Google offers free 3D design tool

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Well, if the rain comes down over the Bank Holiday weekend, you can always spend your days 3D modelling, after Google released a free version of SketchUp – a tool for creating, viewing and modifying 3D images. And if you’re proud of your designs, you might be interested in the company’s 3D Warehouse – a website where SketchUp users can store and share designs, or collaborate on joint 3D projects.

The software is available as a result of Google acquiring @Last Software in March. The free version is for personal use only. It is based on the existing SketchUp Pro 5.0, a fee-based version with a commercial licence and more advanced features.

So what’s it about? Well, SketchUp is essentially a plaything for those interested in creating 3D models of structures, such as houses, sheds, decks, home additions and woodworking projects. The full version (which costs around £500) is more of a prefessionals’ tool for architects, designers, builders, art directors and game developers.

Right now, the free version is available only for Windows 2000 and Windows XP Home and Professional editions. A version for Apple’s Mac OS is due soon. You’ll need 80MB of available hard-disk space, a video card that’s fully compliant with the OpenGL application specification, Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher and Windows Media Player or QuickTime 5.0.

Download the free version of SketchUp

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Dave Walker