The Easy Way to Import a Sketchup Model into Revit

In Autodesk Revit, Sketchup by admin

It is relatively easy to import a sketch model into Revit however the trick is to do so without unusual artefacts or losing information. To use a SketchUp model in Revit, you can just import the file directly in its native file format into Revit. or you can use SketchUp to export a DWG file, and then import that DWG file into Revit. Many people feel the DWG file format creates cleaner geometry and its worth experimenting to see whats right on a case to case basis. You could also link a SKP file to the Revit project, instead of importing it.

Before importing a SKP file from SketchUp into Revit, do the following:

• Make sure you import the geometric data needed for the Revit capability that you plan to use.
• Review Limitations of Imported SketchUp Data
• Review Best Practices When Importing Masses

To import SKP files into a Family

• Create an in-place family in a Revit project, or create a family in the Family Editor. See Families.
• Click Insert tab Import panel(Import CAD).
• In the Import CAD Formats dialog, navigate to the folder that contains the SKP file.
• For Files of Type, select the SKP file type.
• Select the file to import.
• Specify the desired import settings.

The following settings are recommended:

  • Colors: Preserve
  • Layers: All
  • Import Units: Auto-Detect
  • Positioning: Auto – Origin to Origin
  • Place at: Level 1 or Ref. Level
  • Orient to View
  • Click Open.

You may need to do the following to see the SketchUp-based form:

• Switch to a 3D view.
• To improve visibility, on the View Control Bar, for Visual Style, select (Shaded).
• Click Work Plane panel(Set) on the Architecture tab, the Structure tab, or the Systems tab. In the Work Plane dialog, select a plane.
• Type ZF (Zoom to Fit) to adjust the drawing area to show the entire form.
• If you are creating a mass family, click Massing & Site tabConceptual Mass panel(Show Mass Form and Floors).

To import SketchUp files into a Mass

• Create a mass . See Using the Mass Editor or Creating an In-Place Family.
• Click File menu Import/LinkCAD Formats.
• In the Import/Link dialog, navigate to the directory containing the file.
• Select the SKP file type.
• Click Open.

Suitability of Imported Geometry

When you import a file into Revit, the format of the imported file may support varying qualities of geometry. These variations are caused by the file type, the export settings, and the import settings.

Some tools and capabilities in Revit require specific types of geometry. For example:
• The Join Geometry tool requires volumetric geometry.
• Rendering an image requires that faces are associated with material properties.
• The Roof by Face tool requires geometry with suitably sized faces for flat roof panels or a NURB representation of a complex, shaped roof panel.
• Masses require volumetric geometry to calculate volume, surface area, and floor area faces. See Considerations for Imported Geometry in Mass or Generic Model Families… and Importing Massing Studies from Other Applications.

You can import many different types of file formats into Revit. When you export a file from the originating application for use with Revit, you can set a variety of export options. With these many variations of file formats and export options, it is important to ensure that the exported file provides the geometric data needed for the Revit capability that you plan to use. To optimize results with various file formats, consult the documentation provided with the exporting applications.

Limitations of SketchUp Data Imported to Revit:

Revit treats the data imported from SketchUp as a large block of geometry that resists being manipulated (in the ways that you can usually manipulate geometry that is native to Revit). However, you can change the layer settings from SketchUp. (For example, to assign colors or materials on a by-layer basis, click Manage tab Settings panel Object Styles, and change settings on the Imported Objects tab.)
When you import a SketchUp design into a Revit mass family and then load the mass family into a Revit project, you can convert mass faces (from the design) into walls, floors, and roofs. (See Importing Massing Studies from Other Applications.)

Consider the following restrictions:

• Exploding 3D data: In Revit, you will not be able to explode 3D data. If you try this, 3D faces will disappear, and you will receive a warning message.
• Parameters: In Revit, you cannot add parameters to control geometric flexing. However, you can add some controls that manipulate imported data, such as the location of an imported element and its material assignments.
• Visibility/graphics: In Revit, you cannot manipulate the geometry or isolate parts of whole elements with visibility/graphics settings.
• Two-sided surfaces: If a material or color is assigned to only one side of a surface in Trimble® SketchUp, Revit applies the material or color to both sides of the surface by default. If there is material on both sides of the surface, Revit applies the Face 1 material to both sides. If faces are flipped and painted differently in SketchUp, they may not display the correct material in Revit.
• Properties: The following SketchUp properties are currently not supported in Revit import: Texture Image Maps, Transparency, Smooth Curved Surfaces, Text and Dimensions, Raster Images, and saved Pages.
• Cut planes: Imports cannot be cut by a cut plane unless imported into a cuttable family category. See Cuttable Families.
• SketchUp and massing: Not all SketchUp imports are appropriate to massing. See Suitability of Imported Geometry. Also see Importing Massing Studies from Other Applications.
• Scaling: Groups or components that have been scaled in their entirety with the SketchUp Scaling tool may be incorrectly scaled when imported to Revit. Exploded SketchUp models should import at the correct scale.

Best Practices When Importing Masses

Complete the design: Before importing a mass to Revit, complete as much of the design as required in the design software. If you make changes to the design after importing it to Revit, you cannot update the Revit family or project with the changes.
Level of detail: Before importing a mass to Revit, reduce the amount of detail that it contains. For example, cornices, roof eaves, window detail, reveals, windows, casework, tessellated approximations of surfaces, ornaments and articulation on walls, and other such fine work can be imported as separate families. After importing the simplified mass to Revit, you can then add these details to the walls and roofs created from the mass.
Mass floors: If a mass family imports only non-volumetric geometry, you cannot create mass floors in Revit. However, if an imported mass family contains both volumetric and non-volumetric geometry, you will be able to create mass floors from the volumetric portions of the geometry (You can ignore the warnings).

So in summary proper preparation of the Sketchup model and a clear understanding of how you want to best utilise its data in Revit will be key for a seamless transition between the conceptual work you might have done with sketchup and the more developed work you want to complete in Revit. Sketchup to Revit is a great workflow if you can nail the best practice procedures that work for you.