Google SketchUp 6

This review takes a detailed look at the enhancements in the new release of the popular 3D conceptual design tool, SketchUp, including Photo Match, Styles, 3D Text, and LayOut, which allows users to quickly create professional-looking design presentations and documentation sets from SketchUp models.


13 thoughts on “Google SketchUp 6

  1. Excellent review, one of the most comprehensive description of SketchUp, it covers allmost all aspects of the new release of the SU. Thanks and congratulations to Lachmi Khemlani for this.

  2. Nicely presented, its one of the programmes which can be adapted by educators (especially in third world where I come) to teach 3D modelling. I encourage my students to use SketchUp for Studio work presentations. Simplicity and easy to use is one of the key to mass usage of a successful 3D programme. Thanks Lachmi you are great….Your articles worth to be read by many, unfortunately for this part of the world only few of us can access YOU! Keep it UP.

  3. IIRC, the free version is only for personal, non-commercial use.

    While the free version can not export to regular 3d-files, many programs, such as ArchiCAD, Revit and Artlantis can import SKP-files directly. (At the same time, these are not the kind of applications one would buy for personal use.)

    I was slightly disappointed by LayOut, since it seems to be developed by another company: it doesn’t follow the SketchUp Gui at full and feels much more like a corporate Windows-application, even though it is cross-platform. And it is much less intuitive then SketchUp. I feel they have some serious usability work to perform.

    After all, I still love SketchUp (been using it from release 2), but I feel that the application has difficulties to stay small and friendly. Each new feature makes it more complex to use. And it is still much more convenient to model a volume from the outside than it is to model an interior, where the geometry gets in the way, even with the slices.

  4. David is partially right. I checked with the SketchUp folks and they told me that the upgrade is free, but only up to June 30, 2007, and if the full version was purchased from Google/@Last Software. Those who purchased from a reseller should contact the reseller for upgrade pricing.

    I have updated the review to reflect this pricing information.

    Many thanks to everyone for taking the time to contribute their feedback comments.

  5. I just want to emphasize one of Lachmi’s points in the “cons” about the online help being gone in version 6, even the Pro version. You must have an active internet connection to view the help pages.

    The Google folk are in high speed internet wonderland where they live…but should realize the much of the world is not so ideally connected. I have an unreliable satellite (Hughesnet) connection and frequently have to use dial up. Between having to dial in and the slow speed, getting to the help pages is just too painful. I can maybe see this for something free; it is ridiculous for an application (Pro) that I paid for.

    Further, Google could be a little more “Green” about this as well. Providing a downloadable help file reduces internet bandwidth consumption by the thousands of users accessing it…and in turn would probably eliminate the power consumption of one of their servers somewhere…

  6. Hello,

    If you want a downloadable PDF of the help go to On the right hand side of the page, note the “Google SketchUp Users Guide (pdf)” and the “LayOut Users Guide (pdf)” link. Click the link to start the download process. You can save these PDFs locally and access them any time.


    Scott Green

  7. That will help a lot, Scott. Thanks. Still, I wonder why the Help from the Help menu is an online/web process now in 6 when it used to use locally installed helpfile, instantly available?

  8. Hello Karl,

    The help file was removed to minimize user download time. The PDF is still available for download for those who’d like to do so.


    Scott Green

  9. Thanks, Scott. The point is that the help file could be searched, while the PDF can only be browsed by table of contents, or by using Acrobat’s “Find” to find word phrases, sequentially, tediously, one at a time through the entire document. (Making the index of the PDF hyperlinks like the clickable table of contents would definitely help. Still no substitute for the speed of the system Help ‘search’ function. Again, only people with high speed internet get the benefit that we all used to get when searching the helpfile.)

    Sure appreciate you visiting this blog, and all of the support you provide on the SU forums.


  10. I am looking for feedback on functionality that we are considering developing.

    We are proposing that dimensions be added to a model as objects are drawn and that the dimensions can be edited by the user to modify the model. We feel that this is a very intuitive and easy way to ineract and develop a drawing.

    If you have the time please visit to view a brief demonstration of the concept that we are proposing.

    We would greatly appreciate any feedback.


    Rick Haws

  11. I would like to preface these comments by saying that I only recently began working with 3-D models and although I am a graphic designer, I am for the most part a novice when it comes to 3-D software. I would like to think that Sketch Up is marketing people just like me, who have a need for the software and can learn how to use it relatively easily. Overall I think the product is great and only have a few comments of criticism.

    I recently began using Sketch Up Pro 6 and give the SE’s kudos for the functionality and ease of use. I am amazed at how detailed one can get in designing a model but have also noticed how slow the program runs as the number of design elements and components are increased.

    It is disappointing that you cannot seem to import a file that has a clipping path (Photoshop). Although the picture can be used, the clipping path is lost and the image appears only rectangular without the look of being cut out as it would if you were using it as a layer in a psd file.

    I would have to agree with Stefan’s comment regarding LayOut: “it doesn’t follow the SketchUp Gui at full and feels much more like a corporate Windows-application, even though it is cross-platform”. It isn’t very intuitive and even though it was designed to compliment Sketch Up I have found it to be just the contrary. Interestingly, LayOut does have a tool to create a clipping map which I’d hoped would solve the dilema mentioned in the previous paragraph. However, I ran into the same brick wall as I did when trying to import a file with a clipping mask (jpg or tiff). If the functionality is within LayOut to do this it is not clear or easy to figure out how to make it happen.


Comments are closed.