What’s up with SketchUp Make?

I think SketchUp Free could potentially outperform SketchUp Make in the future. Check out Octane Render for example. It is a web based application that uses hundreds of GPUs in Los Angeles to do real time rendering. Desktop rendering applications could take 30 minutes to render the same image that Octane could render instantly because the Internet gives them access to so much processing power. If SketchUp Free used tons of GPUs at SketchUp’s headquarters, then Sketchup Free’s performance could be many times better than SketchUp Make’s. Potentially, the web-based SketchUp of the future could allow much larger models with much more polygons, than SketchUp Make can currently allow.

I’m glad SketchUp Make is still available though because I love the program and use it regularly for fun. Awesome program! If I start getting professional about 3D, then I’d definitely purchase the Pro version. Currently, it’s a bit out of my price range though, so thank you for keeping SketchUp Make free.

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Maybe they could do that but they wouldn’t let you use a render farm for Free.

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Drawing requires performance in real time. A single second of delay would make it unusable. Renderings from a render farm can be delayed by minutes and you’d hardly notice it.

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What is the roadmap for the web based SketchUp versions as far as installing or using plugins?

I still hold that the best option for Trimble is to offer a paid version of SketchUp Make in the $50 - $150 price range. It still would not have layout and some of the other advanced features of Pro but it would certainly be a better option than to try and take all of the non-pro users to a web based app.

I’ve actually tried out the web based version of SketchUp and even though I would never use it I am fairly impressed with what they are able to do within a browser and I suppose there is a certain segment of the market that finds this format the best fit for their needs.

The biggest drawback for me and for users of my plugins of course is the fact that the web based SketchUp does not allow for plugins. My plugins are primarily geared toward the professional user so one could argue that this decision by Trimble should not affect me.

However, the problem I see is that with SketchUp Make being phased out over time there is no way for the new user of SketchUp to install my plugins in trial mode unless they already have Pro installed. So less people being able to actually test out my plugins ultimately does mean less exposure and less sales.

I’m only asking that SketchUp’s upper management also consider plugin authors and the effects their new marketing strategy has on them.

Just my two cents.


As a policy future plans are almost never announced in advance.
(Search the forum on “forward looking statement” and you’ll find numerous SketchUp employees stating this policy.)

I doubt anything has changed regarding policy since …

Developers category

SketchUp for Web category

… which was said …

… and …

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I think I’ve addressed that question earlier in this thread- but I understand why you might not want to read through the whole thing just to find those responses. In short, we habitually don’t pre-announce major features nor share the details of our development roadmap. But for this particular question, you should know that the solution isn’t an easy one (technically) and that you should not expect to see anything launched soon. Extensibility as a feature is clearly valued both by our team and by our 3rd-party developer community. And of course also by the users who have come to depend on various extensions for their daily workflow.

Thanks for giving it a try and a closer look. You’re right- there is a large segment of SketchUp users who are well served by a browser-based build. I’m gratified to say that our daily activation metrics show that conclusively. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share some of those numbers with you all soon.

For those folks and for others who find that our web application lacks this or some other critical feature or service… SketchUp Make 2017 remains available and viable on the desktop.

I’m sure our regular 3rd-party extension developers appreciate the concern you’re voicing for them, and I’ll let them share their thoughts with you if they like. Since most of the developers who are building business models around selling extensions have observed that it is SketchUp Pro users who most support them, I think the risk is small. Speaking for SketchUp’s upper management, I assure you that we do carefully consider the impact our product strategy has on this very trusted and valued segment of our community.

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Developers (or other concerned persons) please take technical discussion to the thread in the Developers category …

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Having waded through this thread, I think a lot of the acrimony could have been avoided if Caroline’s original post had been a bit different in its emphasis and packaging.

It would have helped to emphasize that you’re excited to announce the new “Free” web version of Sketchup, and to say a bit about how you thought this could help to introduce a broader audience to Sketchup (including chromebook users and people who are shy about installing software), and also hint at ways in which a web version of Sketchup might be able to offer unique features, like integrated cloud backups, easy shifting between computers, perhaps eventual collaboration facilitation, or render farming.

It would have helped to acknowledge that not all of Sketchup’s traditional features are yet implemented in Free, and that Free isn’t yet as fast or efficient as you would like, while also noting optimism about potential improvements on these fronts.

Perhaps most importantly, it would have helped to say a bit less about your plans to abandon development of Make. Instead, you could have said that, over the short run, you expect most of your development efforts on free distributions of Sketchup to be on the Web version, and that we shouldn’t expect much more than pressing bug-fixes for the existing version of Make any time soon. All of this is technically compatible with what you did say, including the possibility that there might never be a new version of Make. But this way of saying it would have been less shocking to the community, and would have given skeptics about Free more hope that Make will get more love again at some point. And this also would have helped to make people feel more like you would be attentive to feedback and suggestions, including the possibility that if the community speaks strongly in favor of Make over Free, you might shift some of your efforts back towards Make again.

I think many people would have responded much better, had you presented this just as a new free product currently demanding a lot of your attention, rather than as a complete abandonment of a popular existing product. Of course, many of us would be disappointed not to see our beloved Make get more updates sooner, but I don’t think many of us would have begrudged your having spent development efforts in this way, even if we’re skeptical about how well it will pan out.

Of course, it’s easy for me to say in hindsight how you could have done customer relations better. More positively, for the future, I’d encourage you to express some openness to doing some further development on Make, at least to fix glaring bugs and to try to keep it compatible with changes in technology. It makes a huge difference in morale and confidence for a community to think that a program hasn’t been completely abandoned by developers, and probably will still be operational in the years to come, even if we can’t expect many significant new features to be added. Best to give us Make fans the illusion of hope and of being listened to, even if you think it’s unlikely that many of our hopes will actually be answered.


I can see where you are coming from but there was already a different post introducing SketchUp web. This thread is specifically about the future (or lack thereof) of Make.

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Who are the customers? The majority of not paying folks who surf on the waves of the Pro-duct?

I suggest to people that use this program to jump to OnShape its a parametric design program, so it’s much more advanced than Sketchup. Also, unlike this program if you master this type program you master a lot of professional software programs (basics/intermediate level) like SolidWorks, Autocad and such. This program will have you learn some new build concepts and make it hard at first…dont worry you’ll get it once you unlearn a few sketchup ideas

I hope the community makes so many good improvements in 2017 make, compared to Trimble 2018, that 2017 will take no time to be better in the design world than 2018 paid version.

I take it that Sketchup’s market model involves a very expensive product with a steep learning curve that many people would be reluctant buy without first having spent the time to overcome the learning curve and to see the value that being able to use Sketchup commercially, and with a few more bells and whistles, would have to them. For this market model to work, Sketchup needs to have a free demo version that is quite functional and not significantly time-limited. If that’s their market model, then everyone who uses any version of Sketchup is at least a “potential customer”, even if the deal hasn’t been sealed yet, and Trimble’s choices regarding how to deal with such people are indeed “customer relations”.

Compare: when I go to the car dealership and test drive a car, I’m already a “customer” at the test-drive stage, even when I haven’t bought anything yet, and the dealer’s choices regarding how to treat me at that stage are indeed “customer relations”.

You’re right though that the role non-paying users play in the Sketchup ecosystem isn’t just that of “potential customers”. We’re also unpaid content contributors and unpaid word-of-mouth publicists for Trimble. All the more reason for Trimble to be concerned about keeping our morale up, and not demoralizing us with announcements (like the OP’s “and we won’t be updating it in the future”) that seem to suggest that Make is doomed to die the slow death that abandoned software typically faces as the advance of technology makes new incompatibilities arise. If Trimble wants to keep getting potential customers, unpaid content creators, and unpaid word-of-mouth publicity from the big group of people who like Make and wouldn’t like Free, then it’d do much better to make Make seem like a live product worth investing our time in, and not to ring its death bells needlessly.

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The content of the OP was basically that Trimble was (1) ceasing all updates on Make, and (2) instead entirely redirecting that effort to Free, which, for many users, currently is a far inferior product to Make. This was bound to upset fans of Make.

To avoid upsetting fans of Make, Trimble could either have (1*) been less gloomy about the prospects of Make to survive into the future, and/or (2*) done better to make a case for thinking that Free will eventually be a good alternative to Make, despite it’s many current disadvantages. The fact that they had another thread announcing (2*) doesn’t in any way mean that making a better case for (2*) in this thread wouldn’t have helped.

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It’s worth keeping in mind that the vast majority of SketchUp Make users haven’t even upgraded to SketchUp 2017. Many are still using Google versions. The discontinuation of development of Make won’t matter to them. Those who are using 2017 Make can continue to do so as long as they wish, 2017 Make will continue to be available for the foreseeable future. Development continues and improvements and new features keep showing up in SketchUp for Web.

SketchUp Pro is not expensive compared to most of the alternatives. It doesn’t have an especially steep learning curve, either.

There’s a 30 day trial period which is as good if not better than the alternative options out there.


Try SolidWorks. They have very cheap school fees and are industry leaders (its a little more difficult because it parametric modeling but the skill is valuable…or the free OneShape is a free version thats like it

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Solidworks certainly has its place and I’ve used it for years in the Aerospace industry (work done for Boeing and Airbus). It also has a multitude of tools and built-in features, quite similar to Catia (which I’ve also had the pleasure of using and hate it) and I would say a lot less clunky to use.

Even though the parametrics is great for some things in my mind it is not always helpful. I’ve actually modeled entire buildings in Solidworks:


A very powerful software package with an insane amount of capabilities.

The model and planset shown above was entirely created with Solidworks, it took me well over two weeks to generate it. Within SketchUp I could generate the exact same solid model probably within a few hours (without plugins).

With my new upcoming wall plugin and my other plugins I can probably generate the bulk of the model within a few minutes.

Solidworks is a great product for a million dollar project that has a project timetable of a a couple of months and a group of engineers working on it. However, it is not so great when you have a small budget, a short timetable, a small staff and you need a lean, mean drawing machine and that is exactly what SketchUp is.


Me no like. I think it’d be much better to maintain a dedicated desktop app rather than rely on web browser as the app can better utilise available computing power for what it’s meant to.

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Wow! We’ve largely evolved away from Sketchup since Google sold it, but every once in a while we need to open a file. I just found the new web-based Free version, and have to say, I’m amazed. I would not have thought it could be this difficult or limiting to simply open and print a file.

I’m not here to hate on SU, but I will say that I’m glad we made the transition away. Our design team used SU Pro for a couple of years. We invested lots of time mastering views and drawing production (with lots of inspiration from excellent folks like Nick Sonders). The main challenges, frankly, were lack of parametric control and the quality of integration into our digital workflow (production using CNC equipment). In any event, I’ll just say that Make used to be a nice, accessible product that was quite useful for lots of folks. I’m not sure what the current Pro product is like, but I can only imagine that the browser-based implementation is a huge barrier for new users.

Simply put : I have an SKP file that I just got. I’d like to open it. I’ll just click File>Open… wait, no… where’s File>Open? What is TrimbleConnect? I don’t want to upload anything, I just want to open it. Never mind… I’ll just ask the guy if he can text me a picture so I can remodel it.
Maybe ‘Web-based interface’ sounded great in a marketing strategy meeting? Too funny.


hmm…while it’s a “new” navigation path to open a model that exists locally on your computer to the web version of SU, it’s not that difficult. It’s not really surprising there would be a new path to open a desktop file in a browser app. I’d be more upset about the limits to what you can do with it once it’s there.

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