No more new features?

Will there ever be any new features added to Sketchup? I have been using it for years and for probably the last 6 years or more there hasn’t been any significant feature added just bug fixes. Did the mastermind that created Sketchup move on to a new project? Or is there just no money being thrown at Sketchup from Trimble? I am just curious… I love the program but it is laking soooo many basic 3d modeling features. Like…better handling of toolbars and palettes, lights, rendering like Lumion, active mirroring, animating materials for water and skies etc, WAY better handling of its own models…I look at a program like Lumion and just wonder why either Lumion does not make a modeling program like Sketchup or that Sketchup does not improves their program to the level of Lumion…

1 Like

Feature development did stagnate for a bit while Google was running the show, but it’s been going like crazy since Trimble bought us!

Here’s a link to all of the release notes for the past 6 years or so:

Interesting you mention Lumion - they do have an extension specifically for SketchUp:


I note that you are on a Mac, and fully support the claim that the GUI on Mac SketchUp has been stagnant for some years while the Windows version moves forward (or at least in a different direction!). But some of what you list, e.g. lights, animating materials, active mirroring (by which I presume you mean supporting mirrored surfaces that reflect other contents) are rendering features, not modeling features. Rendering is generally handled by an extension or a separate application.


Yes there have been many pretty much invisible features added…like better inferencing. Lots of fixes and improvements. But as far as new innovative features I really can’t think of any…and I am trying. Still though shadows just kill performance when it comes to just moving an object. Also Sketchup models can’t handle too many Sketchup models at any one time.

Yes I use Lumion and its great and works better with SKP models than Sketchup does. I can have hundreds of Sketchup models and trees and bushes and everything is moving and has way better lighting even before you do any export of higher quality renders. If I try to put 10 trees in Sketchup with 1 or 2 cars it starts slowing down a lot.

By mirror I mean mirror modeling. I realize I can just make a component and then copy and flip and hide the middle lines but you can still see the seam and hiding lines always creates future problems. XYZ mirroring would be very awesome. Although a mirrored surface material would be awesome too now that you mention it.

Every modeling program has rendering and lighting or most do… Even Sketchup has it via 3rd party companies. If a third party company can do it then Sketchup should have those features built in or in the works. Simple emissive materials would be the perfect way to add lights to sketchup. Then you just model a light and add the material.

Yes the Mac has just been ignored for years as far as palletes and toolbars.

Add WASD 3d navigation like UE4 as an option. I am always getting stuck in zoom hell inside a wall or something. Just have a speed adjustment on the mouse wheel and WASD and mouse to navigate. Its the best way and anyone familiar with playing any game will be instantly used to.

A Skybox would be great.

Key frame animation. Simple rigging. Bones

Layout could be an Autocad killer if it had the ability to import DWG files. Also if it had a way more open keyboard shortcut interface. I would need a command line and then something like Autolisp so I can streamline the workflow.

WAY better organic modeling support. Currently you really have to be creative or use 3rd party programs to do any kind or organic modeling in Sketchup. Just to model say a rock is not an easy task.

I love the original ease of use that Sketchup introduced me to and I just want it expanded on and made into an amazing 3D modeling program.

I know this sounds like a rant but I really couldn’t model in any other program. ZBrush is nice and all but I still prefer Sketchup. The rest …3DS and maya and blender …etc…are all clunky and too hard to use but they have features that I would love to see in Sketchup.

1 Like

Whenever someone wants SketchUp to be like something else,
I post a link to this thread by the team members:

And if you do not have the time to read the entire thread,
the most profound quotes in it can be found in one of my posts there:


The major flaw in this is that Sketchup CAN add features if it does it in a Sketchup way where the program stays simple to use but then its just got more easy to use powerful features. It doesn’t have to just be what it is and just get bug fixes.

Lighting can be done by just adding an emissive to materials. Maybe they don’t even cast shadows or there is an option for that

Key frame animation and bones can be done in a very easy to use simple Sketchup way

An active Skybox with moving clouds and a Sun which is actually in the place you set it in the shadows box which already exists would not complicate Sketchup and would be AWESOME. Currently its a total pain in the but to have something similar to it.

Adding alternative controls for moving around in the 3D world does not complicate Sketchup it just adds an option.

Coming up with a Sketchup way to do Organic shapes would change the game! Something like subdividing geometry where boxes can just be turned into organic shapes then you use the solid tool to merge and subtract.

Add some primitives for gods sake lol… To make a sphere in Sketchup goes against that easy of use document. You have to draw a circle then another circle and then clip it into a fourth of a circle and then use the follow me tool just to make a sphere. How about adding options to the push pull tool which instead of pulling staight up that it can pull and shrink while its pulling. You can make half a sphere by just pulling up on a circle. Have setting in that adjust how much it shrinks as it pulls.

The point is there are plenty of super simple ways to expand the Sketchup Toolset without going against that keep it simple document. I don’t want to have Sketchup litter with Add-ons.

Also about Feature Creep…if you don’t add a single feature then why even have a new version? You can’t keep asking people for more money but then just say “it works a little faster but yea there really isn’t any new”.

Is it possible that this one misunderstanding could be related to others?


Yup thats what I wrote pretty much… thanks for posting a video about it? Now for someone who has never done that and is approaching Sketch for the 1st time and can’t just make a sphere this is a hard sell. I have to do like 6 steps just to make a sphere…

You have to know how to grab a center and change your axis with and arrow key or have a cube that you shift hold the axis… know how to select the circle at the bottom 1st before selecting the follow me tool… then picking the circle after that… and you left with a circle you have to erase… When they could just add a primitive command to add spheres or cones or whatever. And do it in a Sketchup way that you could draw a circle on a face and then turn it into a sphere or add a sphere like drawing a circle. Like Hold down or toggle command key and you get a sphere instead of just a circle. Also doing this on a face would only draw the sphere out from the face like how push-pull works. Why is a cube super easy to make ( 2 steps and super easy to understand) but a sphere 6 or more and very convoluted.

It can also be easy to make a sphere or other regular shapes with a plugin.

See for example two I adapted (with help from ThomThom) on the Sketchucation Plugin Store - SU Shapes and Polyhedra.


If you often use spheres and want it easy, you can make them into a component and save to your components library.
It’s then a simple case of dragging it from your library into any model. You can save certain sizes or have one, drag it in and scale it up/down in the model space.
Never draw what you can copy. Sketchup is a very open and versatile tool, it’s just s matter of working out the best ways of using it to best suit your needs.

Hope this helps


I know there are plenty of add ons that can sorta do what I am talking about. But your missing my point. I want more features done in the Sketchup way done in the main program. All the add ons I have tried feel like add ons and try to mimic other modeling programs. I want to draw spheres as easily as I draw circles or cubes in Sketchup. Along with all the other things I mentioned.

I dont want to get stuck on Spheres because that was just one thing that would be nice. Better support for Organic modeling done in the Sketchup way is really the ultimate goal. You should be able to just draw spheres on spheres on spheres on spheres…etc. Like how easy it is to draw cubes on cubes on cubes etc…

Maybe adding sculpting like Zbrush?? I know too far but really if Sketchup kept evolving over the past 6 years we could be closer to that. ZBrush has added Sketchup-like modeling to their program.

Why don’t you use those plugins and extensions? Maybe you’re missing the point of all others?


Wow ok I get it. There are many people who just want Sketchup to stay exactly as is and just rely on addons for anything new… I wish that wasn’t the case! Probably a lot of the people who don’t want it to change are people who sell addons.

To add a voice from another direction, I wish they would fix more of the long-standing bugs before adding any new features!


Try taking 1 or 2 of the suggestions you’ve made and really breaking them down, and I’m not being critical of your ideas, I’m saying it’s helpful to us to have a critical look at how to approach a tool or a technique in a completely new way.

Organic modeling for example. That is a pretty different work flow than the typical SketchUp modeling approach, so what would a really simple but powerful approach to organic modeling look like? Can you think of new ways to approach it that either leverages existing tools or can be implemented with a very easy to learn and minimal toolset?

Bones and rigging? Do you want forward and inverse kinematics? Do you want a fully fleshed out keyframe animation system? These quickly become very complicated requests, so if you have good ideas on how they would be simplified or ‘SketchUp-fied’? :wink: Please articulate.

I do recommend the post Dan shared. Ultimately we’ll have this kind of discussion many time over. Some features are technical hurdles, some could be technically achieved, but not in any elegant way, some would result in bloating the application, and so forth. That said, we are still always listening and really trying to keep the core of SketchUp magical and to build it in a way that never betrays the ‘simple is powerful’ mantra. So keep the ideas coming please.


If SketchUp improved to this Lumion, I imagine the cost would go up to the same über expensive lever. £1500 :scream:

There are many great plugins that are free. Others, unless from companies, are very affordable.

Ease of Use’ is the key asset of SketchUp, not becoming a second Blender…



After banging my head against this particular wall for years, I’ve pretty much given up. Now I look at the forums a couple times a year, and avoid complex work in SU. This thread is a classic, and you seem genuinely confused, so I’ll try to lay it out for you.

You are probably a designer or something, used to working out solutions to a problem. Your confusion comes from the idea that this is a problem whose solution is desired.

The whole “simple interface” idea is great, but after you graduate from squares and rectangles (with the occasional triangle or trapezoid for variety) and you want to do something more, you try to play with organic shapes.

Remember, SU was designed by architects to quickly sketch buildings back when buildings were rectangular. Sixteen years later, thanks to all the other CAD software out there, they aren’t. However, those other SU users hit the same wall you did and spent countless hours figuring out all the painful workarounds that you dislike so much. Their point is, if they could go to the brain numbing trouble to assimilate the six steps to make a sphere you describe, you can too, and you’ll be better for it just like they are. They now think of spheres in terms of the Six Painful Steps it takes to make them, instead of what they truly are (just shapes), and hope you can graduate to that level of expertise.

Remember the glory days of Apple design, when they broke through barriers to intuitive use more often than they created them? That takes hard work and inspiration, whereas SU is more about just getting it done. Yes, there could be a toggle to push-pull a sphere or a taper or anything else (brilliant ideas! Never thought of that, but boy are they are genius!), but they fixed on the idea of the simple interface and set it up as holy.

Of course, this ignores the part where the kludges and workarounds make the simple interface maddeningly complex, but that’s not the the point (Mirror object with a click! Jog in x, y, or z! Align by centers! You’d think skill at workarounds or at hunting plugins was the point, not drawing)

The point is that the simplicity of the interface is God, and the energy/desire/vision to actually make it a thing of ease and beauty is sadly lacking.

To be fair, there’s an issue: when you try to do complex things with a limited tool set, you have to make your tools adaptable. The first level solution is to make more tools— Ever try Rhino? You can draw a line as a perpendicular, from two points, with the shortest length, from a point and a direction, etc, etc, and they all take different tools. Or you can go the SU route and make tools modular, so they can be layered into accomplishing most tasks— think mirroring by scaling at -100% or making circles with facets.

The second level of design is to think about the way people work, even more, to think about how they think, and make a user interface that works consistently, intuitively, with common tasks accomplished simply (like push-pull a sphere). With a field as broad as 3D design that’s not an easy job, and it takes time and research and money. Early SU was perennially short of cash, then Google made it free and did not invest heavily. There’s a long tradition of doing things simply and cheaply and frustratingly.

It’s a shame SU and its community seems so fixed on the mechanics, instead of truly implementing the vision. The pushback you received here shows the depth of this thinking. There are some amazing, truly creative coders who have helped the community immensely with plugins and debugging and forum assistance. Unfortunately, that contributes to the problem by short circuiting the overall simplification and streamlining of the whole by focusing on bettering the parts. Major issues do not get addressed.

At least Trimble owns it now, and the kneejerk Forum response to bug reports is no longer saying your process is flawed. Kidding!


One way to do organic modeling is thru the use of subdivide. You still build your model using all squares and rectangles and then apply a subdivide on a component. Something like smooth edges but taken to the next level.

Second way is to actually be able to just draw organic shapes. Say you draw a snake looking object as a 2d plane and then when you use push pull if you tap a modifier key it will scale each step as it pulls. You would need to have a setting for the strength of the scaling. Like say the default is that if you pull a circle the end of the pull will be the radius of the circle. By the end of the pull you would have half a sphere. If you pulled up a rectangle you would end up with half of a Pill or whatever that 3D object is called. The “magnitude” setting would change how much it scales at each step. So if you increase the magnitude of pulling a circle you would end up with a Spike or if you decrease it a bump. Once you tap the modifier key it will show the modifier setting where normally the radius segments are.


Say you have a bunch components and you want to ring then together. Right click on the one you want to be the torso (or some other name since it can be used to animate anything ) and there will just be a Make Torso command in the right click options. It will then turn the view like Xray but a new view called BoneView and will show a sphere inside the “torso”. Also, the component which has the Torso in it will have a colored Xray outline color to match the torso color. All other components will just be gray. Use the move tool on the torso sphere with the copy modifier and move the copy into another component and now that has been attached to your torso. Each sphere will have a color and once it attaches to a component that component will have the color. So move one into the head. Move one into an arm etc. Each sphere can also have sub nodes so in Bone view if you pick a bone node and use the copy modifier on move it will add a node parented to the base node. You manipulate the pose in BoneView. You then just add Poses which would be like Scenes. So make him standing and save the Pose Standing. Make a pose Sitting and save the Pose as Sitting etc. Then to make an animation you pick Standing as the start and Sitting as the end and the middle parts will be calculated. Walking can be made in sorta the same way. You will need ways to tweak the animation but I think you get the idea. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than this. You can use this to make engines or animals or robots or whatever. It doesn’t have to just be people you simply can animate anything. I realize with some extreme effort this can be sorta done in dynamic components but thats not the point. It should be fun to do which is the Sketchup way.


Just make an emissive option in materials. It doesn’t even have to cast shadows if that can’t be done. Just being able to have something that looks like its making light would be enough as a starter. Later, maybe with a bake command, it could calculate the lights. I don’t want a render command because that just doesn’t feel like Sketchup. You should be able to just move around your model at all times. This is just adding to the materials feature set so its very SU like.


Having some reflective qualities could take Sketchup models to the next level visually. Again I would want it to always be on and not have to render to see it. This is just adding to the materials feature set so its very SU like. Bump maps just seem like something that should have been added years ago.