Tutorial: How to Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp



Would like to insert your vector graphic from Adobe Illustrator to SketchUp for creating a 3D model but don’t know how to go about it?

In this tutorial we will show you on how to export your vector file from Adobe Illustrator and import the file into SketchUp. We also will cover in this tutorials the problems you may face when importing the file into SketchUp and how to overcome those problems.


SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp


Here are the steps:

In Adobe Illustrator Window

1. Draw your vector graphic in Adobe Illustrator software.

2. For easier visualization, you can just apply stroke color to the graphic and remove the fill color.


SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

3. Select File > Export. At Save as type, choose AutoCAD Drawing (*.DWG). Then click Save

SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

4. In the DXF/DWG Export Options dialog box, accept the default setting and click OK.

SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

In SketchUp Window

In order to import the AutoCAD dwg file format into SketchUp, you need to have the SketchUp Professional software.

5. Now, open your SketchUp software.

6. Select File > Import. At the file type dropdown, select AutoCAD Files (*.dwg, *.dxf). To define the scale units, click on Options… then select the desired Units. Click OK then click Import. SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

7. In the appeared Import Results message box, click Close. The vector outline has been imported into the SketchUp. SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

When you zoom into the vector outline, you may encounter that the outline is not as smooth as what you seen in Adobe Illustrator window.

SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

In Adobe Illustrator Window

8. Go back to Adobe Illustrator.

9. Select only the leaf outline and in the menu choose Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. You may repeat the Add Anchor Points few times in order to add more points to the shape. SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

For the leaf vein, I encountered that even we have added more anchor points to it, the leaf vein outline still not give us smooth result after been imported into the SketchUp. To solve this issue, I split the leaf vein into smaller parts. We will split the leaf vein into 7 small shapes.

SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

Here are the steps:

10. In Adobe Illustrator, use the Scissors tool to cut and divide the leaf vein paths. Then, use the Pen tool to close the paths. SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

In SketchUp Window

12. In SketchUp, import again the file into SketchUp

SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

This time, you can see all the outlines are becoming smoother.

Now, you can create face to the outline and use the push pull tool to modify the model.

SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

Here is another model example.

SketchUp Tutorial - Import Vector Graphic into SketchUp

One thing to take note, adding anchor points to the vector in Illustrator, will also increase the model entities in SketchUp, and this will significantly increase the SketchUp file size.

In my next tutorial will show you how to create faces from the vector file you have exported from Adobe Illustrator vector graphic. I will use the same sample file and show you:

  • The problem you will face when extrude the vector outline exported from illustrator to become a 3D model in SketchUp.
  • How to solve the issue of the paths where it is not a closed path.
  • How to clean the stray curve of your outline.
  • How to use SketchUp plugins to speed up your modelling process.

A series of tutorial is coming soon. Stay tuned with us!


By Chee SK | LinkedIn

Cempaka Technology Sdn Bhd
Pusat Latihan Komputer Cempaka
~Your HRDC Premiere Training Provider~
Unit 6, Level 4, SetiaWalk Mall (Block K), SetiaWalk, Persiaran Wawasan, Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47160 Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: 603-80684461, Fax: 603-80684240
1-28, Jalan PM4, Plaza Mahkota, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia.
Tel: 606-2835955, Fax: 606-2845955