Working with large, detailed shapes

Hello forums once again! I come bearing more questions! I’m attempting to refine my process so that Sketchup does not crash every 5 minutes I use it. The issue I’m having is that I’m working with bitmap to vector conversions in Sketchup that are highly detailed. Is there an extension that allows Sketchup to work with larger more detailed shapes beyond 10,000 lines? Or is that not possible? I’d like to import my detailed 2d vector lines and extrude the shapes once the lines are filled in with faces, though I don’t know how to make it work with as much detail as I have.

If it’s not possible to work with shapes such as these, would it be worth it to look for an alternate 3d modeling software to work with these detailed models, or should I look at refining my bitmap conversion process to give me a more optimized amount of detail?

A little more information would be good so people can better help you. Some screenshots and better description of the process your using would be helpful. Perhaps post a specific model your having trouble with?
I’ve successfully created some very detailed meshes from bit maps using
thomthom’s “Bitmap to Mesh” plug-in. Depending on the bit map some did take a long time to process though. Never had one crash. Wonder if you might be running out of ram when yours crash ?

Sorry, decently new to the forums, not the best at making posts! Here’s a screenshot of the current model I’m working on. The face that is selected is a separated face, while the rest of the model is a group. If I try to explode the group, it crashes. If I try and copy the face, go into the group and paste it, it crashes. Any attempt to get that face to connect with the rest of the model unfortunately results in a crash.

The process that I go through is as follows. I take a digital piece of art with thick lines, run it through LuBan 3d to take out the color, then convert it into a binary vector from a bitmap. I export that as a DXF into Sketchup, and then fill the entire thing in with faces.(A lot of the time resulting in crashes when trying to work on larger portions of the model) Once the model is all faced up I extrude the model to become 3d clip art and use a simplifier extension, along with solid tools to make sure it’s good to 3d print. I very commonly run into crashes when I’m making faces or extruding the inner faces up(not the lines of the artwork usually) So that’s my process, just figuring out how to make it more efficient without crashing my program.

Sketchup is being run inside of a VM with 8 Gb of ram, I wonder if I should increase this amount?

I’ll definitely have to look at getting the extension you mentioned, I’ve attempted various different bitmap converters with extremely varying results. The one I currently use just might be too detailed for this process.

You might try this one … it converts a monochrome BMP file with pixel-to-edge conversion.
spirix_bmp_tracer.rbz (2.7 KB)

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Hmm, I thought this was going to work but when I selected the BMP file to import into Sketchup, Nothing happened! It didn’t freeze as if it was trying to work, it just didn’t do anything, any clue as to why that might be?

Did you “Zoom Extents” after trying it? If you open the console window before running it, does it display any errors?

Yes, I suggest that you try 16GB if the host system can support it.

This is pure guess work without an actual model to look at and looking at the image you posted . I suspect it is an issue of not enough ram. Again pure guess work based on one image.

So from what I gather, and correct me if I’m wrong, you’re converting a bitmap to vector and end up with an outline of EACH PIXEL edge? If so then no wonder SketchUp is struggling! You could do a FAR better job with far fewer lines if that’s the case.

If you want to streamline this, try outlining the artwork in a vector illustration app instead, like Adobe illustrator or equivalent, where you can draw all your curves with precision. The resulting dwg vector will be far better looking and more efficient in sketchup.

I will give that a try!

I attempted the bitmap to mesh extension you suggested to no avail. I left the process running for a good 3 to 4 hours with no progress. Came back, clicked on the model and got the Sketchup not responding at the top of the window. It hasn’t crashed completely yet but I have a feeling it might. What would you say the longest time you’ve waited for this process to complete has been? I know some of these conversions are very hefty and time consuming but I’m just not sure if this extension is going to work for me. I really do appreciate the input though!

yeah the face has around 5,000 edges, so it’s well below what I’ve been told sketchup can handle. I’m going to try upping the ram and attempting the extension you suggested to see if it gets me a result!

Suggested “Bitmap to Mesh” before I had a clear idea of what you are trying to do. I don’t think its really the best tool for what your doing. It. appears your just trying to push pull to get different thicknesses to the image you’ve imported. I think monospace gave good advice for getting your image into sketchup. The running out of memory comes into play when for example you try to push pull a surface whose edge is made up of hundreds of small line segments. It’s a lot of calculations your throwing at the program at one time.

As far as I know it is not a pixel to pixel transformation into the vector, but it is definitely a more detailed vector than I am used to working with. Before I got this automatic extraction I was actually using Sketchup to manually outline the entire piece, but it saves me about 4-ish hours to do the automatic bitmap to vector conversion per model. So I’m trying my best to find an automatic solution that will give me the correct amount of detail to be able to easily manipulate it in Sketchup.

The program I use has binary conversion, and natural image conversion. The natural image conversion actually has you input a detail level between 1 and 5, but I have found that the binary conversion saves me hours of work depending on the model complexity. This is because the natural image conversion leaves a majority of the shapes open ended, where as the binary does a good job of making sure the shapes it creates are already closed.

Yeah that’s what it’s looking like more and more. None the less your time is appreciated. Thanks Tuna!


dragontatooyou.skp (2.5 MB)
I did what I suggested in another post. I simplified the line work in another software (PowerCADD). And I deleted some tiny polygons. You can decide if something was lost. There are a couple areas that need some work yet. Greatly reduced the edge count.

I used the “Add Faces” plugin rather than drawing edges on every polygon.

What software produced the polygons? Pretty good job.

These are both high stakes (RAM?) operations in SU for some reason.

Note I didn’t go on to PushPull the example above. I have to run a render and go to sleep.

Wow pbacot, the amount of detail is a lot closer to the level of detail I’d like for these prints honestly. Does PowerCADD Have an tool that automatically let’s you reduce the detail of the linework? Or is this more of a manual feature? Either way it does look pretty good! There are some areas that need refinement but I feel like going through this process with other high complexity models would be worth my time if I can’t get Sketchup to deal with the massive amount of detail in my original DXF files.

I looked up add faces and was met with Eneroth 2d plane, but not much else. Was this the extension you used by chance?

The software that produced the polygons was LuBan 3D. I stumbled upon it the other week and honestly I’ve been very impressed with what it can do! Very powerful image manipulation program that can tinker and twist images into various different forms of 3d models. I’d check it out if you’re interested, there’s a 30 day free license before the $70 a year!

Well pbacot I appreciate your help in this issue, it’s been a lot of help in getting me thinking about where I need to alter my process.

Yeah I upped my VM’s ram to 12 Gb instead of 8 Gb this morning, I’ll have to see what that does for me

I’ve just attempted the zoom extent after undergoing the import process with the BMP process and still nothing unfortunately. I’m decently sure I installed the extension correctly, through the extension manager, although, this error message makes me wonder if I didn’t do something correctly when installing it! I hadn’t known you could pull up the ruby console to look at errors. Thanks for your time and info jimhami42! have any idea what this error message might mean?

Error: #<NoMethodError: undefined method `unpack’ for nil:NilClass>