Smoothing organic shapes

I am never too sure how best to use smoothing when dealing with organic shapes.

I attach the DWG and resulting SKP I created from it. After using the smoothing tool, the model still has a huge number of random lines. Is there a way to get rid of them simply?

BE3C_Classic_1266.dwg (1.1 MB)BetteForm 1400.skp (1.5 MB)

Many faces are missing, you must first add them and then you can create a uniform and smooth surface.

The .skp file was it opened:
BetteForm 1400.skp (1.5 MB)

Softened coplanar edges:

The rest are holes due to missing faces. Green is my back face color.

Fix the holes and those edges can be softened, too.

The model has a zillion polygons and it is double-skinned so very difficult to get anything usable out of it. I tried importing it to Rhino and reduced the mesh by 90%. You would get a better model by using FollowMe and some moving and scaling in SketchUp. I attach the result although IMO it is not very usable.
betteform_reduced.skp (238.9 KB)

Simon, if you want to get a low-poly model:

  • import dxf model in Blender
  • apply a Decimate Modifier
  • export as OBJ file
  • import into SketchUp with Options > Units > km
  • apply Smooth
  • scale down by 0.001

Blender > Decimate modifier

SketchUp > Import

SketchUp > Smooth


This is exactly what I was hoping for: lots of different suggestions.

Is it right to assume that the holes in the model would not have existed in the original DWG file? If so, would it also be right to assume that the reason there are holes in the SKP file is that the conversion caused a lot of very small geometry (which we know sends SU into a tailspin)?

Seems to me there may be an opportunity for someone to create a conversion extension that more or less follows @mihai.s’s process to get a realistic model but optimized for SU. It would allow you to download a manufacturer’s DWG (as I did here) and quickly produce something watertight and efficiently usable in SU. Any takers?

Yes, for both questions.
You can try Universal Importer SketchUp Plugins | PluginStore | SketchUcation with DXF file.

Thanks for that suggestion. Have just tried Universal Importer on that model and it doesn’t help much, sadly. Also, it seems to bring the reduced model in rotated for some reason.

hello, there’s skimp

1 Like

Skimp is probably a better bet but the cost is only worth it if you are doing it a lot.

I tested Universal importer with the DXF file and correctly imported the model in SketchUp. I just changed the default setting from 1800 to 10000. And it was imported correctly to scale.

How weird. I got a default of 40,000 but that is way more than the model actually has! Could it be a Mac thing?


Using the UI as the importer doesn’t work at all. Using the polycount reducer only works if i leave the setting at 40000 but then it reduces it by a whopping 6! More work needed?

Universal Importer it’s working just fine (Windows 10, SketchUp Make 2017)


I can only conclude it is a Mac thing then. Shame.

Simon, I think it is a “Mac” thing with Universal Importer. I’ve never been able to get it to work on my iMac.

Go get another Tub!

Of course, why didn’t I think of that?!

I often make posts here, not to solve a specific problem, but to better understand how SU works. I figure that others might find answers useful too. So, the answer to how best to smooth organic shape (post 1) could be “don’t bother, find a simpler model”. But that would be a bit like asking how to learn Sketchup and getting told “employ a SU draftsman”!

When importing models that have a high number of polygons, try importing it scaled up.
Ex: if the model uses measurement units in MM, import it using meters. The reason for this is that Sketchup does not extrapolate faces in an imported model if they are too small. You end up getting what is shown in your example.
After importing, you would have to scale the model back to 1:1 using a known dimension as reference.
Also, make sure your “units” setting is as high as possible (.00000) No sure how many know this but Sketchup’s ability for to handle small vertices and faces is tied to the “units” resolution setting. I usually keep it at the highest resolution when modelling, the set it lower if I am making orthograph drawings with dimensions.
Hope this helps.

1 Like

Forgive me, but I don’t think this is true. The display settings (units and precision) have no impact on when or how SketchUp merges end-points that are very close to each other. For a given set of geometry, I think that SketchUp’s validity-check logic (which is where geometry merging and deleting occurs) will behave the same regardless of display settings.

1 Like

Maybe I’m wrong. I’ve been using Sketchup since 2005. As an example, The display units resolution determines how small an increment you can move a component or object using the cursor, (w/o length snapping). Zooming in to an object allows even more precise movements up to the 0.000001" threshold.

Inline image

It also seems to determine the resolution with which you can import a model. I’ve imported .dwg’s & .obj’s with the display precision set to, let’s say 0.00" & the highest resolution (0.000000") and the same complex geometry (aka super small vertices & faces in the .000" range) import differently. At a lower resolution, some faces won’t show up that do at the higher resolution. Not sure why that is.

My feeling is that it not necessarily what Sketchup can & cannot handle in terms of geometry, it is more of a function of how fine or coarse a resolution you selected for the file you are importing into.

Once again, could be wrong about all that.