SketchUp to VR in 10 Seconds / by Leah Kovach

SketchUp is one of the world’s most popular 3D modeling programs. A wide variety of industries - including architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, film, and product design - rely on the program to bring their ideas to life.

Want to view your SketchUp models in virtual reality? It’s easy if you have Prospect and the right hardware.

Getting Ready to Go Into VR

First, make sure that your file can be viewed in Prospect (we support SketchUp 2014-2017) and has the proper geolocation set in the file. Geolocation in SketchUp will inform your ability to adjust Sun Settings in VR and accurately asses glare and shadows cast from the natural light entering your space. If you have different Scenes you’d like to view in your model, or would like to easily jump between different rooms or locations, make sure you have a number of clearly named Scenes set up as well.

Next, configure your workstation for virtual reality by calibrating your headset - either an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift - and opening Prospect on your desktop. You can start a free trial of Prospect here.

Once Prospect is open, either drag and drop a SketchUp file into the dropzone or find and upload your file by clicking “Browse.” Once the file is selected, click “Launch” and get ready to go into VR!

SketchUp to VR

Inside of Your 3D Model

The first thing you’ll see is your model loaded in front of you; this is Scale Model Mode. From here, you can rotate, scale, and section your model to better view enclosed areas. It also provides the jumping off point to enter, explore, and review your model. You can press the menu button on your controller to toggle on tooltips while in-VR as you or your clients get familiarized with the different features.

When you’re ready to go inside the model at 1:1 scale, select “Navigate” on the menu to teleport yourself in. You can now explore your model and begin immersive review.

In-VR Tools for Immersive Review

We’ve designed several tools to help produce actionable next steps and valuable  design insights from your time spent reviewing your model in-VR.

Sun Settings use the precise geolocation you’ve set up in your original SketchUp file to display accurate lighting and shadows. Adjusting the date and time allow you to make informed decisions about windows, lighting, and to do shadow studies.

Sun Settings in VR

Viewpoints are camera views located within your model.  Using Viewpoints is one of the best ways to walk a client or colleague through a project, creating a solid narrative about your space. Prospect uses Scenes from SketchUp to create Viewpoints. You can navigate between these Viewpoints from both Scale Model Mode and within your model.

Viewpoints in VR

Layers can be leveraged to easily and effectively showcase different design options, material combinations, or even walk through entirely different layouts. All layers are automatically pulled into Prospect from SketchUp, but make sure you’ve associated your layers with groups or components rather than entities. We recommend turning off the visibility all but one design option while in SketchUp. Doing this will keep the layers off when you launch to Prospect until you’re ready to switch between the different design options with the layers menu as demonstrated in the video.

Layers in VR

Want to see the full workflow? It's all captured in this video.

As always, if you have questions about using SketchUp and Prospect, please feel free to reach out to our team!