SketchUp to AC3D exporter

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SketchUp to AC3D exporter
Developed by

James Turner and others

Initial release 0.1 (1 September 2008)
Written in

Ruby

Development status

Active (2008-)

License

GNU General Public License

With the SketchUp to AC3D exporter, developed by James Turner and improved by others, you are able to export SketchUp models to the .ac fileformat. The script works on both the free version aswell on the pro version.

Installation

You can download the script at this link. Place the .rb file into your SketchUp/Plugins folder. Now restart SketchUp and the script should be visible through the Plugins > Export to AC3D menu.

NOTE: on Google Sketchup 8, users are able to export as a .dae file, and AC3D is able to import .dae files- meaning no conversions are necessary if texturising in AC3D.

A note about textures

The AC3D exporter is set to export textures to the PNG format by standard. That means that for FlightGear to be able to display your model correctly, you will have to provide your textures in the .png format.

So if you have a texture in a format other than PNG, you'll have to transform it into PNG. One free program capable of this conversion is ImageMagick. You can download it here:

Also see: AC files: Textures and SketchUp: Correct display of texture colors in the AC file.

Development

The script is still in development at the moment. The current progress as of 12 September 2008 is:

Done:

  • Geometry export
  • Texture export

Known Issues:

  • Texture scaling on the model may appear wrong, further testing required
  • Material properties are guessed, so may appear different from Blender defaults. SketchUp has very limited material controls, so manual editing may be required.

To do:

  • Conversion of lat- and longitude locations.

Development Update July 2011

SketchUp models which are completed using the existing SketchUp to AC3D exporter are rendered in FlightGear with double sided faces.

Though there is nothing wrong with double sided faces, there is a considerable saving in FG processing if single faces can be used. This affects fps (frames per second) and is particularly noticeable when entering an area which is heavily inhabited with buildings/models.

It is possible to export SketchUp models with single faces by using a new version of the exporter (adapted by VicMar & i4dnf).

The new version is named ‘ac3dS_export.rb’ and is available for download from: http://vicmar.weebly.com/downloads.html The ‘ac3dS_export.rb’ file should be placed in the same folder/directory as the existing exporter. In the SketchUp ‘Plugins’ menu, it will appear as “Export to AC3D (Single_Faced)” and should appear with the existing exporter. Do NOT remove the existing exporter.

The new version is recommended for use with SketchUp models which do NOT have any see through textures. It is also not recommended if your model has apertures like open Hangar doors, which allow a view inside the building, as the opposite walls will be invisible.

There is a work around for models which have see-through textures, but it is a chore to do, so it is recommended you use the existing exporter for such models.