Saturday, April 13th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Trimble releases SketchUp 2024.0

Trimble has released SketchUp 2024.0, the latest version of its architectural modeling software, also often used by concept artists to rough out hard-surface assets.

The update introduces a new graphics engine, which Trimble says is “2.4x faster” on standard hardware, and support for ambient occlusion to add detail to the viewport display.

Other changes relevant to entertainment artists include support for glTF and USDZ files, and quality-of-life improvements to SketchUp’s modeling tools.

Most of the new features have been added to the desktop edition of SketchUp, available to users with Sketch Up Pro and SketchUp Studio subscriptions.

New, more responsive graphics engine
The major change in SketchUp 2024.0 is the new graphics engine, which provides “notable improvements in file navigation and responsiveness”.

The main benefit is simply that it’s faster – Trimble says 2.4x faster on “the most common [hardware] configurations” – although the speed boost is greater on higher-end systems.

It requires slightly more powerful hardware than the ‘classic’ engine, which is still available as a fallback, although the system requirements are still low by the standards of 3D software.

Ambient occlusion adds details to renders and the viewport display on desktop and iPad
One extra graphical capability of the new graphics engine is that it supports ambient occlusion, lending extra detail to SketchUp’s traditionally stylized viewport display.

As well as the desktop application, ambient occlusion is supported in SketchUp for iPad 6.5, the latest version of Trimble’s tablet edition of SketchUp.

Modeling improvements and support for glTF and USDZ files
There are also a number of smaller workflow improvements to SketchUp’s modeling toolset, including the Move tool, and the undo, guides and inferencing systems.

In addition, the desktop edition of SketchUp now supports both glTF and USDZ files – although not USD itself – providing new possibilities for exchanging assets with other DCC applications.

New features for architectural professionals
The other new features in SketchUp 2024.0 are more likely to be relevant to architectural users.

They include faster loading of IFC files, and native integration with Trimble Connect, Trinmble’s cloud-based collaboration platform.

LayOut, SketchUp’s toolset for generating 2D documentation from 3D models, is now versionless, removing the need to save files in the format of a specific release – although it’s still only possible to open them in versions up to two years prior to the current one.

The other changes to LayOut are mainly performance and quality-of-life improvements, although it does also support the new ambient occlusion face style from the desktop edition.

Users with Studio subscriptions also get a new Ground Mesh tool, which converts an imported point cloud into a quad-based terrain mesh that can be edited inside SketchUp.

Pricing and system requirements
SketchUp 2024.0 is available for Windows 10+ and macOS 11.0+ (macOS 12.3.1+ for the new graphics engine).

The software is available rental-only, with entry-level SketchUp Go subscriptions, which include the browser edition of the software and SketchUp for iPad, costing $119/year.

SketchUp Pro and SketchUp Studio, which also include the desktop edition and LayOut, now cost $349/year and $749/year, both up $50/year since the release of SketchUp 2023.0.

There is also a free, feature-limited web-based edition of SketchUp, SketchUp Free.

Read an overview of the new features in SketchUp 2024.0 on Trimble’s blog

Read a full list of new features in SketchUp 2024.0 in the online changelog

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