SketchUp in 2019: where great ideas get to work



ok, it looks like I misunderstood the sub method process. Thx for the reply.


Oh how I miss the @Last gang… they were so easy to work with…


where does this info come from?

The perpetual Classic license can be upgraded even if the maintenance has lapsed up to 3 years by paying an additional reinstatement fee, at least if nothing has changed according this policy.




Most people are only interested in the TRUTH, and I think it’s finally here,… and I appreciate that you’re the one to say it. It looks like the clean mountain air is paying off—the skiing passion has been worth it all along—and I for one am happy to finally catch a little bit of the clear breeze which has made it’s way out of the underground SketchUp bunkers.

You guys have been carrying around the Subscription Bomb Model for FAR TOO LONG, and have unfortunately suffered from a mild dose of radiation sickness, as a result of working with it (aka Lise Meitner syndrome).

What are the symptoms of the Subscription Bomb Radiation Sickness:
  • Delivering inconsistent messages to the loyal users who have helped fund the companies early development. […some tend to feel slighted by them]

  • Delivering half truths—because you have a bit of unpopular news to deliver and you’re worried that folks are not going to take to it very well. [… this ones offensive because it assumes stupidity on the part of the loyal users… Do you think they don’t already know?]

  • Having, and worse USING,… Talking Points. [… deceptive in that they cloud and tend to avoid dealing with the more serious conversation in a simple and direct manner… leaving residue behind.]

I’ve never really used the free version of SketchUp, and don’t believe in it. I come from the camp where I want to pay for the things I use. The higher the price, the higher the expectations.

Please let’s make this the last year that this is ever discussed… Figure out when the cut off point is going to be, and make an announcement so people can plan ahead.

Not dealing with this in a direct way only leaves around residue which ultimately has be cleaned up at a future time. You guys say you’ve cleaned up the UI because you were Feeling Fresh (or something to that effect).

Think about how nice it will be if you don’t have to go into next year discussing and explaining WHY you need money to work, and HOW the Subscription model is going to help provide that.


WOAH! This is absolutely not true! I’m very sorry everyone. We are a big team and wires got crossed here.

Rather than try to hide this I’ll simply say that it is not the true. No decisions have been made to phase out perpetual licenses. We will continue to let our customers and the market as a whole, inform us as to how they want to purchase software in the future.


Then I stand corrected, I was not aware of the 3 year rule. I was basing this on the experience of a friend who hadn’t paid the annual fee and was unable to upgrade, but he must of been past the 3 year mark.
What does the reinstatement fee cost?


A good number of us @lasters are still here. I started working on SketchUp Aug 31st 1999 as a intern doing beta testing. I want to acknowledge that there are a ton of valid points in this thread and we are listening.

I know this release must seem like we’ve officially “jumped the shark” (look it up : ) but everyone needs to know that we’re making changes so we can give SketchUp another 20+ years as great product. AND If we’re able to stay on our current course, I’m confident that the next 20 years of sketchUp will be way better than the first 20.



Then license the tools from Fredo and incorporate them in your next release.


ROFLOL. Messing with your user base may have unintended consequences.

If technology continues to evolve over the next 20 years as radically as it did over the past 20, your entire business model is going to look completely different and all the heads that were in that room will have moved on to other things.

Looking forward to seeing what the newShop and Studio subscription products offer. All I see right now is a new pricing model no one asked for and some vague ideas about offering new video game functionality to the architects, designers and woodworkers who are currently paying for your product.


I’m afraid some part of the (old) user base is loosing faith rapidly and/or are jumping ship.

Yearly updates that don’t add much to the workflow while annoying bugs stay in the program for a whole year and get fixed at the next release (instead of the first M1). Or even worse, are ignored and never fixed.

Adding line styles and displaying a value near the measurement tape shouldn’t really be more than a side-note in 2019. The subscription thing and just slightly mentioning the classic license down the page in just a small sentence is… well - it doesn’t add to the confidence.


If you guys have said to us instead:

Hi guys, sorry for the delay. Here’s our brand new 2019 version with a new engine (multi-core) some new features, huge improvement on Layout (like having plugins)… and if you want it, you’ll have to pay a yearly subscribtion of 300$. Most of your user would have say: Ha ok cool, let’s switch to subscription then.

Giving you guys more money to improve our nice software… yeah sure.


This is the same BS we got from Autodesk and perpetual licensing is gone.

I think the customer base that has held any number of licenses past the 3 year break even point is clearly telling you that they don’t want to see perpetual licensing disappear since they don’t want to see their costs go up by a factor of 2.5x. It will probably be 3x at least 3 years out but I think you’ll kill it after 2.

I’m sure you will use “the market as a whole” (whatever that is) to justify shafting us anyway. The difference here is that Autodesk applications are so market dominant it’s a non-starter to replace them. I have options to replace SU.


This morning I received the announcment for SU 2019 via email and after reading the first lines I knew already it is going to be a joke. It starts with how much coffee was consumed and that so much hard work was done. And all that was produced is so great.
You only write like this, if in fact nothing has really been done. It is fishing for compliments.
Enthusiasm about the work done is expressed differently. That is
for me a disappointment.
Why not sharing the thoughts behind the path taken for a new release? Communicate why certain areas were not looked at for the release, etc. even there are many users requesting it.
There are always different opinions on a topic, but the way it is spread now, does not create confidence and trust.



I appreciate that you are taking the time to respond to many of us.

Keeping in mind that it is often more common for folks to complain on forums than praise…

What I hearing/reading is that the additional features outside the Sketchup core are not of as much interest to many of SU/LO users. I’m sure these are great for some users (although I’ve yet to hear many say as such), but it’s a bit like having a well prepared steak in front of you if your vegetarian…you may be able to appreciate the art, but it’s not for your appetite. :wink:
I do realize that there are multitudes of different types of SU users that enjoy and use the tool for many different reasons in many different ways, and it is challenging to satisfy all of them.

That said, I feel SU/LO may be experiencing an identity crisis in the eyes of the users. Has the SU Team decided what type of software it is going to be moving forward and defined it’s most profitable user group?

I am a bit biased because I design buildings with SU, but from my decade and a half as part of the SU community, it seems to me that the AEC industry makes up a large majority of your paying users over the years. (I think the attendees of Base Camp are proof of this as well) I may be wrong about this-has the SU Team conducted any research to determine what users are most profitable to “cater” to? If indeed it is the AEC industry, than it feels as though the last few releases have not answered the requests of those folks.

I started using SU/LO as I saw a path to an easy to use and fun tool that could deliver the experience and features missing from the other CAD/BIM software. It has been at least 6? releases since Layout was launched and it’s barely any better than it was at the beginning and no where near that of the other CAD software. If the AEC folks are your profitable users, than I would expect ALOT more attention paid to Layout by now.

I’ve been told that “SU/LO is not CAD” but many of your users are using it as such, build plug ins to make it be, and even built entire software companies of their own to make it function as one.

Myself and others on this thread have made the point that the SKETCHUP TRIMBLE team needs to take the lead in consolidating/developing the core tools of the software so that they are reliable and compatible from release to release. In this thread, JuJisoup has made some excellent points about how challenging it can be to rely HEAVILY on 3rd party plugins to create a workflow in the AEC industry. We are always worried that these small plug in developers will get a day job and stop releasing updates that will be compatible with the latest SU versions. This can quicker and severely disrupt workflow for AEC professionals resulting in missed deadlines, unhappy customers, lost profit, etc.
If we, the AEC Users, are a profitable group for Trimble Sketchup then we need to know you got our back!!
Here is a suggestion:

  1. Develop the core SU/LO tool as being strong, fast, and robust…capable of handling the type of files we are creating with your software and the types of plug ins 3rd party developers are creating. BUT the Sketchup team needs to be the developer of the big issues— If it can’t handle large files with many polylines (and hopefully it can be developed to) than develop tools to manage these issues. An example of this would be when Autodesk developed their XReference tools to manage files.
  2. Create “Value Add-ons” that are industry specific and CHARGE ADDITIONAL FEES FOR THEM!! For example:
    -“SU/LO for Architecture”
    -“SU/LO for Landscape”
    -“SU/LO for Rendering”
    -“SU/LO for 3D Printing”

These “Value Add ons” could be simply working with or buying out existing 3rd party developers plug ins and incorporating them into each suite TO WORK WELL TOGETHER AND ARE BACKED BY THE SKETCHUP TEAM And/Or theRE could be additional industry specific tool development by the SU Team.
This way there is a suite of products that each user can choose which ones they want (AND PAY FOR) without affecting the core SU program, so it can still remain the less expensive simpler tool that SU originally was.

  1. (and this one affects number 2 for sure…) Figure out how to fix the Layout code to open it up for 3rd plug ins just like SU. This will speed up the development of much needed tools and fixes for Layout. (Why can’t I mirror text without it reading backwards!)

With the lack of development, right now it feels like y’all are going to discontinue Layout altogether and that is very concerning to the AEC folks using it for their business.

Thanks for hearing me out.


Then what if some other person design a toolset that works much better than Fredo’s tools? The whole point of extensions is that they are modules you can pick and chose freely. While it takes years to make changes to the core someone could very quickly develop and plugin,a dn some other people could be inspired to do something even better.


To me, SketchUp’s greatest features were (1) MacOS and (2) not owned by AutoDesk, and Google’s greatest gift to the development team is that they did not sell the code base to AutoDesk, who would have surely euthanized it and disbanded the team. This, tho, feels like the same result, this feels like the SketchUp group has reached some sort of critical mass where extracting money from the user base becomes an end it itself, to support a large staff performing increasingly irrelevant activity adjacent to the thing that we are here for, the model editor and layout application. I’m not sure the decision makers valued the amount of success they owe to not operating as AutoDesk does.


Personally, I’ll be Supporting the Perpetual License for as long as you make it available.

This is without a doubt the most reliable method to access this software for me… because it guards against two of the great unknowns… Do I have decent internet connection were I’m at… and Can I count on LIFE to behave itself and remain cooperative… i.e. no car accidents, health issues, or general bad luck that takes a bit of serious money to get out of.

Having a perpetual License protects for all of these things. and comes the closest to a guarantee that I always have a working copy of my SketchUp software tool that’s sitting next to all of the others.


You guys are saying (and I believe you) that you want to keep the perpetual license around (…it would not be here now—if you didn’t want it to be), but it’s not being given any REAL EXPOSURE as a viable and equal alternative to the subscription model given how things stand now.

When people click on the main Products Page all of the Subscription info comes up… and you have to know that you need to scroll down to the bottom of the page in order to find the link to the classic perpetual license and that purchasing option.

This is not a good example of even-handed marketing (…‘purchasing options’) between two equal products. And I think if the goal is to find out how people actually want to buy into the software, then the main purchasing options need to be seen on a side by side basis. And presented as being equal options… not skewed by way of the readily convenient (subscription model options sitting right here) vs. the barely visible (and obscured reference) to a ‘classic license’.

And even here… Confusion and doubt start to build because the product name has changed too… and those most familiar with the software aren’t expecting to find SketchUp Classic, as a match to what they already have.

I happily support this software as much as I can… I’ve paid for upgrades I didn’t really need because I want to keep playing my part, in keeping development moving forward. I pretty much figured you guys were working on infrastructure stuff this year (and thus, wasn’t expecting a bunch of new features), and I’m not at all surprised to see a subscription service being made available, nor are most others I suspect.

The spirit of my message above was that I figured this was a stressful release… partly because of having to delivery news that not everyone is happy to hear about. and I think that takes its toll on the well intentioned nature of what you’re all trying to do.

The other side of it is a slight warning of sorts, Don’t Let It Happen to You.

SketchUp currently enjoys a small town community, with a loyal following, that’s unique compared to other CAD companies.

Nobody is looking to Hold SketchUp back so that they can keep the small town community intact for themselves. Most want to see a strong challenge made to the classic power structures of big CAD. Things are going this direction, and you guys are going to do what you do. And the company will grow… and there’s no need to continue to play big business the way big business is played.

There nothing wrong with the old fashion ‘classic’ approach of what’s already has been exemplified from those sitting in Boulder, Colorado, for all of these years.

I joke about ‘Radiation Sickness’, but what I worry about is Corporate Speak… and the tendency of that to become more pervasive as companies continue their climb up the ladder.

thus the warning… Don’t let it happen to you… (ANY of us ,actually).

Take Care,



Continuing the discussion from SketchUp in 2019: where great ideas get to work:

Hear hear. I left AutoCAD to go to Sketchup for the fact that I wasn’t handcuffed into supporting upgrades that were not providing anything substantially new and useful to my workflow at an ever increasing price.
Why is anyone accepting these subscription models in the software industry? Software is a tool… I want to be able to buy my tools and own them. My circular saw on subscription?.. so I have to pay yearly for it or they come take it away? Shall we now too subscribe to book authors instead of buying and owning their books? I cringe to think of Sketchup being in the category of business model that I ran from.


I think for us pro users the pricing model is not the point. We love SketchUp, its it our every day working tool. But if it comes to real professional projects, there are too many issues. Fist of all it is way to slow at big models and you cant get professional drawings withouts hatch plugins (Skalp) or viewport stackings (ConDoc). And the performance of Layout is to less for high polygone models, the 2D capabilities are to small. If Trimble wants to target SketchUp to be treated as serious CAD in the pro market, SketchUp will have a really great future. And the pricing model will be no discussion. But If they see SketchUp as a useful toy, nobody will pay a subscription because a toy it will not able anybody to return this invest.