SketchUp in 2019: where great ideas get to work

I totally agree its a relative bargain and nobody would complain if they raised the price a bit if they earn it by adding real value.

This years added value to me, from only a few hours testing, is really low. Many annoying bugs from 2018 and earlier are still present, the UI is still annoying, etc etc.
Instead, it looks like most development effort is being spend on a webversion, cloudstorage, a new startup menu, AR/VR (why? UnrealEngine / Unity are way superior), etc.

I don’t see any reason why subscription would make the software any better. On the contrary.

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Perhaps the snapshot of the plans and pricing page was part of the roadmap!

Anyway, most serious extension developers had subscription long ago?
I think it would be difficult for them to have a clear roadmap, since they are so dependant on the API from SketchUp and the quirks from the marketeers?

Yes, I suppose you are correct. Implicit with it is the promise of improving the software. Most developers understand that to be functional improvements, not just bug fixes.

I prefer how Blender tackles this problem. They are not only active in creating new features and versions, but also allow you to “donate” to help support. I give $35 each month and feel I receive great value, much more so than my return from monies continuously paid to Adobe or Trimble.


That’s great! I still am amazed at how quickly I can document very complex designs with so much detail in SketchUp. I just finished a 4 story home on a 30% slope to lake front. It has a car elevator, 4 story glass elevator, pier. Documentation took about 3 weeks for an 84 page set.


Why not? Imagine, that you are managing a pensions fund and looking where to place investments to minimise risks. Makes perfect sence to put eggs in different baskets. (looks like pension money were invested in Trimble at some point of time :slight_smile: )

I think we have a trusting environment on these forums, which is something I hope we can all work together to preserve.

Among the most common community reactions to our releases is “why didn’t you do the things I wanted you to do?” Given we have a relationship where trust and money are exchanged for work from the SketchUp team, this can get pretty salty when you discover that 100% of our work wasn’t done in places you personally would have prioritized. In general, we do our best to remain open and responsive as a team. But our roadmap is our responsibility, and needs must be balanced between many different stakeholders. I assure you, in a user community as large as ours (30+ million, by our analytics), every imaginable point of view is present in some form or another.

Few people take the time to post on a user forum, and typically only when they are mad about something. This leads to a feeling that ‘everybody’ feels exactly the same… that everybody is angry. In my experience, however, this isn’t really the whole story.

I believe the original question was about apparent lack of development velocity anywhere in our development team, so evidence to the contrary seemed appropriate.

If you care mainly about our classic desktop client version of SketchUp, you might feel we wasted our time working on anything but that. I respect that. I think there’s considerable value in the new work we launched. In fact, I think it is worth $299/yr. But if we haven’t won your trust, you are free to use what you have today as long as you want or move on to another tool that you think works better.


Yes, this is an error. Or at least, it reads pretty ambiguously on the referenced web page. I’ll pass a comment on to the Web team on Monday. I’m on the other side of the world at the moment, just wrapping up at 3D Basecamp, Tokyo (wonderful event, such a great community here!), so my timing is a little messed up.

Dynamic Components are implemented in Ruby, and we don’t have a way to run a Ruby interpreter in SketchUp for Web at this time. Probably not worth getting into the technicalities here, they have been amply discussed on the SketchUp for Web forum.

Of course I’m serious. In a community as large as ours, there are many points of view to consider. Yours is painfully obvious to you, but until you share it, the rest of us don’t know (specifically) what’s on your mind.

Thanks, Christina- I know the LayOut team have found this list very helpful. Thank you as well for helping to curate Joe’s list.


Thanks, Nick, for the support. The work you do with our software is always an inspiration!

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Rhino is a great tool, and it fills a unique spot in the market. Certainly, if what you mainly want to do with SketchUp is freeform surface modeling or other kinds of form generation with a visual scripting language, Rhino may well be a better choice. Anyhow, you certainly don’t have to choose one over the other. Both are very affordable in a professional context.


The outrage that comes through in this thread is as understandable as it is futile. Eventually it will subside. Business will go on, more or less as usual. That the feedback to the 2019 upgrade be, judging from the 350 posts so far, approximately 90% negative should elicit nothing more from staff than the usual polite, passive-aggressive, ever so slightly arrogant damage control is… telling.

Sketchup is run like a dictatorship, top-down and all. To be fair, dictatorships are just fine, per se; so long as the dictator is a genius. Look at Apple under Steve Jobs! Unfortunately, whoever presides over Sketchup’s destiny ain’t Steve Jobs. More like little John Sculley (remember him?).

If Trimble took their blinders off, they might realize that Sketchup’s new pricing structure suddenly makes competitors like FormZ’s pricing appear quite reasonable. They’ve essentially validated the competition.

It seems to completely escape Trimble that if Blender’s team decided to close the gap (i.e. making Blender architect/designer-friendly, and crafting an interface to a good 2D open-source DP software like Scribus), Sketchup and the dreadful Layout would be dead within the year.

The more Trimble prioritizes dollars over product development, the more Sketchup falls behind, and the more likely that scenario (or a similar one) is to become reality.


I hear this- we have had requests to expose our future plans for a long time. We habitually don’t do this, though. Originally, the argument was that we didn’t want our competitors to know what we were up to. We don’t worry too much about that any more.

Now, the reason is unfortunately more related to US GAAP accounting standards for publicly traded corporations which explicitly prohibit against our promising features to the market before they are completed. Specifically, if we promise we will build a feature that leads to a customer buying because of the promise, we are legally unable to recognize any revenue from the sale until such time as we have delivered the feature. So, essentially, we are legally prohibited from sharing a future roadmap.

Different companies have different interpretations of this regulation, so you may from time to time see public companies sharing future development ideas with their communities in limited forms. Trimble has a particularly conservative approach to the standard, however. Not up to me to question that.

And privately held companies are free to share or hide whatever they like. They operate under different standards and practices.

In the final analysis, though, the reason we hold our plans close to the chest is unrelated to all of these things. While we listen widely to ideas and priorities from our user community, our roadmap is our responsibility. We want to serve as many people as we possibly can, of course— but must be responsible to find the balance between their diverse agendas ourselves.

Thanks for the link- very thoughtful and insightful. And I think more or less what I’m describing above. I might add that typically we have this discussion in our user forums immediately following a product release, where users unsatisfied with the work we did for them wonder, “…if you weren’t doing what I wanted you to do, then what on earth were you spending all your time doing?”


No- our user community focus remains as it was before. We build products for personal use, for professional use, for use in higher education and in primary and secondary schools.

For personal users, we offer SketchUp Free (on the web), SketchUp Shop (on the web, with additional features) and SketchUp Pro (a full-featured desktop app at our lowest entry price ever.)

Thanks for the support! It is always gratifying to hear we are making a difference in people’s work. We’re in it for the long haul, too.

CAD-style dimensioning is very complex, especially if what you mainly want to do is to be able to import an AutoCAD file and have all of the settings/styling you did there preserved. There are dozens and dozens of settings that would have to be translated into equivalent settings in LayOut. Our goal with LayOut’s dimensioning was to offer something simpler.

Similar to the question about dimensioning, vector hatches, particularly if what you mainly want to be able to do is import them from Autocad, are quite complex. A vector rendered version of LayOut’s current hatching implementation might be possible someday, though we fear that they would negatively impact overall drawing performance considerably. There’s a balance to be found.

The problem with text import is, assuming again you’re trying to do so from AutoCAD, is that the stylistic settings are quite diverse. Even something as apparently simple as the choice of a font can be hugely complex. AutoCAD, for example, still offers a proprietary “.SHX” font type that we would have to implement from scratch to be able to support it.

This is an interesting business model, and it matches well with the open-source development model. Similar in many respects to the way that Wikipedia funds itself. Or National Public Radio. Typically, this is a funding model which fits non-profit organizations. Public companies like ours can’t self-fund in this way, unfortunately.

Wow! That’s a big set! I can’t wait to see the project.

Please do not insult us. You’re now saying it’s not possible to share product roadmaps based on some arbitrary claims.

Product roadmaps are not promises, they are directions. They help customers plan. They are shared ALL THE TIME. Both Unreal and Unity do this. So do many, many other companies.

My point is you’re better sharing your plans, especially after 2 years of updates to SU Pro where the major new features are a rounded rectangle and dashed lines. By not doing so, you encourage many to think the absolute worst.

jbacus has alread told us there is little to no feature improvement feature-wise over the last two years for Pro.** So, I would like to ask, “what is the real reason for no new features?”

Why would a company not improve their flagship 3D product in favor of a free online version?

To me there is one of two reasonable conclusion. 1. Pro will go online. 2. Pro is finished as far as being proactively developed. That’s why the switch to subscription. That’s why all the secrecy. That’s why no more development on PRO.

Respect your customers and you have a better chance of them respecting you in return. Feed them stories, like this one loosley based on accounting standards, and you risk alienating them.



You mean like Autodesk…?


Hi, Bryce.

Any idea, is it a question of days, week(s), month(s)? As will also take sime time to go through distributor/re-seller channel.
With some confusing questions regarding 2019 release, it’s quite an important question - I need to communicate this clearly to users in our company, as I really want to avoid such a great confusion as the one here. (release of VR is great - I really like it for a long time and waited for it to be publicly available, but presence only in subscription, and no information on migration does not help much. If you understand)

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A carefully thought out strategic road map need not include very specific features. However your public road map could make make general statements such as:

We plan to spend considerable time on web development
We plan on continuing development with LO and the desktop version of Sketchup

The keywords are “carefully thought out”