Example 3D Output using Google SketchUp

April 18th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Our 3D scanning routine produces 3D data that can be used by many different programs including 3D Studio Max and AutoCAD. Unfortunately, configuring a PC to read this data can require downloading special viewers and other software. Google has made the process of viewing SketchUp models easy with a normal web browser, and because SketchUp can easily import our data we will use it as a demonstration platform. This summer (2010) we plan to upload increasingly complex examples of our 3D models and data.

We are currently creating exterior “shells” of 3D buildings using Google SketchUp. What will set us apart from the other SketchUp modelers is our photorealistic scanning process. Soon we will begin putting our scanned interiors inside of these models. Below is a 3D model that we made of a building in Purcellville Virginia, and the model has been placed into Google Earth.

You can use the standard Google navigation controls in the upper left of the window to move around.
It is a little more complicated, but you can also use a mouse to move around. A 3-button mouse with a scroll wheel works best:
– Left click to move the scene around
– Use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out.
– Click once on the building with the center button, and then use the mouse to spin it around. Exit this mode with a left click.

The right button combines several of the functions:
– Right click on or near the building. Where you click determines the center of rotation.
With the right button held down:
-move the mouse left or right to spin
-move the mouse up or down to zoom

View Larger Map

SketchUp is normally used to show building exteriors, but it can do much more. In 2008 we met with the Google SketchUp team and demonstrated how our 3D scans can be integrated inside of a SketchUp exterior. Combining the technologies allows you to travel from the bird’s eye view of Google Earth down to a building, and then into it. We plan to use our automatic scanning system to scan part of the building’s interior later in 2010. Creating interiors for a building like this by hand is a very tedious process.

A few years ago an executive at Electronic Arts told me that a skilled artist can take over two weeks to make a detailed room for a video game. We have also been told by the FBI in Quantico VA that recording and modeling a crime scene can range from a few hours to a few months. A cost effective system for scanning interiors would be useful to architects, insurance inspectors, 3D artists, and forensic investigators.

The 3D-360 will automate many parts of the 3D modeling process, and we expect to produce photorealistic models of a room in under one hour of scanning. We are looking forward to scanning real scenes like historic buildings, construction sites, crime scenes, and content for training CDs. We probably have not yet identified the biggest application for this cost effective technology.

SketchUp doesn’t easily support viewing interiors, but there are several options. One simple option is to leave a wall off of a building so that you can look inside. Another option is to leave a door open or look through the windows. Below is an example SketchUp model that we found in the Google 3D warehouse.

This is a simple SketchUp model of a living room, and it probably took a few hours to a few days to create. The modeler probably used a combination of basic shapes , pictures, and generic items from the Google 3D Warehouse. When our 3D scanner output is good enough we will replace this image with an automatically created 3D model of an interior room. Feel free to click on the model above to navigate in 3D mode. Click, hold and drag the left mouse button to spin around the model and use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out.

  1. Tony Pike
    February 8th, 2010 at 03:08 | #1

    Hi Skip,

    Thanks for helping us out in this jam, our power is estimated to be restored by Feb 9th 10PM 2010, so it looks like we will just have power in time for it to be knocked out by the second storm!!

    Anyway question about the sketchup 3D its looks like they all rotate around the Horizontal X axis, but can you rotate them simultaneously around the Horizontal and Vertical (X Axis and Y Axis) and then can you zoom in and out simulating the Z axis also, if you could set up a web example of that so that your ready with a Stereo Reconstuct of your latest work.

    I’, just running 80 threshold 357 stepping down 0.05 so 80, 75, 70, it seems to have memory issues with this setting, I’m debugging it now.


  1. No trackbacks yet.