Google SketchUp will make building easier in Second Life once mesh import arrives.

I took a look today at Google SketchUp, which will export to collada. Collada is the format for files to be imported as mesh into Second Life once that feature becomes available. SketchUp is a tool that was created by Google to make buildings for use in Google Earth. It is a 3D modelling program specifically made to make buildings. You can download version 7 free. There is a SketchUp 7 Pro version at a price of $495 US, but from what I can see this would be of interest only to those involved in building in the real world for it would permit saving floor plans with text and diagrams that would be of interest to real life builders. The free version will be quite satisfactory to build using mesh import for Second Life.

You can download the program at:

The controls and tools are extremely simple, yet give you incredible control.  There is a start up page featuring simple video tutorials at:

I watched a couple and saw immediately how much easier and more intuitive it will be to build using SketchUp than it is to build using prims in Second Life. I have heard some builders in Second Life voice worries that when mesh import goes live, it will render them unable to compete because 3D modeling programs are expensive and generally difficult and time intensive to learn. I would encourage these people to look at the SketchUp video tutorials to set their minds at ease. I would go so far as to predict that the introduction of mesh import, the ease of use and short learning curve of the free program Google SketchUp, and the ability to port buildings made in SketchUp to Second Life, will render building with Second Life primitives obsolete and rarely used.

SketchUp does have some limitations. It will not make organic shapes and so will not be the tool of choice to make animals or clothing meshes. However, for hard geometry it is excellent. It can make not only buildings, but furniture as well.

Linden Labs, please give us mesh import soon!! At least take it to open beta to let us learn and play with it!

8 thoughts on “Google SketchUp will make building easier in Second Life once mesh import arrives.

  1. Maggie, that looks amazing. Wonderland appears to be totally business oriented, and I can see where it is a better venue for business and education with the input and collaborative tools than Second Life currently is. It does not seem to offer the same entertainment value as Second Life does, as sought after by non-commercial or educational users. It is good to know it is there! I learn something new every day.

  2. Assuming it doesn’t get shelved like C# just did. My gut tells me that Mesh Imports are never going to see the light of Second Life day.

  3. One thing is sure: mesh import will revolutionize content production in SL. In the right hands, mesh-based content will be more detailed, better textured and in many cases faster to rez.

    However, I don’t think meshes will entirely replace prims. There will be cases when it will be more practical to use a prim rather than a mesh, casual users won’t bother to learn how to use a 3D tool and in some cases meshes could be more expensive to use in terms of prim count than regular prims.

    I think this is good. SL will be an environment with the most flexible options to build content.

    One minor correction, Vivienne: SketchUp was acquired by Google, not created.

  4. Thanks for the correction! I was not aware of that. Mesh if not optimized can be more costly than using prims would be. I guess that will be something we will have to work out, how to optimize the mesh created in Google. We may need to take it into another program to do so, but I hope not. I am hoping this will make mesh more accessible to more people.

  5. I’ve used sketchup for years. It’s really quite easy to learn and to work with. I’m not sure what the free version is missing (my copy is pro so I have no idea what’s gone from the light version) but I can say that this will radically change the speed at which builders can create, and you may be able to reduce prim count. However, Indigo is totally correct when she says that you won’t be able to eliminate prims entirely. There’s some things that really don’t work well in a mesh format. So for example, let’s say you’re building a series of cabinets. Sure- if you dont want them to open or to be able to put things inside them, you can do it all in sketchup- no sweat. Bang, boom, done. But it gets more complicated when youre dealing with both the exterior and the interior of an object. You have to make a compromise between the mesh and how you want people to be able to interact with the object.

    As I told Indigo- Sketchup imports would change *EVERYTHING*. Very, very quickly. Sketchup is a very easy program to learn.

  6. observed your webpage on today and seriously liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some alot more later .

  7. Google Sketchup and Mesh imports won’t work i’ve been playing around with it and i’ve had no luck what so ever.

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