SketchUp 2016


A special time of the year has arrived, and I am talking of course about the just released SketchUp 2016. Every year we get a few new upgrades with our preferred 3D modeling software. Some of the improvements are useful for all SketchUp users while others are only relevant for those working in certain industries. Here is a brief overview of the new features I find exiting this year.

At first glance, the new SketchUp looks sharper. I thought this was only due to my excitement after getting a fresh upgrade but after reading about the new features I found out that the icons on the tool bar now have higher resolution. This does not affect performance at all but I like how it looks.

Another new feature is full integration of Trimble Connect, a cloud-based collaboration platform allowing teams to access, analyze, manage and share project data from the cloud anywhere, at any time. This could prove useful for collaborating with clients who also use SketchUp, or for internal workgroups operating on the same model.

Some tweaks were made to one of SketchUp's most basic features: the "inferencing" engine which intelligently highlights and snaps the pointer to help draw parallel and perpendicular features. Particularly helpful are the improvements in arrow key locking, and smart center-pointing for circles and arcs,etc. (I think this is going to save a lot of frustration in the office)


Snapping to a center point used to require drawing construction lines.

A big upgrade was made to the built-in material library, something I have ignored in previous versions since I mostly get my textures from other sources, but with this new upgrade I will give it a try.

One feature, only available on the Windows version of SketchUp allows users to fully customize their workflow by being able to organize and group all of the various utility dialogs so that they could either stand alone, or stack inside customizable and collapsible trays. I'm not sure why this isn't available in MacOS, but it sure would help get rid of all the floating collapsible windows that I have learned to hate.

SketchUp Layout (for creating architectural plan sets) also received a host of improvements that aren't so important for us, but will make lots of architects happy!

These are a few features from the list of improvements. If you are curious about what else there is, check out this video and if you have not tried SketchUp yet, this is a good time to jump in!

Sebastian Marticorena was an illustrator at Fat Pencil Studio from 2014-2016.