Sketchup is a great tool for creating 3D models to use in your SoftPlan projects.
In this 4 part series we will be concentrating on using SoftPlan and Sketchup together but will not delve into how to actually create models in Sketchup. If you want to learn how to use Sketchup there are numerous great resources out there that you can explore. This series assumes a minimal familiarity with SoftPlan and Sketchup so it goes into much more detail than would be necessary to demonstrate this method to someone who was experienced using both programs. It looks like a long and difficult process but in actual practice it is quite simple and easy to implement once you get the concepts down.
Most any kind of 3D model you can build in Sketchup can be built directly in SoftPlan. But for building 3D models quickly with a minimum of preparation work Sketchup is the way to go. This is because Sketchup was designed specifically for 3D modeling. SoftPlan was designed to produce Architectural Plans and is not designed primarily as a way to create 3D models. By combining the strengths of both programs we can have some very powerful tools at our disposal.
Understanding how SoftPlan translates the materials assigned in Sketchup is the key
Sketchup PRO can export to a wide variety of 3D formats that can be read by SoftPlan. Starting with Version 8, Sketchup FREE can only export to *.KMZ and *.DAE formats. Sketchup FREE V7 can also export to *.DWG and *.DXF if you install a special plugin.
In versions of SoftPlan prior to SoftPlan 2012 you needed to export your Sketchup models to another format. SoftPlan 2012 can read Sketchup models directly so this is no longer necessary. This Tutorial deals with using Sketchup models in SoftPlan 2012 without having to go through any exporting process.
In order to use your native Sketchup models effectively in SoftPlan you must first understand how SoftPlan translates the materials assigned in Sketchup. This is the key to having your models display correctly when used in SoftPlan.
In Part One I'll be discussing how to set up your Sketchup model so that the textures will be correct when you bring the model into SoftPlan. This is an important step because otherwise it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to get the textures you apply to your Sketchup model to match up with SoftPlan's materials.
Bill is the owner and maintainer of SoftPlanTuts.com