Showing posts with label googlenew. Show all posts
Showing posts with label googlenew. Show all posts

Welcome aboard, Ireland! (and 14 more)

Primary and secondary schools all over the world are using Google SketchUp, an amazing 3D modeling application. Shining examples of student work abound; take a look at Eric Yam’s space colony, Michael Hathorn’s history class project, or Andrew Nathanson’s model of his hometown’s business district if you’re looking for inspiration.

As part of our commitment to providing low to no cost software to schools, the Google SketchUp Pro K-12 Statewide License Grant has been issued to 50 recipients worldwide. These include 39 U.S. states, 6 Canadian provinces, 2 Australian states, and all of New Zealand.

Fifty countries, states, provinces and counties around the world have been granted no-cost licenses of SketchUp Pro for their primary and secondary schools.

We’re proud to announce the most recent recipient: Ireland. All Irish primary and secondary schools will now have access to SketchUp Pro at no charge. Joining Ireland in this latest batch of new Pro recipients are:

  • Nevada
  • Montana
  • Florida,
  • Wyoming
  • Hawaii
  • Arizona
  • Alaska
  • North Dakota
  • Tennesee
  • British Columbia
  • Nova Scotia
  • Alberta
  • Saskatchewan
  • New South Wales
  • Tasmania

If you're a primary or secondary educator, you can check out details on our Google SketchUp Pro K-12 License Grant program site. It includes links to valuable training resources, technical support information, a group forum, case studies, and a map of states, provinces and counties which have already enrolled. If your locality isn't one of them, ask your state technology director (or international equivalent) to apply. License grant recipients don't pay a cent for SketchUp Pro.

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Another important update for SketchUp 8

In the world of software, the designation “M2” refers to “Maintenance Release #2”. Maintenance releases are mini-versions that come out between major updates. They aren’t really about flashy new features; they’re more like tune-ups for your car; squeaks and rattles get fixes, tires are rotated, fluids are changed. You get the picture.

It’s been a few months since we released M1; since then, we’ve collected a fresh batch of performance tweaks and bug fixes—over 150 of them, in fact. M2 is a free update for all users of SketchUp 8 and SketchUp Pro 8 in all 12 languages. The best way to get it is to open SketchUp and do this:

Windows: Choose Help > Check for Update
Mac: Choose SketchUp > Check Web for Update

Having stated that maintenance releases aren’t always flashy, we couldn’t resist adding a few shiny, new things that we think you’ll appreciate:

Better Ruby Script Installation

We’ve had a way for other folks to build SketchUp plugins and extensions for years. Anyone with coding skills can use the Ruby API (application programming interface) to whip up new tools that they can distribute any way they like. People have created thousands of great scripts—we consider the API one of the most useful things we’ve done.

The tricky part has always been teaching SketchUp modelers how to install and access the Ruby scripts (Rubies) that they want to use. Adding a sophisticated Ruby used to involve finding a specific folder on your system and putting a bunch of files in all the right places. Try explaining how to do that to your boss.

The Extensions panel in SketchUp Preferences has a new button...

In SketchUp 8 M2, we’ve added two features that should make using Rubies a whole lot easier: The first is a new button on the Extensions panel in SketchUp Preferences. Clicking it lets you install any properly-configured ".RBZ" (ruby zip) file, which puts the needed files into the correct spot, without having to dig around in your computer’s file system. It’s simple, but huge. We’ve also added a lightweight set of “hooks” in the API that should help scripters build their own script-management tools.


All versions of SketchUp 8 can read and write COLLADA, a 3D file format that works with lots of other 3D software. It’s managed by the Khronos Group, an industry consortium that decides which features COLLADA should support. As of M2, SketchUp’s import/export support for COLLADA is now compliant with over 90% of the official Khronos compatibility test suite, only leaving out support for animations and shaders—neither of which can be authored in SketchUp anyway.

We think you’ll like SketchUp 8 M2’s ability to seamlessly import and export clean and compliant COLLADA geometry. One particular thing to note: SketchUp now preserves texture names in exported files. This makes it easier to work with COLLADA files in 3rd party rendering tools.

Advanced Camera Tools included in Pro

Back in March, we announced the Advanced Camera Tools for SketchUp Pro 8. The ACTs let set designers, cinematographers, storyboard artists and other people in the entertainment industry work with simulated real-world cameras in their SketchUp models. Until now, the ACTs were a separate plugin that you had to install. In M2, they’re built right into every copy of SketchUp Pro 8.

More Straightforward Pro Trials

After you download and install SketchUp Pro, you can try all of the Pro features for 8 hours (of use) before deciding to buy a license. Up until now, we’ve simply switched off the Pro stuff if you don’t enter a license after the trial period. Effectively, Pro reverted to being just like regular ol’ SketchUp.

The problem was that lots of people didn’t realize that they weren’t actually running Pro anymore. Even worse, folks who had bought Pro licenses and had forgotten (or otherwise been unable) to activate those licenses were missing out on all the great stuff they’d paid for. Our Pro Support team has been fielding dozens of “Why can’t I import a CAD file?” questions per day. It’s been a bit of a mess.

Starting with SketchUp 8 M2, the SketchUp Pro Trial will no longer revert to “free mode” when the trial period expires. A separate version of SketchUp will still be available to download for free, but SketchUp Pro will require a valid license file to run after your trial period has expired.

Mac OS 10.7 Compatibility

Users of Apple’s latest operating system, take note: SketchUp 8 is fully compatible with your hardware. And I ain’t lion. Rawr.

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Announcing the 2012 Google Model Your Town Competition

Following the success of last year’s Google Model Your Town competition, today we're launching the second Google Model Your Town Competition. Model Your Town is about geo-modeling – making photo-textured models of real-life buildings that appear in Google Earth. The Model Your Town Competition is also a chance to celebrate your town by adding it to the 3D map. Of course, the USD$25,000 for a local school/district is a nice incentive too.

Barranco, Lima, Peru

The Model Your Town Competition is open to just about everyone, just about everywhere in the world. Form a team, model buildings (using SketchUp or Building Maker) and upload them by the end of February 2012.

You can model as many structures as you like – which types of buildings you choose to include is entirely up to you. The important thing is that your choices say something about the character and history of your town.

If your town wins, a bunch of us from the SketchUp team will visit, throw you a dinner party and do our best to make you feel like the local hero that you truly are. Check out the competition website for details, and start rounding up teammates!

Here's some inspiration by way of the 2010 winner, Jorge De Albertis, from Lima, Peru (just to get your creative juices flowing):

New to geo-modeling? Learn more at Your World in 3D, then get started modeling your town!

Posted by Allyson McDuffie, Google Geo team

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New Getting Started Videos for SketchUp

Our Official Training Videos have been responsible for teaching literally millions of people to use SketchUp. Concepts of SketchUp, the first video in the old series, has been viewed over 7 million times. Collectively, people have spent something like 40 years watching that video. That’s a lot of popcorn.

As popular as they were, our old videos were getting a little long in the tooth; they showed SketchUp 6. We decided that they should be remade, so we locked Tyson in a closet with a computer and a pile of army rations. It worked—our new training videos are not only current, they’re gorgeous. With Tyson’s scripts and visuals (and Alex’s melodious narration), getting started with SketchUp has never been easier. Here they are, in order:

One more thing: We didn’t stop at the videos. We gave the whole SketchUpVideo YouTube Channel a facelift. With helpful navigation menus in the upper-left corner, a new masthead and a big, blue Download button right at the top, SketchUp’s home on the world’s biggest video sharing site is now a whole lot lovelier. Pop on over when you get a chance.

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How do you make ideas real with SketchUp?

Every week, two million people use SketchUp to breathe life into their ideas. The resulting 3D models get made into houses and schools, movie sets and aquariums, bridges, robots, and furniture. The sum total of all this work represents a larger, yet untold story of how the SketchUp community is profoundly shaping the world around us.

Well, it’s time for all you unsung SketchUp heroes to stand up and take a bow, so today, we’re kicking off the Make Ideas Real project. The result of this initiative will be an innovative, online showcase that does justice to the impact SketchUp users are having on the physical world.

But we need your help to pull this off.

Make Ideas Real with SketchUp

Here’s how you can pitch in: Use this form to tell us your SketchUp story. Send us an image of a SketchUp model with an accompanying photograph that shows your completed project. Anything goes for subject matter; architecture, archeology, industrial design, construction, woodworking, personal fabrication, model railroading, mousetrap design — as long as SketchUp helped you make it, we want to see it. Professionals, semi-professionals and proud amateurs are all welcome.

Here are three examples of what we mean:

City Lights Residence, Steve Oles

SKPR Bot, John Bacus

Stand Up Desk, Dave Richards and George LaRue Downing

Over the next few months, we’ll curate the submissions we receive, and in 2012, we’ll launch a special showcase of SketchUp users who are reimagining the spaces we inhabit. Please share your story with us, so we can share it with the world.

Posted by Gopal Shah, SketchUp team

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Announcing the SketchUp Halloween Challenge

With Halloween just a few weeks away, nerds here in the Google Boulder office are in a tizzy about their costumes. We take this particular holiday very seriously.

A haunted house I modeled years ago, with two pumpkins by IDW. He modeled them for SketchUp Island's Pumpkin Patch collection on the 3D Warehouse.

This year, we thought it might be fun to host a SketchUp Halloween Challenge for folks who are looking for something to do in their spare time. The nitty gritty:


There are two: Use SketchUp to model either a jack-o’-lantern or a haunted house. Or both.

How to submit an entry

  1. Upload your model to the 3D Warehouse and make sure it’s publicly-downloadable.
  2. Upload between two and ten images of your model to a public photo sharing site like Picasaweb. You can use any photo sharing site you like, but make sure your images are grouped into an album by themselves. Images should be at least 1000 pixels wide or tall, depending on their orientation.
  3. Fill out the Challenge Submission Form, including links to both your model on the 3D Warehouse and your album of online images.


On Friday, October 28th, a group of us from the SketchUp team will get together to review the entries. We’ll be looking mostly at the images you submit; models will be examined when we’re picking the top three entries in each category. For an idea of what we’ll be looking for, consider these points:

  • Displays of SketchUp expertise are always impressive.
  • Anything that makes us say (out loud) “How’d he/she DO that?!!” is worth extra points.
  • We don’t want to see anything you wouldn’t show your grandma or your kids.
  • Beverages will almost certainly be involved in the judging process.

Multiple Entries

Submit as many models as you like, but fill out a separate entry form for each one. The more the ghastlier!

Rendering Rules

You can (if you like) include photo-rendered images of your model with the images you submit. You have to have at least one unrendered image, though; we’d like to see your work in its purest, SketchUp-only state.


The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM PST on Thursday, October 27th 2011.


For fun little modeling challenges like this one, we prefer to keep things simple. Instead of prizes, we’ll publish our favorite entries right here on this blog, on October 31st. The best three models from each of the two categories (pumpkins and houses) will be featured in the November edition of the SketchUpdate newsletter, which goes to millions of people around the world.

Why no fancier prizes? When companies host big, international competitions, it takes months for their lawyers to figure everything out. On top of that, people from certain places (like Quebec and Brazil) end up being excluded because of specific laws that apply only to them. Ugh.

Other Stuff

If you’d like a blank pumpkin to start with, this collection contains a few. Other questions about the Challenge? Please ask ‘em in the Comments for this post. Good luck!

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Explore the ancient and modern with Rome in 3D

Rome really is an eternal city. With a history spanning over 2500 years and regimes from the early kingdom, through the republic, the empire, and later as the heart of the Catholic faith in the Vatican city, each has made their mark on the current urban architectural landscape of Rome. Now, with the release of thousands of new 3D buildings for the city, you can explore the blending of the ages in layered construction of Rome from within Google Earth.

Let’s start our exploration in the ruins of the ancient Roman forum, home of the original Roman republic. From here we can easily travel to some of the subsequent Imperial buildings such as the Colosseum (AKA the Flavian Amphitheater) and Trajan’s Market and Column.

Looking towards the Colosseum through the Roman Forum

Next, we’ll head Northwest, towards the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. The Pantheon is a great example of the layered reuse of buildings in Rome; originally built in the Republican period, the Pantheon was retrofitted with the front portico in the Imperial period, and then later converted into a church. The shape of Piazza Navona also displays its historic foundation as the site was originally the Stadium of Domitian in the Imperial era.

Central Rome showing the Pantheon and Piazza Navona

Lastly, let’s head over to the Vatican City, where we can see great examples of the Renaissance and Baroque architecture of the city in Saint Peter’s Basilica and the colonnade by Bernini around St. Peter’s square.

St. Peter’s Basilica and Piazza in Vatican City

There is much more to explore in Italy’s modern capital, so have a look around this beautiful city! And don’t forget, a few years ago we also released ancient Rome in 3D which allows you to see Rome as it was in 320 AD.

To see Rome in Google Earth for yourself, use Google Maps with Earth view or turn on Google Earth’s “3D Buildings” layer and search for “Rome, Italy”. Alternatively, you can download this KML tour from the Google Earth Gallery to take a virtual tour of the 3D landmarks for yourself. As always, feel free to use Google Building Maker or Google SketchUp to make any improvements or additions to the city or to model your own town.

Happy touring!
Posted by Mason Thrall, Program Manager, Geo 3D

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More Building Maker cities and a new competition, too

It’s a great day for the citizens of Argentina -- and for Canadians in the nation’s capital. We’ve released new Building Maker imagery in six new cities:

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • C√≥rdoba, Argentina
  • Mar Del Plata, Argentina
  • Mendoza, Argentina
  • Rosario, Argentina
  • Ottawa, Canada

...but that’s not all! To help these cities get modeled, we’re having the first ever modeling competition for Building Maker. Starting tomorrow -- June 15th, 2011 -- you can create models in these six cities to win prizes in two different categories: Best Model and Most Models. The first place prize is a GPS-enabled digital camera; second place is a Building Maker shirt; and third is a Google travel mug. Have fun!

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Europe’s best kept secret revealed in 3D

[Cross-posted from the Google Lat Long Blog]

Brussels is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. As Belgium’s charming capital city, many have enjoyed living there, ranging from Victor Hugo and Karl Marx to Jean-Claude Van Damme. Now, you can discover the riches of Brussels in a virtual 3D visit with Google Earth.

Several thousands of 3D buildings have been added to the city’s map. Using Google Maps with Earth view or Google Earth’s “3D Buildings” layer, you can now visit the city to experience its rich architectural history. See the KML tour in the Google Earth Gallery to take a virtual tour of the 3D landmarks for yourself.

The place to start is the Grand Place / Grote Market, Brussels' central square. Its 17th century landmark guild houses are richly decorated with sculptures, gables and gold patterns and are said to hold the secret formula of alchemy engraved in its facades.

From there, you are only a virtual stones-throw away from the Royal Palace and its neo-classical Place Royale, which was built upon the ruins of Charles Quint’s palace and housed the famous Order of the Golden Fleece's treasure. Today, you’ll find the Magritte museum there, beautifully presenting the life and work of one of the world’s best-known surrealists.

Swivel around to see the impressive Palace of Justice, Brussels’ law courts which presides over the city skyline.

En route you will pass the Notre-Dame-du-Sablon church, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the city.

The next stop is the Cinquantenaire Jubilee Park with its arch built in 1880 to celebrate the 50 years of independence. The large warehouses you see next to the arch used to hold the Mundaneum: the largest historical attempt to categorize and organize the world’s knowledge and make its accessible to all, back in 1900.

Perhaps the most well-known landmark in Brussels is the Atomium, an all-metal building built in 1958, in the shape of an iron atom magnified 165 billion times. From the Atomium, turn around and look back for the best panoramic view on Brussels.

Before leaving Brussels, stop by the European Parliament where 27 nations are slowly but surely morphing into a prosperous and peaceful union. Google Belgium’s office is located nearby, can you spot it?

When you’re finished touring Brussels in Google Earth, head north to Antwerp, where citizens are actively modeling their city with free 3D tools from Google.

You think this is cool? If you’d like to get started modeling your town, you can get started quickly with Google Building Maker (where available).

Enjoy the tour!

Posted by Julien Blanchez, Country Marketing Manager Belgium

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New cities and better coverage in Building Maker

If you climb up on the roof of your house and cup your hands to your ears, I’ll bet you’ll hear cheering. That’s the sound of everyone in Fresno, Lake Tahoe, Austin, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego and St. Louis celebrating the arrival of better Building Maker coverage in their cities. Touching, no?

White outline shows current coverage area; blue indicates previous boundary.

Learn all about Google Building Maker (the coolest dedicated geo-modeling tool around) and give it a whirl when you’re ready. 116 cities so far!

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SketchUp 8: Now in a dozen languages

Back in November, we promised SketchUp 8 in three more languages. Well, today’s the day. All of us here at SketchUp HQ are pleased to let you know that Russian, Dutch and Simplified Chinese are ready and waiting to be downloaded from our website. They join French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Traditional Chinese and English (UK and US) for a total of twelve languages.

To see the SketchUp website in another language, use the Change Language drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of any page.

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Four new cities in Building Maker

Building Maker development continues at a torrid pace. Congratulations to the people of Rome, Italy; New Orleans, Louisiana; Long Beach, California and Malibu, also in California. Your metropolises (and/or pricey beach communities) are now proud members of the getting-less-exclusive-all-the-time cadre of cities in Building Maker. One hundred and fourteen—and counting!

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Introducing the Advanced Camera Tools

From the looks of it, we’re taking Hollywood by storm.

It seems that every time I watch a movie’s special features, up pops SketchUp: How’d they figure out the Penrose stairs in Inception? What did a vehicle designer for Avatar use to invent the bad guys’ robot suits? What tool did the production designer for 300 and Good Night, and Good Luck use? The set design for The Social Network? Futuristic environments for Tron: Legacy? The sheer number of films and TV shows that SketchUp’s been a part of is jaw-dropping—and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Since the entertainment industry’s been so good to us, we thought we’d return the favor. The old Film & Stage plugin we built in 2005 has been languishing in quasi-supported limbo for years. We dug it out of the shed, took it all apart, fixed the broken stuff, then... strapped a rocket to its butt. If fact, we made it so much better that we had to give it a new name.

The Advanced Camera Tools plugin lets you work with real-world cameras in your SketchUp Pro 8 models. Cameras you create with the ACTs provide precise controls for settings like Focal Length, Aspect Ratio and Image Width, which allows you to accurately preview real camera shots right inside SketchUp.

We put together a little video that tells the story succinctly:

In words and pictures, here’s some of what you can do with the Advanced Camera Tools:

Place cameras in your model and look through them to preview your shots.

Choose from dozens of pre-configured camera types, or create your own.

Position and aim your ACT cameras using familiar moves like Pan, Tilt, Roll, Dolly, Truck and Pedestal.

Set the Focal Length of any camera to simulate a large number of physical lenses.

Look through your ACT cameras to preview Aspect Ratio and Safe Zones for the shots you’re planning.

Toggle on and off all of your ACT cameras’ frustums to clearly see what is—and isn’t— visible in your shots.

The Advanced Camera Tools work on both Windows and Mac computers running SketchUp Pro 8. The plugin itself is a free download; you can get it here: Windows | Mac OS X

This Getting Started Guide is a good place to look for answers to your questions. To join a discussion, check out this thread on our forums.

Six years ago, we also released a big collection of components that relate specifically to film and tv production. If you need a dolly or a jib or a light stand or a light or a scissor lift or any other piece of movie set apparatus, this collection of collections on the 3D Warehouse is a great place to start looking.

One more thing: The lion’s share of credit for getting these tools out the door goes to Brian Brown. He worked on them in his 20% time—his day job is leading the engineering effort for Building Maker and the 3D Warehouse. Small tokens of appreciation (RED ONE HD cameras, etc.) should be mailed directly to him.

Happy pre-visualizationing!

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New in Building Maker: See what’s already modeled

We’ve launched a slew of new features in Building Maker recently, but I thought I’d focus on one in particular for now. One of the trickiest things about Building Maker was figuring out which buildings had already been modeled and which hadn’t. I’m happy to announce that we’ve added a feature that solves this problem.

Colored markers in Building Maker indicate the "modeled status" of buildings on the map.

When you’re looking at a city in Building Maker, you’ll notice hundreds of colored blue and gray markers. These markers indicate the “modeled status” of the buildings on the map. Round dots show models by other people; placemarks show models you’ve made. Here’s what the colors mean:

  • Blue markers: Models which have been accepted and are live in Google Earth
  • Cyan markers: Models which are awaiting review by us
  • Gray markers: Models which have not been accepted

Feel free to tattoo this on your arm to help you remember what the symbols mean.

Buildings which haven’t been accepted (indicated by gray markers) fall into one of two categories. The first includes those which we’ve reviewed and decided not to include because they don’t meet the acceptance criteria for buildings in Google Earth. These gray markers also indicate geo-located models which are in draft (not marked “complete and ready for review”). If you’re geo-modeling a city with Building Maker, look for buildings with gray markers or no markers.

Fun fact: Internally, we refer to the little, round dots as “measles.” Since infectious diseases generally carry a negative connotation, we decided to call them “markers” instead. You’re free to call them anything you like.

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An important update for SketchUp 8

Sometimes a haiku says it best:

new SketchUp version
shadows work much better now
farewell artifacts!

You'll want to download today's free update for SketchUp 8 as soon as possible. It contains (among a great many other things) fixes for for raster image export at high resolutions on Windows, and for the dreaded Shadow Bug. If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of millions of modelers uncorking Champagne to celebrate. Believe me – we're thrilled, too.

Here's an overly-dramatic video that shows the Shadow Bug fix in living color.

The newest version of SketchUp 8 (free and Pro) is available today in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Traditional Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese. Stay tuned for Russian, Dutch and Simplified Chinese; they’re coming soon.

Here's how to get the latest version of SketchUp 8:

Windows: Choose Help > Check for Update

Mac: Choose SketchUp > Check Web for Update

Please feel free to express your own euphoria in the form of a haiku in this post's comments thread.

Udpate: Added Korean to the list of available languages.

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