By Sam Smith
SketchUp Make (aka Sketchup, formerly Google SketchUp) is a powerful but easy-to-use 3D modeling program used for a wide range of drawing applications (architectural, engineering, design, etc.). It is available as a freeware version and a paid version with some additional functionality. The program was developed in 2000, purchased by Google in 2006, and passed to its current owner Trimble in 2012.
SketchUp 3D Warehouse: open source library of 3D models.
SketchUp Extension Warehouse: library of software extensions written in Ruby that expand the capabilities of SketchUp.
One such extension is Augment, which enables you to visualize your SketchUp models in a real world environment using AR. It appears to only be compatible with SketchUp 2016, however. There's also the AR-media Plugin, which also appears to be out of date. The only AR extension that appears to work with the current version of SketchUp is the AR|VR Extension, which only works with Microsoft Hololens and requires the purchase of a very expensive Hololens app called SketchUp Viewer. Other VR extensions for SketchUp include Shapespark (which appears to be up to date and requires Window OS for use), SentioVR (which requires a Samsung Gear VR), and VR Sketch (which requires an HTC Vive).
Super easy process! 5-10 minutes. Download at https://www.sketchup.com/download.
Click on the disk image file and install the application. It will start as a 30-day trial version of SketchUp Pro and then, after 30 days, will default to the freeware version, SketchUp Make.
Recommended System Requirements
Sketchup works with Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Mac OS X 11-13.
For further information, see the Sketchup Help Center.
Accessibility: The estimated time for someone to create Hello World in VR
Beginner: No graphics experience | 1 hour
Advanced: Graphics experience | 20 minutes
Power: The engine's power - i.e. how much one can do with this
Moderate: Extremely user-friendly but unexpectedly powerful.
Usage: Evaluation of software's use for the following purposes
Art, Architecture, Design -- main fields of use.
Importing from the 3D Warehouse:
Option 1: Website.
Navigate to the 3D Warehouse website.
Search for a model of your choice, such as the “Wooden Workspace Desk.”
Click on “Download” and select the file type corresponding to your version of SketchUp.
In SketchUp, click File-Import and select the newly downloaded SKP file. Place the model in your SketchUp design.
Option 2: In-App.
Click on the “3D Warehouse” button, which opens up the 3D Warehouse window.
Search for a model of your choice, such as the “Small Eco-Cottage.”
Download the model. It will ask you if you want it to load it directly into your own SketchUp model, and you should click yes.
The model from the 3D Warehouse should have been loaded in, but it might be too small. Click on the Scale tool (a rectangle with an arrow pointing out of the corner) and drag the corners of the model (i.e. the “scaling grips”) to resize it.
Making a Cube:
Create a new SketchUp Composition.
Select the Rectangle tool and draw a rectangle.
Select the Push/Pull tool (looks like an arrow sticking out perpendicularly from a rectangle) and move the mouse over to your rectangle. Left-click and drag up or down to turn the rectangle into a rectangular prism.
Exporting to Unity:
In the SketchUp project that you want to export, click File/Export/3D Model. Select FBX as the file type, it can also use DAE/COLLADA
In the Unity scene that you want to import it to, click Assets/Import New Assets and select the exported file you created.
The FBX file should have appeared in your list of Assets. Drag it into your main window and it should appear as it did in SketchUp!
Exporting to Paraview:
1. Export to .obj, if the mesh is simple enough the viewer shows the object, complexity of object may create crashing.
2. Viewing Paraview in VR is simple using the Paraview plugin.
Exporting to an ARKit App in iOS:
(Note: Still some problems attaching the model to the ARKit scene and not the phone itself with this procedure. Object may float.)
Complete a "Placing Objects in ARKit Tutorial (see here, for example).
Create Models.scnassets and Assets.scnassets folders in the Resource folder if they don’t already exist.
Make sure that “Always use the Y-up axis” is not checked in the settings window of the Assets.scnassets folder. (This can cause problems later on.)
Export your SketchUp model in a .dae file format to the Assets.scnassets folder.
Create a new SceneKit gene file (.scn) in a sub-folder in the Models.scnassets folder. Copy everything from the .dae file to this .scn file. (This sub-folder should also contain a folder of "texures" or "texture assets" that are the jpg files used to generate the model.)
Navigate to the Identity Inspector for the .scn file and make sure the Editing Space is set to Local. Set the Euler x value of the .scn file to 90. (This value might differ depending on your situation. Adjust the Euler and position values as necessary to orient and place the model properly.) Set the x, y, and z values for Scale to 0.02.
Run the Xcode project to an iPhone and use it to insert your SketchUp model into the scene.
Picture of a Paraview export from Sketchup.