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Thread: SketchUp to 3DS Max

  1. #1
    Junior Member OCT.studio's Avatar
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    Default SketchUp to 3DS Max

    Im working on a model in SketchUp many because allot of my clients use it and understand how it works and its quick and easy to model in. I want to model in SketchUp and render in max? in this project.

    I know its possible to do this? do you have any advice for exporting the models out of sketchup and setting up materials? Ive had problems with the UVW mapping models from sketchup in max?

    Any common pitfalls to avoid?

    Thanks
    Olly

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    Veteran Member VelvetElvis's Avatar
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    Default Re: SketchUp to 3DS Max

    Yeah, avoid SketchUp to Max as a workflow all together. To get quality renders, you really should model directly in Max. SketchUp to Max is like putting a lawn mower engine in an F1 racer. SketchUp renders in Max look as if the geometry was cut from stone using the worlds most precise laser. Just way too blocky and hard edges that never exist in real life.

    However, after my needless rant, if you must stick with that workflow as that's what you are given there are some tips.

    One is scale of your project. You need to make sure that your scale is correct when you export so that a wall that's 4 meters in SketchUp will import as 4 meters in Max. If not, this will really screw with your textures, lighting, and cameras. Either your objects will be massive in size or miniature scale. Just make sure your units are set correctly for both.

    Export using FBX. This is a much easier format when going into Max from 3rd party software. This can also preserve UVW mapping coordinates, but I highly suggest re-mapping everything in Max. This format can also convert to whichever scale you are going into, such as meters or what not.

    Though, to be honest, if you are just using Max to render then I'd seriously look at purchasing Vray for SketchUp and avoid all of the pitfalls that come with exporting from SketchUp.
    Scott S.

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    Senior Member brodie_geers's Avatar
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    Default Re: SketchUp to 3DS Max

    haha, I would totally disagree with Elvis. I'm primarily a SU user but am getting more into 3ds Max and my final output is Maxwell Render. First I want to answer your question and then address a couple of VE's points.

    Which version of 3ds Max are you using. I think starting with 2011 they began incorporating a SU importer and in 2010, I believe it was, they had a download that would incorporate a SU importer. That is almost always the best way to go and it works wonderfully from my experience. It imports the SU model quickly and maintains components, geometry, and UV's (as I recall whatever texture map you use in sketchup comes in in the diffuse map of a Standard 3ds Max material and the UV's are maintained). If you have an earlier version of 3ds Max let me know and we can go from there, I've found some tricks going both directions.

    To VE's points,

    Just way too blocky and hard edges that never exist in real life.
    There's no reason this needs to be so. The reason this is typically true is because SU models are typically made to look good in SU, not to be rendered. That means people don't add the detail necessary, but there's no reason a SU modeler can't add the appropriate detail. Where you may run into poly limits are with things like vegetation, high poly cars, and high poly furniture. Those things can be added once you get to 3ds Max, but as for architectural detail I use lots of bevels and rounded corners with no issues (primarily for exterior hospital renderings which of course get quite large).

    I'd seriously look at purchasing Vray for SketchUp and avoid all of the pitfalls that come with exporting from SketchUp.
    I don't recommend Vray for SU for the reason I mentioned above. Although you won't reach a poly limit in SU with your building or site, should you want to add some high poly objects in your scene, you WILL run into a poly limit. Vray for SU offers no workaround so if you already have Vray for 3ds max and 3ds Max don't waste your money - again I haven't had any conversion issues with newer versions of Max. There are a couple renderers out there (like Maxwell) who incorporate their own separate Studio programs which also serve as an in between where you can place high poly objects.

    -Brodie

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    Junior Member OCT.studio's Avatar
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    Default Re: SketchUp to 3DS Max

    Thanks For your help! Im using Max 2011 so it dose have the SU import option ect.

    I can see both side of the story,
    I dont really like using Sketchup with max, But as an architect i see more and more people using it?

    In max is there a decent snap tool setting to replicate the snap function in SU ive played with the snap mode but cant quite get a similar effect?

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    Senior Member brodie_geers's Avatar
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    Default Re: SketchUp to 3DS Max

    I'm probably not the best one to answer that but I've run into similar issues and found Max much less intuitive. In Max you usually don't want snaps turned on because it wants to snap to everything so toggle snaps with the "S" key. From there if you right click on the snaps icon which should be up top on your toolbar you'll get some options (similar to AutoCAD if you're familiar with that program). Check whichever options you want. There's also an Options tab. Down at the bottom Use Axis Constraints and Display rubber band do interesting things, although I never quite understand what. I play with them until I get it working right. Currently I only have Display rubber bands checked and it works how I want, which means that I can turn snaps on and either grab the point to any snap or I can just grab, say the Z gizmo and the movement will be constrained to that axis (similar to selecting Move in SU and then using the up, down, left, right keys to constrain movement to the Blue, Red, or Green axis.

    -Brodie

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    Veteran Member VelvetElvis's Avatar
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    Default Re: SketchUp to 3DS Max

    You need to choose the snaps in max wisely. There is 3D, 2.5D, and 2D snapping options. I almost always stick in 2.5D (to be honest I can't tell you the difference between 2.5 and 2) but I'm always in 2.5D to avoid snapping on the Z axis. You can also customize where you are snapping to, similar to AutoCAD. Again, I primarily only have the vertex snap on or grid snap if I need to build to the grid such as creating assets to go into Unreal.

    The axis constraints on is pretty much a must. What those do is keep you restricted to the active axis. Say for instance, you want to move an object in the Y axis only. Having his on will allow you to drag and move an object in that active axis only and not all over the view port as you do when they are off. Rubber band, to me as a Max user since version 3, is annoying. Old habits and likes die hard I guess.

    I'm not a native SkechUp user. I only get what clients try to give me, which I use as a base to remodel in max, and spend hours ranting about how poorly it's modeled. So, I guess, SketchUp can be good in the right hands but the problem is everyone is not exactly familiar with proper modeling rules. I know of several large viz firms that simply refuse SketchUp models for that very reason. They'll use them for pre-production but will almost always remodel the scene in Max to avoid issues.

    For now, the biggest check you need to make is again the scale of objects. Make sure they are proper size and you should be fairly okay.
    Scott S.

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    Senior Member brodie_geers's Avatar
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    Default Re: SketchUp to 3DS Max

    Good tips about the snaps. I'll have to do some more testing. I'm not sure I've even tried the 2.5D snaps.

    I can understand your vitriol given the fact that you're getting SU assets from an outside source. Anyone model not specifically made for rendering is going to cause a lot of issues. It's bound to be low poly and even if it happened to have the right level of detail the normals are bound to be facing all over the place. I'll see if I can't send you one of my models VE and see what you think.

    As for scale, I think if you're using the Sketchup importer it takes care of that for you but it's worth a double check.

    BTW, 3ds Max to SU is a more difficult transition. If you need to go back my recommendation is to turn all of the materials to standard with the texture in the diffuse slot (I think there are some auto converters out there to convert from Vray to Standard). If you export a model with Vray materials SU won't bring in the textures. From there I usually export as either .3ds or if it's a large model then .dae but you can't use the Autodesk Collada, you have to download this exporter http://code.google.com/p/opencollada/downloads/list

    -Brodie

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    Veteran Member sancheuz's Avatar
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    Default Re: SketchUp to 3DS Max

    My workflow: Model basic structure in SU. Send to Max where I'll clean, fix, then detail. I find this workflow to be the most efficient for my style of work and it has worked well for me. I've not had to sacrifice detail either.

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    Senior Member brodie_geers's Avatar
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    Default Re: SketchUp to 3DS Max

    Quote Originally Posted by sancheuz View Post
    My workflow: Model basic structure in SU. Send to Max where I'll clean, fix, then detail. I find this workflow to be the most efficient for my style of work and it has worked well for me. I've not had to sacrifice detail either.
    What kind of cleaning and detailing do you do in Max that you find better than working in SU? I try out that sort of thing occasionally but it always feels like I could have done the same thing easier in SU.

    Currently the only thing I really love Max for is the ability to generate good UV's with a loft/sweep so I'm using it to create curbs and sidewalks for that purpose. It's also nice for placing high poly geometry but sometimes that's actually easier in Maxwell since it can be less buggy and I already have things set up there.

    -Brodie

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    Veteran Member sancheuz's Avatar
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    Default Re: SketchUp to 3DS Max

    Quote Originally Posted by brodie_geers View Post
    What kind of cleaning and detailing do you do in Max that you find better than working in SU? I try out that sort of thing occasionally but it always feels like I could have done the same thing easier in SU.
    -Brodie
    When I export from SU, usually have to weld, remove unnecessary lines, smoothing groups and that sort a cleaning. As to why I use 3ds, exactly for the reasons u mentioned: materials, uv's, high poly counts... 3ds is just way more powerful in these aspects compared to SU. I'm not too familiar with Maxwell so I couldn't compare it to that. The main advantage I take out of SU is its very lean and efficient modelling tools for very basic structure modelling.

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