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Importing CAD Linework

1.3_Importing CAD Linework

0:01 In this lesson we’re going to import our CAD base to give us a starting point to model off of.

0:06 Let’s start by making sure we’re still in parallel projection mode and plan view.

0:12 Also turn off any layers that are currently visible so we can work with just our CAD information.

0:19 Normally, we’d start in CAD and do a bunch of filtering and cleanup of linework to minimize the amount of effort required once in SketchUp.

0:28 Given that working with CAD files is not unique to landscape architecture, that process will be covered in a separate learning track.

0:35 So for this lesson, we’ve gone ahead and done that legwork for you by cleaning up and organizing our CAD drawing base in advance to ensure as seamless an import as possible.

0:45 Go ahead and navigate to your exercise files folder and in the same ‘References’ folder, locate the ‘CC-DesignBase.dwg’.

0:56 If you have a CAD program and want to open this file up to get better acquainted with the design, or layer organization, feel free to do so.

1:05 Now let’s import our CAD base into SketchUp.

1:08 Go to ‘File/Import’ and select ‘AutoCAD files’ from the dropdown.

1:13 Just a note that DXF and DWG import is a Pro and Shop-only feature so if you happen to be following along at home with the Free or Make versions, you’ll won’t be able to do this step.

1:27 Let’s confirm our options before clicking import

1:30 We have the option of preserving the drawing origin.

1:33 In most cases, this is good to have checked so that if you import the base again or any wblocks saved from the base, then it’ll drop right in th same place as the first import.

1:48 For this demo, there’s no need to preserve the origin as we only have this one file to work with and don’t want it far from our SketchUp origin.

1:55 We also don’t have any faces as this file - it has only lines in it…so we can leave everything else unchecked.

2:02 We should however confirm the model units…The CAD drawing was done in ‘Feet’ so make sure to have that selected.

2:10 Then click ‘Ok’ and ‘Import’…

2:13 As you and see we get a dialog box telling us what did and did not import into SketchUp.

2:20 As you and see we get a dialog box telling us what did and did not import into SketchUp.

2:20 MText and empty blocks do not import…but that’s fine as we don’t really want that CAD text in our SketchUp model anyway.

2:28 Keep in mind that if your CAD base is coming from other CAD software, like Civil3D...there may be additional geometry that is incompatible with SketchUp...

2:37 …and you may need to do more work in CAD or purchase a DXF importer extension in order to make sure everything comes in ok.

2:46 As you can see we’ve successfully imported our base linework.

2:51 You’ll notice that the entire CAD file comes in as one component by default.

2:55 Any groups we may have in CAD come in as groups and CAD blocks come in as components – which mean that any changes to one changes all of them…

3:01 …like the trees and furnishings for example were CAD blocks and are now components.

3:07 …like the trees and furnishings for example were CAD blocks and are now components.

3:09 Also note that SketchUp retains the CAD file’s layers and naming.

3:13 Here we have four layers, one for ‘Furnishings’…’Grading’....’Trees'…. and ‘Site’, which is the ground plane information like walks and planting areas.

3:27 Notice that the layers are grouped as well.

3:30 That was done intentionally in CAD given the fact that SketchUp doesn’t layer by geometry like CAD does.

3:36 It’s an extra step to help keep different elements separate from each other and organized.

3:44 Next, turn on the reference sketch layer and make sure to select all the CAD linework and move it directly on top of the sketch.