Link: SketchUp Pro 2013 is Out

This is the first real release of a new version of SketchUp since Trimble took over the development of the software from Google. They've announced some minor enhancements to SketchUp Pro (modeling-wise), have done some very nice upgrades to Layout, and have rebranded the free version as SketchUp Make which can only be used for personal work. You read that right - if you do commercial work, you have to use the Pro version.

Here's Trimble on Layout:

We’ve heard that you’d like to take your SketchUp models farther into the documentation part of your workflow. For that, we’re continuing to turn LayOut in SketchUp Pro into a full-fledged tool for creating scaled, annotated and dimensioned drawings from your models. In this version, we’ve added hatching and other pattern fills, speedier vector rendering, better zoom, more useful callouts and other improvements we think you’ll love.

Layout was probably the most neglected of the programs before, and correctly received the most attention in this release. If you have ever been on the Sketchucation forums, you've probably seen the thread that revolves around using Layout for working drawings (~85,000 views and counting). This is something that has been vehemently asked for by the users for many years to be upgraded to have more professional tools. It seems that a very large number of people are still not ready to jump into BIM, and want to build on the knowledge of the tools they already have instead of investing so much time into something new.

 

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A couple of versions ago, we decided to fully commit to making LayOut into the application that so many of you have been asking for. We added dimensions, vector rendering, and the ability to snap to points in your model viewports. We added DWG and DXF export, and configurable dashed lines. We made LayOut even faster, made it easier to move elements around precisely, and made lines editable—our Line tool may be the most intuitive vector drawing instrument around. Some of our users began to use LayOut to do complete sets of construction drawings.

The largest upgrade to the Pro version is the new integration of the Extension Warehouse. This is basically an in-app store that will allow users to search, pay for and easily install plugins and Ruby scripts. It's a one-stop-shop for customizing your SketchUp with any number of the very cool add-ons available that take SketchUp to the next level.  No longer will users have to struggle to find their plugins folder and mess around under the hood of their application. This was a huge hurdle that I'm happy to see go away.

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All of this is great news. I hope AutoDesSys (the company behind bonzai3d and formZ) is watching closely. 

You can read more about the release here, and you can read more specifically about the new version of Layout here.