Back in August, I used both Google Sketch Up (Pro edition) and Blender 3D to create a 3D environment. The issue with modeling my environment in just Blender 3D was that I needed exact measurements for my environment. Blender 3D does not have (so far in the latest version) the ability to dial in measurements when creating 3D models. Others have ran into this issue too, but it is a great 3D modeling and animation tool other than that draw back. So how did I manage to create the basic 3D environment with Google Sketch Up and then bring it into Blender 3D (finish textures and lighting)? Here’s a few things I had to do:

1. In Blender 3D, make sure your python is the correct version for the version of Blender you are running. There is a difference in releases and yes, there is a difference in 32bit vs. 64 bit. I ended up using 32 bit and using a slightly older version of python. How do you know if Python is  installed correctly? If the Blender window at start up says “Checking for installed Python…. got it!”, you’re in business.

2. To export your model out of Google SketchUp Pro  and into Blender, you need to save the file as an .OBJ. Some colors and textures might import into Blender and Blender can import that file format. Also, you will need the Pro version of Google SketchUp. You can also use the Pro version on an evaluation basis if you are not sure if want to purchase the program yet.

3. If you are bringing a model from Blender into SketchUp, make sure your model is grouped together as one model. If not, you may just be bringing over a piece of your model into SketchUp and not the whole model. With some of my models, I did a mesh join in Blender if the material was going to be simple and the same on all faces of the model (like a textured wall).

4. To bring models back and forth (from Blender into SketchUp and Sketchup in Blender) I always used the .OBJ file type. I did not have any issues when using a .OBJ.

These two programs can create powerful results with very little money (with Blender being free and SketchUp Pro being $495). If you’re not sure about spending the money on SketchUp Pro, try out the Trail version for SketchUp Pro with Blender to see if you want to make the investment. These tools are great together if you want to animate (Blender) a to scale 3D model (created in SketchUp Pro or edit model for measurements in SketchUp Pro). I hope this helps! 🙂

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