurate terrain, and integration with Google Building Maker, a simple tool for creating and importing Google Earth building models.
Building Maker is a particularly welcome addition. If you want to import a building model, for instance, then all you have to do is launch the tool, browse the map to find an interesting example, and download it into your SketchUp project in a click. The choice of buildings is limited at the moment – browse the list of cities and there’s nothing in Paris, Rome, London, New York – but that will change, and even now there’s plenty to explore.
Or, if you’d like to help improve Google Earth’s selection of models, then Building Maker will even let you add a few yourself. Choose a building, position pre-built block shapes to best fit Google Earth’s photos of the building (6 in total), add a text description, and that’s about it. Once a Google staffer has approved your work, it’ll be added to Google Earth, visible to other users, and become a model that other users can import into Google SketchUp.
Meanwhile SketchUp Pro users also benefit from this release, with valuable new CAD-related features. LayOut now gains a much needed tool to create angular dimensions, for instance. LayOut also now includes DWG and DXF export, and SketchUp Pro 8 adds import/ export support for the DWG/ DXF 2010 format, allowing you to share your work with other leading CAD and 3D design tools.