MySketchUp should be able to open/edit/save and/or import/export COLLADA (dae) files


SketchUp 2016 can import/export COLLADA 1.4 files but MySketchUp can not.
It should be possible to add/open COLLADA (.dae) files from Trimble Connect menu in MySketchUp natively as well as to edit and save them in COLLADA format.
It is a “MUST HAVE” feature to use MySketchUp not like an amateur tool for fun sketches but a real tool in the CAD pipeline.

Bad Collada export?

… the DWG/DXF is surely more common in CAD data exchange than the DAE format.


DAE is a very handy format, but there is also OBJ wich is common in a lot of other 3D uses for what Sketchup is very useful, and you have the recent FBX wich is able to integrate a ton of features, and 3DS is still around, IFC would be useful in a BIM workflow… the list goes on.


COLLADA (DAE) must be implemented because it is the most recent STANDARD (ISO/PAS 17506:2012) of intermediate files for all CAD systems. More over COLLADA is supported by Khronos Group which is responsible for all standartization in 3D web graphics at all (

Most common proprietary intermediate file formats are Parasolid (X_T) and AutoCAD (DWG) which compatible almost useful CAD systems. Both of them are might be fine to implement because Parasolid is a native standard for a current leader in web CAD systems and AutoCAD is the most common standard for a legacy CAD files.
However DAE should be implemented in the first place because it is an official standard and all others might be implemented next.


Thanks for enlighten me!

However, I don’t usually deal with standards in architecture and see that all of my work with Sketchup could exist without collada, and though I use it as it works well with blender and other apps, I could also use a lot of other formats. I believe there are a lot users like me.

What we usually need is the most effective aproach for each situation.

I see no problem with collada if it is a standard for a given industry and I’d like it o be implemented as I use it too, however Sketchup is useful in a lot of industries where the “standard practice” is either OBJ or FBX.

Also if you deal with BIM, I believe IFC is the standard.

That was the single thing I was trying to say.


It is important to understand that for CAD systems intermediate files there is one official standard (COLLADA) which you should be compatible with and many dozens of proprietary file formats that you might be compatible with if you want to.

Proprietary standards are created to support particular vendor and they are locked by its owners.

Standards like OBJ, STL, FBX are locked by vendors and specially cut any real design capabilities from other CAD system who import them. Never use them in the CAD pipeline in design stages. They are usefull only for exporting files for CNC or 3D printing.

IFC file format created for BIM purposes only and can not be used for CAD pipeline at all. IFC maight be implemented in MySketchUp for supporting presentation features which are not purpose of DAE format.


I do understand what you’re saying but I guess you are narrowing the field of Sketchup application in 3D world to certain fields/industries.

I’m not the best guy for defending my own position on the matter as I believe I’m in the same field you are, but Sketchup is used in a lot of different scenarios where COLLADA usually doesn’t have a place…

Let’s take an interior designer for instance, who wants to insert a sofa in a model.

He goes to the vendor’s website to download it’s model:

  • He get’s an OBJ, a 3DS, eventually DWG/DXF, or even, sometimes, a MAX or SKP file… having DAE there as an option is almost impossible.

Now on a VFX pipeline:

  • FBX supports animations for instance, I don’t believe COLLADA does that…

It’s sketchup for all, remember?


Even the most giant monopoly in CAD business have not achieve all goals in one product that is why CAD pipeline was born.
It is absolutely wrong to dream about that SketchUp can fit it all.
In road to solve this problem 3D industry found a solution in creating CAD products families where each individual product like SketchUp or SketchUp Layouts is a purpose built solution to solve a specific problem.
You should use many different products (may be from some different vendors) to create very sofisticated model then simulating it then animating it then rendering it then presenting it and so on …
The main purpose of intermediate file format is to transfer model from one stage to another between different CAD products. Almost vendors promote their proprietary file formats for this particular purpose because it allow them to mandate users to use only software from their product family. Even if vendor “opens” file format for a third party implementation in reality it means nothing because this format is sticked to vendors main CAD model and automatically transfer more detailed information between software of the same vendors product family. More over, sometimes vendors update its file format specifications to improve its internal model capabilities that ruine compatibility for CAD products from other vendors and lockin users to format owner.
SketchUp can use less information from DWG file then Inventor can for this purpose and Trimble can not compete with Autodesk based on its proprietary file format.
To solve this problem COLLADA standard was born.
Any CAD system can use the same amount of information from it and at the same time CAD system will be safe from accidental changes. All users also benefit from COLLADA because they can store all their stuff in DAE files and use different CAD tools each time they want to.
For this purpose a clever CAD vendor should start promote free intermediate standard like COLLADA in the first place at main CAD pipeline and use other proprietary formats only to import data outside main pipeline.


Even if sketchup’s moto is 3D for all, of course that doesn’t mean that sketchup is capable of doing it all.

I’m not argueing on the fact that you are right or wrong in principle, I’m just considering the fact that, even if the COLLADA standard was born, people keep using other formats for different applications naturally.

I guess that’s why software relies in more than a single exporter… People’s workflows are not standard nor every industry follows the same rules.

For example I would gladly use Collada with Thea, but it doesn’t open it. I could choose other render engine but I like Thea. Is Thea standard? It renders whatever I want beautifully…

#10 says:

COLLADA 1.4 is the stable release of the specification that has been widely adopted by the video game, digital entertainment, and GIS industries. This version of COLLADA supports geometry meshes, skinning, morphing, animation, physics, shaders and effects.

COLLADA 1.5 is the newest specification that provides all of the features found in the stable COLLADA 1.4 schema plus several new features that enable users of CAD, GIS, and Automation applications to enjoy the benefits of open standard royalty free content format.

That said, format import / export is a workflow function which can be done by the host, which currently is Trimble Connect. Or if the model is transferred to the 3D Warehouse, then it could be done there on the 3DW servers.

If users want to “work with DAE” the import and export could be made transparent, and the SKP files hidden or reside in some temporary sub-folder. But this may (or may not) slow loading and saving.

Import of vertex-colored Collada (.dae) models

Well it seems Collada is much more powerful than I thought, however, my opinion still stands, users need more than one interchangeable format.


just keep them out of my.sketchup or it will slow to a crawl…



lol, nobody was talking about your.sketchup


[quote=“AndreyLavrov, post:4, topic:26651, full:true”]… because it is the most recent STANDARD … responsible for all standartization in 3D web graphics…

Most common proprietary intermediate file formats are Parasolid (X_T) and AutoCAD (DWG) which compatible almost useful CAD systems.[/quote]

standards didn’t help if applications don’t support the format… as already happened with a lot of formats in the past.

DWG/DXF is the industry standard for exchanging 2D CAD data, nothing else. For 3D polygon data the OBJ and 3DS formats are widely spread and supported by more or less all 3D polygon/mesh modelers.

Proprietary 3D formats of Parasolids, NX, SolidWorks, Catia as well as common neutral 3D formats as STEP, SAT or IGES conatining NURBS based solids and surfaces have obviously nothing to do with polygon/mesh based 3D modelers as e.g. SketchUp, supporting them is neither senseful nor required.


COLLADA is a real standard which have wide adoption in industry (see list of supported CAD applications). It always here that is why My.SketchUp MUST support it natively.

Supporting a Parasolid format is optional but may be worth well if My.SketchUp will pretend to stand like a professional CAD system because X_T is a real thing for the great projects developers.


SketchUp is a POLYGON modeler for a fast and intuitive creation of 3D sketches for presentation and visualization purposes and not a replacement for a NURBS surface/solid modeler as e.g. Parasolid, NX, SolidWorks, Inventor, Creo, Catia etc.:

Wapcaplet, Wire frame, CC BY-SA 3.0


Freeformer, Freeform1, CC BY-SA 3.0

Native file formats containing NURBS surfaces/solids can obviously not imported in a polygon mesh modeler resp. would need to be facetted before… which some plugins already do but which does destroy the history as well as the features applied sothat every further data exchange with a NURBS modeler doesn’t make sense anymore.



I am working with Polygons and NURBS more than 25 years that is why I know what exactly they are doing definitely.
MySketchUp using a polygon mesh for drawing primitives but it can store original stream of commands in an graphics engine independent format and may export X_T files in a native format without faceting procedure. This is optional feature and it is require a some work from Trimble but if it would done right then MySketchUp novice users may start sketching their homes and goods in their primary CAD and then export the best of them into a professional CAD software lossless.

P.S. NX and SolidWorks are pieces of software which are powered by Parasolid graphics engine (UGS) that is why you can not list them all as similar items through comma.


DWG/DXF has been a fully 3D file format for longer than I can remember (from version AutoCAd 10 or even earlier, late 1980s) and it supports all kinds of 3D geometry (2D extrusions, 3D faces and polyfaces, urbs surfaces and solids)



of course but not as an industry standard for exchanging 3D CAD data where STEP, Acis SAT or IGES (decreasing) is used for.

btw. the NURBS surfaces/solids of the DWG/DXF format are based on embeddeing Acis data typically in an old revision.


there is just no demand for supporting the proprietary file formats of 3D NURBS modelers and if supporting anything in this area then surely better the neutral STEP format instead of the native Parasolids format.

This would require a tremendous amount of work without much gain. Supporting consumers sketching their private stuff (for free?) and providing a lossless migration path to midrange/high-end modelers they reguarly neither can afford nor do use seems to be from the philantropic section… nothing a company tends to put a lot of effort in (see above)

P.S.: irrelevant because a proprietary file format is used by both of them, nothing else claimed.