SketchUp to Illustrator Workflow Consistency

I’m trying to create a clear and consistent workflow to export SketchUp linework into Illustrator and have it be duplicated on multiple computers with a variety of monitor sizes. The end goal is for each SketchUp export to automatically relink/update in Illustrator when changes occur. I’ve attempted exports directly from SketchUp (.eps, .dwg, etc.) and from Layout, with limited success because of the varying sizes/widths of monitors and because of how individual users treat their workspace (i.e. some prefer a narrow tool tray while others have the default width or larger).

Does anyone know a way to export linework directly from SketchUp with a specific extent/aspect ratio similar to what Smustard Scene Exporter is capable of?

Layout has been causing issues of not importing into Illustrator at the full ratio and I do not want to play with scaling.


Can you post an example? When I export a PDF from LayOut and open it in Illustrator, the scaling and page size is quite correct. What procedure are you using to get from LayOut to Illustrator?

Going through LayOut is probably your only option if you want somewhat consistent results.

Thanks, Anssi. I’m not able to post an example, but let me see if I can elaborate a bit more.

I’ll be exporting 3D views with large extents (roughly 1/2 mile to 1 mile diameter of model space) and need to be able to edit the linework in Illustrator. Currently, when I export a PDF from Layout and import into Illustrator, the linework is not editable - the result is just a very pixelated image after releasing the clipping mask(s). I’m not sure if this is due to the large extent of the view or if it’s because my view is not to a conventional scale.

To clarify my previous post and answer your question, the scaling issue from Layout to Illustrator is only with .dwg exports. I’ve yet to resolve this, but should be able to work around it if necessary.

I think my best bet at this point is to export from Layout to .dwg and then import the .dwg to Illustrator or export to .dwg, then export an .eps from AutoCAD, and then place the .eps in Illustrator. I was just hoping there may be a plugin I’m not familiar with that can simplify the process without sacrificing consistency and quality control.

Setting the SketchUp viewport to Vector rendering will give you editable lines and, if wanted, fills.

I would recommend that you follow the standard workflow:

  • set your view in SketchUp and save it as a scene.
  • in LayOut, set your SketchUp view to refer to that scene. This will help you maintain consistency if there are changes to the model.
  • in LayOut, set your SketchUp view to use the Vector rendering if you need editable lines.
  • export to PDF and open that in Illustrator.

Even if you for some obscure reason plan to use DWG as the intermediate file, using Vector rendering is essential, as otherwise what you get will be a raster image within your PDF or DWG.


Might have a look at FredoPortrait …sounds like it may be an option straight from SU

On a Mac, you can always go through the Print dialog box and Save as PDF with Vector Printing. I confirmed it does make editable vectored lines in Illustrator. Since the OP is on Windows, it’s not a solution, but for others and general information, I’ll throw it out there.

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I know exactly the issue you describe and I use a similar workflow myself.

I havent been able to automate a process across different PCs/monitors or anything like that.

All the Rendering extensions (including SMustard, Indigo, Fredo Portrait) appear to use raster graphics as exports. Could somebody @Fredo6 allow them to export to PDF (we would need to enter a scale factor and lineweight)?
The other issue with such extensions is the fact not everyone will update & maintain them…there’s a required investment in training and maintenance when deployed across a team.

The only solution to achieve consistency is to go through LayOut first.
I would say SU>LO>AI is easier than going through Illustrator, but a lot depends on the complexity of your SU content and how many PDFs you want to layer up in AI.

My workflow uses a workaround:

  1. I go from SU to PDF, using a known output scale (eg 1:500); the dimensions of the PDF (the “extent”) and the aspect ratio actually dont matter as long as everything fits on a page/artboard once its placed into AI. A Sketchup Scene will help keep everything roughly centred.
  2. I stack the PDF layers in AI which has an artboard.
  3. To stack them accurately in AI, I use a basepoint (cross) or a site boundary or other simple layer which is used to Snap everything together.

This doesnt solve your problem of wanting to update & relink PDF layers automatically.

If you are updating dozens of PDF as layers in one AI drawing, then you can export them all, stack them all together in AI then move them all into place as a Group. So you dont need to manually snap/scale /rotate every single image.

If you want clarification on this process Im happy to elaborate.

I definitely find this workflow (SU to AI) produces very professional results and excellent quality output PDFs (AI is so much more powerful than LayOut as an illustration tool). However this process could be SO Much easier if SU had a few basic functions (like the aspect ratio setting you describe) and also a “export SU Layers to PDFs” or “export SU Scenes to PDFs”