Sketchfab Uploader Extension for SketchUp

Upload your SketchUp models to the 3D (WebGL) viewing and sharing website Sketchfab

Sketchfab Website

Description

sketchfab-logo-512When I originally wrote this extension, I had been looking quite a while for a way to share interactive 3D content from SketchUp on the web in a way that didn’t require installing a browser plugin. At the time, there were some Javascript-, Flash-, or VRML-based solutions, none of which were easy to work with. This has changed with the advent of WebGL, which came as a promising technology that is solely based on modern browser technology. By now, most browsers are perfectly capable of rendering models very nicely (even on mobile devices). Below is a WebGL model of one of my projects (click to start and then use your mouse to navigate it):

(for some colorful eye candy, try this one, too)

Sketchfab is a very easy-to-use website that lets anyone upload 3D models, display them using WebGL, and share them with the world. On Facebook, you can even just paste a model’s URL into a status update and it turns into an embedded 3D file. There is also a WordPress plugin to embed your models on your website (you can see it in action above). Since the main upload file format is COLLADA, it is easy for SketchUp users to upload their work there (the DAE and KMZ export format is natively supported in both the free and Pro version of SketchUp). What had been missing was a SketchUp extension to makes this process more automatic.

The extension that you can download and install from this page adds a menu item “Upload to Sketchfab…” to the File menu in SketchUp. All you need to do before you can upload your models is register on their website and get a “secret API token” that links your uploads to your account. You can find that token on your personal account settings page after registering.

After uploading your model, you can edit parameters and materials, grab a thumbnail or adjust the default view on the Sketchfab website.

Usage

Go to File > Upload to Sketchfab… to send your model to the cloud. Make sure you have first gotten your API token from the Sketchfab website.

Downloads

You can now find this plugin in Trimble’s Extension Warehouse. For an easy install (and update notifications), browse to it from inside SketchUp (2013 or newer) and install it directly.

Alternative Downloads

Download “SketchUp to Sketchfab Uploader (RBZ)” as_sketchfab_2-2_0.rbz – Downloaded 853 times – 765 KB

Download “SketchUp to Sketchfab Uploader (ZIP)” as_sketchfab_2-2_0.zip – Downloaded 712 times – 765 KB

To install these files, follow the SketchUp folks’ instructions. You can also find this plugin on GitHub.

Screenshots and Videos

Here’s a video that shows how you can obtain the plugin and the upload process in more detail:

Uploader Dialog
Uploader Dialog

Known Issues

  • Material transparency uploads well, but texture transparency apparently doesn’t. You can fix that in Sketchfab’s material editor by setting appropriate opaqueness values.
  • SketchUp can assign materials to both sides of a face (front and back). This sometimes causes trouble and I would strongly recommend you remove the backface materials. You can do that automatically for your entire model using ThomThom’s Material Tools extension.
  • Text labels, dimensions, construction-points and -lines don’t upload (this is hard-wired into SketchUp’s export function). Also, inserted images need to be exploded before upload so that the textures show up properly.
  • For SU versions before SU 2014: the post_url function does not accept returned data. Therefore what is shown after an upload is a bit workaroundish. This has been fixed for SU 2014.

Revision History

  • Version 2.2 (1/18/2016):
    – Code cleanup, wrapped in my module for consistency
    – Updated Sketchfab logo
    – Token field hides content (password input)
    – Removed support for instanced upload (doesn’t work for Sketchfab)
    – Moved html dialogs into separate files
    – Included local version of jQuery, updated jQuery
    – Checkbox selection now saves state
    – Set maxlength for input fields
  • Version 2.1 (3/17/2014):
    – Wrapped external modules in my namespace
    – Consolidated code
    – Moved temp files to TEMP folder
  • Version 2.0 (3/11/2014):
    – Added more export options to dialog (2014)
    – Added error handling in uploading code (2014)
    – Changed upload to SSL (2014), 2013 was always SSL
  • Version 1.8 (3/8/2014):
    – Uploads ZIPped models now
    – Gives option to only upload selection if something has been selected.
    – SketchUp material names are now preserved on upload.
    – SU 2014 only: Option to include/exclude edges
  • Version  1.7 (2/18/2014):
    – Fixed temp location cleanup
    – Removed thumbnail image export
    SU 2014 only:
    – Added new upload method
    – Implemented multipart upload via new API
    – Added option to open model after uploading
  • Version 1.6 (7/15/2013):
    – Changed temp location to user folder to remove permission problem
  • Version 1.5 (5/10/2013):
    – Reorganized folders
  • Version 1.4 (12/11/2012):
    – Support for updated API (incl. private/password functionailty)
    – Included SketchUp source tag in JSON
    – Exports edges by default now
    – Removed thumbnail upload (not supported anymore by API)
    – Better string cleaning on upload
  • Version 1.3 (7/20/2012):
    – Fixed filename problem to prevent permission issue
  • Version 1.2 (7/19/2012):
    – Uploads a thumbnail now
    – Provided more error checking
  • Version 1.1 (7/18/2012):
    – Changed json assembly to Ruby side – more reliable
    – Uploads large models now
  • Version 1.0 (7/13/2012):
    – First release
  • Alex

    Hey Alex… can you help me with this:

    I uploaded a sketchup model to Sketchfab. The model is intended to view millwork inside a room. However, the google cardboard viewer does not seem to allow navigation into the model. To consider it another way, the viewer does not allow one to zoom in far enough to place the point of view inside the model.

    Sketchfab’s VR Navigation page mentions models with the “initial camera view” set inside the model. Can I specify the initial camera view when exporting from Sketchup? Is there another way to allow an interior space model to be viewed in sketchfab?

    Thanks! – Alex

  • Gabriel Spiteri

    Hi Alexander, I have installed extions v2.2 … however when i try to submit my model … it start the export … it also loads a shell window where i can see it exporting the materials images, but then the window crashes (not responding) …. any suggestions?

  • I just updated the Sketchfab extension to v.2.2

  • Lonnie Cumpton

    I just created a test account and installed the plugin and it worked great as advertised. I have uploaded two models one small and one a bit bigger. The small one navigates fine but the bigger one is very sluggish. I am testing this for my company and i am not a sketchup user, but I am wondering if anything can be done during the export process to improve navigation performance. here are the links to the two models.

    Small
    https://skfb.ly/FBLW

    Bigger
    https://skfb.ly/FCIz

    • Lonnie Cumpton

      Ok I did some looking and turned off export edges and Preserve component hierarchy and performance is way better.

      • Hi Lonnie, the next version will actually have the component hierarchy turned off by default. That has been an issue in the past.

  • Peter Chaddock

    Hi Alex, I’m using Sketchup Make 2015 (under Ubuntu/wine). I’ve added your plugin and it appears in the file menu. However, when (after filling in form etc) I click ‘submit’, it simple clears the form and fails to upload anything to my Sketchfab account.

    Any ideas?

    Best wishes

    Peter

    • Interesting problem! Please do the following to help me troubleshoot: Open the Ruby Console (under the Windows menu) and paste the following line, hit enter and let me know what it says.

      user_dir = (defined? Sketchup.temp_dir) ? Sketchup.temp_dir : ENV[‘TMPDIR’] || ENV[‘TMP’] || ENV[‘TEMP’]

      • Peter Chaddock

        C:/users/peter/Temp

        :)

        • Hmmm… That’s pretty standard. Do you have the latest version of SU and of the SketchFab plugin?

          • Peter Chaddock

            Sketchup version 15.3.330 (32 bit, check for update option reports I have the latest version) and version 2.1 of your uploader installed via Extension Wharehouse. Wine version 1.7.44 currently configured to emulate Windows 7.

            P.S. Your uploader worked fine when I ran Sketchup 8 under Wine in XP mode.

  • chrisjmitchell

    Hi, I just installed the plugin and I get nothing on “upload to sketchfab”. I open the ruby window and it says:

    Error: #<LoadError: 127: The specified procedure could not be found.

    and a whole list of what it cannot find. Any ideas?

    Thanks!

  • Alice

    Hi! I’m trying to upload a model, but every time it’s at 45% it stops working. The model is showing at Sketchfab, but it doesn’t open, because it wasn’t completely uploaded. Do you have any ideas on how to fix that? Thank you!

    • If it happens when you see the progress bar, then the problem is with SketchUp’s built-in DAE exporter. Try exporting your model to DAE via File > Export > 3D Model… and see if it still happens.

  • The backface issue has been fixed by Sketchfab. Models now upload correctly.

  • Aaaand we’re at 2.0 now! I changed the upload to SSL and offered many more upload options.

  • I just updated the Sketchfab plugin to version 1.8. The new release fixes a bunch of bugs and uses a better upload mechanism (especially in SketchUp 2014).

  • Pierre

    Hi ! I can’t wait to try your exporter. But I’m having trouble with the upload of my model. When I select the “Upload your model to sketchfab” option, the progress bar appears but nothing happens after that. My API is never asked, and I have never seen the window of the Sketchup Uploader… It seems I’m not the only one with this problem. Do you have a solution ? Thanks a lot !

    • Try it again now. I just updated the plugin to 1.8 and with SU 2014 it should work perfectly.

  • stellHex

    I just joined sketchfab and found the plugin, and it worked almost perfectly, except for one important detail—the colors. Screenshots are attached. Conversion to STL yielded similar results, so I am reasonably sure that the problem is with the geometry of the object, but I cannot figure out what it could be.

    • It has to do with their materials being set to “double-sided” by default. You can go into the materials editor in SF and uncheck the box “double-sided” option for each material. I’ll look into that when I update the plugin.

      • stellHex

        Thank you for your prompt and helpful answer!

  • Nils

    Just started an account with Sketchfab. Using Windows 7, Sketchup Make 2013. Installed v.1.6 plugin. The export bar will load to 100% but then nothing happens. No pop up window to confirm and actually upload the model. Any ideas on workaround? Model is 8.5 MB

    • Have you tried a smaller model? Would that upload?
      The exporter is writing a temporary file. If there are any restrictive folder permissions set, then that might be a problem.
      You can always export the model as a DAE and then ZIP teh DAE file and the materials folder and upload those directly to Sketchfab. See if that works.

  • dErek

    Great release! I installed v1.6, everything is fine until the popup that asks me to close it only when a new browser popup appear… But I waited for a long time but there wasnt anything. Is there any problem? Thanks.

    • Are you on a Mac or on Windows?

      • dErek

        Windows
        Thanks for the very quick reply :)

        • So if no dialog opens, then the model might have been too big. Did it upload? If so, then it should be on SketchFab at least. If that’s not the case, see if making it simpler lets you upload it (delete unused content).

          • dErek

            Well, I guess that explains everything. The file was very big (I guess) its about 200mb for a .dae file so maybe thats why it didn’t upload. The work was my seniors’ so I can’t really edit them. Anyway, thanks for replying and helping out. I guess I can just show my teachers by uploading it to dropbox or something. Thanks!

          • You should also try to upload the DAE file (zipped) directly to Sketchfab. The plugin is not really required.

  • I just updated this plugin to v.1.6.

  • I just updated the Sketchfab plugin to v.1.4.

  • Steve W

    I just installed the Sketchfab exporter and uploaded my first model (https://sketchfab.com/show/3mBdeTZSAnLPkWPkTBp6TGLOZGV ) , and it all worked very well. Great Job! Some questions/observations:

    1. (Very minor) In the menu for Sketchup upload, the first time I used it, when I pasted the API, the words “paste API here” remained and I had to delete manually. Any way to make the text automatically disappear when you paste the API?

    2. My model had 2 different components with different textures applied to each one. On the upload in Sketchfab, they appeared with one of the textures applied to both. Do I need to explode textured components before uploading?

    3. It looks like non-visible layers become visible in the upload?

    4. Colors on the model are very faded in the upload. Component textures mentioned in 2 above stayed strong. Any way to solve this?

    5. Any way to get light and shadow (from sun or lights, not the SSAO) in Sketchup model uploads?

    6. Sketchfab has a maximum file upload limit. How can Sketchup users determine the size of their uploaded files? Is it the same as the Sketchup .skp file size?

    7. The Sketchfab site says “Safari (you need to enable WebGL from develop mode in Safari)”, but above you say Safari doesn’t work. Can you clarify?

    Thanks for the exporter!

    • Hi Steve, I very much like the hand-drawn trees in there! Let me answer your questions:

      1 – I’ll look into that. New version coming this week!

      2 – That might be a quirk in the COLLADA exporter in SketchUp. You could try that out using a “standard” DAE export and see if you still get the same problem. It usually is best if you apply materials inside groups if you have different materials. Explode helps, too, of course.

      3 – Hmm… interesting. Again, this is SketchUp’s COLLADA exporter.

      4 – This is SketchFab’s display. You could either apply textures everywhere or try my COLLADA hack (search “hack COLLADA” on my site)

      5 – That would be a great feature request in SketchFab. They can easily implement that in WebGL (even interactively).

      6 – At this point, it’s trial and error. I haven’t implemented that. I am also curious how they police this. After all, the DAE model gets encoded into a string in my uploader.

      6 – I’ll look at my wording, but I mean Safari on the Mac is OK but Safari on iOS (e.g. iPads) doesn’t support WebGL.

  • Monte

    Yes , all the tests are now there lol) thnx again

  • Monte

    Screen shot

    • I see. Just cancel that dialog when it comes up. There’s nothing to download. It’s just a confirmation reply that says your model has uploaded. Your model will be on the SF dashboard.

  • Pablo Vidal

    …please help me, and forgive my ignorance.
    I can’t install that plugin, put the file .rbz in the plugins folder of SU, but the program not recognise him.
    What I can be doing wrong?

    thanks a lot!

  • Monte

    all is well now I get the dialog box ….thnx look forward to using this…great job

    • Glad to hear it works…

      • Monte

        works except it doesn’t connect to site I sent you an Email with a screen shot

        • Didn’t get the email. Upload the image here in your comment instead.

  • Monte

    version 1.2 does not work for me using Sketchup 8 pro on windows with chrome for browser I get the progress bar but no dialog box to input api key

    • It is running well on my Win7+Su8Pro setup. I’ll upload a version (1.3) with more error checking today so that we at least get some feedback as to what went wrong. Please test again and tell me what it says…

      • Just uploaded 1.3, which fixes the file permission problem. Please download it and try it out.

  • Monte

    I’m having the same problem as Stuart

  • Archimodeler

    Hello! I downloaded Sketchfab, put it in the plugins folder of Sketchup, but no Sketchfab option in my Sketchup. Any idea why?

    • Archimodeler

      Never mind, I figured it out :-)

  • I just uploaded version 1.2 that also submits a thumbnail. Everything should now be working perfectly…

  • Everyone: If you downloaded version 1.0, please update to version 1.1 – it fixes a bug with large models.

  • Alex, this is a great idea. Looking forward to using it.

    Having a problem getting it to work though. I have loaded extension using .rbz file and the ‘Upload to Sketchfab” function is listed under File menu. When I click to upload a file, i see a progress bar which reaches 100% but I don’t get the dialog box into which you need to enter the api-key.

    Any ideas? I am using SU8 Pro on Win 7.

    Cheers…Scotty

    • Are you using it on a very large model? Have you tried a smaller one? The progressbar is the SU exporter that writes the model out to a temporary file after which SU reads it back in for the dialog. This might get a bit hairy with large models.

    • Are you using it on a very large model? Have you tried a smaller one? The progressbar is the SU exporter that writes the model out to a temporary file after which SU reads it back in for the dialog. This might get a bit hairy with large models.

    • I just uploaded version 1.1 that should fix this. Please try it out and let me know if you still have problems.