Export 2D-Vector Image with hidden faces



I try to export an perspective view of an model with many semitransparent and overlapping faces. It is no Problem that SU is losing the transparency but it cuts all faces to the area that is within view. Is It possible to keep the whole faces while exporting to 2d-vectors? It has to be vectors for high-quality printing. Therefore no pixel or hybrid solutions work. Is there maybe a Plug-in which can solve this task?

Bests Julian
Btw. I’m using SU 2015 Pro on Windows 7


I’m confused by your question. It sounds as if you want a high-quality presentation of the current view, but you are concerned about retaining things that are not visible in the current view? If they won’t show in the final presentation, why do you care? Won’t you just have to clip them out again in the presentation? If they will show, why not just adjust the current SketchUp view so they are visible?


I want to use the export as a basis for further work in indesign. Therefore I don’t care about the tracparency, because I can set it afterwards, but I need all the polygons to have the right shape. As I said the final result should be a print product, therefore I have to adjust the colors in CMYK anyways.


Printing and 2D exporting always outputs what is visible on your screen, so to export a larger area the only thing you can do is to just zoom out. Is something wrong with that?



Sry, maybe my question wasn’t clear enough. The final result should look something like this. It is kind of a floorplan with semitransparent walls.

All I need is a vector output where all floor- and wall-polygons have there complete shape preserving the perspective and position to give them transparency. The real case is much more detailed and larger, therefore exporting the single polygons by hand and combine them afterwards is no option. My customer requires vector data in CMYK! All solutions with pixels don’t work for me.


Export 2d EPS. Open Illustrator, change colour space to CMYK. It’s basically wysiwyg when exporting that eps, becomes flat 3d.

I’d go with exporting the outlines only, and draw in the transparent walls in Illustrator, you’ll have a better result that way.


If I export to eps everything behind another surface is lost. If I export just the outlines I have to do the complete drawing again, what’s not really suitable for my project. Is there no workflow to export overlapping vector polygons?


Sorry geOps, there’s no other way for that kind of 2D control. I suppose exporting an obj and open in Photoshop. You will be able to move separate groups/components, but the SketchUp layers will not be retained.

Can you try exporting the eps twice, once with the colour layer and once just outlines? That way you can subtract to exactly what you’ll need. There’s no fast and easy way of doing this…

Multilayer solution…


The only suggestion I can come up with is to create scenes in SketchUp (one with colours and hidden lines, another a wireframe view, for instance), place them over each other in LayOut and export.from there (or export the scenes one by one from SketchUp and overlay them in your vector image editor). It might also be useful to place all your transparent faces on a layer of their own, and, again, export twice, once with the translucent objects hidden and one with them visible but opaque - again, this would enable you to recreate the transparency in your vector editor.

I’ll post an example later if I fnd the time…



you could export the walls as a .tiff and the edges as eps…

Illustrator is going to use rastor for the fills anyway, and with tif you already have cmyk…



A tiff can carry any colour space definition (bitmap, greyscale, RGB, CMYK etc) but the ones you export from SketchUp are RGB and if you need CMYK you will have to convert in Photoshop. The conversion is lossy as the CMYK space has less colours than RGB.



on a mac they are sRGB, but it’s trivial to convert to cmyk using sips [comes with every mac]…

but my main point was that Illustrator can’t make transparent eps as the format doesn’t support it…

.ePix export looks exactly like the OP wants, but I don’t know of any way to get that into Illustrator…


Thanks for your help! I’m searching for a work flow for several projects. I’m now thinking about exporting all faces as png by ruby-script and vectorize afterwards, but I don’t think that this solution is precise enough. I found http://www.falkoschindler.de/sketch2sketch/ which looks like It is exactly doing the job but I don’t manage it to translate the output to pdf. My third option would be to write my own svg export script, but I’m struggling with the coordinate translations from 3D to 2D.



As you do have Pro, did you try hybrid pdf from Layout?
glas_test.pdf (279.5 KB)



Hi John, yes I did. It just puts lines ontop of the raster. This offers no possibility to edit single faces in 2d vectors.


If you open the PDF in Illustrator, or maybe anything that can handle PDF with vectors, you can delete the layer that contains the bitmap, and export the vectors as SVG. You would end up having to fill the faces, and SVG can be strange (I had to import the SVG into another program, export as SVG, and import it again, to get faces I could fill).


I copied your image in SU match photo, exported the outline file to illustrator and created 3 layers: OUTLINE, SIDES, BOTTOM and converted it to CMYK. The file has all the sides you need… Its Illustrator CC 2015, if you need something else I can convert it.

TransLine.zip (48.0 KB)


Here is my workflow for what I think was originally asked.

First, I made a model in SketchUp that has two scenes, one with the transparent faces hidden.
Transparency.skp (100.1 KB)
Then, I sent the file to LayOut, where I placed both scenes on top of each other and set them to use Vector rendering
transparency.layout (114.9 KB)
Then I exported the LayOut page to PDF
transparency.pdf (14.5 KB)
Last, I edited the PDF in Illustrator, putting back the transparency
transparencyAI.pdf (111.8 KB)

Just my suggestion. This one was faster to produce than the time it took to compose this post.
It might be better to make the second scene show only the transparent bits.