Blender Discussion

I’ve imported some models to Blender with this method

I’m not 100% sure, but I think you can set it up to import your SketchUp cameras but haven’t tested it yet.

There are also some importer add-ons which are on my list to test - I have a license for Catch-Up but haven’t gone in and figured it out quite yet.

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Hi Justin, how did your SketchUp models look in Blender? Great, acceptable, not so great? Were you able to tweak them in to a form that you found workable?

I’m not working in Blender right now, and am mostly just interested in developing a better general understanding of how well SketchUp models travel to other platforms.

Scene creation in SketchUp is great, perfect for me. But animation in SketchUp is pretty limited (other than animating the camera of course, which is great). So I’m looking for workflows that might allow me to marry SketchUp scenes with real character animations.

Point being, if SketchUp models look great in Blender, but not so hot in Cheetah, that might change my direction.

It really depends on how the SketchUp model has been created. If it has decent topology and high resolution textures, it can look great. If it has poor topology and low resolution textures, it doesn’t look so good. The example models I pulled from the 3D Warehouse rendered fine.

Unfortunately, many models that have been created in SketchUp have been created with poor geometry (many 3D Warehouse Models) which then is very difficult to clean up in Blender, or to apply new textures to.

The real answer is that it’s going to vary by every model, but usually if the models don’t look good, it’s more due to the way they’ve been modeled than anything else. They look just fine in Blender if modeled properly.

Thanks for your report Justin. I’m not qualified to have this discussion with you in any detail, so all I can report as a nube is that I haven’t the slightest idea how to model properly or improperly. You know, if my goal was to create a bad model I’d have no idea how to do that.

Also, I don’t get why SketchUp, or any 3D software, would even allow me to create a bad model. That sounds like a software failure to me.

In any case, the model I tried to import to Cheetah was made by me, so as a nube I’m reasonably a leading suspect. If you would like to share one of your own expert models I could try to import that in to Cheetah and see what happens.

The relevant point here is that if all SketchUp models, even the expert ones, look lame in Cheetah, then perhaps Cheetah isn’t such a great alternative to Blender after all. I really have no idea myself.

Nope, any technical software requires proper usage. :frowning:

  1. Where is proper SketchUp usage explained? Specifically, how does one learn how to create a “good file” that will reliably transfer successfully to other software?

  2. Why should any software allow users to create bad files, however that is defined? Why shouldn’t professional software instead detect the badness, and then throw up an alert directing the user to an explanation? Why even give me tools with which I can create badness???

  3. Why has the 3D industry as a whole utterly failed to agree upon reliable data transfer standards, a big problem it then often blames on users? As example, we can create a video file in almost any software and then reliably show it on almost any video player. Same for images. That’s what real data standards look like.

I respectfully propose that SketchUp users shouldn’t have the power to create a “bad file” just as it’s not possible for me to create a bad video file in HItfilm.

FYI, I’ve been coding my own software for years. It’s the coder’s responsibility to make their software as invisible as possible, and not to blame the coder’s failures on users.

You know Blender is also available on OSX right?

One thing to be aware of is many times SketchUp will export with custom split normals, which frequently cause smoothing and rendering artifacts.

In Blender it’s always wise to use the “Clear custom split normals” button after importing.

That’s like saying “why should any car allow drivers to crash. Shouldn’t car manufacturers be responsible for what the drivers do with the cars? Why even give me a car that I can crash?”
Any useful creative tool has rules about how to use it and how not to, and safe learned techniques. Like circular saws and blowtorches.

Different users have different needs for very different uses of SketchUp. SketchUp can’t “detect the badness” because your badness is my goodness. You might be tessellating your surfaces on accident and making a mess of the planes, I might be working very hard to do the same thing on purpose because it’s what I want. The freedom that allows users to make “bad” files, is what allows the software to stay flexible enough to serve different people differently. It’s up to us users to learn how to use the tools to serve our own needs.
To render it impossible to make a mistake with SketchUp, would also make it impossible to get anything done. Like a circular saw with no blade: safe and useless.

This is not limited to SketchUp, but true of most software. I can make “bad” files in Blender or F-360 or V-works, or Photoshop or Word, or Excel… I often do :smile:.


Apologies, and meaning no disrespect, but all of that is just rationalizations of mediocrity, and blame shifting on to users challenges which belong to the coders. If we were to accept your argument, then coders such as myself would be free to crank out any kind of broken ■■■■ and then blame it on you when it fails.

However, as a coder myself, I will take your post as a complement, as you seem to assume that we coders are a kind of god who can’t screw up, and thus any problems must be the user’s fault. So from my lofty perch high on the misty mountain of godlike perfection, I thank you. :slight_smile:

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Is this a breed or do you get to be one after some training? :smiley:
We tend not to learn the software but ‘manage to cope with it’s limitations’ after the initial introduction.

If everyone could code, there probably wouldn’t be any software companies left and we all would be living on little ‘data-islands’

But that ain’t so. Not everyone can code, xor every coder doesn’t know what to code, neither. So there might be other’s that develop some blueprints with functionality based upon own experience and some research. A software package is born.

There are companies that have provided user’s with software and probably stated somewhere hidden in the Eula ‘as is’, ‘This is what we have shipped’, ‘Here’s what we have come up with!’

Some user note some errors or bugs and report them, others soon run into some limitations.
In the continuously evolving and changing market, we cannot wait for bugs to be fixed with next years release, we need it right away.

That’s also one of the reasons that software goes subscription, you want your users to participate in the development.

Even the traditional beta cycles and interviewing users doesn’t compete with the possibility of using AI to develop new functionality.

Of course coders can screw up. SketchUp has it’s share of bugs that drive me nuts with frustration, and don’t get me started on Layout. I’m not blaming users for that. This is not about bugs, this is about perfectly working functionality that can be misused if not understood by users. My point was that even excellent software can always be used incorrectly. If there exists some software that prevents users from making mistakes while doing exactly what the user is thinking of without limitations I have yet to see it.

Back in the day of in-person trade shows, I looked forward to MacWorld Expo every year to meet up with Bill Stanley and the rest of the team that created PowerDraw/PowerCADD. One time, I went on a machine and said, “Watch what happens when I take the double line tool and input a positive number for one offset and a negative offset for the other.” His jaw dropped and he said, “It never occurred to me to check the user input for a negative number,” as if he had screwed up and let the user do bad things. I pleaded, “No, don’t ‘fix’ that and take it away! I use that all the time!”


I’m not sure why you think SU should be creating files that import perfectly into other programs. I can’t think of any programs (CAD, graphics, word processing, spreadsheets, etc) where I expect that. Import/export may save me some work but I always figure I’m going to have to tweak whatever I import.

Of course, ultimately, that is what exporters are written for.
But I think that the people who create the importers for other applications should take their part of the responsibility, too.
If the export from SketchUp follows the file format specification, using only allowed options and parameters, the developers of the receiving application are responsible for writing their importer in a way that allows these options.
Some of the export formats (3DS and OBJ, for instance) are outdated remnants from the days of DOS and were originally not designed to deal with current model size and complexity at all. As they have continued in use, application developers have created nonstandard workarounds to cope. SketchUp supports some of those but using them creates incompatibilities with some other apps.
The Collada (DAE) format was designed as an open standard that was meant to replace the obsolete ones.

  1. Any image file I create in any program can be imported in to any other image application.

  2. Any video file I create in any program can be imported in to any other video application.

These are examples of mature industries that know what they’re doing.

The 3D industry is still far from reaching this level of maturity. This is just how things are for now, and I accept that. What I don’t accept are the 3D’s industry’s failures being blamed on it’s users.

But, I do accept that this is just the nature of software culture. On any software forum if someone raises a complaint about that software there will always be some fan boys who jump up to shout that whatever the problem is, it must be the user’s fault. Apple forums are so like this that it would probably be reasonable to call Apple the newest world religion.

This is an odd statement to make. I could absolutely model something in SketchUp that does exactly what I need it to do that then doesn’t work well in Blender. That’s not “user error.” That’s modeling for the software you’re using.

SketchUp is optimized to allow users with very little 3D knowledge to be able to jump in and start modeling with a simple to use toolset. That’s the POINT of SketchUp. You don’t have to learn advanced concepts as a beginner - you just start drawing.

Blender, on the other hand, is really optimized to work best with models modeled using a quad based workflow. What that does is give Blender a more powerful toolset including things like UV mapping, subdivision, solids and modifiers, and much more that are very powerful.

However, to utilize those things to their fullest potential, you have to create your models in a certain way, and to do that, you have to have some knowledge of those more advanced modeling fundamentals.

If you try to import a model from another program that doesn’t place as much importance on those things, then the tools aren’t going to work the same way. That’s not a “rationalization of mediocrity,” but rather a reality of softwares and user bases doing different things…

Maybe I’m misunderstanding your comment


Hi Justin,

I’m just suggesting that the 3D industry (not just SketchUp) strive to achieve the same reliable data transfer standards that have long been taken for granted in the 2D image and 2D video industries. It doesn’t make sense to me to blame users for the 3D industry’s failure to reach that level of maturity.

I can create a video in Hitfilm that can be viewed by pretty much anybody on the Net using pretty much any video software. I can be confident of that transfer, I don’t have to worry about it, it’s not an issue that comes up. Same for 2D images. That’s what a mature industry looks like.

I don’t have a complaint with SketchUp in particular, and credit it (and you!) with preventing me from throwing in the towel on 3D. I’ve since moved on to Poser, but will always feel fondly about SketchUp.

I can’t quite think of how to word how I’m thinking about what you just said…

but isn’t it that with imagery and video there has been that impetus and consensus to get the standards because it could be seen that that having images and video available to almost everyone on the planet was desirable end goal

that could never happen with CAD…

just a thought

I’m not sure it’s worth pursuing the discussion if you’ve “moved on to Poser,” but this is not a data transfer issue, and it’s not a 3D industry “maturity issue.”

The data comes in to Blender just fine. It displays the actual geometry from your model, and the actual textures. What you’re describing is the ability to “edit” the model that was created with different modeling quality and different modeling methods in a different software.

You wouldn’t be able to open your Hitfilm file in Adobe Premiere with all the effects, etc - you’d export it to a universal format, like mp4, then import that. When you’ve done that, you then have a file with all those things baked in, and you’ve lost the ability to change those things. You could cut them out, but your ability to actually CHANGE them is limited. This is actually EXACTLY like exporting a SketchUp file to a universal format like STL, COLLADA, etc and importing in Blender.