Curious: Can SketchUp follow the blender business model?

Unity haven’t kept up to date with SKP support. If you save as a 2019 file it should still work.

Sketchup is way more niche-oriented than Blender.
They are definetly targeting architects… and that’s it.
Gone are the times of “3d modeling for everyone”. :roll_eyes:
On the other hand, Blender is more and more used in architecture, mostly as a render engine (powerful and free), but it’s also used in tons of other industries, where Sketchup is near to 0 relevant.

Sketchup is, in his way, the most niche 3d software I can think of, being that it has not a true competitor.
Is a polygon modeling tool, but works like a CAD software (sort of) which is good and bad at the same time. I don’t know another polygon/discrete modeler with a CAD-oriented toolset like Sketchup, if you know one, feel free to correct this statement.

I went more in depth on this subject in this post, where I showed with some practical example why this can be good and bad (or at least can be way better)

Sketchup 2023 update is a big disappointment - #151 by panixia

Of course Blender is hard to learn… if you dare to learn all those 500 other operations at the same time.
Maybe I choose an extreme example mentioning animation and simulation, but I could also have picked the basic example of drawing a freakin’ sphere.
In Blender (same as Max/Maya/C4d) is a 1 click operation… and you can easily adjust parameters non-distructively afterwards. Same for a chamfer/fillet or texturing with a trivial planar mapping.

In Sketchup, doing the same (basic) things is a complete mess.
If you honestly say that modeling with “Followme” or “Texture Position/Project” it’s easier than learning how to do the same stuff with a couple of click in any other polygon modeling software, you probably didn’t open them a single time for a quick try (or maybe you are severely biased) :sweat_smile:

I have near to 0 coding experience and I have no Unity badge at all :laughing:
But I have quite a deep understanding about low poly modeling, retopology, model optimization, UV unwrapping, baking (Normals, lightmapping, AO, whatever).
I started using Unity with plain Sketchup models for most static objects, but then I began to export them to Max and then from Max into Unity to fix weird things that may occur with UV’s and exporters.
It’s a shame that the SU developers don’t care at all about the few things who could made skp more suitable for game engine/VR.

Well, I can totally understand that.
But beware that, even if you don’t care about the “quality” of the mapping, bad UVs can still affect runtime perfomance really bad in many different ways.
Having duplicated UVs makes the (actual) polycount really taxing on gpu, way more than it should be.
Plus, the lack of 2nd UV channel and decent UV mapping tools forces you to rely on automatic unwrap for lightmaps (which is sub-optimal in the quality/performance tradeoff).
Or, even worst, rely on dynamic lighting, which is a performance (and quality) killer in VR.

I can ear you… I tried multiple times to convince some developer I work with to write specific tools for Sketchup, but they refused for the very same reason. :joy:

That’s not a big deal, honestly.
The way in which sketchup manages UV mapping is.

Thanks Colin. I did a system wide reinstall to clear the clutter and haven’t reinstalled Unity yet. Checking my notes… there was, Use External Materials (Legacy) setting that needed to be used. I’m easy to please so blue boxes are usually ok. Speak of the Devil, my first SU model tested in Quest/passthrough:

Blue Cube!

Screenshot 2024-02-12 161144

I’m not a gamer at all, but it appears that Unity has taken the idea of the ‘Gamification’ of learning seriously. The Unity Dashboard keeps track of usage and shows badges and EP. So, I did the Junior Developer Pathway and gobbled those up the badges. In another Pathway (Creative Core, I believe) they have tutorials on materials and shader graphs. Not really my thing, …but something looked familiar when Mihai gave me some tips and pointed me at a Blender tutorial on creating realistic looking boulders. Speaking of Blender, using it somewhat reminds me of using Pro Builder in Unity… not as intuitive as SketchUp for most of what I want to do. But colorization is usually enough for me and without materials everything is going to be more lightweight by default. That’s because my bent is to design for the installation crew, not for the client. Ah, to square the circle: Unity is a fun way to learn a little about programming.

It was mentioned earlier in this thread that SketchUp only now has parametric modeling with Creator but there actually are at least a few that I know of (Viz Parametric and Samual Tallet Parametric Modeling Plugin). There’s the State Machine / Flow Graph / Shader Graph for those whom that suits.

The gate is wide open to bring people into SketchUp with the free versions. It would be nice if there was an SU Developer Version for learning extensions (maybe something like Unity with free and paid versions - you pay when you make a x profit). But the ability to use/make extensions is the dividing line in SU for Pro. That’s a non-starter. I see the POV of entrepreneurs wanting to make money selling training/courses for SU and how a niche could more easily be created for SU programming if those students had access to a free version they could develop extensions on -especially given the perceived value and popularity of other programming languages. But alas, it aint so.

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I know that Dynamic Component (like sandbox) are built into the software as an extension, but actually as extensions by default. This is a detail, because these are important functions. To be precise, Dynamic Components were developed by someone who is no longer with the company as I read.

Ruby and Python are both written in C.

My feeling is that most languages ​​today have essential points in common with C++. As dezmo said, Ruby is written in C, and C++ is an extension of C. C++ has object oriented paradigms that are common to other languages as Ruby, Python, etc… But you are right, in the sense that Smalltalk (which I don’t know) predates C++ and would already have these concepts?

I programmed in Ruby, in C, in C++, in Pascal, in all kinds of Basic, in Python, and I really liked Swift (very new elegant concepts in Swift).

Previously, I mentioned the advantage of Python as a standard in CAD software.
Today, a few hours ago, I traveled with an AI engineer who works for a major CAD player… pure coincidence.
His reflex when I spoke to him about my project, and about Python (but not only), was to say that Python was currently the best language. I don’t use it in all its details, but it has important advantages such as the very high readability of the code, in particular because the syntax is reduced, and its elegance.

…playing or viewing the internet or movies… A perfect device to review, annotate change, VR, etc…

It’s very useful, but it’s not exactly a productive activity like you can do on a desktop computer, you’d rather not do on the iPad, because it’s not as convenient. If you need to work quickly on a large 3D model, you will prefer to do it on a desktop computer.

It can make a difference for the developer. If you develop in a language common to most 3D software and you try not to be too dependent on APIs, you have code that works everywhere and immediately

Which Trimble apps use Python?

Quite difficult…

By the way… I continue thinking that iPad version is a useful app. Productivity depends on your workflow.

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This can’t be emphasized enough. Let’s say I have 100 tons of stone being delivered to a jobsite and I need to be operating equipment from sunup to sundown. Under pressure! I may only need the SketchUp Viewer on Android (tablet or phone) to stage and place materials to pre-measured locations. That can eliminate the need to reference a paper plan and can reduce the need for other equipment like transits or Zip levels, allowing me to go faster. Or, with a MR device, I can walk around with my spay can and handy spray stick to layout edging or excavation areas. If a foreman needs some information, that can be grabbed as a screen capture, and/or updated in the model and sent to everyone involved in a project in minutes. I don’t use iPads but I can’t count the number of times I’ve received an image with markup and scribblings (“design changes”) on it. For the designer on the go, even marking up plans as I’ve seen others do is a big boost.

Productivity is about making the best use of the tools we have (but let’s not forget to have some fun while we’re at it).


For the developer, it is interesting to work with a language present in many CAD or 3d app. It’s possible to create Python scripts in : Revit, Autocad, Archicad, Rhino, Blender, form•Z, 3ds Max, Maya, Vectorworks, Cinema 4D, BricsCad, Catia…

No, it’s not that difficult. It is enough to have intermediate functions or classes.

So you agree?

Who said that SketchUp Web (free) won’t ever support (web) extensions?

I see that Connect already has extensions, and there’s Trimble Creator…

My point of view is rather to develop the most standard code possible, which is reassuring. A closed “eco-system” on a programming language adopted confidentially (in CAD) is not interesting. And what’s more, Python is the most pleasant language of all those I have practiced.

Most non-profit software is made by geeks that are not very good with simple user-friendly interfaces and well thought out curated workflows, so I would not want that for sketchup.

I want professionals to make my software. Professionals gets paid. Why would one want to live in a world where no-one gets paid?

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This is not the case for Blender which hires professional developers and who do an enormous amount of work. We can also say that Blender generates profits to use them, but that the majority goes into R&D. The subject of user-friendly interfaces is something else again. We realize that the investment is not always made, even among major players.

woah! Learned a lot from this thread. Thankyou (Sketchup Sages, learned ones and regulars) for sharing such detailed information and apologies for the naivety (I couldn’t find something similar asked before).

I’m an Architect by profession and would like to enter the programming world. And reading all your answers was super-helpful and I’m sure for all those who will be reading this thread in the future too.

A bit harsh but I guess I’ll take it for the greater-good of the sketchup community :grin: