Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and SketchUp Compatibility

I love SketchUp more than anything. It’s my base platform that I try to use for most things. However, as I try to do more in the VR/AR space, I’m finding that a lot of the developer kits (such as Google’s ARCore, or Magic Leap’s SDK) only use a handful of platforms (i.e. Unity, Java, Unreal, etc.).

I feel like/hope that SketchUp is THE platform to decentralize/empower the public in the VR/AR space, but at this moment in time I’m wondering if I should figure out how to use one of these other platforms or wait for SketchUp to add more features?

Has anyone else thought about this? If you chose to learn another platform, which one did you go with? Which one will be most directly compatible with SketchUp?

Any thoughts welcome

All of them are compatible with SketchUp as it’s just an asset builder. I doubt SketchUp will ever be an AR/VR platform, it will merely have a view mode. Perhaps in the future some sort of real time AR/VR edit but that must be a long way off waiting for the hardware to advance a lot.

I am currently using ARCore, AR Kit, AR Studio, Unreal and Unity. I’ve managed to get SketchUp models into all of them. Really depends on what it is you want to achieve, if AR/VR support comes to SketchUp it will most likely only be a viewer, the other programs previously mentioned are much more advanced. They have complicated rendering and logic engines but for the most part you can’t really build any assets in them.

Unity and UE are more geared towards VR Vive type experiences or Mobile VR, while the various AR kits are geared towards AR phone experiences.

Unreal is my favourite to use with SketchUp, AR studio is where I am putting most of my time as it will probably get me the best ROI for freelance now and again.

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Fyi… There is development underway to simplify getting your skp models into Unreal.

See SketchUp to Unreal Studio (Datasmith)

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Oh nice, now that’s going to be a big timesaver having some official support at last,

Glad you picked UE over Unity!

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Trying to download Unreal, but there doesn’t seem to be a version for Mac. I saw some indirect ways to get it to work, but they didn’t seem to be recommended. Any advice or recommendations here?

There is a Mac version, it should auto detect your system when you hit download on the main page once you have signed in.

Fair warning, you will struggle on a Mac, especially if trying to run any VR/AR (if it’s even available yet without an eGPU I don’t believe it is).

Ed: looks like you are out of luck, the min specs for Mac are: Mac OS X 10.9.2 or later, 8 GB RAM and a quad-core Intel or AMD processor, and a DX11 compatible video card.

@tysongersh The Studio Beta does not look like it will work for you as the beta requires DataSmith and that is only available on windows. Frequently Asked Questions - Unreal Engine

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May not be a good idea to get into Unity versus Unreal discussion, but for what it’s worth you can already drag a SketchUp Collada export into Unity, and things look fine. It also can import a SKP, at least up to v2015, and most things are fine.

I’ll ask them to add support for 2016 and later.

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I am using both I just prefer UE as it runs better with my Vive than Unity does.

Oh I don’t mean simply importing meshes, I am hoping @ChrisDizon was inferring something slightly more advanced working with Unreal Studio Beta. If I had a good workflow from SU to UEVR it would be great, something perhaps where I can apply collision meshes and shaders in SKP before exporting.

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I’m trying Unreal on my MacBook Pro. It hasn’t complained yet, but it’s still installing.

Most, if not all, AR/VR headset people are concentrating on high end PC video boards, and generally don’t have a plan to do a Mac version. But, not everything is AR/VR, so it’s worth looking at Unreal for those things. I can carry on using Unity for other VR work.

Technically VR will work on Mac, there are just very few Macs that are powerful enough to run them. The new Metal API seems to show promise and the official support for eGPU but Apple don’t support Nvidia eGPU only AMD.

Update: got it to work. Walking through tutorials now. Trying to figure out how to get a sketchup file to work in them eventually


Yeah, I think Liamk887 was right I was trying to install the beta version, which needs a thing that’s windows only. I’m installing 4.19.1 now w no problems so far. at 71%, so I guess we will see.

How did you get your SketchUp models into Unreal? I’m currently trying an exported collada file into unity (which apparently I already had installed on my computer?), which seems to be working, but Unreal only seems to accept .fbx? Do you have any recommendations for a converter?

You could use Autodesk’s FBX converter from here:

Edit: I just noticed in your profile that you have SketchUp Pro so just export FBX from SketchUp.

I almost always use Blender as a go between, so .3ds export from SketchUp.

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It’s working on my mid-2015 MacBook Pro as well.

@liamk887 Got it to load on both Unity and Blender pretty well so far. Importing from Blender into Unreal isn’t necessarily going so well!
Original in SketchUp:

Here’s Unity



I always go via Blender rather than straight from SketchUp.

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