Impoprt & Work on 3D Photogrammetry Models


I work in the heritage sector as a historic building surveyor. For some time now I have been creating 3D photogrammetry models of existing buildings. Now though I would like to import the models, which can be exported as 3DS, OBJ and a plethora of other file types, to Sketchup.

From there I would like to draw on extensions to the buildings, or annotate repairs etc. Here is an example of a model hosted on Sketchfab:

Firstly, is this even possible, as i’ve been struggling so far and am new to Sketchup. Maybe I need to be looking at another programme?



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I also create photogrammetry models (and other data) from terrestrial and aerial surveys of historic buildings as a building designer (via Pix4D). SketchUp is not suited (nor designed) to handle large poly models such as these types of software create, you would need a traditional modeller for that (c4D, 3DS, Modo etc). Also the mesh topography is not ideal.

However, I obviously use SU as my primary design tool and Pix4D as part of the workflow. I use my surveys and outputs from Pix4D as follows.

Orthomosiac as an accurate site and footprint plan, which I import into SU and trace to create the site footprint and boundaries.
Generate a mesh from the survey point-cloud (terrestrial and aerial) for my own use in terms of measurement and reference.
Generate contours from the DTM to bring into SU TIN.

I would have done a traditional survey alongside the aerial surveys and built My SU model from that.
For particular architectural details or intricate sections that I need to record, highlight and detail I use a Structure Sensor to capture the detail in 3D, which I do bring into SU and create an SU model using the imported mesh as a reference object, its managable at that scale but once if created my model I get rid of the reference. (see attachment)

SU certainly is an powerful and accessible tool for designing, detailing and presenting the existing building and the extensions repairs. I use it for all my listed building projects but I get build my survey dataset from a number of sources, aerial, traditional measurement, 3D scans etc,. The Photogrammetry model is fantastic for me to be able to understand complicated roof structures particularly where there have been several phases. Its also excellent for showing to clients so they can get an understanding of their building too.



Thanks for the response. We are working in a very similar way and, from what I can tell, there are very few people working like this atm. Do you mind me asking where you are based, as I was thinking about setting up some form of network.

My primary tool is AutoCAD, and similar to you, I import my orthomosaics into this to trace them - though I use Photoscan. This works for both plans and elevations and has been a great advance for me. I use camera and SUV.

It would be fantastic to find some software to allow me to edit and add to the existing models. I’m not sure this exists just yet though!

It is though good to know that SU can handle smaller models.



Hi Rupert
I’m North Wilts, near Malmesbury


Just as a source of reference, take a look at this recent post pertaining to the documentation of historical architecture

Not that it is an “apples to apples” comparison but perhaps this person can consult on his methods and help in some way in your effort.


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