Why is the ‘new’ Laura scale figure clearly White? This is the perfect opportunity to diversify and include and promote Black people in the design world.


Seriously? The scale figures are Trimble employees. You’re suggesting that they should change Laura’s race. Good grief!


Random thought … since SketchUp has its offices in Boulder, Colorado, perhaps one of the figures could be a Southern Arapahoe Native American.

As the story goes:

Chief Niwot, also known as Left Hand, was a leading chief at the time of the arrival of the first settlers. When the first settlers arrived at Settlers Park in 1858, Chief Niwot went to tell them to leave and that they were not welcome. The settlers refused and Niwot, seeing that they were well armed, decided that it would be better to try to keep the peace with them. As the story goes, Chief Niwot uttered these words “People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of its beauty.” And they became known as the curse of Niwot.


I think people need to harden up some, everyone is way too sensitive about “race” or other perceived connections.

This figure is primarily used to indicate some measure of scale when you start modeling. If it is such a huge issue some homebrew “modular (hu-) man” could be used with the default front face / back face.


I would prefer a neutral (grouped) box in 1/1/1 meters (pleeease, no imperials)… sure, less fun-stuff but more usability.


I think the choice to use primarily SketchUp/LayOut team members for the 2D was to add a bit of a personal touch to SketchUp. Some people seem intent on turning it into some racial thing when there is no racism intended. They are just people who have worked on SketchUp or LayOut. Seems to be the nature of snowflakes these days to to do this kind of stuff, though.


As others have said these are employees of SketchUp. It’s been a tradition for a long time. Knowing who I know over there, I highly doubt that it’s racially motivated, it’s just what they’ve done for a long time. When you first work at SketchUp part of the onboarding process is to draw your scale figure so they just use those. It’s probably easy too because they don’t have to worry about any copyright issues.

Over the years I’ve never seen the community really rally behind a particular scale figure, and perhaps it’s time for that to change. I did some Googling and there are definitely some racially diverse architects that designed some pretty famous buildings.

Maybe the community should put together a diverse set of architects/designs/engineers that inspire them and pitch them to SketchUp?

Here are some current people talking about their experience in architecture: 16 architects of color speak out about the industry's race problem - Curbed

A little more digging and I found some pretty famous diverse architects too. I actually don’t think it’s my place to pick one though… I’d like to see what other think.


Seems like a good idea. Of course then there are those copyright issues and the potential to have to pay royalties to use their likenesses.

For those who seem to be offended by the heritage of the SketchUp staff, here’s a scale figure you can use instead.
Scale Figure.skp (9.3 KB)

To be entirely representative of the human race a significant number [~1/6] of these 2d-figures should be Chinese [a relatively homogeneous sallow skin color] !
Followed by Indians [although their ‘race’ covers most skin color permutations] - ~1/6 !
But of course many Indians are a subset of the much broader ‘europeans’ who have diverse skin coloring - from pale-skinned Nordics through to darker Mediterraneans ! Chinese also share connections with other east-asian people…

If you take ‘nationality’ rather than race the USA comes about 3rd at ~1/20 - and of course the Americans’ skin color is very varied…

Each person’s skin color is only part of their story … it’s a poor indicator of ‘race’ - “Skin color is not race” -
Race and ethnicity are not the same thing.

The United States government recognizes distinctions between the concept of race and ethnicity, and defines individuals as White, Black or African American, Asian, Native American Indian and Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, or “other.” It also recognizes two ethnicities: Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino. This demographic data in turn affects public policy and civil rights law.
The approx breakdown is white 72.4%, black 12.6%, Asian 4.8%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.9%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.2%, other 6.2%, two or more races 2.9%.
So to be wholly ‘representative’ of the US population around ~7/10 2d-figures should be ‘white’, ~1/8 ‘black’, ~1/10 ‘other’ [whatever that means] or ‘mixed’, ~1/20 ‘asian’ [brown/sallow] and ~1/100 ‘native’ [various browns ?].
So applying this logic to the 10 or so versions with 2d-figures… white is over represented [~7 v. 10], but we should have had ~3 black or brown figures to represent everyone else - with ‘black’ about 1.3 times !

Of course each ‘racially-corrected’ figure’s genetics, hair color, age, sexuality, religion and even political persuasion, could also be shown with suitable symbols or badges etc !
But that’s all bound to upset someone !!

Going back to ‘Laura’ - has anyone has asked her about her perceived race or ethnicity ??
Although her avatar does look very ‘white’ !
Also look at - it shows avatars for most SketchUp staff - and it is probably slightly biased towards ‘white’ ??


Personally I always dump the default template and its figure as soon as I upgrade and use my own 1m cube with the SketchUp version written on it - so I known where I am when opening / closing SKPs.
That way I sidestep all bias and inequalities…


Well, there’s been Sophie and Sang.

Maybe just make them all blue or magenta.

I dump the scale figure, too, and start with a blank screen. My template has the camera set to a good starting point for the size of the models I typically make so I don’t need any sort of scale figure cluttering my workspace.

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I’m guessing it’s a woman, as it’s a tiny bit shorter than me. I turned on the always face camera option.

Scale Figures.skp (218.1 KB)

I had turned on the Always Face Camera option when I created the component but I saved it back to a V3 file (to avoid discriminating against anyone who isn’t using SketchUp 2020) so that probably dumped that feature since it came later.

Don’t read anything into it. It’s not meant to have any gender. If it did some snowflake would take offense.

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Interesting. I too save back, but only to 2017 in this case.

I was only going to save back to 2017 but I didn’t want to leave anyone out.


I love this response, because it puts things in true perspective, by the numbers. And this is just “races.” Imagine if you tried to simultaneously represent gender(s) and (dis)ability diversity as well!

This reminds me of when I embarked on a huge task of designing an icon library for use at our firm. Just a set of small icons to represent our services, topics and such, to be used in communications. All went well until I dared add a figure of a human: a simple circle above a rounded rectangle. Before you knew it, someone accused me of only creating a man, and demanded I make a woman. Despite explaining it was about as non gender specific one could possibly achieve, we were forced to create a woman specific icon. Before you knew it, we were accused of stereotyping women as having long hair and/or a dress. Revision after revision, addition after addition, the project snowballed. Soon enough people wanted icons of every conceivable type of person and there was this idea that the icon designer was somehow excluding people on person. I was only trying to create a stick figure to represent a person; there was no agenda.


I think this thread is missing the (my?) point a little bit… It’s not about mathematically representing the right person/amount of people in a certain group…

At a base level the scale figure has some utility: Scale. But at least once the scale figure has had a bit of a story behind it:

Bryce certainly had the story of I believe the most “hacked” scale figure:

I was trying to steer the conversation towards “Hey, let’s hear from some people that are underrepresented in fields where SketchUp is used” and ask them what they’d be interested in. I’m not part of that group, and I think judging by the avatars here not many of us that have chimed in are.

So perhaps @ERICKSONAESTHETICS or someone else has any ideas?


I thought I recognised you, since you were testing V1, you couldn’t have opened it in that version?

Anyway this month:

Come to the next Basecamp and talk to all those scale figures in person to see their passion…


Not sure if you noticed that this very topic has already a recent discussion on this forum:

Also I personally would be careful not to force another individuum into the spotlight. After all they are real people with a private life and being copied and edited by millions of users is not something that fits every personality, it must be truely voluntary.

Also if you select and classify people based on their look, gender, childhood origin, in order to fulfill diversity quotas, you need to focus again on differences. I humbly assume people want to feel being treated equally (like the others) and feel well integrated with all facets of their personality, but not receive a treatment only because they are different in one aspect and are just now needed as “quota person”, e.g. the “quota woman” or the “quota black”.
(Again, the term “black” would be a too crude classification for a wide range of people who mostly have very diverse skin tones. I’ve never seen a human for which black would be an appropriate color name.)

I’m all for diversity, and since such discussions have been going on for a long time, I would not be surprised if some of the team members step up voluntarily for the next release to represent how diverse the team actually is.