Convert any 3D model to SketchUp using Blender



This tutorial talks about how to convert any 3D model to SketchUp using Blender, I’m going to use an .OBJ file, however the same principles apply to any format that can be imported into Blender for example .FBX or .3DS

First you need Blender. Download the installer (.msi) and install it; or download the .zip, uncompress and run, no installation required. You can find it here Blender Download

For this tutorial I will use a 3D model of the Wing chair designed by Hans J. Wenger. You can download it from the Carl Hansen website. Inside the ZIP file contains an .obj file. Chair Download 

To texture the chair I will use a green fabric texture from the website TEXTURISE

1. Open Blender and go to File > Import and select Wavefront .obj file.


Import Wavefront .OBJ file

2. In the dialog select the ch445.obj file.


Select obj. file

3. In the case of this CH445 3D model, it is out of scale, as you can see in the image having the grid as reference and knowing that every subdivision represents 1 meter, we have to rescale it.


Rescale Chair

4. The geometry is highlighted in orange. This means it is selected (if not, press key A, to select all). Next press key S to scale and type 0.01, then hit enter.


Rescale 3D model

5. Make sure you have Blender Render as render engine. Select the seat part of the CH445 (the most common way to select an element is to use Right Mouse Button).


Select seat part of chair

6. In the shading panel you will see there are 2 materials, select the ch445_seat_hallingdal_110_TNT.


Select material

7. In the textures panel select the first slot (ka.001), and choose image / source.


Select first slot (ka.001) and choose image / source

8. This opens a dialog to select the image texture we want to assign to the chair’s seat. Select the fabric texture previously downloaded.


Select the fabric texture

9. The texture is not visible so choose Texture mode on the viewport shading.


Choose Texture mode

10. Since the texture is not scaled properly as you can see in the image, jump to the step 18, if you want to correct this issue inside SketchUp by adjusting the texture image scale in the SketchUp Material Editor. If you want to correct the UVs scale inside Blender continue to step 11.


Scale texture

11. To correct the UVs scale we need to open a new View panel, look in the corner and drag up the Viewport handle.


Correct the UVs scale

12. In the Editor selection menu choose UV/Image Editor.


Choose UV/Image Editor

13. It should look like in the image below.



14. Switch to Edit Mode using the mode menu or use the keyboard shortcut: TAB.


Switch to Edit Mode

15. Browse to image to be linked to the UV/Image Editor and choose hal110.png.


Choose png.

16. Hover cursor over the UV/Image Editor and hit A to select all, hit S key to select scaling and type 2 then hit Enter.


Select all and scale

17. Switch back to the Object Mode using the mode menu or using the keyboard shortcut: TAB


Switch back to Object Mode

18. Hit A key twice to select all.


Select all

19. Go to File > Export and select Collada (Default) (.dae).


Select Collada file

20. Choose a location to save to and a name for the .dae file.  Make sure to tick the boxes as in the image and hit the Export Collada button.


Choose location and save .dae file

21. Now open SketchUp and go to File > Import > 3D Model and select COLADA File (*.dae).


Select COLADA File

22. Choose the CH445 collada file and select the Import button.


Import model

23. Insert on Origin point.


Insert on Origin

24. I added 2 planes that are going to act as light emitters in my render engine inside SketchUp.


Add 2 planes for light emitters

25. Run a render test. The 3D model looks faceted and not softened.


Render test

26. To soften edges use the AMS Soften Edges plugin for SketchUp.


soften edges

27. Raw render using Maxwell Render for SketchUp.


Raw render


Thanks for reading



About the author:

Victor Hugo Hernandez is an architect specialized in architectural visualization.He is a member of the Swedish Association of Architects (Medlem i Sveriges Arkitekter), based in Lund, Sweden and currently working for Swedish architecture firm ‘White arkitekter’. See more of Victor’s work at HDZ 3d blog






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