Sketchup to Cinema 4D: Updating Existing Content in C4D with New Content from Sketchup

Photo of Mike Heighway

Instructor Mike Heighway

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  • Duration: 10:29
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This video covers how to update content in a Cinema 4D file with new objects from a Sketchup file. Using Layers in combination with Hidden Geometry is an easy and convenient way to update your Cinema 4D file with new model components from Sketchup.

If you’ve imported your model into Cinema 4D and cleaned it up, but then needed to make some adjustments or additions to the file in Sketchup, you might think you are stuck with having to repeat your work all over again to bring the updated content back into Cinema 4D. This video covers how to update content in a Cinema 4D file with new objects from a Sketchup file. Using Layers in combination with Hidden Geometry is an easy and convenient way to update your Cinema 4D file with new model components from Sketchup.



- So far in this series, we've been assuming that the Sketchup model is complete prior to importing it into Cinema 4D. But what happens if you've already imported the Sketchup file into Cinema 4D, and you need to go back and update the file in Sketchup, and then bring those updates back into Cinema 4D? Utilizing layers and hidden geometry, you can efficiently update selected elements of your model and bring those into Cinema 4D. So for this next video, we're going to review how to do that, and I want to show you a couple tricks that I've used in the past. Let's go ahead and go into the Finder, and open up existing content in our Updating Content folder. I've already got it open. You can see that I've got this model that we've already been using. This was most recently used in the daylight model, I've just taken out the two little boxes. This file is arranged by layer accordingly. So we've got the building shell, we've got windows and doors, and we've got the site model. So what I want to do is I want to bring this into Cinema 4D first. I'll flip over to my Finder, I'll grab the file, "01 Existing Content," and I'll bring that into Cinema 4D. We can go ahead and keep the Daylight System/Physical Sky unchecked, but let's go ahead and split objects by layer. Now, you can see this is my model, and in the Object Manager I've got a bunch of groups and some layers, and stuff. If I flip over to my layers here, you can see I have Layer 01, Building Shell, Windows and Doors, and Site. So let's quickly clean this up. This is my building shell, and it's on the Building Shell layer. So I'll call this "Building Shell". Next, I have the site. I'll pull this out and call this "Site". Delete that null. Now, I've got a bunch of things going on here. Well, first, let's look at this first group, and this is my overhang. So I'm going to call this "Entry Overhang". I'll get rid of that, and now I have a bunch of polygons. I've got that little window here, element, that movement. I'm going to go ahead and select all these nulls, and I'm going to right-click, and then select here "Delete without children". That gives us all our windows, so I won't undo that, and we'll go ahead and... Oh, I've got two more I have to do, "Delete without children". Okie-doke. What's this last polygon with a selection tag? Okay, that's my door. Okay. I'm going to select all of these. I'm going to, on my keyboard, go Option G, and we'll say "Windows and Doors". I'm going to go ahead and make this a part of the Windows and Doors layer by clicking on the layer function here. So now we have this reasonably well laid out, and I'm going to go ahead and save this Cinema 4D file. We'll call this "Existing Content Cinema 4D". Now, I've gone ahead and prepared a second file for you, and this one is in Sketchup. It's called "02 Updated Content". So you can see here when I open this that the morphology, or the shape of the building, is now different. In lieu of actually sitting down and modeling something in Sketchup, and taking that time and having you watch me do that, I've just made this so it's quick and easy for you to understand that I've changed the shape of the shell, I've added two windows, and I've added a little balcony, or some sort of porch here. So what we want to do is we actually want to hide elements of this model, and we can do so by selecting something. For example, this window, I can right-click and I can select Hide. When I do so, you'll see that it goes into this gridded patterning, or it may completely disappear from your screen. Double-check that in View you have Hidden Geometry checked here, and it will show you this hidden geometry. Otherwise, if I uncheck that, it disappears from my viewport. So Hidden Geometry is selected. I'm going to go ahead and unhide this. Actually, what I want to do is I want to select everything, so I'm going to say Command+All, and I'm going to Shift+click, which you'll see the cursor here, it toggles the plus and minus next to the cursor. If I hold Shift and I click on the shell, and I click on these two windows, I have deselected the shell and those two windows. Those are actually the only two things that have changed, so I'm going to now right-click and say Hide. You can see that everything except the building shell and the two windows are now hidden, and those are actually the two elements that I want to bring into Cinema 4D and replace my building shell here. So we're pretending now that this element and these two windows are the only thing that have changed for the client, or for your visualization project, or whatever, and we want to just bring, two windows and the shell, these three elements into Cinema 4D. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to click off here. I'm going to Command+Shift+S to save as, or I can go to File and Save As. We'll go into the tutorial files and we will say "Updated Content". I'm going to go ahead and select "Updated Content Hidden", or you can create a new file that's called "Updated Content Hidden". I'm going to save that here. I'm going to overwrite the existing file that I have. I'm going to replace this. Now, we hop over to Cinema 4D to replace these elements. So we already know that I'm replacing the shell and I've added two windows. What I want to do here quickly is I'm going to select these elements, and I'm going to group this and say "Master". We are calling that "Master" just so I can quickly and easily have one null with everything, the children of that null, so I can quickly hide that. I'm going to select File and Merge. I want to Merge this Updated Content Hidden file, so I'll double-click that. This time with the importer settings, we're going to make sure that Skip Hidden Objects is checked, and we'll keep objects split by layer. Actually, we can turn that off for the time being, say OK. Now, I have three objects that I've updated. One, the building shell, which I'm moving here. Two, I've added a window, which now we've got intersecting geometry here, so we'll deal with that in a moment. Then, three, I've got this top element is the other window. So what I want to do is I'm just going to hide my master, and what I do here is I hold Option and I click on both of these little dots here, this top dot. What that does by holding Option is we'll hide both of these in tandem. Otherwise, you can just click on the top one, which hides it from the viewport too. Typically, when I hide things I don't want them to appear in the rendering, in the Picture Viewer, so often, I will just Option+click to hide both in not only the Picture Viewer, but also the viewport as well. That's just an aside. So here is the existing geometry that I've imported. I've hidden everything else. We'll go ahead and select both of these windows and drag them out of that group, and we can put both of these on Windows and Doors, and Windows and Doors. I'm going to pull down my master here, and I'm going to dump those in there. So those are now hidden. Lastly, this is my building shell. I'll call this "New Building Shell". When I pull this in and delete this building shell, the old one, I'll go ahead and select this and put this on a new layer, you can see now that when I unhide this I've got all the new elements updated. So it's a little bit of a work around when you're updating files in Sketchup and want to bring those into Cinema 4D. There are ways to do this relatively efficiently. Unfortunately, there's no really good, smart way to have a file understand what geometry has changed, what objects have been added or removed. So you have to keep track a little bit mentally, but it certainly is a doable work around. There you have it. Hopefully that was helpful for you, and will increase some of your efficiency and your workflow between Cinema 4D and Sketchup, and Sketchup and going back into Cinema 4D.
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