Softplan model to Sketchup 8

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Tim Glass
Tim Glass's picture
Softplan model to Sketchup 8

I exported my Softplan model in 3ds format and then imported it in Sketchup 8.  It came in okay but many of the "faces" do not have a texture as they did in Softplan.  I assume that they need to be reoriented.  How is this done in Softplan or what do you recommend to be able to import a correct Softplan model?

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
SoftPlan Model to Sketchup 8

This is one of the reasons I've pretty much given up on using SoftPlan models in Sketchup.

The problem is that when exporting a 3D model from SoftView many of the faces end up being reversed. A 3D face has 2 sides and each side can have a different texture applied to it. When viewing the model in SoftView all of the faces are oriented correctly.

But it appears that the translation routines used by SoftPlan to export to different formats aren't careful about maintaining their original orientation. Or it could be that the import routines in Sketchup are mixing the face orientation up. Either way, you end up with reversed faces.

I have tried some Sketchup plug-ins and have had limited results. One I use quite frequently is called "Reverse Faces" With this tool you can click on each face that is reversed and flip the sides. This will bring back the textures for the reversed faces. If the face is within a group or a component then you must enter the group or component to use this tool.

Another problem you may run into is triangulation. 3DS files are triangulated, meaning that surfaces that contain more than 3 edges are broken into triangles, with the joining edges hidden. You can see this if you turn on View-->Hidden Geometry in Sketchup after importing your 3DS file. There are several Sketchup plug-ins out there that try to address this problem. You might try "Cleanup.rb" which can be found on the Sketchucation web site at You will need to register on the site and be logged in before you can access any of the scripts. Sketchucation provides a wealth of information about using Sketchup and there are lots of useful plug-ins that you can find there. I would suggest searching through the site and see if you can find more plug-ins and information about cleaning up imported files.

Still another problem you might run into is objects crossing over each other. For instance you may have the brick going through the soffit and actually sticking up through the roof. If you want to take the time to clean all of these cross-over items that appear you can either edit each component and manually trace in break lines then erase the extra portions you don't need. Or you can try exploding the items and selecting Edit-->Intersect Faces then erase the extra portions.

The point of all this is that you CAN use SoftPlan models in Sketchup but the translation is not perfect and it does require a quite a bit of time and work to clean everything up. Some of this cleanup can be automated with various plug-ins.

If you can find a quick and easy method of cleaning up the files in Sketchup I would appreciate it if you would report your results back here.

Also if anyone has had good results cleaning up Sketchup models I would love to hear from you.

Bill is the owner and maintainer of

jsribnik's picture


I export to Sketchup often because it is so easy to render in that program. I export as a dxf file, & it actually shows up in Sketchup with no texture at all. this is good, because it's so easy to paint & control the textures while in Sketchup. Controlling the shadows is also very good there.

Attached is a recent example. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about Softplan to Sketchup.



Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Looks Great

Hey Jeff, that looks great! Do you think you could take the time to write up a tutorial showing your methods?  If you are willing I can either set your account to be a Tutorial Author or you can email it to me and I'll post it under your name. I prefer to have Tutorials in the Tutorials format rather than on the Forum because that way they can be categorized and easier to find.

You mentioned that you export to DXF. That would work fine if you have Sketchup Pro. But if someone were working with the free version which does not import DXF what format would you recommend?

By the way, great hearing from you here :)