What’s up with SketchUp Make?



Yes, and we know it.

Will the average user be?


You can’t download SketchUp free: that would be like download Facebook, or Wikipedia.


It can be argued that Free is a poor choice of name, but none the less Make is still available for download.


What do you think is the most requested search?

“Free” or “Make”?


It is unfortunate if people don’t educate themselves on what they are looking for.
The fact that they are directed to Free is good for marketing.


Maybe that’s part of the reason they named it SketchUp Free. People would find it.

What’s wrong with having some expectation of people using accurate search terms? I wouldn’t try looking you up in a telephone directory by searching for “man with glasses.”


Not to mention “Free” is a noun, as is “Make”. …“free” is an adjective. Different meanings


I think the SketchUp Make 2017 version has the same right to benefit from the “Free” nomination as the “Web” version.

I am convinced that the 2017 Make version is the best way for Trimbel to convince new users to buy the Pro version.

So diverting users from the Make 2017 version is a bad idea.


Well I think we should hold our judgment until the SketchUp Free (web) has been updated with more features. I have been using SketchUp since @last and I have not been disappointed yet.

Since everybody who is not on Pro is still able to access Make, I am not quite sure why everybody is so upset about the web version :joy: . I think the whole point is that Trimble want ‘new’ users on the browser rather than the desktop if you are not running Pro. I guess it’s a lot easier for them going forward’s to maintain for various reasons that I don’t know the specifics of.
However, having worked in app development for 7 years I know the benefits of trying to make a unified product that fits all rather than a scattergun approach trying to hit multiple OS’s, especially when you are giving it away for free!


Everybody isn’t upset. I find the prospect interesting or a little intriguing.
A browser web version will undoubtedly introduce far more new people to SU.


SketchUp Free is the name of our (new) browser-based implementation of SketchUp which cannot be downloaded because it runs in your browser. SketchUp Make 2017, our desktop client version, remains available for download by clicking on the “App Downloads” button at the bottom of the left sidebar in SketchUp Free.


Excellent idea. :sun_with_face:
The more the user knows that the alternative SketchUp Make 2017 exists, the easier it will be to have a happy public.
Leave the choice to users between the “Web” version and the “Make 2017” version, is the best compromise.

Thank you for your answers.


I emphatically disagree that the browser-based version is superior, or even as good as, the desktop version.
The engine might be as capable, but the UI is much more difficult. I’m about ready to give up because Make seems to have a problem with my laptop’s graphics processor.

Invoking Google doesn’t make it so.The web based app is harder to use. I use web apps all day and most evenings, and this one doesn’t measure up.
Keyboard shortcuts? Maybe, but I need to learn them from Make first, because there are no hints in Free.
Context sensitive help? No
Intuitive? No

Google’s apps are extensions of what we’re already familiar with, so the learning curve is fairly shallow. SketchUp is not the least bit familiar or intuitive, so the UI needs to be far more robust for us newbies. I was making some progress figuring out Make, with some help from third-party videos. Free, not so much.
I’m happy to pay the price for SketchUp Pro once I’m convinced I’ll be able to use it to do what I want. But I’ve got a ways to go before I’m convinced.

I was on an Oracle team that replaced client-server apps with a web-service architecture decades ago. Now I work at Amazon Web Services, where there’s a rich history of UI design. I don’t disagree with your premise, I’m disappointed in your implementation.

You might be interested in this book: Don’t Make Me Think


This is a book I want every UX designer and software product manager to read! The user should be able to focus 100% of their thoughts on their work, and the UI should be an invisible layer in between, not requiring any thought (or at least as little as possibly possible).

For being a 3D modeler I have to say SketchUp [desktop version] is by far the most intuitive program I have seen. Sure, the concepts are new but the UI sticks to conventions you are used to, eliminating the need to re-learn or even un-learn computer basics. You can find Save and Save As where it always is, in the top level menu under File. You can right click to open a context menu (not like in Rhino where right click is a programmable command that differs from computer to computer). You have control of your work in the same way you have control of word documents, photos or any other files. SketchUp [desktop] allows you to focus on your work, where other programs forces you to focus on the UI!

Unfortunately this doesn’t apply to SketchUp free. I wish the UI was based on conventions people are used to (from desktop, mobile or both), rather than reinventing the UX wheel, just to actively rebel against conventions for the sake of trendiness. SketchUp free requires you to focus way more on the UI (and allows you to focus way less on the modeling) than any previous SU version.


An a pro user - I can say is this is a bad decision. The reason why SketchUp is so popular amongst professionals - is the existence of the free community and all of the models and plug-ins that they develop. As an architect - it’s incredibly valuable having the 3D warehouse populated by models made from the free community. I can quickly populate a built design with furniture and objects that otherwise would take weeks to develop. The Pro community NEEDS the free community.

The push to the web is also a terrible idea in general - I really hope this is not the future of the pro version. Internet access becomes spotty the moment one leaves the office, and even then - even the best offices have network outages on occasion. The thought that our ability to work is tied to the speed and reliability of our network connections is crazy. Will a 4K Netflix stream cripple someones ability to work? There also isn’t any way in this new iteration of SketchUp to develop renders with plug-ins like V-Ray - which again will kill the entire eco-system of materials that have been developed by the free community. Lastly - no one wants to wait for a giant SketchUp file to upload or download every time they have to open it.

If you want to help your end users - make it easier to be a designer. Integrate yourself with the likes of V-Ray or Corona - make rendering as easy as it is to model. Talk to architects, urban designers, and landscape architects - there are significant improvements to be made. No one asked for an online version. Leave the free community alone, because your PRO USERS NEED THEM.


The move of the commercial product online is what I’m really afraid of. The free version is clearly a beta-test until the entire program can be migrated over - it simply doesn’t make sense to invest so much in a free version of the product.

I really wish someone at SketchUp would download something like Super Mario Run that requires an online connection - and see how quickly it becomes an awful experience. Worse yet, it concerns me that SketchUp thinks that this is the priority - I’d rather they spend their time actually improving the software, rather than sticking the program inside a chrome tab.


I doubt it, I was worried at first but they wont put Pro online as it’s not feasible from a hardware point of view. If they do then I am sure they will wait for the technology to catch up first. They have been going this long, doubtful they will commit self destruction all of a sudden.

It makes sense to put the free version online as a tool, why keep developing it across multiple OS’s for nothing. Yes the free community is great and I, like you, use the 3D warehouse in projects but at the end of the day it’s getting something for nothing. I am working on a magazine project this week and using Shutterstock to fill in some of the gaps, typical normal behaviour for anybody not in the SketchUp ecosystem.

I would guess they will put adverts in the online version. If it’s true and they have 30,000,000 unique users over a year, a good percentage of those are using it for free, may as well monetise it some way right. That’s what I would do anyway, used to do it with some of my apps I made. I would like them to keep on developing Pro and not go bust.

To be honest, I much prefer them having free online, it will be less management for them and hopefully means they can concentrate on the annual updates to Pro, many features I would like to see soon.

Every other piece of software I have (with the exception of Blender) only offers a full retail version or a 1 month free trial and it’s always been the way. Let’s not forget there was no original free version, it was something Google created in order to have users populate Google Maps.


I been using Sketchup’s free versions for a few years before I got Pro. If it wasn’t for the access I had to the software and my enjoyment of what I could do with it, I would’ve never saved up and spent nearly $700 for a pro license. From what I’m reading the new web based free version does not have the functionality our Sketchup experience in the past and the newer generations of 3D artists may not have a similar experience like me and many other Sketchup users. I cannot see how the decision to make a watered down web based version is in any way intended to serve in the same way the free version has for over a decade. I’m still using SU2015 Pro holding out for better texture UV support while in the mean time I downloaded 2016 and '17 make versions just to keep up and decide if I want to spend the money on an upgrade. Now getting a feel for newer versions for free is now dead and it seems the only way to experience SU2018 and beyond is to actually buy a Pro license?


They will definitely put Pro online - they are not spending huge sums of money to build up servers, software, and storage space for no money in return. The economics simply don’t make sense for that to be the outcome. A limited version of the Pro software is vastly cheaper to produce than an entirely new cloud platform. If anything this new software will reduce the amount of attention Pro is getting.

Everything about this development seems absurd to me. There is simply no reason that SketchUp needs to function as a web application. If there is a random case where I do need SketchUp on the go - there is already a solution to that problem, and it’s called remote desktop. And that solution also happens to give me full access to all of my apps as well as all related project information. When I’m at a client meeting on site - I need access to all of my files - photos, plans, scanned documents, word documents, 3D models, Autocad files, etc. A remote version of SketchUp would only serve to complicate matters, rather than make things simpler.

My biggest frustration with this is that resources are being spent on something so pointless. SketchUp needs to start competing with BIM programs that are becoming smarter everyday. There is only so much longer that a AutoCAD / SketchUP pipeline will make sense in the building industry. Revit is becoming less and less cumbersome, and SketchUp is driving itself in the other direction.

I also wonder why SketchUp doesn’t steal ideas from other software. Revit allows you to render models on it’s server - that’s actually a use for the cloud that makes sense. And why not have versions of the software designed for different industries like AutoCAD does - a SketchUp for Architecture, a SketchUp for Urban Design, and SketchUp for Engineers. I mean, SketchUp doesn’t even allow for subfolders in layers - yet somehow an internet version of the software has become a priority?

It honestly feels like SketchUp has no idea who it’s user base is, and how the software is used.


Well I guess time will tell, I would expect them in that case to have two versions, online and desktop Pro. If the web version is up to scratch then it would be a good addition and handy when on the go. I still think they are going to put ad’s into the web version as a revenue generator, because they know their audience exactly (mostly free users) so it could make them a ton of money.

Online is not going to be powerful enough to support very complex scenes but it has it’s uses. I don’t see them abandoning native desktop for quite some time (4-5 years at least until global infrastructure has caught up).

As an illustrator my models are very large and complicated but my needs are a lot less than somebody using it for Architecture work. My main concern is the computing power, plugin support and rendering support. If they can get all of those locked down and it works then I would use it in conjunction with desktop. I am lucky living in a well connected country with almost 1Gbps when cabled and >300/100<Mbps on my wifi.

If they do gut the functions of Pro, then everybody will simply use other software, it’s not like there isn’t a bunch of other options around they are just more complicated to use from the outset but over time much more powerful.

I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt and see what it looks like in 12-24 months.

Edit: I used to live on a boat in London, I would have been very mad then as it was pants about 1Kbps :joy: