I’m building a tool to get SketchUp models into Unreal Engine for architectural visualization. I’m wondering if this is useful to the broader SketchUp community. Please take it for a spin and let me know what you think!
Hi. Unreal Engine (to me) is the ultimate highest architectural visualization tool (and it’s free!). And unfortunately, it has very high system requirements.
The question is, how different is your tool/plugin/workflow different from what YouTube already has: SketchUp to Unreal Engine Tutorial #1.
This is a 5-part tutorial guide, which is apparently the only one on YouTube at the moment that has quality material and information.
If your product is good enough to outrun this quite tiresome (but functional) tutorial by offering a single-or-so-click way of having a model created in SketchUp show up perfectly and correctly in Unreal, then I think you’d succeed.
Apparently your website has technical issues as I was unable to explore it and see what you have at hand.
Thanks! Yeah I made a very silly mistake in my code and it caused the tool to be DoA. The tool is back online, and I’d love to hear your usage feedback.
This tool was created to be easy and fast and is designed to make something usable with only a few clicks.
On the technical side, it maintains the relationship between Component Instances and their definitions, so you can swap them out for richer models inside Unreal Engine (which is a tad harder with a fbx workflow). It also creates an Unreal Material for each SketchUp material, which means you can swap out materials for richer ones inside Unreal.
Hi Dan, I’m trying to download the importer but there’s a network error on your page. Do you have another link?
Thanks, yomer! My coworker accidentally unplugged the computer it was running on (oops!). It should be up again now.
It seems like my ISP isn’t allowing the connection to your server. Is there any other way to download it?
What are you seeing? Does the whole page fail to load or just the iframe?
Just the iframe.
Thanks for your patience. I just restarted the box. Try again at the original URL.
If it’s still inaccessible, try going directly to the server at http://intra.digilabs.io:49790.
If that doesn’t work, skip DNS by using the IP address http://18.104.22.168:49790
If it still doesn’t work, then dropbox me the file and I’ll run it through the importer.
Yes, please do, i am really waiting for something with an easy workflow to export and not have to go thru blender
I’m giving this a try now, I’m a blender user as well and own a license of PlayUp. My model is 180MB, pretty tightly optimized except for containing a demo layer since it is a renovation.
The online converted processed the model in about 8 minutes and sent me back a Zip file that unpacked to 324MB. Opened in Unreal 4.16.2 It gave me the project the name GeneratedProject, it would be better if it used the original file name. It also didn’t respect the layer state and included the hidden demo layer, it would be better if it excluded geometry hidden in the last saved view in my opinion. Some textures came in scaled to something below 10% of what is in the model. Shadows are working well.
15 minutes in, the model already looks better than it would have after a couple hours of conversion and file wrangling in either PlayUp or Blender.
Went to build the model and got 4,434 lighting errors, both Object UVs and Lightmap UVs are overlapping. I don’t recall the exact error but I usually get a more serious error than this from PlayUp. I see that you are also looking to sell model “enriching”. I would suggest texture work as a more useful and marketable service since unlike populating the model, which could be done by anyone, you would be selling the knowledge of quick fixes caused by your own conversion process, it would also be easy to build a library of textures since sketchup users are typically fairly restrained. Indeed, a good freemium model might be to charge for the photo texture conversion but provide properly named and scaled blank textures so that the free output is essentially a beautiful clay model. I’d love for yal to monetize this so that you can put serious development time into it. It’s clear that whatever secret sauce you’re cooking the conversion with is far tastier than the PlayUp team’s.
One other note is that this model is my personal home but with any of the other projects I’m involved with, such as a beach house with a 5 figure budget for just the VR presentation, I would not be able to use your uploader due to privacy concerns. You need to disclose if the model is stored and how it will be used if it is right beneath the uploader and even then, some clients are still going to want a non-disclosure agreement, another way to monetize.
I’m trying to work through the texture issues without unwrapping the meshes in blender but there doesn’t seem to be a way. I wish that, as in Lumion, I didn’t have to worry about the issue at all. It seems to me that manual UV mapping should really only be necessary for organic shapes. Is there no way to get the Unreal Engine to generate them for me?
You mean lightmap mapping (a hidden map where Unreal can store the nice lighting effects for an object) or texture mapping (bricks pattern for instance) ?
@maxB, Texture mapping is the first problem. I know how to get Unreal to generate the lightmaps in channel 1 given a decent texture map in channel 0.
Good you already know about creating the lightmap. As far as I know Unreal has no means to create texure uv coords for imported objects. You need to assign those in 3dsMax/Maya/Blender/SketchUp/…
Do you know a way to assign those in Sketchup?
Yes, just apply a material with a texture (a picture of bricks/wood/etc). At that moment SketchUp assigns uv coordinates and you can apply a new material in Unreal.
If you apply a material without a texture in SketchUp (just a color) no mapping coordinates are applied.
The same for not assigning a material at all (keeping the default material in SketchUp).
I’m not sure but I think you must apply the materials to the actual faces and not to the containers (groups/components) for this to work.
ps. I hope you can make sense of this as I’m clueless about your level of expertise in SketchUp.
Aha! I think its the last thing about applying the materials directly to the faces. Testing it out now.
I’ve used sketchup for over a decade and it’s still my first love even though as I mentioned, I’m proficient with Blender as well and was BIM coordinator at a mid sized architecture firm.
I am, however, a total amateur when it comes to the workflows of the entertainment industry.
Edit: This will take a while, going to use it as an opportunity for some optimization. Relaxing work for the last few hours of the week. Thanks so much for your help.
Ah so you’re quite experienced. Well I hope works.
Edit: In the latest 4.16 I sometimes have trouble getting the textures into Unreal. In 4.15 importing fbx files with textures did work nice for me though. haven’t seen a logical pattern why it could break in 4.16 yet…