Although gCADPlus has the ability to export a model in DXF file format to SketchUp, it is necessary to pay for a full copy of SketchUp in order to import DXF. There are times however, when gCADPlus users wish to avoid this cost and use the free copy of SketchUp to build 3D models of a landscape design. The figure below shows an example and comes from a design by Charles Comer who is based in Kentucky, USA.

Charles model

Here we list some steps to take in order to move a design from gCADPlus into the free SketchUp (Called SketchUp Make) and start modeling.

While in gCADPlus:

  • Use the Tools drop down menu and (from Layout Space) select Make Raster, set resolution (usually in the range 600 - 2400 pixels) and export the image at a high resolution as a jpg file. Tip: keep resolution of the jpg file close to the maximum value of 10,000 pixels.



 Use MakeRaster This movie shows how to export a raster file such s the above in jpg file format from gCADPlus.

The figure below shows one example of a typical file. Note that the names of species and a scale (in this case 5 feet) are included in the image.


In SketchUp

Check that the units and precision in the SketchUp environment are appropriate to your needs. I normally work in the metric system, but here the design (courtesy of Charles Comer) has been created using decimal feet as the base unit.

Next use File > Import and load (place) the file exported from gCADPlus.

Place image

Move view to top and turn the camera view to parallel

View parallel

Use the measure tool to measure the length of the scale bar. We will scale such that the image represents a full size model. In the example below the 5 foot scale bar measures 1.31 feet.

Scale the image - select and choose scale - in this case the scale factor here is 5/1.31 = 3,81

Now use your SketchUp skills to create a 3D model. When (for example) using the push/pull tool to set the height of the Buxus hedge, real values (1.5 feet) can be typed in the size box. This helps keep proportions correct in your model.

Model in SketchUp

In SketchUp

In SketchUp

This approach can produce 3D models with a minimum of effort.

3D Modeling in free SketchUp Make