Google has released a free version of the SketchUp application for creating, viewing and modifying 3D images that it has acquired when with the purchase of @Last Software in March.
Google is also launching a web site called 3D Warehouse, where SketchUp users can store and share their designs and collaborate.
SketchUp has also been integrated with Google Earth, so that now SketchUp designs can be integrated with that popular mapping application, Google said.
The free version of Sketchupe
is for personal use only. It is based on the existing SketchUp Pro 5, a fee-based version with a commercial license and more advanced features.
SketchUp is particularly well-suited for users interested in creating 3D models of structures, such as houses, sheds, decks, home additions and woodworking projects, according to Google.
The fee-based version is intended primarily for professionals, such as architects, designers, builders, art directors and game developers, while the free version is aimed at hobbyists.
Right now, the free version is only available for Windows 2000 and Windows XP Home and Professional editions. A version for Mac OS X is in the works.
Other minimum requirements include 80MB of available hard-disk space, a video card that is fully compliant with the OpenGL application specification, Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher and Windows Media Player or QuickTime 5.0.
The regular version, SketchUp Pro 5, is a powerful 3D modeling tool whose robust feature set empowers design professionals to explore and communicate complex concepts, import and export a host of file formats, and create interactive. It retails currently retails at $495 and can be purchased at the following link