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, WordPress, and many other places you can even just paste a model’s URL into a status update and it turns into an embedded 3D file. Since one of the upload file formats 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 versions 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 Sketchfab’s 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.
For some colorful sample eye candy, try this model.
Go to File > Upload to Sketchfab > Upload Model… to send your entire model (or only the selected objects) to the cloud. Make sure you have first received your API token from the Sketchfab website. You will need to paste that token into the uploader dialog.
- Read this tutorial about how to best prepare your SketchUp model for upload.
- At this point, material transparency uploads well, but texture transparency apparently doesn’t. You can fix that in Sketchfab’s material editor after the upload by setting appropriate opaqueness values.
- SketchUp has the ability to 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 COLLADA export function).
- Inserted images in SketchUp need to be exploded before upload so that the textures show up properly.
- For SketchUp versions before 2014: the post_url function that this extension uses does not accept returned data. Therefore what is shown after an upload is a bit workaroundish. This has been fixed for newer SketchUp versions.
- At this point, uploaded models can’t be updated using this uploader.
You can also find this extension on GitHub.