Upload your SketchUp models to the 3D (WebGL) viewing and sharing website Sketchfab
(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.
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.
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.
Screenshots and Videos
Here’s a video that shows how you can obtain the plugin and the upload process in more detail:
- 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.
- 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