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  • Writer's pictureRakshita Soni

Complete Guide from Sketchup to VR


Guide from Sketchup to VR

SketchUp is a popular 3D modeling software widely used by architects, designers, and other professionals in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. It allows users to create, modify, and visualize 3D models of buildings, landscapes, and various other objects. Combining the capabilities of SketchUp with VR can elevate your design presentations and reviews to a whole new level. This guide will explore how to take your SketchUp models into virtual reality using the SENTIO VR. Before we dive into the details, let’s review a few frequently asked questions about integrating SketchUp with Virtual Reality:


Let's dive deeper into each of the questions step-by-step:


What are the essential considerations for SketchUp to VR workflow?

The SketchUp to VR workflow opens exciting possibilities for designs and models. However, for an effective transition from Sketchup to VR there are several considerations that need to be answered before embarking on this VR journey.


Understanding the purpose

It's crucial to define the purpose of the VR experience. Sketchup to VR can be used in several ways to take your workflow to a new level, for example, client presentations, internal design reviews or real-time collaboration with multiple stakeholders. Here are a few examples:

  1. Client presentations: If you are using VR for client presentations, you might be interested in learning how to add photorealistic content created using SketchUp & Lumion, Enscape, Twinmotion, V-Ray and other tools using 360 panoramas.

  2. Design Reviews: By actually exploring your design in 1:1 scale, you can better understand the nuances of your design instead of viewing on a 2D screen.

  3. Real-time Collaboration: Save time and rework by getting all key stakeholders involved in the project in a collaborative VR environment to capture feedback.

Selecting the right VR headset: Wireless or Tethered

The choice of VR headset is important in determining the overall experience quality. Consider factors such as ease of use, mobility, and comfort when selecting between wireless and tethered headsets. Wireless headsets offer greater freedom of movement, while tethered headsets provide higher-end performance. Refer to our blog on Best VR headsets for Architects & Designers to find the most appropriate headset for your requirements.


Choose your workflow: Cloud-based or Local

There are two primary workflow options to consider: cloud-based and local.


Cloud-based workflow allows you to access the VR experiences from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. It enables you to realize remote collaboration especially with features like annotations and real-time collaboration that work really well for remotely distributed teams.


Local workflow ensures a better performance without any dependency on internet connectivity as it usually involves the headset connected to a high-end PC set up for in-person client presentations.


What are the steps involved to view your SketchUp model?


We’ve written in detail on the official support by SketchUp for wireless VR headsets like Meta Quest 2 in this blog post. For wireless and cloud-based workflows, you can find a step-by-step tutorial on how to export your SketchUp model for a VR walkthrough using Sentio VR.


Step 1) Export your SketchUp model using a plugin


The SENTIO VR plug-in acts as a bridge between SketchUp and the VR headset allowing you to seamlessly export your 3D models to the VR platform without requiring any coding experience or using game engines like Unity or Unreal. Let’s look at some commonly asked questions regarding the plugin.


Where can I download the plugin?

The SENTIO VR extension for SketchUp plugin is available for download in the Extension warehouse. Open the Warehouse from SketchUp, search for Sentio, download and install the plugin as shown below.

Sketchup plugin

Which versions of SketchUp are supported?

SENTIO VR supports Sketchup 2017 versions & above. The plugin is available for both Windows and Mac.


How does the export work?

Once you have installed the plugin, you will require to:

  • Login with your Sentio email and password

  • If you haven’t yet created an account, start your free trial here

  • Select scenes from your SketchUp model

  • Select the project where you want to model to be uploaded

  • Click on Upload


The model upload process exports the geometry, materials and textures and 

automatically converts them into an immersive experience ready for VR headsets like Meta Quest 3.

Export Sketchup model


How large can the models be?

While there is no specific file size limitations set in the plugin, we recommend to keep the models lightweight to ensure a smooth experience on wireless headsets. For models with more than 2 million polygons, you can see a prompt indicating the number of polygons which is usually a good way to understand the complexity of your design and readiness for wireless VR. 


A good workaround is to eliminate high-polygon objects like vegetation or objects that may not be required for an immersive review. To find out which objects are creating a high polygon count, you can use this free 3rd party plugin.


How long does it take for a model to upload?

It usually takes 3-15 minutes for a model to upload.


Step 2) Experience your SketchUp model using VR app

Experiencing a SketchUp model in VR can be an incredible way to experience things immersively and interact with the designs, spaces and 3D models. 


Where can I download the app?

Download SENTIO VR app from the Quest store. 


How to access my model in VR?

Accessing your model in VR using SENTIO VR is pretty easy. Log in or Signup to your SENTIO VR Account. Enter a 6 digit access code  in the SENTIO VR Quest 2 App and walk right into your model


Enter 6 digit access code

Dollhouse view: After entering 6 digit code, you'll be presented with a dollhouse view. 


Sketchup Dollhouse view

Add 2D assets on the screen in the dollhouse

The user-friendly and intuitive web portal of Sentio VR (app.sentiovr.com) allows you to seamlessly attach and manage your 2D assets, such as, floor plans, images, excels, layouts specific to each model, so that you have everything in one place that you need for your engaging presentations and design reviews.


1:1 Scale Review

SENTIO VR allows you to review your SketchUp designs in a 1:1 scale virtual environment. Wearing your VR headset, you can immerse yourself inside your virtual model, interact with the elements, walk through the details and design at its actual scale.


How to move around a 3D model in VR?

Don’t settle for static views and explore your sketchup models as if you were physically present with dynamic movement capability that allows you to explore your designs from different angles, focus on littlest of the details and gain full blown understanding of the entire model. 


Access all the navigational tools to review your 3D designs using Quest 2 App and:

  1. Walk through your model in SENTIO VR app on the Quest 2

  2. Enter your 6 digit code and step into your dollhouse view where the designs are placed.

  3. Open the App menu and access all the navigational tools and you'll find: 3.1 Teleport: Instead of physically walking, teleport to different locations directly making the navigation smooth, efficient and more comfortable. 3.2 Navigate: Walk/Fly mode, With walk mode you have the freedom to walk keeping a fixed eye height above the floor and teleport in the view or with fly mode move through the objects like doors and windows upward and downward in any direction. 3.3 Select Scenes: Conveniently switch between views or easily jump to different locations within your 3D model.


Step 3) Present and collaborate with external stakeholders

Present and collaborate with your external stakeholders on design reviews inside the 3D model in real-time either in in-person or remote settings. 


There are different ways of using SENTIO VR as a tool for showcasing your VR view to your clients or external stakeholders. 


  • Casting your VR View: With headsets like Meta Quest 2 or 3 you can easily showcase your VR view on a large screen for everyone to share the experience with.

  • Guided & Free walkthroughs:  By default, all hosts and guests are free to explore the model on their own. Once the participants are inside the design, they can explore all the VR Menu options like changing scenes, eye height, and walk/fly mode. To bring all participants together, the host can change the meeting mode to "Guided". In this mode, all participants gather around the host by default and follow the movements of the host with their own VR menus disabled.



For more information you can refer to our blog for better design reviews and client presentations for your projects.


Can I enter a multi-user collaboration meeting?

SENTIO VR allows multi-user VR meetings where you can collaborate with your external stakeholder.

Copy the meeting access code correctly & share it with other participants who will join you. All they need to do is to enter this 6-digit code on the SENTIO VR Quest 2 VR app or PC Viewer app to join this meeting.


Multi user collaboration in VR

What are the tools available to review the design?

  • Measurement: Easily measure the distance between the two points in Virtual world.

Measurement

  • Annotations & Notes: Add Annotations and Notes directly to the immersive environment encouraging clear communication and real-time feedback exchange among internal teams and with external stakeholders Now, With voice-to-text feature, transcribe your words instantly and enhance your detailed and accurate documentation workflow.

Add Notes and Annotations


  • Screenshots & Reports: Take high-quality screenshots from within the VR environment, capturing essential details

Take screenshot

  • Sun/Shadows: Improve the visualization of your Sketchup model by adding an additional layer of depth and realism with shadows based on the time of the day with Sun.


Sun & Shadows


What are the benefits of viewing Sketchup models in VR

Viewing your 3D Sketchup models in VR with immersive experience has numerous benefits.


  • Enhanced Presentations: Instead of relying on traditional 2D slides or static renderings, immerse your audience in the virtual environment of your design. With SENTIO VR, take your presentations- in person or remote to the whole next level. Walk them through the space, showcase the intricate details, bringing your vision to life. 


  • Efficient Design Reviews: Gone are the days where the tedious design reviews were only limited to flat screens and printouts. Sentio VR enables stakeholders, clients, and project teams to participate in immersive design reviews. They can provide real-time feedback, identify modifications, and collaborate effectively, leading to enhanced project outcomes and client satisfaction eliminating the scope of rework.


  • Seamless Collaboration: Sentio VR promotes seamless collaboration among team members & external stakeholders regardless of geographical limitations. By sharing your virtual designs either in in-person or remote meetings you can facilitate interactive discussions, and make informed decisions. This collaborative approach improves communication and streamlines the design workflow.

Conclusion

Sketchup with SENTIO VR is a game-changer for the professionals in AEC industries. These two powerful tools open up the world of possibility allowing you to review, explore and collaborate on your SketchUp models in captivating virtual environments. Seamlessly transfer your Sketchup models in stunning 1:1 scale along with various VR tools, impressing your clients and stakeholders and taking them one step closer to the vision of the final product.


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