Sketchup Blog - News and Notes from the Sketchup folks

Thanks for your SketchUp Ideas

Friday, October 1st marked the closure of our SketchUp Questions and Ideas Series. We want to thank everyone who participated; whether you provided an idea or a vote, we’re incredibly excited that you contributed. In the last month, 643 people have submitted 513 questions and cast 9,274 votes. Theses statistics are incredible – we’re thrilled to have an entire inventory of innovative ideas to work with when building out our next release.

Additionally, we’ve been very impressed with the eclectic mix of ideas on the Series. They range from large-scale, massive changes, to creative and interesting stylistic enhancements, to suggestions that enhance workflow. We’ve already responded to some of the suggestions in a previous blog post entitled Responding to your popular SketchUp Ideas. There are also responses (and an active, ongoing discussion) for at least the top ten ideas from both the “Ideas” and “Questions” series in the SketchUp Feature Suggestion Forum. Finally, I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss what looks like the top five ideas from the series this year:

Plugin Manager for Ruby Scripts
“Build a system that allows for Ruby scripters and their users to easily manage their collections of Ruby plugins within SketchUp. SketchUp users should be able to find, install and enable/disable new plugins (similar to an “App Store” model). Ruby developers should be able to market, distribute and maintain (upgrade) their plugins to SketchUp’s active user community.”
This was a top-voted idea last year as well, and I think it is clear to the development team that Ruby’s use has outgrown our original “Extensions” system for management. Doing this the right way is a really big project for the team to tackle and it wouldn’t happen overnight, but we’ll look into it further.

Improve Texturing Tools
“SketchUp users should be able to specify Cylindrical, Spherical, Cubic and Wrapped Projection in addition to existing Projected (“Planar”) and Auto-Wrapped methods. Additionally, SketchUp users should be able to adjust texture coordinates for any of these either directly on the model, or in a separate window on an unwrapped texture atlas.”
This was also a top-voted idea last year, and it isn’t a surprise that it rose up again this year. The problem is, adding these features would also add significant complexity to the SketchUp UI– which wouldn’t be a good thing for most of our users. It is worth taking a closer look at the problem, though.

Improve Toolbars
“SketchUp users should be able to lock the positions of toolbars against inadvertent edits. SketchUp users should be able to rapidly enable/disable toolbars without opening a menu multiple times.”
Several folks on the engineering team regard this request as closely related to #1 above, but others think you’re all asking for more control over the general “workspace” in SketchUp. Regardless, it is clear that some improvement to SketchUp’s toolbars (especially on Windows) would be of benefit to most of you.

SketchUp for Linux
“Desktop Linux users should be able to run a native port of SketchUp on their distro of choice.”
We hear this request all the time, but realistically we’re not likely to ever make a version of SketchUp that runs as a native client application on Linux. However, SketchUp can be run effectively on Linux using Wine, and we’re keen to improve that where it is practical to do so.

Improve Performance
“SketchUp users should be able to work with increasingly large and complex models with no perceptible decrease in performance.”
This year, suggestions that we improve performance by setting the “LargeAddressAware” linker flag rose highest in the voting. We work to improve SketchUp’s performance with every single release, though it isn’t apparent that this particular technology will be one which has much impact on SketchUp’s performance. We’re taking a closer look, though.

The series may be closed, but we hope this series is just the beginning of a continuous discussion on these ideas. We’ve taken the top ideas from this series and created forum threads on these topics in the “Feature Suggestions” section of the SketchUp Help Forum. Please don’t stop the dialogue! Now that the ideas are out there, we need to hear more specifics and consensus. Tell us what you agree with, or what you think is a waste of our time to work on. Be clear, be loud, and be heard!

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14 comments :

gerrrg said...

Hi there, that was my suggestion about toolbars. :D

Let me explain though. I realize that the vast majority of Windows-based software simply do not even bother with this issue as end users don't think twice about it.

So where does this come from?

The issue arises from using ACAD, where knowing how to lock down your tabs and toolbars improves (at least my) speed of drawing. Likewise, a session does not go by, where I accidentally displace one of the toolbars while using SU (pro user, by the way). [Seriously] When I more or less know what it is that I'm trying to create or the direction of my design, my fingers and brain move faster than a snail's. [Amazingly]

So if you could -- pretty please -- add locking toolbars into 8.1?

Life Bringer said...

Have you read this?
http://www.dgp.toronto.edu/~ravin/papers/uist2009_everybodylovessketch.pdf

Have you seen this?
http://goo.gl/ppnH

My profs rock!

Thomas Thomassen said...

I agree that Improve the Toolbars and Plugin Manager is related.

In addition to an userfriendly system of installing, updating and uninstalling plugins, UI management of menus and toolbars is also an issue.

With lots of plugins there are lots of menus and toolbars available, and users' preferences to where the plugin UI should appear might be different from where the plugin authors decides.

If one could rearrange menus and toolbar buttons one could place often used menus in an easily accessible position, and group less used in sub menus, and the ones you never use you can just hide.

It also allows you to group related functions close to each other, as oppose to now where they appear in the order the plugins where loaded.

Thomas Thomassen said...

As for texturing tools, you're concerned that UV tools will add too much complexity in its UI for most your users.

How about making it into a Pro tool? An extension one can enable?

What I'd like to see if UV gizmos. Planes, Cubes, Cylinders, Sphere you can modify to apply the UV mapping.

And being able to assign these gizmos to groups and components in a way so that when you modify the group/component the UV mapping it automatically updated.

TylerM684 said...

LIGHTING IN SKETCHUP.

Its time to stop using plugins and third party programs to do realistic renderings with sketchup. Integrate lighting and more powerful texture tools (reflection, glossiness, etc...). Also, integrate a camera along path rather than making animations or walk throughs using tedious scene's.

That is the REAL next step for this program. But, I assume you guys are already working on this :)

define said...

the new rhino v5 UI is a brilliant
example of coping with this kind of
challenge intelligently. It offers FULL customization though.

Firefighter Blu3 said...

A Linux native implementation is often requested because SketchUp doesn't work superbly in Wine. It breaks in all sorts of manners rather often.

-Printing yields a blank or 100% flat black preview & print job.

-Exporting to every possible type yields blank or 100% black images.

-Often selection highlights occur one event behind. I.e. highlight a segment, then click on a second - the first becomes highlighted.

-The drawing space becomes entirely blank save the sky/ground background and a few [text] artifacts that don't point to anything. Changing views or zooming to any degree produces nothing. Your drawing is totally gone.

-The built-in widgets for external HTML/skp type resources produce blank dialogs, they're useless.

-Every now and then window paint & refresh becomes corrupted and artifacts are left all over and what is drawn is drawn out of place. You might get lucky and guess where to click to focus then hit file->save and restart.

-Often artifacts are left in the drawing canvas after an operation, switching virtual desktops or to console and back to X may force a repaint and it'll be clean again. Doing this after -every- change you do on the canvas is excruciating.

-Complex drawings, even made into components etc, have to be kept small. sketchup under wine, simply can't handle large drawings. I.e. building a two story barracks, the walls floors and doors, made out of Hirst Arts mold pieces.

==

Yes, wine is -current, and this occurs on x86, x86_64, both amd and intel setups equally across the board. It wasn't until last year that wine and sketchup actually worked together enough so you could functionally use it.

Please stop passing off Linux users by saying it works fine in wine. Whether it's wine or sketchup at fault for whatever - it doesn't work fine, it -barely- works, some of the time.

-david

define said...

I agree with tylerM684. Sketchup should offer a 'rough' lighting simulation for the pro-version.
Meanwhile there are so many of us using it for interior architecture and exhibition planning, that it definitely makes sense to take advantage of modern 'state of the art' shader technologies as an option. Depth of field was another
issue supporting presentations very much and is also available as hardware feature on many modern gaming video boards. Another option would be 'postprocessing' of those effects as a plugin. I guess all the requirements for such postprocessing are already available under sketchup - i.e. depth-channel. Furthermore this would help to distinguish the free and the pro version of sketchup, since many users still don't see 'layout' as a major advantage
(...which ofcourse it is!)

define said...

I'll be quiet after this one - at least for tonight :)

There is one more request for optimization - if possible at all for SketchUp to be realized.

Next to SketchUp I'm using Michael Gibsons MoI3d when it comes to freeform-stuff. Please take a look at his UI and grafic. MoI3d has an outstandingly optimized AntiAliasing. I wonder, if Michael Gibson might license this technology for SketchUp? This would really make a huge difference when presenting results with sketchup.
Please look into it - its worth it.

Peter Robie said...

lighting in SU would be a waste of time, as would it be to focus on implementing many specific new tools. there seem to be new SU renderers on the market everyday, and really the only one anyone should be using is VRay... hahaha!

the user-base has done a great job implementing new tools and functionality through plugins. instead of developing new boolean tools, or new google earth functionality which benefit only a portion of the users, I would rather see 100% of your engineering team's efforts devoted to making SU more streamlined, more open to developers, and more powerful. plugin developers can take care of all the nuts and bolts. in theory, this can benefit all users.

define said...

I might buy the second part of your arguements, but you definitely don't seem to know 'octane-render' hahaha.

rodrigo said...

a nice idea could be for example, improve the translation to dwg, convert circles in circles, arcs into arc... polylines to polys... because the translation create segments and no entities...

that could be very usefull

3D-Structures-heerlen.corp said...

hello,
i often use sketchup for making earth models,i often get into a terrain problem with earth,is there a way that we get a mod in it,for improving earth terrain more,its realy important,i have 20,000 houses to be build,allong with bridges and tunnels,cheers
3d structures-heerlen

andy point said...

Hello,

Sticky keys!!

This would be the best workflow improvement: Meaning.. pressing shortcut key temporarily changes to corresponding tool & after jumps back to tool before
( normally that would be selection tool ).