Friday April 28, 2006 1:39 am
SketchUp Free At Last!
Last month Google acquired @Last Software, makers of a neat piece of software called SketchUp. SketchUp is a 3D modeling tool that is simple enough for just about anyone to use, yet offers powerful tools for professionals as well. Speculation about SketchUp’s future pricing began the moment news of the acquisition was released, and true to Google’s track record, there’s now a free version of the software. The free version, entitled Google SketchUp, is licensed only for non-commercial use and is missing a few features compared to the standard version, which is now called SketchUp Pro and provides the full feature set and naturally the full price tag of $495 USD.
Sure, there are differences between the free and Pro versions, but for someone just looking to dabble with 3D modeling, or thinking about creating some buildings for Google Earth, the free version will do nicely. The differences are summed up as:
• Pro users are able to print and export raster images at higher-than-screen resolution.
• Pro users have access to the following 3D export formats: DWG, DXF, 3DS, OBJ, XSI, VRML and FBX.
• Pro users are able to export animations and walkthroughs as MOV (Mac) or AVI (Windows) files.
• Pro users get the Sandbox Tools (for organic modeling of terrain, etc) and the Film & Stage Tools (for pre-viz work).
• Pro users have access to free email tech support for two years after they buy SketchUp Pro.
• Finally, only SketchUp Pro is approved for commercial use; the Free version is licensed for personal use only.
Currently available only for Windows-based machines, a Mac version is in the works.
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