My first rendered (albeit simple) CityEngine model

I’ve been looking at ways to import properly my GIS to CityEngine models into SketchUp, the trouble is that when I’ve opened them in SketchUp the model looks weird. In that I mean it doesn’t draw properly and doesn’t display properly. It sort of flashes on and off when I move around the model. Then when I’ve tried to render it in Kerkythea (a great and free renderer) it doesn’t work either.

I looked for a solution and it appears the answer lay in this forum post “obj export to Lightwave – problems with scale”.  What’s happening is that I’ve been importing my ArcGIS Shapefiles as “‘Cartesian'(disable projection)”.   This way I can easily export the results back to ArcGIS.   I’ll freely admit I’m not so good with projections and map systems!  Anyway while this is great for back and forth between CityEngine and GIS, the models produced (obj or 3DS, in my case) have an issue.

Basically the models are exported with origin points far to far away from the actual model.    CityEngine at this time does not seem to be able to sort this problem out.  Their solution is to import all shapefiles and centre the data by offsetting, but of course getting back to your GIS is not as easy as my preferred method.

My model is displaying a bit weird in SketchUp...

I’ve decided that I like too much the ability to go between ArcGIS and CityEngine so the solution lies for me where the problem manifests itself in SketchUp:

  1. Import your model into SketchUp (3DS or OBJ)
  2. Double click on the imported model so you are working inside the ‘component/group’ no right click off the mode to bring up the menu with ‘Change Axes’
  3. Now position the axes were you want it within the model you’ve imported.*UPDATE: Alternatively use the ‘Move to Origin and Center’ plugin tool which you can download from Smustard
  4. Close the component/group
  5. Viola! you should have a properly displaying model now.
  6. Now for getting the model into Kerkythea you need to download and install this SketchUp Plugin
As a footnote if you want the model to sit correctly in Google Earth, use SketchUp’s Geo-Location tool under the File menu.  Then just manually position your model.   It’s not a perfect solution but Google Earth for most people isn’t about millimetre accuracy!




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