Can Sketchup keep up?

Definitely not. You’ll get it refined. I’ve been using LO now since version 3 which was the first workable version I think in 2009 or 2010. Prior to that I slogged along with a combination of SU and ACAD, first using ACAD on version 2.3! Prior to that, all hand work.

You mean something like this?
20220618 -Cloud
This is not Autocad; I’ve never been an AutoCAD user in 37 years of doing CAD. This is PowerCADD with Wild Tools.


I never got reciprocity in NY, but I get a taste of NYC work helping a long time friend who moved there over a decade ago. We are both PowerCADD users, but he doesn’t know SketchUp at all, so these are his projects, his designs, he works most things out in 2D in PC, then we share files, and I provide SU and added PC support. Expediters and all make NYC a different world than I’m used to at home. I’m grateful for the experience without having to actually deal with it on a daily basis.

NYC is an acquired taste. I’ve grown to love it. Took a while. Someone could make a hell of a movie out of the scene in the BK Dob waiting room. Seriously.

Yes. The autocad tool offers a variety of ways to set it up to make it fast for your own way of doing things, but that’s the gist. Even acrobat pro has a similar more basic version of the tool. But now we are DEFINITELY getting off topic.


These days, revision clouds arent just funny shapes, they can be BIM entities with associated tasks, completion dates, assign check/approve actions sent to specific indivduals, and may be associated with detailed views or historic design revisions. Theyre used to communicate clashes or amendments in a collaborative environment, tracked across versions.

Trimble Connect contains some of this functionality.

Oh and Landscape architects and surveyors also use clouds to draw foliage…but that’s not a recent thing (though very handy). :slight_smile:

Maintaining a revision history and a list of changes, depicted on drawing cover sheets as a list or table, is also a thing now. Most ive seen lately appear to be at least semi- automated via software. Structural and civil engineers at my firm also need to manually sign off every amendment.

Not having revision clouds (or any viable alternative) is a pretty clear evidence that LayOut wasn’t conceived as a pro documentation tool. Nobody would say “hey let’s make a new software to create construction drawings” and then purposely leave a revisioning tool.

Modern revision clouds are a perfect example of a function that can’t be added via third party extensions or well meaning workarounds.

And, this seems like a good example of where SU and LO do risk being left behind (in the AEC space, anyway).

The trimble developers need to either get busy, or open up the LO API to 3rd party vendors.


Absolutely ! All these luddites doing 2d when the world has gone 3,4 or even 5d :smiley: Joke aside, as I said earlier I’m teaching some of the people we work with regularly to at least open our ifc files in something like eveBIM and find the spatial information they’re looking for in there :wink:

Here in France there is talk of planning permission submissions being done as BIM…
But when you see how difficult it has been for local authorities to finally (since jan22) accept digital submissions of the traditional 2d and forms, one wonders if those of us over fifty will ever see BIM planning submissions. Hého, we bumble along square pegging a round hole, hoping that every new release of LO will at last give us the basics to do old fashioned 2d work… I hear you all on revision clouds, how’bout insulation “hatching” and dimensions that really do “snap” in the right place, or automatically do running dimensions etc… etc… Bumble bumble, ploof ploof ploof.

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I get my clients “wowing” them because I can draw in sketchup as they watch. But also I have professional clients finding out that I use sketchup, saying: “That´s what I was afraid of”. They refer of course to the fact that they cannot get a proper dwg.

I’m very happy that I’m not alone in this. I’m a bit sad that others have the same grievances I have though.

Well, with professional clients, we tend not to disclose that we use Sketchup. However, after working with us for the first time, we tend to discuss those DWG issues and it becomes a problem most of the times.

Private clients are easier.

This is the most unfortunate thing about Sketchup and I don’t think Trimble is even slightly aware that it is such a huge problem. Trimble probably thinks most architects using Sketchup don’t go all the way with it and that it’s still mostly a companion software.

What annoys me the most is that DWG export is almost there, with a few more steps it would be much better.


It is both heartening & sad indeed that this issue is a problem for many of us.
I’m surprised that the export can’t put lines from “tags” (I hate that name) layers, onto “layers” in a dwg file, is that technically so complicated ?
Another issue that is becoming really problematic for those of us who try to continue using SU for BIM, is that the “geo-reference” à la SU doesn’t allow us to correctly situate a model following for exemple the EPSG 2154, or Lambert 93 coords for France. And if we artificially do this using a surveyors file as a reference, we end up so far from the SU “origin” that all those nasty clipping issues come out to make life impossible. The only way around it is to create a reference “cube” somewhere and have our Revit using partners create one at the “same” spot so that we can easily exchange files… Whilst this works for the design team, as we are all in the same boat, it is definitely a problem when exchanging with contractors & professional clients or development corporations !
Moving forward, this will be a deal breaker, along with all the issues around having more than just basic ifc classification of objects export with our ifc files…
Bref, on fait ce que l’on peut avec ce que l’on a… Bumble bumble, ploof ploof ploof…


You could try using Trimble Connect for bridging all BIM files, but then, the disconnection between Sketchup models and Trimble Connect is also a big problem. All the work we do on scenes, layers (tags sorry) and sections doesn’t carry on to TC.

All those IFC issues are a serious problem for my future with Sketchup… I’m always looking at other BIM software, always eager to have to streamlined features but also always afraid of loosing Sketchup’s. For now I’ve got more reasons to stick to Sketchup, but as we progress, we bang our heads with unsurpassable shortcomings.

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Ditto entirely. & TC is NOT an option for us as I am not willing to put our work on a USA based cloud service. We currently use a french platform which I’m much more comfortable with… and we “fudge” & workaround.
Let’s hope against hope that Trimble does finally listen to what many of us have flagged and give us some indication as to whether they have any intention of addressing the issues, and if so, give an approximate time-frame. Given their almost paranoid corporate secrecy, I sadly doubt that we will ever know until/if a future release magically sorts some of this out. Meanwhile, like you, we soldier on and get frequent headaches !


There should be a way to define the relation between sketchup origin and “proper origin”, so that one can work inside that local cube and still export out to proper coordinates. I give coordinates to building sites from Layout easily though, from just adding those larger coordinates as text before the coordinates that layout find for me, so that my automatically collected coordinates in the leader text look like this:

but in reality the format that collects coordinates is like this:

That way I have a quite proper way of collecting coordinates to set out the building, getting Layout to just measure the last 1000 meters. Can’t get rid of the “tilde” though :slight_smile:

I just copy the leader and adjust the arrow location in order to easily bring the format over to the next leader.

The method works for presenting coordinates on a pdf. If I were to give them in a dwg I would need to edit the dwg in autocad to move my sketchup origin to the proper place.

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This is standard practice for file exchange between all BIM and modelling applications. Parties agree on a common project origin. Revit and Archicad have approximately the same limitations as SketchUp for a model to be situated near the origin point, for the same reasons. So do common IFC viewers. Revit and Archicad both have a “survey point” system that helps put projects “on the map” but it is primarily meant for exactly that, and not model exchange.


Thanks for the tip ! For Layout yes that’s a good idea as a work around.
& Yes, for dwg’s I “move” the SU generated file to the correct coords based on a surveyors plan to avoid any errors at construction site phase. :slight_smile:

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That’s interesting, so all of us are “fudging”: younger architects who all use Revit led me to believe that they were using “real” coords (Lambert93 here in France), but not being a user, I just took their word for it… Still, it would be good if this issue got fixed, particularly for our work with urban planners as with them we work in QGIS and draw in space according to the coordinate system that a given “collectivité” (municipality, or other) asks us to work in. My point being that GIS & BIM are supposedly on track to converge, so SU needs to up it’s game and be ready for this in the near future, so if today it’s “ok” to bodge/fudge, tomorrow it will be a real problem, not to mention all the other ifc file shortcomings that I bang on about all the time…


We are a technology driven field at this point, so you are probably correct.

On the other hand, most built complex architecture and engineering feats existing today were drawn by hand and successfully constructed for far less cost in todays currency.

We are reliant on tech.

I wonder how that is. I think the comparison of the industry now and then is complex, but just looking at drawing production, I imagine labor is the biggest cost, though greater requirements also rule.
I have this image (correct me if I am wrong) of huge rooms of low paid drafts-persons of mid century cranking out the great growth of that period, and yet those people probably supported a middle class lifestyle from that work, once they achieved reasonable expertise.

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Of course you are right ! I’m old enough to have drawn stone profiles with a pencil and ink on tracing paper…for a project to complete a cathedral in England, but that’s another story :smiley:
However, today, our fee-scale is based on using modern tech, and our ambition is to use that tech to better anticipate possible spatial clashes & the like well before we get on site; in short to reduce the number of possible quacks & therefore avoid human clashes due to stress… tall order, but heh… have a good weekend :slight_smile:

I think (and this is also in response to @pbacot ), some of the issue with our adoption of tech is that we have more untrained (architecture and construction management) staff than we had in the past. Back in the day of hand drafting, most of the people I knew were actually architecture interns managed by a licensed architect job captain, and not tech staff with little experience in construction. On the contractor side the same applied. The concept of a “Master Builder” seems to have vanished with the reliance on construction management firms and the advancement of technology that allows people without experience in the actual building industry to thrive with tech skills.

There are huge advantages to the tech we have now, but it will never accomplish or replace the need to have both architects and builders with actual building knowledge and coordination of complex systems that are conceived in advance of the tech team documenting it. There are many firms out there that focus so intently on the tech that the art is lost.