To use your own 3d models with INsitu, you’ll need to upload them to your personal INsitu account. However, beforehand, you must format your 3D models so they are compatible with INsitu. Furthermore, it is wise to follow our guidelines on: 3d modelling, best practises; plus optimising and exporting your 3D model.

Format Your 3d Model

Necessary prerequisites you must follow, to use your models with INsitu:

Units – Meters

ensure the units used to measure your model are in meters

sketchup model units meters
Find this dialogue in window > model info

Position – Place Your Model Centrally In The Sketchup Scene:

Move your model – using the move tool – and place on the origin (where the red, blue & green axes intersect).

the 3D model’s base is located centrally at the origin.

The model doesnt have to be placed exactly centrally, within the scene, but the nearer the better. Before you move the model, it helps to identify the central point – on the model’s base – and mark as a reference point: simply measure the model – using Sketchup’s tape measure tool – and mark the central point with guides or a temporary line; alternatively, the exact centre point, can be found more automatically, by first selecting the bottom face, and then running the CenterPointAll plugin:
face selected and centre point marked by running the centrePointAll plugin found under extensions/plugins > Add CentrePoint

The model can then more easily be moved into the correct position, by moving the model from the centre point and placing on the origin.

Remove Erroneous Outlying Geometry

Turn on hidden geometry – found under view > hidden geometry – and check there is nothing lingering around and delete it

unwanted geometry – contained outside the extents of your 3D model – needs to be removed; otherwise, the overall volume the model occupies will be unnecessarily big.

Face Orientation – Ensure your Models Faces, are Front Facing, Towards the Camera/viewer

Technically speaking, your sketch-up model, is a hollow object (even though it may look as solid). Essentially each face/ surface you see, is connected together to make a larger object, which appears as a solid. Therefore, each face you see, has a front side and a back side. You need to ensure:

  1. Faces are orientated correctly: The front side of faces are facing towards the camera/viewer
    Inspect your model’s faces in monochrome rendering mode, which can be enabled by going to view > Face Style > Monochrome:
    whilst the majority of faces are orientated correctly – the front sides(white), face the camera/user – the selected face is orientated incorrectly: the back side (purple) of the face is facing the camera

    If there are only a few faces orientated incorrectly, then they can corrected relatively quickly: first select the face, right click, and then choose “Reverse Faces”
    reverse the face, so the back side faces away from the camera and the front side faces toward the camera.

  2. materials are applied to the correct side of faces: all materials are applied to the front side of the faces:
    the cherry wood material is applied only to the front side of faces. The back side of faces have no material applied.

If after turning on monochrome mode (step 1) it appears that there are many faces orientated incorrectly then there is a great plugin called Fix Reversed face Materials which will automatically fix the faces. Furthermore, not only will the plugin orientate the faces correctly, but if a material is applied to either side of the face, it’ll apply the material to the correct side of the face.


The performance and your experience working with your 3D models, will be improved in INsitu if you follow the guidelines outlined below:

Optimising Your 3D Model


As a general rule-of-thumb, make sure textures are no bigger than 1024 X 1024. We recommend 512 X 512 or less

clean your 3d models:

Install the the ThomThom CleanUp plugin and the supplementary TT_Lib  This will literally cut your file size in half, if not more.
If your not prepared to install plugins, at least “purge unused” data from:

window > model Info > statistics

3D Modelling Best Practises


Ensure there are no duplicate materials or similar materials that are not needed. INsitu’s 3D editor is primarily designed for assigning/editing photorealistic materials to your model’s existing material’s. If there are more materials than are needed, then you’ll end up spending an unnecessary amount of time applying/editing materials in the INsitu 3d editor. If you have a particularly long list of materials that you know aren’t needed, duplicates can be removed:

  1. automatically: by running the cleanup plugin(described below) – and ensuring the “merge identical materials” option is checked.
  2. manually one-by-one: by right clicking the unwanted material in the material’s palette and selecting “remove material”
    ensure the “colors in model” option is selected from the drop down list, and delete the unwanted material
  3. manually in batch: install the material maintenance plugin, which allows you to select multiple unwanted materials from a list and then replace them with one singular material

Furthermore, It helps to group the meshes/faces of your 3D model according to their material, to keep things organised.

Detail & performance – get the balance right

from an aesthetic point of view, modelling the detail is important; it’s what makes a 3D model convincing. However, the more detail, the more geometry, and the larger the file size, which has an adverse effect on performance.  Therefore, only use detail where it is needed to improve the aesthetic appeal within reason. In the following example, the decision was made to remove a model’s detail because it improved performance, whilst not sacrificing any of the light’s aesthetic appeal.

this 3d model of the light is very sophisticated, every detail has been modelled. Consequently the file is very large

the light was simplified, by removing detail that would otherwise be invisible to the user. And therein reducing the file size and increasing performance, whilst still giving the impression of a realistic spotlight. Getting the right balance is the best approach

Exporting Your 3D Model


If your using the paid version of SketchUp aka SkecthUp Pro you can use the built-in obj exporter found under:
file > export 3D model

required export options

NB: Unfortunately – in some cases – Sketchup’s native exporter can be verbose and dramatically increases file size and adversely effect performance. If the export process is taking too long, consider using the plugin we recommend for the free version of skethchup:
If your using sketchUp Make (free version) you’ll need to Install this OBJ exporter plugin
Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 16.38.53
 run the OBJ exporter by going to file > OBJexporter. 

Unfortunately, whilst the model is exporting, there is no loading bar, so you’ll only know the process is finished once the obj, mtl and assets are generated.

3ds max

settings that should be selected when exporting with 3ds max