What makes a great 3D Warehouse product model?

Hi all,

With full acknowledgement that this is an incredibly broad question / topic that’s going to lead to a wide range of responses, we’re curious to hear from all of you about what, in your opinion, makes a great 3D Warehouse product model?

I’ll give a bit more background.

As you’ve probably noticed, the 3D Warehouse has started featuring more models from manufacturers. Going forward, we want to make sure manufacturers have feedback from us and also from the community so that they build out the .SKP version of their product catalog correctly. (Note: We’ve also launched a ‘3D Warehouse Content Developer’ network if manufacturers would prefer to hire service partners to get their products modeled and published to 3D Warehouse by SketchUp experts.) So the core of what we’re asking for feedback on is: what needs to be right when you, as a user, download one of these model from 3D Warehouse. What makes it useful in your design process?

As a starting point, I’ll throw out some of the things that we believe. For a model uploaded to 3D Warehouse to be useful it must, at a minimum, meet the following criteria:

The file name is correct / useful / logical.
The component name(s) are correct / useful / logical.
The insertion point is correct
The axis is correct
The appropriate template has been chosen
The units are correct
The labels are spelled correctly and complete, and the leader lines are correct
The file is correctly organized around groups and components and layers
If it’s a Dynamic Component, it has useful options visible to the user and the correct logo, if applicable
Model credits are applied
Face orientation is correct
Textures are correctly applied and aren’t too large
It’s an appropriate file size.
‘Purge unused’ is selected prior to upload to get rid of extraneous textures and geometry
The LOD (level of detail) is correct for its use case
The scale is correct for the type of object

Of course, this criteria only leads to a long list of questions:

  • What is the best naming convention for files?
  • What is the correct insertion point / does it differ based on the type of product?
  • What is the best template for a product model?
  • What is the best way to organize a model with groups, components and layers?
  • What is the correct way to texture a model, and how large should the image files be?
  • What is an appropriate file size for a component? How would you define a ‘low-poly’ model?
  • What is the best way to “stage” a model for 3D Warehouse?

As a way of structuring this conversation, let us know if you think we’re missing a bullet point in first section above, or if you think one is incorrect. Alternatively, feel free to add a definition for one of the questions, (e.g., what is the best way to organize a model with groups, components and layers?), in the second section.

We and the manufacturers appreciate your feedback and hope this leads to better 3D Warehouse models for all of you to use.


  • Chris


What makes a great 3D Warehouse product model?

A great product model is one that performs well in the context of a larger model.

Typically they’re used to flesh out larger works, not as standalone models.
They should (must) be clean and light; the best of the best in terms of model performance.

• Minimum complex geometry
• Minimum group nesting
• Minimum material image size
• No layers
• No section planes
• No guides
• No text
• No geo-location
• No stray geometry
• Purged
• Correct scale



Will be very interesting to get it completely spot on for PRO SketchUp 3D Warehouse models for the AEC market to have the best sketchup model resources using the very best practices.

Please add in a very important feature for 3DWH Manufacturers/BIM Components that they incorporate where gluing to surfaces is required aswell as cut openings, co planar cut loop properties where appropriate please to avoid extra work.


from a Co-planar cut loop fan :smile:



These are good suggestions. As it stands our company has a policy against using anything from 3d warehouse, unless it is a last resort.

@Geo, @SEEIT3D Thanks, that’s great feedback.

@tahota1 Can you provide some detail into why your company developed the policy?

  • Chris

Hi Chris,

Here’s a topic of interest:

Over the years the issue experienced by @pault728 has become standard fare in the Help Forum.


@ChristopherCronin 3D Warehouse models are often out-of-scale, poorly modeled by beginners, or have a enormous amount of necessary geometry. A lot of time is wasted finding quality models through 3D warehouse. Once we used a simple transport cart for a warehouse project we were working on that could only be found in 3D warehouse. Our Sketchup model started crashing and freezing, or taking an extremely long time to load. After several days of frustration with the model we discovered that the cart’s headlights had several hundred LED’s in each headlight and that each LED was modeled with about 80,000 +/- faces…

We have professional subscriptions to other 3D model sites that take less time and have guaranteed quality models. If we can’t find what we need on those sites, only then are we supposed to use 3D warehouse.

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Here’s another example from the 3DWH
The product is a modest 30” kitchen stove uploaded by a major manufacturer.

File: 1.8MB
30,000+ Edges
1800+ of those edges are not grouped and 14 of those are outright stray edges.
6700+ Faces
When viewed in monochrome the model is entirely blue; the faces are reversed.

• Portions of the model were imported CAD files, resulting in masses of microscopic geometry full of holes where edges and faces failed to form.
• Elsewhere, there are numerous overhangs, unnecessary geometry and more holes.
• Unique parts were made into Components while repetitive parts were each made a Group.
• Instead of painting faces, groups were painted from outside.
Consequently the author was forced to duplicate a material to achieve proper material image size.
Meanwhile one group (all faces wrong side out) was not painted at all.
• There is one scene, “Home”, but the model was saved in a different view with the Style not updated.

4633 edges just to model a simple knob.
There are four identical knob Groups (not component instances) in the model.

The undesirable ramifications of a poor product model extend far beyond wasting the end user’s time.
Every stakeholder in the process either benefits from a good product model or loses from a bad one.

The model described above was uploaded to 3DWH several years ago and ‘Last Modified’ just this year.
While it has been downloaded many thousands of times, the number of ‘Likes’ are essentially nil.
In light of those statistics it’s reasonable to surmise the download generally ends up in the recycle bin.


3DWH needs to publish a set of standards so manufactures understand up front what to create.
With standards in hand 3DWH can then encourage manufactures to review/revise their existing models.
3DWH must provide a means of direct communication between user and model author.

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Thanks @Geo. More good info.

3DWH needs to publish a set of standards so manufactures understand up front what to create. With standards in hand 3DWH can then encourage manufactures to review/revise their existing models…

Fwiw, this where we’re headed.

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And co planar cut loop components

Get really confusing and tricky when users can’t stick components and cut openings

Does my head in actually lol

I suggest that that models have more than one version of complexity, So on an elevation or plan drawing it is in portion to the general scale. Then have a much greater detailed model which can be swapped for detailed works for the a profession like a cabinet maker. steel detailer…etc

A reference within the attributes of the warehouse model, would mean an architect draws confidently with a simple version, then delivers to client with minimum file size, the client goes to the approbate contractors and they swap items where appropriate to the detail they required.

I agree and it appears the SketchUp Folks are moving in that direction.

Here’s a recent announcement:
Introducing 3D Warehouse Detailed Collections — SketchUpdate … the official SketchUp blog

Great work! @ChristopherCronin

Making a great 3D Warehouse model — SketchUpVideo Playlist

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@Geo, Thanks!

See the blog post here.

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I came to this forum because I cannot upload my model. In looking for answers, and then looking for the right place to post my issue, I ran across this thread. I’m now wondering should I continue trying to solve my problem.

I’ve never uploaded anything to the 3DWH before (though I’ve gotten plenty of prompts in SU when I go to save and close the program), and only recently started considering uploading a house I just finished “building.” I am not an architect, draftsman, engineer, etc., and have never even worked in a CAD program - I’m just a simple artist. Based on what I see in this thread, I’m wondering now if I should even upload my house as I’m sure it comes nowhere near meeting what appears to be preferred criteria, and certainly would not be something of any interest to a professional person. I had fun creating it, and because I’ve seen other models that are obviously not professional work, I thought I would upload my house for others to see. But it seems that perhaps the warehouse is not what I thought it was when I first started playing around with Google SU years ago. Or are there two different warehouses?

So why can’t you upload?

Some of us worked on the old warehouse at Google, but Google sold SketchUp and the 3dwarehouse to Trimble. Same idea, and we’ve added a few things including:

  • more people working on it
  • the ability to create printable STL exports using Materialise
  • the ability to feature catalogs from Building Product Manufacturers.
  • a WebGL viewer that allows you to embed your house from 3dwarehouse in 3D on any web page
    … and lots of other things I can’t remember off the top of my head.

If you were expecting to upload your house, then have it show up in the Google Earth buildings layer, Google discontinued that on October 1, 2013 - Redirecting to Google Groups. You can still export your model to Earth and share it with people by giving them your model, but Google wont do it for you.

Any other questions?

I do not want to pull this thread off-topic, but since you asked about my upload issue, and asked about* other questions*, I will reply –

“So why can’t you upload?” -Barry
I don’t know why, that’s why I came to this forum - to find out why. I’ve not found an answer yet. I was going to create a new thread to try to get some help, but ran across this thread, and posted my concerns as to whether or not I should even bother to continue to try to upload to the warehouse

“…Google sold Sketchup and the 3dwarehouse to Trimble.” -Barry
Yes, I was aware of that. I am still working in a Google version of SU, and just have not yet been inclined to make the move to a Trimble version. Guess I’m just getting old and set in my ways…LOL.

“If you were expecting to upload your house, then have it show up in the Google Earch buildings layer, Google discontinued that on October 1, 2013…” -Barry
My house is one created from my own imagination - I was under the impression that only models of actual structures could be placed in Google Earth. No matter, though, that was not my intention - I just thought I’d upload my house to the warehouse.

So to summarize my original post above, and perhaps ask in a different way – is the warehouse for the hobbyist, too, for the casual artist, too? Or is it preferred that only professionals or only those who are proficient in creating perfect models (models that meet what appears to be the ideal criteria listed in the first and second posts) welcome to upload their models?

Hi @SketchrUppr,

Thanks for asking the question. Let me explain why I started this thread and, in doing so, attempt to answer your question.

3D Warehouse is a platform that we believe serves two main purposes: 1) It’s a place where all SketchUp users can share their 3D models with the world. 2) It’s a place where SketchUp users can find 3D models of just about anything in the world. For the former, it’s important that there aren’t any restrictions on the ‘quality’ of the model, since we want everyone to be able to share whatever they are able to create in SketchUp. For the latter, many SketchUp users, especially professionals, want to be able to find high-quality objects on 3D Warehouse that they can use in their designs, including SketchUp versions of real-world products.

So, what this thread is all about – same as the What Makes a Great 3D Warehouse Model? checklist and video series – is providing some guidance to SketchUp content creators, including Building Product Manufacturers, who want their objects to be found and used over and over again by the tens of millions of SketchUp users around the world. What it’s not for is to provide an unnecessary hurdle to SketchUp users who simply want to share the model they’ve created. But I will say that there are loads of generally helpful SketchUp modeling tips in the checklist and video series we created. :smile:

Let me try this one more time to really drive it home. You should think of 3D Warehouse as a ‘YouTube for 3D modelers.’ Some will create great, professional-looking 3D models [videos], while others will create not so great ones. But it’s not always about creating a great model, as others might judge it, for the author of the 3D model [video]. It’s often simply about the act of creating something unique and sharing it.

Thanks for the opportunity to explain this. Hopefully, we’ll see your model on 3D Warehouse soon!



Thank you Chris… you have answered/addressed my questions/concerns.

Off to try to upload my model. :smiley:

@SketchrUppr, Here’s a helpful video that shows the upload process.

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