SketchUp 2021: Building a Foundation for Success

Posted by Amanda Ong on


This unprecedented year has changed the way we live and work. Like many of you around the world, we used this time at home to tackle projects we’ve been meaning to do for months (or years?) and were reminded of the importance of setting yourself up for success at the start of a project with a solid foundation.

Today, we are pleased to introduce a major update to SketchUp Pro with a number of improvements to help you tackle complicated projects, work efficiently, get more done, and succeed in new forms of creation. This major update of SketchUp Pro includes new tools and features, innovations, improvements, and time-savers that help you with all the unique challenges of this past year and beyond. 

To start, SketchUp’s full suite of products have a fresh new look. The best part? You can finally model the logos in 3D. Get to know the new SketchUp logos! 

Speaking of a new look, this new version introduces an architecturally-trained, Nigerian mother of twins as the scale figure to SketchUp Pro 2021: Sumele Aruofor. A Strategic Marketing Manager at Trimble, she knows a thing or two about the importance of starting a complicated project on a strong foundation. Say hi to Sumele when you open the new version, and get to know her a little better.

Now that we’ve settled into SketchUp’s new and improved exterior, it’s time to get to know the new features. SketchUp 2021 brings you a brand new, climate-savvy way to start designs, better model organization, and smart, configurable objects. The latest SketchUp version solidifies the groundwork of your most complicated AEC projects. Let’s get to know all the SketchUp 2021 updates

As AEC professionals we strive for a reality where every addition to the built environment works in harmony with the natural surroundings. This synergy requires a comprehensive understanding of a site’s context before plans are drawn. That’s where PreDesign comes in. This brand new climate research tool helps you to understand the local environment surrounding your project before you start modelling in 3D.

“Although SketchUp is a fantastic way to develop ideas in 3D, we are continuously exploring new capabilities and see tremendous value in making it easy for our users to include design research in their pre-design workflows,” said Andrew Corney, PE, M.CIBSE, M.ASHRAE, Product Director at Trimble. “With PreDesign, we’re providing designers with the insights they need to take a truly holistic approach to creating suitable design strategies and communicating value to their clients.” 


Pulling site-specific weather data, PreDesign suggesting appropriate architectural responses for your project. Intuitive sun path diagrams show you the areas of your site that need to be shielded from overheating sun. And it doesn’t just flag the issues; PreDesign suggests effective glazing, shading, and top-lighting strategies for each face of your building. Talk about getting things right from the start. 

“PreDesign provides useful information that we need to position our projects for better design outcomes from the very start,” said Adam Osterhoff, principal architect at Heartwood Studio. “Its compelling visual outputs and intelligent talking points also help us clearly communicate the value of our proposals to clients.“

PreDesign is here to enhance your design narrative with meaningful climate observations while alleviating some of the heavy-lifting from your workflow. By getting things right at the start, you’ll avoid wasting your precious design time and resources, and avoid costly rework. The forecast is sunny with PreDesign, see for yourself.  

Improved tag management

We know managing long lists of tags and scenes can be overwhelming—particularly with complex models. That’s why we’re helping you stay organized with Tag Folders in SketchUp Pro and LayOut. Whether you use tags to set up models for design scenarios, documentation, reporting, or visualization, we think you’ll find it a lot easier to locate and work with tags when you start grouping them in folders. You can also control the visibility of all tags in a folder at once to turn on and off large chunks of your model.

We didn’t stop there. Filtering tags is finally possible in SketchUp! You can now quickly zero in on a specific tag. And if your tags are organized with a naming convention, you can quickly filter on your prefixes to select similar tags and organize them in a folder.

Ultimately, we want to ensure that your workflow is operating at peak performance with the utmost control and agility. Which brings us to our next exciting announcement for SketchUp’s 2021 updates...

Introducing Live Components in SketchUp

Do you dream of building models that are robust and flexible enough to react to design changes? We do! There’s no doubt that a successful model is one that can easily accommodate iterations and allow for rapid change. In SketchUp 2021, SketchUp is introducing parametric objects that do just this; they’re called Live Components

 Programmed with modeling logic that controls their geometry, Live Components are configurable objects that re-draw themselves in real-time. What does this actually mean? Using Live Components with the 2021 SketchUp update allows for greater project scalability and benefits a wide range of use cases including architectural configuration, interior design, as-built modeling, space planning, and rapid iterations of concept or aesthetic.

Live Components can be found in 3D Warehouse and are now available for you to download and configure right in SketchUp with SketchUp’s latest version. For detailed steps on finding Live Components in 3D Warehouse from inside the SketchUp application, click here.


Once you’ve selected a Live Component, you can insert it directly into your model where you can control the component’s parameters in the ‘Configure Live Component’ dialog. As you adjust parameters, the Live Component will redraw itself to fit your needs. Check out our Skill Builder showing you all the steps you need to bring Live Components into your workflow. 


Let SketchUp’s new Live Components do some heavy lifting for you: customize dimensions and sizes for repeated object use; quickly add rich context and make adjustments in real-time to produce more detailed designs in less time; or rapidly iterate large sets of components all at once as project requirements change. 


Behind the scenes, Live Components are driven by a new computational design platform called Materia. Going forward, Materia and Live Components will unlock whole new ways of working in SketchUp and across Trimble products. This launch is only the beginning for Live Components. We are still actively working on improving their performance and usability, as well as developing more objects for you to use in modeling.

A new way to launch work-in-progress features with the latest SketchUp version

SketchUp is launching Live Components early as part of a new program called SketchUp Labs, so that  your feedback can be incorporated into the product development process. We encourage you to join us in the forums for discussions on the future direction of Live Components, or provide feedback if you encounter issues.

Here’s to a solid start for 2021 with new SketchUp updates

Download the latest version to see everything that’s new in your favorite apps.

Are you a visual person? Join us on Wednesday, November 19th, 2020 for a live demo of the new tools and SketchUp’s latest version features in a special 2021 Release webinar! (English only) 


Keep creating and building the world you want to live in. Looking forward into 2021, SketchUp updates and all: May you model informed, design delightfully and build better buildings.

Share this post

← Older Post