Terrible Move

Normally I don’t voice my opinions on this type of stuff. But I feel SketchUp moving to only subscription base is a terrible move. I use both Sketchup Pro 2017 for my freelancing and SketchUp Pro 2020 subscription license for my full time job. I’m working in SketchUp everyday and can tell you that I only notice two differences between version 2017 and 2020. 1. Extensions no longer working in 2020 because developers don’t always have time to update their extension. 2. File problems when trying to open newer files. The reason I still use 2017 for my freelance is because I’ve had no reason to upgrade. You haven’t provided any new tools that make a difference to my workflow that is worth upgrading, the community has, which I’m really grateful for. Without the community SketchUp would be nothing.

You’ve built your whole software around relying on other developers to make the extensions and tools for you for free. Which is fine, this is how SketchUp grew to be where it is. If this wasn’t the case and the SketchUp team developed all of the tools and you could just download the software and have all the tools you would ever need right there already installed, then yes I can understand you moving to a subscription based license. The reason other softwares can get away with this is because they make everything in the program themselves and people will pay that company to keep enhancing the tools and U.I. You guys are updating/adding things that nobody is asking for because you know other developers will make it or have made it already. Then you go asking for more money when you’ve only just supplied a U.I. that doesn’t update hardly at all. I was already getting tired of paying for extensions to do the absolute basics of 3D modeling, such as UV’s, Array objects, and subdivide. You are one of the top 10 largest 3D Modeling softwares and you’ve NEVER added a subdivide tool! We all pay for SubD or Artisan.

You obviously know Blender is taking the top tier and maybe thats the reason you’re doing this. But this isn’t the way. What’s going to happen is you’ll update your software more often but now developers with their extensions that make SketchUp actually worth using will always be playing catch up or be out of date entirely. This subscription model doesn’t fit with how SketchUp works. It was built with the community in mind to help make it grow. Now you’re just making it more challenging and expensive for developers and your users.


Completely agree. What are they thinking? Been going to stop renewing for years. Now the decision is made for me. Blender is making more improvements than SU. This should motivate even more useful features as thousands transition and send support.


Wholeheartedly agree with Josh.Obj. Been SU Pro since 2006 - use Layout/SU for film/TV design and here in the UK have championed the software against the might of Vectorworks where the film guild actively encourage it’s use offering discounts and courses. To me, SU is far superior for what we need. I am happy to buy and own a package/upgrade if my socks are blown off. I haven’t seen anything in at least 2 years worth upgrading for but would check in each year in anticipation. This smacks of lazy greed and actually feels quite insulting ie the blurb about subscriptions will help them deliver new and regular updates (to paraphrase.) Really??? I would like clarity, as this happened when I had to update to SUPro 2018 because of updates on my OSX, but as OSX further updates does this mean that the SUPro version I own will become redundant in a couple of years? Think I might have a little look at Blender just in case!!


Guess I don’t think it’s so bad because SketchUp has served me well but the general consensus seems to be that there are hopes for improvement that did not match the higher costs progression in general.

Compared to what I could pay for other real professional software, it’s not so bad. Of course some people can wrestle with Blender and what? what other low cost modeling options? But Benders not for everyone.

Have you looked at Blender 2.8? It’s a lot more user friendly now. Also in the future 2.9 release they are adding a push pull function that is just like sketchup. Which is SketchUps only unique tool that makes modeling easy. I’d rather learn a new software that’s free and striving to stay up to date and listen to the users rather than spend money on a subscription for a software that hasnt updated there toolset for over a decade and pay for extensions for basic tools that should already come with the program.


Form Z


Yeah I keep looking into Blender. Takes some persistence. Following Chipp’s training videos.

Josh are you really named after a file format? Your parents must be true geeks!


Haha nah, thatd be cool though. I just use that as my username everywhere

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I completely agree with what your saying, when i got the news today it was a real sad day for me cause i can’t afford the price hike! it’s 2.2 increase it’s just way too much money!, too many unnecessary updates, most of the times plugins can’t keep up upgrading, i stop buying plugins and even the free one are not even great! some are just overkill and way to expensive, I don’t know if I’ll continue getting sketchup pro or any of their products, perhaps i’ll seek other programs. I know the firm i work for will not pay that increase. I hope they come to their senses and keep the price same, it’s too expensive.


There is a chance that I will get into trouble tomorrow about this reply. Do as best as you can to take this as a personal opinion, and not a statement from SketchUp.

For some context, I used the trial during v3 and v4 (it was 8 hours then, you could make it last ages), bought v5 for $495 because I needed it for a personal project, free upgrade to v6 when Google took over, $95 to v7, $95 to v8. But by then I was a Top Contributor in the Google forums, and later a beta tester. I haven’t had to pay for SketchUp from 2013 onwards. But I have been through a few rounds of what was the same as M&S renewal back then.

  1. Free users. It was a pleasant surprise that 2017 Make was kept around on the downloads page. You ought to keep a copy of the installer around, in case it isn’t there when 2021 is released. I secretly know of ongoing improvements to the web application. You can torture me if you like, I’m not going to tell you. But feel hopeful.

  2. Hobbyists. That would include earlier Me. The discussions brought up something interesting (in other forum topics), and I have idea about that. I will pester colleagues about it.

  3. Pros. You may need a good slapping. Before being at SketchUp I was being paid as a part time employee. My rate was $50. I have no idea if that is good or not, but for the sake of argument, lets say that you charge clients at around $40 per hour of work. M&S is equal to one morning of extra work per year. The new subscription rate of $299 is like less than one day of extra client work.

If using SketchUp doesn’t earn you one day of extra work per year, I think you should stop using it. Blender would be so much better, after the six months it takes to understand it.


Money isn’t necessarily the main point I was going for. But since thats the only thing you took away, let me elaborate…For some of your customers an annual $300 is difficult to spend on a software that doesn’t hold up on its end of the deal. Normally for an annual cost of $300 you can trust you’ll recieve some helpful updates and more tools from the company. Last 5 years I’ve been using SketchUp we’ve gotten dashed lines, which is just annoying to turn off all the time and a rename of layers to tags. You’ve taken away more than you’ve given, such as SU Make, Ability to use without internet connection, (and dont give me the web based stuff, nobody wants that) and now our licenses to keep and stay updated. Your business model doesn’t work with a subscription base because it is so heavily based on the community building extensions for it. You’re charging more for the community to do your work for you. Which I’m not trying to make that sound bad or rude, but that’s the reality of what is going on here and maybe saying it like this shows why it’s such a sucker punch to the users. If you want to charge more and move to a subscription base, maybe consider selling SketchUp to someone who understands the business model and you guys all just start fresh with a new software with all your own tools that doesn’t rely on the public making your tools. I appreciate your input, but you didnt really show me how this move benefits me or others. Why should I pay for a subscription when my 2017 license does all the same things?


Again, I agree with Josh here. It’s the principle not necessarily the money. SUPro is being left behind, letting it’s fanbase come up with solutions to compensate for its lack of progression. I wondered if this would happen with Trimble. They seem to have bigger fish to fry and this subscription idea doesn’t sound like a move forward, it sounds like a way of wringing cash out of people, almost like a final throw of the dice. They should sell up to someone who wants to move forward With it. The premise of users creating extensions to plug needs/gaps which then do not work when SU “updates” is a ridiculous concept when you look at it objectively. I absolutely love SU as my go-to for my career choice. For example, I have built huge detailed working spinning mules for period dramas co-operating with engineers, I love designing in 3D, walking through virtual sets with directors and then planting it all into Layout as tech drawings for my construction teams. This feels like a warning or a threat though. I saw on another thread last night, Michellelw (?) telling someone that unless you subscribe, the software package you “own” will become redundant dependent on your hardware. I think this is a terrible move by Trimble akin to re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic! Moving forward though, can Blender produce tech drawings as per Layout?


I 100% agree with Josh.
You can’t go subscription when 90% of SketchUp developement was made by the community and plugin developers over the years.
As a matter of fact, using SketchUp 8 and a lot of free plugins you can still do a lot more than using SketchUp 2020 without them.


Its not the upgrade fee, Colin, its that you get virtually nothing for it. I think any of us would be happy to pay for software that was being regularly improved, but the “improvements” in SU over the past few years have been jokes. I’m on a Mac - how about getting around to making fields close with the enter or return key, like every other piece of software on the planet, so I can stop, once and for all, creating layers “m” and “p” etc?


Chip, how do you create construction documentation in Blender? Can you get material quantity estimates?

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Your points are great, Josh, and I’m in 100% agreement. Any subscription fee should be going to the community developers that are the ones that make SU useful and keep it progressing.

Trimble should sell SU to someone willing to bring it into the modern era and provide continuing actual upgrades, not window dressing. No actual curves???


As a retired hobbyist the price increase puts SU out of my budget. However For just SU and Layout I would continue at the current $120.00. I have no interest in the other features .Style builder is something I I have not even opened for years.


Good point Josh.
There’s something I can’t get my head around and maybe you can help me understand.

About the updates during the subscription plan.
Last winter I upgraded from 2019 to 2020. The process has not been smooth. Many plugins failed to update and I had a few licence blocage problems. It takes me 4 days of troubleshooting and emailing support to fix my problem. It really messes up my workflow. Even after 4 months I still have problems with some features. (for example, my 3Dconnexion space navigator has navigation bug in SU2020!!! )
It’s very difficult in my freelance world to let go of a day of salary for a software troubleshoot painful session and dealing with these problems related to upgrading. So you understand that I’m terrified about upgrades. Not because of SU, but because of everything around it, which Josh mention before, we all relying on.
So my questions are: With a subscription plan if I understand, the upgrade will happen “kinda” by itself when starting the software on a random morning. Am I right? Will we be notified? Do we gonna be proposed to post prone the update? Do we gonna have to reinstall all plugins like for the update 2019-2020 (which takes almost a full day) OR it will be more like the smooth update of 2020 @ 2020.1 ?
What if the “force” update happens on a very busy morning when my client impatiently waiting for his final document before the end of the day?!!

This is what subscription plans scare me the most. Not the price.


Hi Bob,

The simple answer is: you can’t. I talked about this here:


I partially agree.

I can absolutely see why a lot of people aren’t comfortable with subscriptions. “Owning” something feels safer than renting it, and gives you access to it even if you lose your income.

Regarding features and extensions, I think it’s an oversimplification to say “We all pay for SubD or Artisan”. I’ve used SketchUp for about 13 years and only once had use for subdivision. If you draw a character or car or Gehry, you probbaly need it, but for conventional or classical architecture or most woodworking you probably don’t. On the other hand a lot of architects can’t live without Skalp, but I think most people doing subdivisions have no use for it. The SketchUp community is very wide and SketchUp are used in all kinds of ways. There are whole companies using it only to place pre-drawned assets into a model and don’t even use the drawing tools. It’s not that Trimble lets extension developers do their work here, but rather that they allow their product to stay simple to hold down the learning curve.

All this said, I’d love to see well designed extensions backed by Trimble for architectural design, framing and other things. This way people could get what they need for their fields, without everyone having to have every conceivable tool in the base software. Even more I’d love to see UX guidelines for making extensions fit seamlessly into SketchUp. Often this isn’t any more work, you just need to have the know-how.

Also, most extensions work in newer versions. Only extensions using complied code (typically used for heavy calculations) need updating. Most extensions uses pure Ruby, and should keep working if the developer followed best practices and e.g. don’t rely on bugs or other undocumented/unintended behaviors.