SketchUp a History

You’re researching the best 3D design software, and as part of the process you’re looking into the background of one of the world’s favourite 3D modelling programs, Sketchup. You want to know all about Sketchup Pro version history, how the software originated, who bought and sold it, what versions and editions have been launched over the years, as well as the features, the plans, and the pricing. If you’re keen to know all about Sketchup version history, this article reveals everything.

Welcome to our world!


Sketchup Origins

Sketchup pro version history is impressive. The origins of the Sketchup 3D modeling tool lie with a company called @Last Software, a start-up co-founded way back in 1999 by Brad Schell and Joe Esch in the town of Boulder, Colorado. They created their general purpose 3D modelling software in the year 2000, an unusually versatile yet simple 3D content creation tool they imagined would prove vital for design professionals. And they hit the nail on the head – their innovative 3D modeling program won a Community Choice Award at its first trade show in 2000 and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

Now, more than two decades later, Sketchup enjoys a place at the top of the cad software heap. It’s widely used by  the architectural, interior design, landscape architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film and video game design sectors and is popular right across the world. It’s available in web-based app form, as SketchUp Free, and as the added-functionality professional version, SketchUp Pro. As time passes and tech moves on, it has been frequently updated to include extra drawing layout functionality and surface rendering in a myriad of different styles, and you can even place the models you make in Sketchup into Google Earth.

Google Acquisition

In March 2006 Google bought @Last Software, impressed by their acquisition’s innovative work on a Google Earth plugin. And in early 2007 Google announced the arrival of something called Google SketchUp 6. This 3D modeling program was free to download and came with a suite of integrated tools to allow content to be uploaded to Google Earth as well as to the search giant’s 3D Warehouse. Google SketchUp Pro 6 soon followed, incorporating a beta version of Google SketchUp LayOut including clever 2D vector tools and popular page layout tools. All this meant it was possible for users to create presentations without a separate program to present them. Everything was driven by Sketchup, and it worked a treat.

The 3D modeling program software became more popular as time passed, and late 2008 saw SketchUp 7 released, integrating SketchUp’s Component Browser with Google 3D Warehouse, LayOut , and a variety of dynamic components designed to respond beautifully to scaling. And the 2010 version, V8, came along in autumn 2010, incorporating model geolocation with Google Maps and Building Maker integration.

Trimble Acquisition

In the spring of 2012 Google sold Sketchup to Trimble Navigation, now called Trimble Inc. In 2013, SketchUp 2013 came out, along with a smart new website plus a huge warehouse of extensions and plugins to support the software. Sketchup had well and truly arrived on the design scene and was making waves everywhere it was used, a truly impressive tool that did more than most, did it faster, more easily and more professionally. It has kept on developing ever since, always up to date, always secure, and always packed with brilliant functionality.

Sketchup Versions and Editions

So how about Sketchup version history? Like all the best software, it has been through a great many iterations, each better than the last. Here’s a list SketchUp Major Version Releases:

  •         2000: SketchUp v.1
  •         2002: SketchUp v.2
  •         2003: SketchUp v.3
  •         2004: SketchUp v.4, v.5
  •         2006: Google Warehouse
  •         2007: SketchUp v.6, LayOut (beta)
  •         2008: SketchUp v.7, LayOut v.2
  •         2010: SketchUp v.8, LayOut v.3
  •         2013:  SketchUp v.2013, LayOut v.2013, Extension Warehouse
  •         2014: SketchUp v.2015
  •         2015: SketchUp Make v.2015, SketchUp Pro v.2015
  •         2016: SketchUp Make v.2016, SketchUp Pro v.2016
  •         2017: SketchUp Make v.2017, SketchUp Pro v.2017
  •         2018: SketchUp Pro v.2018 4.2 and Sketchup 4.2.1
  •         2019: Versions 4.2.2, 4.2.3, 5.0.0, 5.0.1
  •         2020: Versions 4.2.4, 5.0.2, 5.1.0, 5.1.1 and 5.1.2
  •         2021: Versions 5.2.0 and v5.2.1

Sketchup Editions

The Sketchup 3D modeling program comes with a choice of editions:

Sketchup Studio contains everything you get in the Pro version, plus cool things like building energy analysis, daylight analysis, HVAC sizing, thermal comfort analysis, and CO2 emissions, perfect for designing in today’s climate-aware landscape.

Sketchup Pro 3D modeling program licensing is dual-platform, working equally well on Windows and Macs. It provides all the varied functionality of SketchUp Make with the addition of importers and exporters so you can easily share common 2D and 3D formats. It offers easy access to LayOut’s 2D documentation software and to Style Builder, where you can create custom edge styles for your SketchUp models. The 2016 Pro version comes complete with nifty native integration to Trimble Connect. You can treat 3D Warehouse models as references, and create valuable rebuilt Generate Reports. LayOut also provides web-friendly reference objects and a new LayOut API.

Sketchup Shop 3D modeling program is the perfect choice when you’re a DIY designer, maker, or woodworker, containing a set of features specifically created for your needs. There is, for example, a cool interface with 3D printers, CNC routers and other popular shop machines. How is it different from Pro? Shop is a web app that can only run on your browser when you’re online, while SketchUp Pro is a downloadable application so can be used offline.

Sketchup Make was formerly called SketchUp for Home and Personal Use, and dates back to 2013. It was free for home, personal and educational use and began life as a free 30 day trial version of Pro. It was replaced by Sketchup Free in 2017. Sketchup Free, its replacement, is a web-based app. It lets you save drawings to the cloud, save them locally as a native SKP file, or export them in an STL format. Unlike the original free version, Make, it doesn’t support extensions, or creation, or materials editing.

Sketchup Plans and Pricing

How much does all this creative brilliance cost you? Probably less than you imagine.


Sketchup Free

The free version of the planet’s best 3D modeling program offers all this:

  •         Web-based 3D modeler
  •         Mobile model viewer
  •         10GB cloud storage
  •         Free

Sketchup Shop

Shop provides everything you get in the free version, plus:

  •         Unlimited access to Pre-Built 3D models
  •         Augmented Reality Mobile Viewer
  •         Unlimited Cloud Storage
  •         All for just $119 per year

Sketchup Pro

Pro gives you everything in Shop plus:

  •         Robust desktop 3D modeler
  •         2D design documentation
  •         Quick insights for design research
  •         Experience reality (XR) headset viewing
  •         Access to plugins for extending SketchUp Pro Desktop functionality
  •         All for the great price of $299 per year

Sketchup Studio

The Studio version of this 3D modeling program contains everything you get in Pro, plus:

  •         Import and precisely model onto point cloud data using SketchUp’s native toolbox
  •         Export to LayOut and document point cloud data in 2D
  •         Interactive, real-time visualizations as you model
  •         Create and export professional photorealistic images
  •         Export fully rendered animations and 360° panoramas
  •         At a price of just $699 per year

Sketchup higher education and schools plans

Sketchup offers all sorts of exciting, affordable opportunities for the education sector, supporting excellence in our young people:  

  •         Sketchup Studio for students – desktop and web – $55 per year – perfect for learning how to make  beautiful, accurate 3D models
  •         Sketchup Studio for educators – desktop and web – $55 per year – packed with powerful, intuitive 3D modeling tools
  •         Sketchup Studio for universities – desktop and web – Sketchup’s core 3D modelling suite available in a variety of tiers at different prices
  •         Sketchup for schools – web only – Free with your G Suite or Microsoft Education account
  •         Sketchup Pro Desktop – desktop only – A statewide license, available free with your state grant 

Sketchup Features

Here’s a list of the fantastic primary features of Sketchup, an impressive range of functions designed to get you where you want to be quickly, enjoyably and simply. No wonder this tool is well known for its remarkable variety: 

  •         3D modelling so good you won’t believe your eyes
  •         Lets you iterate in 3D with confidence
  •         Creates accurate, detailed models
  •         Provides great interoperability with other design tools
  •         Extensibility is yours thanks to a massive warehouse of extensions
  •         Sketchup Objects are designed to help you work smarter and faster
  •         Customisation helps you make every design your own, uniquely yours
  •         Report Generation delights every stakeholder of every kind
  •         Inferencing means you experience even better accuracy and speed
  •         A huge 3D Warehouse stacked with popular designs contains every imaginable object, material, texture and more
  •         This is a tool that’s not just easy to learn, it’s also fun to create with

Get Started with SketchUp

Now you know all about sketchup version history. Sketchup has been with us for more than two decades, and every year the software has been improved, added to, and made easier than ever to use. Would you like to test-drive the free 30 day trial of Sketchup Pro? You might also like to delve deep into an enormous choice of clear, beautifully-presented resources and tutorials. Whether you ultimately choose the free or the pro version, now is the time when your design life will change for the better.

About Elmtec

Elmtec have been the UK distribution partner for SketchUp since 2010, and service a network of UK and Irish resellers. We have over 22 years’ experience within the digital design community.

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