What’s new in SketchUp 2016? Feast your feature hungry eyes on this section.
Trimble Connect direct integration in SketchUp
We’re integrating Trimble Connect directly into SketchUp. As a refresher, Connect is Trimble’s platform for storing, syncing, referencing, sharing, and collaborating on design/build projects. Sign up for a free account, then start uploading .skp, .pdf, .dxf, .ifc. files. With this integration, we’re packaging the current Trimble Connect Extension into the installer. The TC integration is accessible from the File menu, and will allow users to upload, pull down, and update SKP’s from Trimble Connect project folders. As you’re modeling you can even pull in and update reference SketchUp models as if they were locally hosted components. Learn more about Trimble Connect…
Reload 3D Warehouse models
In SketchUp 2016, a context click on a component gives you the opportunity to reload (or swap out) a new component directly from 3D Warehouse. This action will reload every instance of that component in your model (similar to the same action in the Components Browser), so it’s a helpful method for working with proxy models. And if your component was downloaded from 3D Warehouse, you can also use the context-click to quickly access its 3DWH details page
LayOut cloud references
With this release, LayOut’s reference objects are now web friendly. That means your LayOut projects can reference and update files that are stored and synced with services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Trimble Connect Sync. When you reference a file from any of these services (.skp or otherwise), LayOut will notify you when an update is available for your ‘web reference.’ Say goodbye to missing references when different people are working on the same .layout document within a cloud sync folder that also contains the referenced files
A new LayOut API
We’re proud to announce our first step towards an extension ecosystem for LayOut. Using this new API developers can now create and customize .layout files from SketchUp models. Practically, this means that other applications can import or export the *.layout file format using the C API. (This includes creating a .layout file from SketchUp.). We have several sample scripts for developers to try out at release, along with a blog post where they can learn more.
Simple, intuitive, just right
Enhanced inferencing and tool improvements
Learning and utilizing SketchUp’s inference engine makes for fast and precise modeling. In this release, we’ve oiled that engine to provide slicker inferencing and locking across the board. This improvement is actually an entire set of smart tweaks we’ve made to inferencing and locking. The best way to understand these changes is to see them action, but here’s a brief description of what’s new here:
Off-axis inferences: We’ve improved parallel and perpendicular inference display along with the ability to force the last referenced edge or plane (depending on tool) with the down arrow. This is particularly handy for extending edges on off-axis planes. (Keep an eye out for the new “Extend Edge” tooltip with purple highlighting). The up arrow is now the default locking mechanism for the blue axis.
Expanded Arrow Key locking: More tools now allow use of arrow keys to quickly lock to an axis. Additionally, you can now lock normals or rotation axis prior to first click for tools that require a rotation handle, including Arc/Pie, Rotated Rectangle, Rotation, Protractor, Polygon and Circle.
Arc/circle: SketchUp will now easily inference circle and arc center-points. While we were at it, we improved SketchUp’s ability to inference arc segment endpoints. Another bonus, you can now change the number of segments using new modifier keys (check out the status bar right after you’ve drawn an arc/circle).
Axes tool flexibility: A small but useful change: when selecting new axes, you can now toggle through the exact axes you’d like to pick first using the Alt (PC)/Command (Mac) modifier.
Inference hidden section planes: SketchUp will now recognize intersection points with hidden section planes. This functionality extends to snapping to elements of a SketchUp model in LayOut too; you’ll notice a big improvement when dimensioning models with section planes..
Miscellaneous improvements: We’ve also tweaked the Move, Protractor, Offset, and Rotate tools with miscellaneous improvements to improve usability and close up a few loose ends.
Customizeable Utility Trays on Windows
On Windows machines, we’ve re-worked SketchUp’s floating utility dialogs (Styles, Scenes, Components, etc.) so that they neatly stack inside customizable, completely collapsible trays. This functionality also allows you to group dialogs that you may often use at the same time, and is incredibly useful for hiding, browsing, and revealing your go-to utilities. Internally, we’ve often referenced this improvement as ‘snappy dialogs,’ but this is not terminology that we use in external communication.
(Added bonus: dialogs will no longer disappear into dark universe just off of your screen).
Textures make your models pop off the screen (and the page). In this release, we’ve reworked our default material libraries, adding contemporary textures and entirely new categories. Press ‘B’ and go wild.
A smart tweak to LayOut dimensions, our new ‘small dimension’ leaders ensure that text never interferes with arrows or extension lines, and that your dimensions always have room to stretch out when you’re working in confined spaces. When LayOut detects that your text strings are going to interfere with dimension arrows or extension lines, it will automatically pop-out your strings using a leader (customizable, of course!)
Loveable LayOut layers
We’ve improved pretty much everything about LayOut’s layers. Whether you’re grouping objects across layers, drawing objects on shared layers, or unearthing the bottom of a stacked viewport, our new layers are just plain better. Here’s how:
Multi-Layer Groups: Entities on different layers can now be grouped together. If you tried to do this in the past, you’d collapse your entire group onto one layer.
Maintaining Layers During Copy/Paste: Copy/pasting entities now respects the layer assignments of the original entity (previously, everything would copy to the current layer). This should make it easier to copy/paste a SketchUp viewport (along with any grouped dimensions and labels) from one page to another and maintain layer assignments. If you’d like to paste to the current layer, there’s a new command for that too.
‘Move to’ layer on context click: You can now move entities between layers with a context click. Use the new ‘Move to’ command, and then select from all unlocked layers. (In the past you could only move to the current layer, which was a multi-step process.)
Differentiating between shared/non-shared layers: In order to help users understand when they are creating or manipulating entities on a shared layer, we’ve added tool highlighting that displays a different color (red) when you are drawing or selecting elements on a shared layer. (You can customize this highlighting in LayOut Preferences > General).
Layer visibility maintained on new pages: If a layer is hidden on the current page, it will also be hidden on a newly added page.
This is another area of improvement that’s easier to understand by seeing it in action. We’ll have blog post ready at release.
Optimized PDF Export from LayOut
We are so happy to share that you can now choose to compress JPEG’s in your LayOut files when exporting PDF’s. Since every raster or hybrid rendered .skp viewport has a JPEG image, this leads to drastically smaller PDF exports from LayOut that still have a very high output resolution, but are much easier to share with others. One of our test files shrank from 115 MB down to 18 MB with very little loss in quality. Of course, you can choose your level of image compression on export, so that 115 MB PDF is still an option!
SketchUp C API improvements
We added over 100 new classes and functions to the SketchUp C API in 2016 to provide greater benefit to our developers and as part of our continued effort to fully deprecate and remove the old C++ API. We are continuing to add more until we gain enough coverage to consider the C API at feature parity with the deprecated C++ API
Extension Security and Moderation
As more and more users download and install extensions, we want to provide greater security for users and developers. In SketchUp 2016, users can control which extensions to load based on their security level. There are three extension security options to choose from (see below) and they are accessible via the Extensions panel in Preferences dialog:
- Off: SketchUp will load any extension (This is how previous versions work).
- Approve Mode: Users will be prompted to load extension that have not been certified by SketchUp.
- Secure Mode: Only extensions that have been certified by SketchUp will load.
We are working with our Extension Development Community to provide an array of certified extensions for our product launch, and we’ve also done a lot of work to streamline our process for reviewing, approving and publishing extensions submitted to Extension Warehouse.
High DPI toolbar icons, cursors, graphics
We’re now rendering all of SketchUp, LayOut, and Style Builder toolbar icons from vector graphics. This means they will scale well for anyone’s resolution settings, with a much cleaner look and better sized icons on High DPI screens in particular. All of the in-product artwork is also high resolution, as are the tool cursors.
Welcome Dialog Refresh
We’ve given our Welcome Dialog a slight refresh for SketchUp 2016. Everything works mostly the same, but we’re happy to say that the “Start SketchUp” button is bigger than ever!
Support for El Capitan and Windows 10
Our QA team has smashed and banged on these new operating systems enough to say that SketchUp 2016 is fully compatible with Apple’s El Capitan and Microsoft’s Windows 10.