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
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 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:
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.
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:
- 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:
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”
- materials are applied to the correct side of faces: all materials are applied to the front side of the faces:
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:
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:
- automatically: by running the cleanup plugin(described below) – and ensuring the “merge identical materials” option is checked.
- 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
- 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.
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
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
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.