Tutorial: Model in SketchUp, Realtime Render in Blender

#1

Hey guys,

You may remember awhile ago I did a video talking about the 20 reasons you might want to consider switching from SketchUp to Blender ( https://youtu.be/8MZkjXanO14 ).

Since then, I’ve been very busy. In particular, I’ve been working on workflows and pipelines to be able to quickly move your models from SketchUp to the Free Blender 2.8, which has realtime rendering. This means you can continue to model in SketchUp, but you can render and animate in Blender.

Blender 2.8 is a major update, and now is focused on ease-of-use for new users. It’s very much like existing apps, with left button select, way fewer key commands and most everything in menus or buttons.

Consider this comparison:
On the left is the original reference picture. On the right is Blender 2.8’s unbiased renderer, CYCLES. (ignore the glass material as I was using a metal). CYCLES is like Thea or other path tracing renderer. It renders faster with GPU cards but it’s still minutes (if not hours) per render. Still, it gives fabulous results (and it’s free). IIRC, this rendering took around 15 minutes and I have a pretty fast system with 2 GPU cards (1080 and 960Ti).

Now, let’s look at Blender 2.8’s other renderer: EEVEE. EEVEE is like a game engine, only optimized for modeling and animation and NOT realtime play. Here’s the same comparison with EEVEE.

You can see, they are very similar-- and the EEVEE one took less than 4 seconds to render! In fact I can render at 4K resolution a single frame in under 10 seconds. This means creating animations is just ridiculously fast (check out some animations at the end of this video: https://youtu.be/AtjLhPtzL9M?t=54 )

So, why am I here? Well, I’ve created a course which goes into great detail how to use Blender 2.8 to render and animate your SketchUp models. I specifically want to enable SU users to be able to quickly move their designs into Blender, add materials and light the scene and render.

One of the really cool things, is you don’t have to do ANY UV MAPPING! I’ve put together some shaders and materials, with clear instructions on how to do it all.

Here’s what I’m calling it:

The tutorial style is video, with no video lasting more than 10 minutes. It’s incredibly dense in that I’ve tried to remove any rambling, umms, errrs, and instead focused on getting TO THE POINT very quickly. It will also include a number of materials and objects you can use/reuse.

AND…here’s where you come in. I’m looking for 10 users to help me test this course. Of course you will receive all the objects, materials and videos for free, and in return I’m asking your frank appraisal of what works and what doesn’t. I’m only looking for serious users, experienced SketchUp designers and hopefully with some rendering history.

I’ve got 9 of 15 videos completed (the hard stuff) and I’m currently embarking on the SketchUp for Blenders part where I go over how to setup and use Blender 2.8. I’ve already completed the sections on creating your own materials, light leaks, reflection and irrandiance probes and overall lighting.

If you are interested, please contact me at chippATchipp.com (replace the AT with @) and I’ll let you know. I expect the finished series to be out sometime soon.

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SketchUp to Blender workflow
#2

Hi Chip, very interested in your course for rendering Sketchup models in Blender. I’m proficient in Sketchup pro but have no rendering knowledge at all. Can you please let me know if/when course is available & cost. Cheers, Neil.

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#3

Hi Neil,

It’s available now.

You can go to https://gum.co/EEVEE to learn about it.

I specifically set out with the intention to create a course that people could import their SketchUp models, add materials without UV mapping, add lighting, render and animate-- all without having ever opened the new Blender 2.8 (which has a brand new and easy to use/understand interface and features).

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#4

Sounds perfect, will jump straight in. Many thanks.

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#5

Was going really well until lighting? too fast moving for a complete render novice, Certain key shortcuts not working my end (f12 for render for example) & operations to perform that don’t seem to have been covered in previous videos.I think this is more for those who have a good grounding of rendering.

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#6

Neil,
Sent you a message and offer you a screenshare session to clear up any questions you may be having.

Best,

Chipp

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#7

Thanks Chip, will contact you later today if ok.

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#8

Hi Chip - don’t know what your timeline for feedback it, but I am definitely interested. I am exploring blender as means to animate, which I can’t do with SU and my render engine of choice, Thea Render.

Right now I am learning on off hours, but my workload should allow for more focus soon.

I aim to make Blender part of my professional pipeline.

Thanks

Mike

carneyartdirection.com

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#9

Hi Mike. The course is already finished. We had over 18 beta testers, many from the SketchUp community. If you’re interested, you can learn more at https://gum.co/EEVEE

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#10

Congrats and will do

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#11

A free video from the course on how to export your models to Blender TO SCALE with materials intact.

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#12

Hello Chipp, thanks for making this material available! I’m interested in the full course.
But first, would you mind confirming if the import from SU 2019 has been sorted?
It seems that from the 2019 version, objects came into Blender in all sorts of weird placings, sometimes with a variety of guidelines leading to the origin point.
Have you seen anyhting similar, and are there any solutions?

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#13

Sorry, I have not yet downloaded 2019 yet. I’m probably not going to do it because of the licensing issues and the time it will take to get all of the plugins transferred and working.

You can test for yourself. Just download the latest Blender 2.8 and export from SketchUp as obj and see if it works.

You can learn how to do install portable Blender 2.8 from this video:

https://youtu.be/axNaU6mr6EI

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#14

As an aside, you don’t have to delete 2018, and if sorting out licenses and extensions will take some time, you ought to start now.

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