So what's new in SketchUp 7? Lots of stuff, but here are some of the highlights I think you'll find most interesting (take a look at the SketchUp website for a complete rundown).
- Edges now split other edges where they cross, automatically. Modeling in SketchUp is more intuitive now.
- The inferencing system (SketchUp's colored points and guide lines that help you draw in 3D) is clearer and more consistent than ever.
- When you need help using a tool, click the "?" icon at the bottom of your modeling window; the Instructor panel pops up to give you more information.
We've added three things to SketchUp 7 that make building photo-textured models (like the ones you see in Google Earth) infinitely easier:
- Make Unique Texture crops your textures to the face you're editing; this makes them smaller and your models lighter. Google Earth likes small models.
- Combine Textures "stitches" together adjacent textures to reduce their numbers and further reduce your file size.
- Edit Texture lets you open textures directly in the image editor of your choice to fiddle with them. When you're done, the texture you edited updates in SketchUp automatically – no more re-applying a whole building facade just because you need to clone out a parking meter.
The Google 3D Warehouse is where models live online. It's an enormous, searchable repository of stuff from modelers all over the world. Recently, we introduced Google Docs-style sharing and collaboration: now you can upload a model and specify who gets to use it – and what they can do with it. You can make it private, share it with a select group of invitees, or set it completely free. If you model a building and make it editable by anyone, there's a good chance it'll evolve over time. It's wiki editing for the 3D world.
As I mentioned above, there's tons of new stuff in SketchUp 7. Visit the website to learn all about it, and have fun.