Working with Sketchup files in C4D...?


I have a client who has quite a few product assemblies done in Sketchup Pro. We’re looking to find out whether that would be a suitable path into C4D or not. Being that they already have quite a bit of work done in that program, I’d like to explore as many options as there are for finding the best path into C4D.

I checked the Sketchup support page, and they list a few of the more common export options, with .OBJ being the most likely choice. Unfortunately, no STEP, but I guess that would be expecting too much from Sketch.

So, my question is whether any of you have first-hand experience with this? Are there any tricks or tips about getting the best results when exporting from Sketchup, so that the model/parts can start off as good as possible once imported into Cinema for animation?

Thanks so much!


Hi Sneather,

Collada .DAE or Autocad .DWG are the way to go. It’s been a while since last time I used an SketchUp file, so I’m not sure what the pros and cons are for each format. If I’m not wrong .Dae will import cleaner meshes( non triangulated or nGones) than .dwg( will triangulate the meshes). But .dwg file format will import components as C4D’s instances which is a huge advantage if your .skp file is build based on components.

I would test both options and choose what best suits to your workflow.

Hope that makes sense,



Thank you, José. What you described makes quite a bit of sense. I’ll give both methods a try. Ultimately, I may need to just buy the “Pro” version myself, so I can work with the files on both ends.


For me DAE worked really well (instances, materials etc.). But in R14 I face several problems. The biggest one is, that materials are not imported at all. So I use 3DS or OBJ but in this case you get only meshes with materials and no instances.
Edit: when working with DAE you need only SketchUp Free.


Thanks so much. That’s awesome that the free version can handle the DAE export, as it seems like that’s likely the best option. I’m still on R13, so no worries on compatibility.


I use 3ds, plain old method - where each material in Sketchup will make a separate object in c4d.
You have 10 different materials in SU so you’ll have 10 objects in c4d. You don’t get instances but you have materials.

As I do architectural visualization, I find this method much easier than dealing with instances what DAE offers and which, in case of a building, can be a very-very long list, nested and confusing, e.g. dozens of different windows as instances, each with its handle as instance and so on…

In your case of product assemblies 3ds may not be the best way, it depends how the original SU model was built, if the different parts have different materials etc… but for animating parts of a machine definitely using instances of DAE seems a better choice.

And one more thing:
With 3ds you may have smoothing problems, where a round mesh seems faceted after import. You have to make an Optimize to fix this…


In your prefs, try enabling “Fix transparency for incompatible files”


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