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xLights 3D BETA - Importing a Sketchup Image of your House

Discussion in 'xLights (Nutcracker)' started by LawrenceDriveLights, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. LawrenceDriveLights

    LawrenceDriveLights Full Time Elf

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    Hi all
    As most are aware the great team behind xLights have released a Beta version for xLights 3D.
    I have been having a little play with this and I thought I might share my experience in case it can help someone of how I imported the image of my house.

    Note I wasn't really looking at using xLights 3D, but curiosity sort of got the better of me so I thought I would check it out, also I am still a new user to xLights and I have limited experience in any type of 3D drafting software and thus the following info is just what I have found and I am sure the xLights team will produce some great how to videos guides etc.
    So please don't take this info as 100% correct, hey its probably only 10% correct!

    Anyway here we go.
    First step for me was following all the advice given before jumping into xLights 3D was to back up all my files and current show directory, so I did that.
    Next recommendation was to make a separate xLights 3D show folder, so again done.

    I had seen Gil's cool presentation of xLights 3D and had seen since he had modelled his house using Sketchup.
    Now I have very limited experience using Sketchup but I thought hey if I can create something that sort of looks like my house I would be happy with. I used a sample house from Sketchup for the screenshots.
    Note you don't need to model your house in Sketchup you can simply use xLights 3D without a 3D image of your house, also note you can use xLights 3D in 2D mode this will enable you to be able to zoom in and out of your layout, you just wont be able to rotate the layout around different axis.
    So I obtained Sketchup Pro, now this is the first hurdle as you need Sketchup Pro and the free version doesn't allow you to Export the a Sketchup Model in a .obj file (this is currently the only file type xLights 3D can use for a 3D image).
    I quickly made a Sketchup 3D image of my house using some basic measurements I previously had and some info from google image measurements etc. (Note at this point in time I didn't want to invest too much of my time in making a 100% accurate 3D model of my house so I basically made a box and a triangle roof and a box for the perimeter of my property etc.
    Note there is heaps of great how to videos for Sketchup and I think it also has some built in tutorials.

    I also noted the comments Gil had posted on the xLights FB groups and used his recommendations etc

    So I had my model, now what I needed to Export this into xLights 3D.

    Using File-Export-3D
    also there is a option box option box for the OBJ Export options

    Here is a screenshot of the settings I used


    View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wwlgbnoahpbe4k2/HouseSample%20Skethcup%20ScreenShot%20Export%20obj%20settings.jpg?dl=0


    When you export the image it creates a new sub folder which contains all the files for the materials you selected when you modelled your house. Note I called mine "HouseSample".
    Like this

    View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/o50gc964m5bir44/HouseSample%20Skethcup%20ScreenShot%20Export%20obj%20settings%20exported%20file%20folder1.jpg?dl=0


    So as per Gil's instructions you need to move the .obj file of your house image as well as the .mtl file into the new folder that was created.

    Here a screenshot highlighting the files you need to move.

    View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/d9jqvp3rrxxwle4/HouseSample%20Skethcup%20ScreenShot%20Export%20obj%20settings%20exported%20file%20folder2.jpg?dl=0



    The folder then should contain the .obj and .mtl files as well as the images files for the different materials you used.
    Will look something like this

    As per Gils recommendations this folder with all the files need to be placed into your Xlights 3D Show Folder.


    Now you need to open your xLights 3D

    You will probably see a option to update xLights to the current version, don't do this until the 3D version is fully released etc.
    When writing this is was version xLights 3D BETA 2018.55


    Again as per the recommendations etc before you do this make a new show directory for your xLights 3D.

    Now the fun easy part.
    Got to the layout screen
    Tick the 3D box
    Select the right hand icon "ADD OBJ" Icon
    Select "Mesh" from the dropdown menu



    View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/tvi91xgz69z4xw1/Import%20obj%20file%20into%20xLights1.jpg?dl=0


    In the settings box for the Mesh for obj, select your file, in my case this was "HouseSample"

    It should then import the sketchup image into the layout screen.

    I did notice when I did this the image was small compared to the layout grid.

    View: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0wr2dtjneu1tea1/Import%20obj%20file%20into%20xLights2%20small%20image.jpg?dl=0



    I could have altered the grid to suit the image etc, but then I thought the "grab handle" (the thing used to move images around would be very big and might be tricky to use etc it they are to big.

    So I scaled the Sketchup drawing up (I think be about 10x), then re-exported, moved the files into the folder like above etc and it seemed better. (Now this could have been something I did or a setting etc from my Sketchup etc).

    You can also scale up the image after you import it into xLights using the size/location box (increase scaleX,scaleY,scaleZ).

    And this is what I ended up with.
    I moved the imported image to fit the grid and adjusted settings etc to suit my image etc and an bow able to zoom and rotate the image around in the layout screen.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/63oi3obhtljig39/Import obj file into xLights3 larger image.jpg?dl=0




    Very Cool and a big thanks again to the xLights developers for this feature.

    Again this is just my experience and I have probably done some silly steps along the way etc.



    Thanks,
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
    Romerio and Dave_Szoka like this.
  2. OP
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    LawrenceDriveLights

    LawrenceDriveLights Full Time Elf

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  3. OP
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    LawrenceDriveLights

    LawrenceDriveLights Full Time Elf

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    Just another quick note I have found regarding this import process.

    Don't have any spaces in your file names of your sketchup image and for the folder name you give to the export folder as it doesn't like spaces in the file names etc.
     
    NTKing(Brad) likes this.
  4. Red

    Red Apprentice Elf

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    After completing my Sketchup of my house and gardens over the last 3 days, Shaun(LDL) and Keith assisted me to export to Xlights, We immediately noticed the Layout was Jerky and general unresponsive to command,

    Keith advised, there was to much detail in my Sketchup and to delete all but the actual House and absolute items required for my display, and that included keeping even the window format as simply as practical, No Fence's Trees, etc...

    Well the difference is the total opposite, l now have smooth movement on 3D/Xlights and its a real easy process to now apply my Models to the 3D pic,.
    So my hint is, To Keep It Simply, for the best results.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  5. OzAz

    OzAz Senior Elf Generous Elf

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    Further to @Red 's excellent point, Keith also showed how to grab an image of your property from google maps (satellite 'top down' image) (or for those in NSW https://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/ appears to have more recent images) to use as a 'base' image, then place your house on top. That way you get advantage of seeing where all your garden/yard items are without, as pointed out above, causing slowness, due to, as Keith put it "too many triangles" in your sketchup image.

    Was glad I watched Shaun (LDL), Red and Keith's demo in zoom last night. Learnt a lot.
     
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  6. Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    Nice writeup. They need to be pointing everyone that needs help to this.
     
  7. SmartAlecLights

    SmartAlecLights Im a SmartAlec what can i say! Community Project Designer

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    well it looks like after i requested 3d xlights, i might never be able to use it..
    Im not the type of person to buy $600 software just to be able to draw something when i cant draw.
    saw keiths zoom session on how to use google maps (dam i have 2 tree's that cover my whole yard)

    My question is, could a couple of basic 3d house shapes be included into xlights, so then i could have a house?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  8. Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    Post a picture of your house.
     
  9. Mark_M

    Mark_M Apprentice Elf

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    I'm using the free version; Sketchup Make and just used a free .dae to .obj file converter. http://www.greentoken.de/onlineconv/
    The other option is to design your property using the pro trial version before it expires.
     
  10. prof

    prof Apprentice Elf Generous Elf

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    do a search for " sketchup make 2017 " it should be on the sketchup older-versions download page.
    I saw this suggestion on one of the xlights facebook pages.
     
  11. Mark_M

    Mark_M Apprentice Elf

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    Sketchup Make 2017 doesn't export in .obj but i'm sure even older versions will.
     
  12. SmartAlecLights

    SmartAlecLights Im a SmartAlec what can i say! Community Project Designer

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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  13. Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    Sorry I forgot to check back till now. Let me see if I can create something real quick.
     
    NTKing(Brad) likes this.
  14. Ralphyf1

    Ralphyf1 Apprentice Elf

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    I purchased a copy of sketchup pro on ebay for about $8, seems legit and it works fully
     
  15. Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    Ok I created this in about 20 minutes. I simplified the roof to make it quicker to create something you could use. Unzip so that the House folder is in the show directory then use the "ADD OBJ" button and then click the "ObjFile" property to navigate into that House folder and then select House.obj. Then you can use the handle to move it around and you'll probably want to scale it up a bit. Just click the orange handle until the red, green, blue axis turns to squares and then drag the red square. After you start dragging press the shift key so that it will maintain the proportions. This is what it looked like in xLights.
    upload_2019-1-17_22-53-50.png
     

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