By Steve Rizer
Now that Trimble has unveiled SketchUp 2015, what should users know before switching to this new version of the 3D modeling software? In search of an answer to this question, ConstructionPro Week (CPW) asked a Trimble representative, as well as several practitioners and trainers who are well-schooled in the program, for their input on the best way to make the transition.
First, the new features: There is 64-bit support for Windows and Mac, Industry Foundation Classes import capabilities, and an expanded 3D Warehouse. Also included are a new 3-point Arc tool and a Rotated Rectangle tool. The new version, released earlier last week, is considered faster, more user-friendly, and more reliable than its SketchUp 2014 predecessor.
With the new benefits, though, comes a word of caution from John Bacus, Trimble’s product management director of SketchUp, who told CPW, “Upgrading users should be careful not to simply copy/paste their directories of community-contributed extensions without checking them for compatibility. This is particularly true for those who opt into the new 64-bit builds of SketchUp. SketchUp users may want to wait for extension developers to report that they are ready for the new environment.”
When asked for his advice, Daniel Brown, a SketchUp trainer since 2007, said, “The transition from SketchUp 2014 to the 2015 version should be seamless, as with any previous version of SketchUp. Of course, you have to change the template and delete the new employee figure that typically is in the default template.”
And Brightman Designs Principal Michael Brightman, who beta-tested the new version, offered this suggestion: “I think the biggest thing is to just understand that extensions are really becoming more refined and to just start looking to the Extension Warehouse to download them.” He also recommended that both beginners and advanced users should not simply rely on YouTube videos for their SketchUp 2015 education. “My general advice to anyone is to get training because then you’re doing it the right way. It’s like any software. You’re only going to get as much as you put in.”
The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article includes additional expert advice for using SketchUp 2015 and some "wish list" items that the experts hope will be included in the next version of the program.