Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

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Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby BSquared » Sat May 21, 2022 11:45 pm

I'm importing a very large parking lot from AutoCad into Sketchup 2021 Pro. The parking lot contains tons of arcs. The arcs (smooth as silk in AutoCad) look very segmented and are unusable in Sketchup. Is there any way I can fix this issue so that the Arcs are smooth in Sketchup without redrawing all of the arcs?

From what I've researched online, I might be able to fix each one using entity info (haven't tried), but is there any way to do this globally after importing the file? Perhaps using an extension?

I'd really appreciate any help.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby Dave R » Sun May 22, 2022 12:19 am

If when you select it, the thing is shown as an Arc in SketchUp and the number of segments has a white background, you can edit the number to make it appear smoother. Otherwise you'll need to redraw them.

You might be able to convert a series or exploded edge segments into an arc using Lines 2 Arc from the Extension Store.

The general wisdom is to use your CAD import as a guide for drawing the geometry in SketchUp rather than trying to use the imported CAD geometry directly. It's not unusual for the imported geometry to have more problems than just the low res arcs.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby Gus R » Sun May 22, 2022 2:07 am

Can you share a portion of that dwg here?
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby BSquared » Sun May 22, 2022 5:27 pm

Dave R wrote:If when you select it, the thing is shown as an Arc in SketchUp and the number of segments has a white background, you can edit the number to make it appear smoother. Otherwise you'll need to redraw them.

You might be able to convert a series or exploded edge segments into an arc using Lines 2 Arc from the Extension Store.

The general wisdom is to use your CAD import as a guide for drawing the geometry in SketchUp rather than trying to use the imported CAD geometry directly. It's not unusual for the imported geometry to have more problems than just the low res arcs.


Thanks, I made a discovery this morning with this model. I went back to the Cad file and made sure I didn't have any lines on top of other lines. I then started a new sketchup file, and imported the cad base without preserving the drawing origin (it was really far away before from the origin). One or both of these two things seems to have made a massive difference in the linework in Sketchup, much improved.

I've installed the lines 2 arc extension you mentioned and that does work ok.

Question though, for the parts of the model that I will need to redraw completely in Sketchup, is it better to leave the imported base as a component, unexploded, and just draw new lines and arcs over that information, so that I don't have issues with lines merging (getting sticky) with the base information? For example, the parking lot, the first thing I want to do is make the edge of pavement a continuous closed line so Sketchup can make it a face. Is there a better way to go about it?

My Sketchup knowledge is limited so I hope you guys will pardon my basic questions.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby BSquared » Sun May 22, 2022 5:29 pm

Gus R wrote:Can you share a portion of that dwg here?


I've attached part of the dwg base.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby Dave R » Sun May 22, 2022 5:49 pm

BSquared wrote:Question though, for the parts of the model that I will need to redraw completely in Sketchup, is it better to leave the imported base as a component, unexploded, and just draw new lines and arcs over that information, so that I don't have issues with lines merging (getting sticky) with the base information?


Yes. This would be a good workflow once you've got what you need drawn in SketchUp, delete the CAD drawing component and purge unused components from the model.

Make sure you are creating the new geometry untagged. Once you've completed it, make a group or component to contain that geometry and give the group or component a tag if you wish so you can control its visibility.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby Dave R » Sun May 22, 2022 5:54 pm

Interestingly some of the curves come in as arcs while some are exploded.
Screenshot - 5_22_2022 , 11_53_00 AM.png
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby Gus R » Sun May 22, 2022 6:01 pm

BSquared wrote:
Gus R wrote:Can you share a portion of that dwg here?


I've attached part of the dwg base.


There has to be some setting involved that I'm not aware of because this is a skp of the imported dwg and it looks fine.

I just did a straight import of the dwg into SU 2022 Pro.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby Gus R » Sun May 22, 2022 6:08 pm

This is the import settings. It's rather basic.

Dwg Import Settings.PNG
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby BSquared » Sun May 22, 2022 6:15 pm

Dave R wrote:
BSquared wrote:Question though, for the parts of the model that I will need to redraw completely in Sketchup, is it better to leave the imported base as a component, unexploded, and just draw new lines and arcs over that information, so that I don't have issues with lines merging (getting sticky) with the base information?


Yes. This would be a good workflow once you've got what you need drawn in SketchUp, delete the CAD drawing component and purge unused components from the model.

Make sure you are creating the new geometry untagged. Once you've completed it, make a group or component to contain that geometry and give the group or component a tag if you wish so you can control its visibility.


I was just kind of throwing that idea out there, is that typically how one would model a parking lot? By keeping the base a component? Or is it better to explode it if the linework looks good, and just make the arcs continuous?
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby BSquared » Sun May 22, 2022 6:17 pm

Gus R wrote:This is the import settings. It's rather basic.

Dwg Import Settings.PNG



Thanks for checking it out. My new model this morning looked as good as yours, I'm thinking the origin setting might have been the culprit. I'd read on other threads about sketchup not behaving properly when the model is placed really from from the origin. The last import I did, I checked all of those boxes except 'preserve drawing origin'. Perhaps 'merge coplanar faces' and 'orient faces consistently' should remain unchecked?
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby Gus R » Sun May 22, 2022 6:21 pm

BSquared wrote:
Gus R wrote:This is the import settings. It's rather basic.

Dwg Import Settings.PNG



Thanks for checking it out. My new model this morning looked as good as yours, I'm thinking the origin setting might have been the culprit. I'd read on other threads about sketchup not behaving properly when the model is placed really from from the origin. The last import I did, I checked all of those boxes except 'preserve drawing origin'. Perhaps 'merge coplanar faces' and 'orient faces consistently' should remain unchecked?


I got the origin warning too which I ignored. The only setting I have checked is "import materials."

Maybe try exploding some polylines?

Sketchup doesn't use an infinite line for curves. They're always going to be comprised of segments. The more segments or edges the smoother the curve. Draw back is that will eventually create a larger skp and slow down SU.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby Dave R » Sun May 22, 2022 6:49 pm

BSquared wrote:is that typically how one would model a parking lot? By keeping the base a component? Or is it better to explode it if the linework looks good, and just make the arcs continuous?


Most experienced users would use the imported CAD drawing as a reference for making clean geometry in SketchUp and then discard the imported geometry. How you divide the cleanup geometry is up to you. It might make sense to group all of the geometry for the parking lot after you've made it 3D or maybe you want to group the islands and the surrounding curbs separately. Depends on what you need to show and how you need to show it.

Perhaps the islands are optional or maybe there are different arrangements of the islands being considered. If that's the case, grouping them separately would make it easier to show the different options. You could have tags for Island Option A and Island Option B and show one set of islands or the other. Or show no islands. Lots of possibilities.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby BSquared » Sun May 22, 2022 7:12 pm

Gus R wrote:
BSquared wrote:
Gus R wrote:This is the import settings. It's rather basic.

Dwg Import Settings.PNG



Thanks for checking it out. My new model this morning looked as good as yours, I'm thinking the origin setting might have been the culprit. I'd read on other threads about sketchup not behaving properly when the model is placed really from from the origin. The last import I did, I checked all of those boxes except 'preserve drawing origin'. Perhaps 'merge coplanar faces' and 'orient faces consistently' should remain unchecked?


I got the origin warning too which I ignored. The only setting I have checked is "import materials."

Maybe try exploding some polylines?

Sketchup doesn't use an infinite line for curves. They're always going to be comprised of segments. The more segments or edges the smoother the curve. Draw back is that will eventually create a larger skp and slow down SU.


Thank you I'll give that a try.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby BSquared » Sun May 22, 2022 7:17 pm

Dave R wrote:
BSquared wrote:is that typically how one would model a parking lot? By keeping the base a component? Or is it better to explode it if the linework looks good, and just make the arcs continuous?


Most experienced users would use the imported CAD drawing as a reference for making clean geometry in SketchUp and then discard the imported geometry. How you divide the cleanup geometry is up to you. It might make sense to group all of the geometry for the parking lot after you've made it 3D or maybe you want to group the islands and the surrounding curbs separately. Depends on what you need to show and how you need to show it.

Perhaps the islands are optional or maybe there are different arrangements of the islands being considered. If that's the case, grouping them separately would make it easier to show the different options. You could have tags for Island Option A and Island Option B and show one set of islands or the other. Or show no islands. Lots of possibilities.


Thanks, I appreciate your help. Just to make sure were on the same page, you would draw the new raw geometry 'on the outside' of the base component (without going 'inside' the component to redraw the linework). And then once you have everything drawn, you'd just delete the original base component. The advantages being that you can then make all the new linework it's own group and seperate from any other linework in the base that could potentially merge and cause problems with the parking lot?
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby Dave R » Sun May 22, 2022 7:27 pm

BSquared wrote:Just to make sure were on the same page, you would draw the new raw geometry 'on the outside' of the base component (without going 'inside' the component to redraw the linework).


Yes. Creating your new geometry outside of the imported component will prevent the new from merging with the old.


BSquared wrote:And then once you have everything drawn, you'd just delete the original base component.


Yes. And purge the unused componets from the In Model components.

BSquared wrote:The advantages being that you can then make all the new linework it's own group and seperate from any other linework in the base that could potentially merge and cause problems with the parking lot?


That's one benefit. The other benefit is that the new geometry you create should be clean. No broken edges, gaps, or overruns that are common in .dxf and .dwg files. Also consistent numbers of segments in arcs which makes things easier to work with.

Note that as Gus indicated, you can use larger number of sides for arcs if you want. Be careful with that. There is a point of diminishing returns as you increase the number of sides. Large numbers can create performance and other issues while not really improving the model. As you work with circles and arcs, I think it makes sense to use some multiple of 12 segments. That way they are divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby rv1974 » Mon May 23, 2022 7:35 am

Always place your project close to 0,0! Your linework is 10 parsec from file's origin and it causes jaginess. you must relocate it close to 0. Also check all options in Import options except 'import materials'
And finally, to change default segmentation if imported arcs:
http://sketchucation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=352084#p593781
you could set 96 for instance.
P.S. work wisely - build curbs with profile builder.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby pbacot » Mon May 23, 2022 5:09 pm

Another advantage of creating new geometry is that some objects may be identical--so instead of drawing everything in place from imported parts, you may make one component and place it in multiple locations, using the imported drawing as guide in placement. In a parking lot even things like the planters or whole rows of parking hardscape may be identical, or mirrored--so redrawing each from the import would make no sense.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby BSquared » Tue May 24, 2022 2:41 pm

rv1974 wrote:Always place your project close to 0,0! Your linework is 10 parsec from file's origin and it causes jaginess. you must relocate it close to 0. Also check all options in Import options except 'import materials'
And finally, to change default segmentation if imported arcs:
http://sketchucation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=352084#p593781
you could set 96 for instance.
P.S. work wisely - build curbs with profile builder.


Thanks!
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby BSquared » Tue May 24, 2022 2:42 pm

pbacot wrote:Another advantage of creating new geometry is that some objects may be identical--so instead of drawing everything in place from imported parts, you may make one component and place it in multiple locations, using the imported drawing as guide in placement. In a parking lot even things like the planters or whole rows of parking hardscape may be identical, or mirrored--so redrawing each from the import would make no sense.


Makes sense, I'm definitely trying to learn to be more efficient with it.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby BSquared » Tue May 24, 2022 2:56 pm

Dave R wrote:
BSquared wrote:Just to make sure were on the same page, you would draw the new raw geometry 'on the outside' of the base component (without going 'inside' the component to redraw the linework).


Yes. Creating your new geometry outside of the imported component will prevent the new from merging with the old.


BSquared wrote:And then once you have everything drawn, you'd just delete the original base component.


Yes. And purge the unused componets from the In Model components.

BSquared wrote:The advantages being that you can then make all the new linework it's own group and seperate from any other linework in the base that could potentially merge and cause problems with the parking lot?


That's one benefit. The other benefit is that the new geometry you create should be clean. No broken edges, gaps, or overruns that are common in .dxf and .dwg files. Also consistent numbers of segments in arcs which makes things easier to work with.

Note that as Gus indicated, you can use larger number of sides for arcs if you want. Be careful with that. There is a point of diminishing returns as you increase the number of sides. Large numbers can create performance and other issues while not really improving the model. As you work with circles and arcs, I think it makes sense to use some multiple of 12 segments. That way they are divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6.


I did want to ask you though, if one has a very large site, such as a campus with multiple buildings, huge parking lots, sidewalks, etc. Do you think redrawing everything is still the best approach (with more of a long term benefit) or is there a point where a project is just too large that's it's just not practical to think about retracing everything in sketchup? And if that is the case, what do you think is the "next best" approach? I've been reading a book called 'Sketchup for Site Design', by Daniel Tal. His approach seems to lean more towards healing (as he puts it) the imperfections of the imported cad geometry in sketchup using a variety of extensions, and cleaning up the CAD file as much as possible before importing everything.

Another source I found prefers to import systems of the model from autocad individually, getting each one set, making it a group, and then importing the next system. (Example, importing the roads, then the sidewalks, then the buildings, etc) as apposed to importing the entire cad file at one time.

I was just curious to know your thoughts. Thank you.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby pbacot » Tue May 24, 2022 4:20 pm

BSquared wrote:\

Another source I found prefers to import systems of the model from autocad individually, getting each one set, making it a group, and then importing the next system. (Example, importing the roads, then the sidewalks, then the buildings, etc) as apposed to importing the entire cad file at one time.

I was just curious to know your thoughts. Thank you.



While I don't recommend it in general, I'll admit I use my own imported edges sometimes, after isolating the shapes I want and careful inspection. And if you have so much control of your CAD files, you may find this works. Most people are talking about files direct from other sources, when importing.

I don't see a reason for importing every group / block separately. You could create the blocks beforehand. They will still be individual components when you import them all at once. Pre-designed blocks could be a good way to organize. Keep proper Tag use in mind as imported geometry may get assigned a Tag other than "Untagged" in the process.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby Dave R » Tue May 24, 2022 5:49 pm

This is my opinion based on what I've seen with CAD files I've been given to work with. It's also based on years of helping other SketchUp users. More often than not the geometry in those imported files has enough problems that starting over usually takes less time than trying to repair the imported geometry. That's not always the case and if you are creating the CAD files with the intent to use them in SketchUp you can probably do things to make sure the geometry is correct before you import it. If the files are coming from another source, at the very least take some time to examine the import closely before you commit to using that geometry directly. Maybe it'll be useful, maybe not. You need to be the judge of that. Personally I would rather create fresh, clean geometry that I know is not going to cause me problems later than spend time searching for and fixing issues in an import.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby BSquared » Wed May 25, 2022 2:41 pm

Dave R wrote:This is my opinion based on what I've seen with CAD files I've been given to work with. It's also based on years of helping other SketchUp users. More often than not the geometry in those imported files has enough problems that starting over usually takes less time than trying to repair the imported geometry. That's not always the case and if you are creating the CAD files with the intent to use them in SketchUp you can probably do things to make sure the geometry is correct before you import it. If the files are coming from another source, at the very least take some time to examine the import closely before you commit to using that geometry directly. Maybe it'll be useful, maybe not. You need to be the judge of that. Personally I would rather create fresh, clean geometry that I know is not going to cause me problems later than spend time searching for and fixing issues in an import.


Fair enough, I'm learning as I go so just trying to make sure I'm doing things the right way. Appreciate your help.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby Dave R » Wed May 25, 2022 2:52 pm

Sorry if it sounds a little like waffling. As you learn to use the tools you have, you'll (hopefully) develop a workflow that is efficient for you and a standard of quality that works for your application.

This might sound as if I'm a bit snobbish but it's not meant to be. I don't even use Sketchup models from others for projects that I do commercially. I don't even use components from the 3D Warehouse. I always make the model myself so I know the entire model is created the way I want it. This makes it much easier for me to work through a project. No surprises when changes come. When I am sent a SketchUp model as a reference I find it is always faster for me to start over and create a new one using the old one as a reference than to hunt through the model to repair things. That's just me but it's worked well for the nearly 20 years I've been using SketchUp.
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Re: Arcs imported from AutoCad look horrific

Postby pbacot » Wed May 25, 2022 3:57 pm

Dave's advice applies to CAD work in general. Setting up the file the way YOU want it from the start allows you to take of advantage of templates, other personalized digital materials and organization, and, particularly, the workflow that you've developed over the years. That's perhaps the greatest value and time saving in this sort of work. Compared to ready-made geometry, it pays off in the end.
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