Fri 4th Mar 2011, by | Gdc2011
There's a Google product on the GDC show floor that will make many aspiring 3D artists very happy.
As if any Google product doesn't make everyone happy. Google SketchUp is on display and it's, basically, a very easy to use 3D modeling application.
Modeling can be done very easily with very intuitive tools that point-and-click your design into existence without having to manage through a lot of numbers and values. For example, the pen tool creates divisions within polygons and will snap to vertices within the model as well as familiar values so that straight lines can be cut all the way across a cube at the exact same height all the way around. It was actually amazing to see it and it's even more amazing that we’ve reached a level of 3D graphical development that there is now an application for 'casual' 3D artists.
Of course, with any 'simplified' piece of software, there are limitations. You can model, but you can't animate in SketchUp. Rendering is limited also; the basic stuff is there like rendering out your work in picture or video form but when you think about it there’s really no use in rendering your video if you can’t animate your work. Basic texture-mapping is also available which is all any beginning modeler really needs. Mind you, these are tiny limitations at most when considering the fact that the software is totally free.
Google has released two versions; the free version, which can be downloaded right now, and a Pro version which has greater compatibility with 3ds Max and Maya. The Pro version is going for about $500 per license.