Blender 2.8 for SketchUp users

There are some great architectural addons that do make what you’re trying to do simple, but you are correct, it takes a different mind set too jump into traditional poly modelers from SketchUp.

On a related note, I was out in California a year or so ago doing a teach the teachers workshop for VR at Art Center in Pasadena. And I thought it would be so simple just to start all of these teachers out with SketchUp. It turns out that it was quite the challenge to try and get them to learn SketchUp especially when they didn’t understand that you had to group things to keep them from sticking together, which made no sense to them whatsoever.

They were used to other types of modeling packages, typically CAD packages and or traditional polygon modelers like Modo.

So, it all is about one’s perspective.

A very good friend of mine has been trying to make the switch from SketchUp to Blender for quite some time now, and is struggling just as you are. I told him to contact me anytime he has a question so that he doesn’t become too frustrated, but it’s still quite a chore for him.

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@chippwalters , I have taken your course on gumroad I which you explain about SketchUp import as obj.

Where can we ask queries regarding that course?
( I was referring to this one…I saw this thread and bought the course )

Do you know people or firms who are using this in their daily workflow for large projects ? What is the feedback ?


Hi @kayp,

You can PM me here or go to to contact me directly.

With regard to

I assume you are talking about architectural firms. There are several architects using Blender, including Chocofur and 3D Architect:

There are also some great addons as well for architects, like Archipack:


Thanks for your response.
I was referring to your workflow given in the course ( export as obj from SketchUp)…

Is that method being used by any architecture firm /individual ( like some one who had taken your course …or you may know someone).

Is that reliable enough for professional work …where time and resources are limited .

People of other threads on this forum and in sketchup forum have expressed the issues .

I know of no way to seamlessly import SketchUp files directly into Blender while maintaining all grouping, instancing, materials and shading.

You can, however, import as OBJ and it will retain the limited materials for each mesh. And it’s easy to get the scaling correct as well.

Furthermore, you can tab to edit the mesh, press A to select all faces then P and separate all meshes by “Loose Parts” which will then create an object for all parts. Of course then you need to name them correctly.

Also, since SketchUp has no concept of object hierarchy, (knee bone connected to the thigh bone), it’s difficult if not impossible for Blender to have hierarchies imported from SketchUp, as Blender does very well with object hierarchy. It’s much easier to set an objects origin point in Blender than in SketchUp and while you have snapping modes, you don’t have to use them.

Lastly, SketchUp still doesn’t take advantage of the new GPU cards and so is quite limited w/regard to the number of polys which can be displayed. Not so much with Blender, where editing scenes with millions of faces is not difficult.

Thanks for your response.
So the short answer seems to be No. Since there is no way one would spend time selecting and renaming hundreds ( maybe thousands at times)

I got a different perception reading the intro on your sketchucation post.

It shall be good idea to have a q&a forum ( like udemy or skillshare ) where you may get queries and feedback from students .it shall help everyone .

There was a SketchUp Importer till version 2.79 but the developer has left it completely. If someone develops it for current version and keep updating it ,I believe it shall have a good market going by the posts here and other blender and SketchUp forums.

I did forget one solution which I found worked a couple of years ago. You might check out OKINO and their Polytrans product. It actually did convert SketchUp file as correctly as possible at the time.

The simple fact is SketchUp is a doomed product. There has been no indication since Trimble purchased it they would modernize it-- in fact they’ve gone the opposite direction and created a crippled web product with it. There are many predictions years ago (some by me) that Trimble would not bring the product up to current standards-- and they haven’t. It’s a pure hobby toy today.

Still, just like the last buggy whips made, it is a good buggy whip. And those who still prefer horse and buggy will continue to use it. Too bad, as SketchUp did at one time have a tremendous product.

If you don’t like Blender, you may want to look at FormZ or some of Autodesk’s pro architectural offerings like Revit. They are all modern tools which are tuned for architecture.

Ah get it now. There are two use cases.

Architect / Interior design
They don’t have the time or need for exporting a scene outside of their cad app and rather use rendering since sketchup revit etc and with using Enscape have a killer option today.

Particularly when working on a project you want to be able to render what you have right now without export making sure that the rendering always reflects the current design state. Enscape again is perfect here.

Other game engine like realtime render engines became also very popular slowly replaces VRay because they come with added content like trees bushes etc.

CG Artists - hired by Architect
For large projects and presentation purpose architects do render out images of often various degrees of realism. Thats then often when they work with external render studios as they often do not have that capacity inhouse thus you will export.

Interior design is the same like for a project/company website or if the project is large (costly enough) that a good rendering is of value to the client.

I tell my students that they will learn on my courses to work with SketchCrap.
I just hate that this app is so widely used and so pathetic.

Take away all the extensions and it is so poor.

Revit replaced it in many studios - SketchUp still has a lot of good aspects. The drafting drawing moving is still pretty good and solid. But Blender is not far away from it.

The only thing that SketchUp has are the drafting predictions (perpendicular make arc tangent to a line , intersecting guide lines, etc) Cut section tool, the general guide line tool, and actually if you use it the layout tool while most rather do that in Autocad. And that kinda sums it up.

The push n pull to cut is great when dealing with a wall. Try to use it on non parallel faces and it is failing.

I am not so sure about it. It is still fast to learn and very popular simply because of the 3D warehouse.

I would rather say the field of interior design kinda walks in circles when it comes to cad tools.

Here in India almost all hires we get have knowledge of Sketchup modeling and AutoCad drafting . Hence emphasis on using these …as we cant afford to train people all the time . I have also started using SuPodium for rendering within Sketchup ( )
Revit renderings are bad and it is overpriced … and most of MEP consultants here don’t use revit /BIM .
Enscape and Vray are subscription models and would like to avoid them . And I think blender does a better job as compared to Enscape .

With the developments in 2.8 versions in Blender , looks like it is opening up for lesser mortals :slight_smile: …and therefore the spike in interest shown by many people now.
It shall be great if a bridge may be created ( with add-ons or internal features ) for these users . The ecosystem shall be benefiting from this.


Here is the link :
shall check it too.

Here is the Sketchup importer which is no longer in development :
If someone with right skills can develop it for Blender market , it shall be great .

Actually Cycles or eeVee for SketchUp would be even better.

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FWIW, I don’t think there is enough incentive for people like myself and others to bother helping users with SketchUp to Blender migration.

I spent some time trying to connect via advertising to SU users, and had by far the worse click-through rates of any of my ads. And the value proposition was direct as in “Import your SketchUp models into Blender and create photoreal renders in under 10 seconds!”

Not to mention, I’m fairly well known in the SU community for the many years I’ve contributed there with tutorials and answering questions, etc…

So, my takeaway is it’s a different sort of person who tends to use SketchUp. Not many are terribly technically inclined w/regard to 3D, or in fact doing much more than creating simple geometry-- which is something SketchUp excels at. Of course there are folks, like Pete Stoppel who buck that trend, but still I think most are of the “live and die” mentality with SketchUp. Good for Trimble.

Sadly I agree!

I don’t use Sketchup, but I sometimes use models from 3D Warehouse as a blueprint or reference. I can’t use Sketchup at work, so the method of exporting models to OBJ or Collada is a no go. It would be nice to be able to import .skp files directly into 2.8x, but the current importer that I have won’t activate.
I won’t lose any sleep if the .skp importer isn’t updated, but it would be a nice addition.

Maybe they already knew the part two of the message…
… which you told here… later ?

Technical snobbery is as bad as Apple Fanboyism . Not healthy for an open-source platform at least .
That “simple geometry” ( although that term is debatable as many good architecture/interior projects are beyond simplistic ) builds most of the real infrastructure and create real jobs and economy.

Open source shouldn’t also translate as open-minded and open-heart ?
Here are so many people asking for directions as they want to move beyond sketchUp as they understand the limitations and hate many things about it…still the change has be gradual …esp for those working with a firm or other partners .

Unreal engine has made an exporter for sketchup pro as they understand the change shall be gradual .

They understand importance and potential of Blender too.


It’s not technical snobbery (though calling people snobs and fanboys certainly doesn’t do your argument any favors).

You ascribe moral or ethical value to my comment:

Which I stand by. Most SketchUp users don’t know what are or how to use UVs. That same truth cannot be said about Maya, 3D Max, Modo and other surface modeler users. This does not mean they are stupid, it’s just they have no need for such “technology.” In fact SketchUp isn’t used much in Hollywood special effects houses, or for that matter in game companies either-- for many of the same reasons.

You cannot natively turn snapping OFF, so every line you draw HAS to snap to a surface, edge or vertex, which is infuriating to most modelers-- just Google “How to turn snapping off in sketchup.”

The SubD modeling tools are way underpowered because they all have to be written in Ruby and their Boolean operations are the worse I know of any surface modeler. In fact the program doesn’t even have a simple bevel command, but relies on the goodwill of various authors to provide one.

I’ve been using 3D since the early 80’s. I’ve taught courses, written books, and created over 100 tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere on 3D for various platforms. SketchUp still has it’s place, but it’s quickly becoming unable to deal with the massive polycounts some models are looking at:

The whole product hasn’t had a significant update in what-- 5 years? SketchUp relies solely on plugin authors to create new features. It’s an architectural program that still can’t natively do photoreal renders.

I will also say most Blender users aren’t as technically savvy as Houdini users. Is that another fanboy statement? Or, take a look at this 3D Max plugin called railclone:
It’s not something that SU could ever do because they just can’t handle the polycount.

And I still assert most of the SU work is basic and simple. That again is not a value judgement-- just look at the SU Warehouse where 90% of the work there falls into that category (as an aside, much of the high quality work shown there is created in other programs and imported into SU and the Warehouse-- one only has to look at the topology to see).

There are places for both simpler and complicated programs. As a SketchUp user for close to 20 years (view my online tutorials if you like), I’ve seen SU used for wordworking and stage sets-- all basic but also very valuable.

And lastly, your thinly veiled insult about the difficulty importing SketchUp using my Definitely EEVEE: Definitive Interiors course-- you miss the point: it is about: INTERIORS. Not importing whole buildings for other renders. This is typically a simple effort, where you can choose to import objects one at a time or all at once-- then they need to be organized. Blender is a free 3D render solution, not like VRAY or Podium or most of the others.

And, as I said, Polytrans does a super job of importing SU models to Blender.

Lastly, I have empirical evidence w/regard to SU users not interested in Blender. Over at Sketchucation there was a request over a year ago to have a Blender area to discuss these types of issues-- and there just wasn’t enough interest. And if you mention Blender at Sketchup forums, they will threaten to remove you (I know-- it happened to me).

Nobody is batting here for Sketchup …It was about gradual migration to Blender .
And someone takes your course , follows you and ask simple queries … and you manage to alienate him.

Peace .

Unfollwing the thread .