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In this course, author George Maestri explains how to model and render 3D objects and scenes using Google SketchUp 8. The course covers the fundamentals of the application, from navigating the user interface, manipulating objects, and building basic shapes to importing objects from Google Earth, animating a scene, and modeling organic terrain using the Sandbox tools. The course also explores SketchUp Pro features, which are available as an upgrade. These include tools for creating dynamic components and adding interactivity, as well as sophisticated importing and exporting options for working with outside applications.
SketchUp pro also has a number of really nice export modules to allow you to get your 3D models out of SketchUp and into other packages. Now this maybe for rendering, so maybe you want to bring it into 3ds Max, Maya, Blender, something like that for external rendering, you can also bring them into CAD packages, such as AutoCAD and Revit and those sorts of packages. So let's take a look at how to export models and go from there. We're going to export for 3ds Max but this technique should work for most 3D packages.
So first thing I want to do is go to File>Export, now we have two options here; one is 3D model, the other is 2D Graphic. If I select 2D Graphic, basically what that does is it just exports an image file and that's basically will just export the contents of my viewport, it's basically like a little bit of render. But we don't want to do that, we want to export the whole model, so let's go Export>3D model. When we do that we get a browser, so let's go ahead and export to our Exercise Files and we're in Chapter 13 here.
So if we export we've got a number of options. One is COLLADA file, Google Earth (kmz), this can also be imported into Photoshop's 3D functionality which is kind of nice. 3DS for 3ds, which moreover like a 3ds Max format, AutoCAD DWG and DXF, FBX, which is probably the most common 3D format, OBJ, VRML, and XSI for Softimage XSI. So we're going to select FBX which should work for most 3D packages, almost every major package has an FBX import, and FBX is also great at exporting textures which we want to do as well.
So I'm going to select options before I export here, and let's take a look at what we have. We have Export only current selection, which means if you have one object selected, it will export only that object. Triangulate all faces, now this one you may want to click off if you want to use quadrilaterals, particularly if you're going to do animation or deformations you may want to turn that off. I usually keep it on because it's more accurate, sometimes if you turn it off you may lose faces. So I typically keep it on particularly if I'm just rendering because I'm not going to be changing the model at all, I'm just going to render it.
Export two-sided faces again, for much of the same reasons I want to keep that on just to make sure that everything gets into my renderer. And Separate disconnected faces, that means just separated into separate parts as you export. So if you have a couch inside your building it would take the couch and make it into a separate object. Export texture maps, yes we want to do that. And when you export texture maps; I've already exported this one so you can see here. What it does is it creates a sub folder with all of the textures in it so that's kind of nice.
And the last one is Swap YZ Coordinates. Now this will depend upon which 3D package you use as to whether or not you want Y or Z up; we're going to keep this one checked. And then Units, do want to use the units in the model or do you want to force it to be a specific unit. We're going to go ahead and select OK, and as you can see I've already exported, so I'm going to just go ahead and export it as modern_House.fbx, and Yes, I want to replace it, and then it just goes ahead and writes it out, it gives me a little report.
So now once I have that out I can go into 3ds Max, now in this case I'm using Max 2012 but this should work for just about any version of Max, and now I need to import. So in Max I'm going to do File>Import, and import a file here, and then I just need to go out to my desktop to find my Exercise Files and find my folder. If you notice here I have modern_House, and you can see it's tagged as an FBX file so I want to bring that in.
So let's go ahead and select Open, and let's see what the options here are. So when you bring it in you also need to select your FBX options. How do you want to bring in geometry, do you want the smoothing groups, and these are the same smoothing groups that we have when we were returning polygons into curved surfaces, so sometimes you may want to check that if you have a lot of curved surfaces. Animation well, you know we don't have animation in file, but let's say we checked anyways, and you want to also bring in Cameras and Lights, and usually SketchUp doesn't have those, so we don't need to worry so much about those.
And so I'm just basically going to leave it at the defaults and hit OK, and there it is. So it's brought in this model here, and let's go ahead and enlarge our Perspective Viewport so we can see what we have. So here is my model and as you can see it brought it in as one solid object. So if I go over to my Modify panel here you can see it's just one editable mesh. So I have individual faces and I also have elements, so some of these like the windows and stuff are elements which you can separate out which is kind of nice.
So if we return on Edged Faces here you can kind of see how the geometry was calculated and what it brought in. I'm going to go ahead and turn that off. So once you have it in Max, all you have to do now is just go ahead and start setting up your renders or doing whatever you want. In the next lesson, we're going to take this model and render it just to show you a little bit of the workflow for rendering a SketchUp generated model.
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