Your installation includes a seamless connection between CAD and the 3D modeling programs SketchUp, Rhino, and Revit through our 3D Connection tool. Accessed in CAD, this feature allows you to bring a CAD design and an associated Land F/X project into a 3D model. It also allows you to bring a 3D model, and an associated project, from SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit into CAD.
Our Rhino and Revit plugins are now available in beta mode.
The units you set in your 3D model must match the units you've set in the associated Land F/X project and CAD drawing. For information on matching your units between CAD and SketchUp, see our Setting the Units in SketchUp documentation.
How to Get SketchUp, Rhino, and Revit
SketchUp, Rhino, and Revit are not part of your AutoCAD platform, nor are they part of our software. They are separate programs that you download and install on your computer. You'll then need to install the Land F/X plugin for SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit, which you'll need to do from within whichever of these platforms you choose to use:
Supported SketchUp Editions
While no 3D software is "easy" to learn, SketchUp is considered by many to be the easiest to use of the available options. SketchUp also has a large support community of users. This means you have access to an ever-growing library of publicly available SketchUp 3D symbols. The Land F/X 3D Connection supports the following editions of Sketchup:
- Classic – non-subscription pricing
We are only able to support these editions because our 3D Connection is based on the Ruby platform and requires an edition of Sketchup that supports the Core Ruby API and Extension Warehouse. We do not support the free version of SketchUp.
Please note that we no longer support SketchUp 8. We support SketchUp versions 2015 and newer.
How the 3D Connection Works
The Land F/X 3D Connection is based on exporting and importing your site design. Before you can import your CAD design into 3D, you'll need to export it from CAD into the 3D Connection Cloud by following the steps below. Similarly, before you can import a 3D model into CAD, you'll first need to export it to the 3D COnnection Cloud from SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit.
The 3D Connection tool is a means of transferring two sets of information between CAD and your 3D models:
The data contained in a Land F/X project – that is, the plants and site amenities you've added to your project
The placement information from a CAD drawing showing where you've placed those items
Data from a Land F/X project
A Land F/X project is essentially a database that lists all items, such as plants and site amenities that you've added to that project. It also contains the information associated with each plant or site amenity in your project, such as plant's symbol and size.
This database DOES NOT contain information about the actual placement of your plants and site amenities in your drawing. (More on that below.)
Information from your CAD drawing or 3D model
While a Land F/X project is a database, a CAD drawing or 3D model is an actual file on your desktop or server. (Specifically, a CAD drawing is a DWG file, a SketchUp model is an SKP file, and a Rhino model is a 3DS file. Revit has several possible file types.) A SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit file contains the information about what you actually see in the drawing or model: the symbols you place and the locations where you place them.
When you add a plant to a Land F/X project and then place it in a CAD drawing or 3D model, the file contains the information on the actual placement of that plant. Any further data about the plant you see in your drawing – the type and size of that plant, as well as that plant's symbol – is stored in the above-mentioned Land F/X project database.
Transferring a Design Between CAD and 3D
The file containing your CAD drawing or 3D model "reads" the Land F/X project's database to determine which plants and site amenities you have placed in that project. However, it's important to understand that the hard data associated with that plant (such as its genus, species, and variety) is stored in our database – not in the DWG file, and not in the SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit file.
That's where the 3D Connection tool comes in. When you use this feature to transfer a design between CAD and 3D, you're first grabbing and transferring both sets of information – the data from the project database, as well as the placement information, as well as any linework, into what we call the 3D Connection Cloud. You'll then import all this data from the 3D Connection Cloud into your 3D model. When you want to transfer the data back into CAD, you'll do the reverse.
You can also transfer one layer at a time.
Remember: You won't be able to import a design into either CAD or 3D until you've exported it from the other program into the 3D Connection Cloud.
3D Connection Tool Overview
Create your drawings in 3D and move them into CAD – or vice versa – using the 3D Connection. Our software provides an amazing connection between AutoCAD and your 3D modeling software, to automate bringing your AutoCAD site drawing into 3D, and to visualize your planting design or site elements within a 3D model. You can start the design process in AutoCAD, or start in your 3D model. Either way, the 3D Connection provides a direct link between CAD and SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit for 3D visualization.
Open the 3D Connection from an open CAD drawing:
F/X Planting ribbon, 3D Connection flyout
Plant Render toolbar
F/X Planting menu, 3D Connection option
or type SketchUpExport in the Command line
The 3D Connection dialog box will open.
1. Check this area to ensure that you are exporting from the correct project and that your units and user coordinate system (UCS) are set correctly.
2. Send Layer: With a CAD drawing open, click this button to export a layer of linework from that drawing to the 3D Connection Cloud.
3. Export: With a CAD drawing open, click this button to export the placement of plants and other blocks, such as site amenities, from that drawing into the 3D Conncetion Cloud. In doing so, you'll also export the Land F/X project associated with the current CAD drawing.
4. Import: Import a 3D model, along with an associated Land F/X project, into CAD from the 3D Connection Cloud. Before using the Import feature, you'll need to export the 3D model from SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit into the 3D Connection Cloud.
5. Checkboxes to determine which objects will be affected by your import or export. You can choose Trees, Shrubs, and/or Amenities.
6. Options to download and install the Land F/X plugins for SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit. The system will take you through a series of steps to complete the download.
Send a Layer of Linework
To export a layer of linework from your CAD drawing, click the Send Layer button in the SketchUp Connection dialog box.
The Send Layer feature is for sending layers of linework into 3D. To send your plants, site amenities, and other blocks into 3D, use the Export button instead.
A pickbox will appear in place of the cursor, and the Command line will prompt you to Select Source Object.
Click an object in your CAD drawing that is on the layer you want to export to 3D.
You'll receive a message that the layer has been exported. Click OK.
Your layer has been exported into the 3D Connection Cloud and you're now ready to import it into your 3D model.
You can continue to select additional layers to export from CAD. Press the Space bar to reopen the SketchUp Connection dialog box, click Send Layer, and select an additional layer.
When you import a layer into SketchUp, the 3D Connection will delete all objects stored on that layer. This way, you won't have to search through your layers to see which ones you've already imported.
Once you export one or more layers from CAD to the 3D Connection Cloud using this feature, you can import them into SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit.
Are your contour lines not exporting or importing properly from CAD to SketchUp? Here's the solution >
Export Design (Plants & Site Amenities)
To export your CAD design, and the Land F/X project associated with it, into the 3D Connection Cloud, open the CAD drawing you want to export. This tool will export your placement of plants, site amenities, plan graphics, and other blocks in your drawing.
In this example, we'll export the following tree layout to SketchUp.
This process won't just maintain the exact placements of the trees – it will also bring the data assigned to each tree into our SketchUp model.
Open the 3D Connection, and click Export.
The 3D Connection will ignore objects on frozen layers. Make sure all layers containing objects you want to export are unfrozen (thawed). If you want to exclude specific layers from your 3D model, you can simply freeze them before exporting. For information and instructions, see our documentation on freezing/thawing layers.
You'll receive a message that your design has been exported into 3D, and that you may run the Land F/X Import plugin on your base file.
Click OK to close the message.
The plants and other items you've added to the current Land F/X project have all been exported into the 3D Connection Cloud. The information reflecting the placement of the plants and other items has also been exported. You can now open the project in SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit, or import plants from the exported Land F/X project into 3D. Additional resources:
When we open the SketchUp version of our example CAD drawing, it will look like this:
Before you can import a 3D model into CAD, you'll need to export it from SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit back to the 3D Connection Cloud using the Export to CAD tool. Complete the Export to CAD steps outlined before importing your 3D model into CAD.
In this example, we'll import our SketchUp model, and the Land F/X project associated with it, from the 3D Connection Cloud into CAD.
In a blank CAD drawing, open the Land F/X project associated with the 3D model you want to import.
Once you export the model and project from SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit, the project name and number will appear in your list of projects.
See our instructions for opening an existing project for more information.
Open the 3D Connection, and click Import.
You'll receive a message that the drawing has been updated to match the 3D model.
Your 3D model will be imported into your CAD drawing.
You should see your plants in the same layout in which they appear in 3D.
In our example, the CAD drawing will look like this after we import our SketchUp model:
Any plants you've added to your Land F/X project in 3D will now also be available in CAD. If you add and place plants to this drawing in CAD, you can export it to 3D to create an updated 3D version of your design.
The 3D Connection and User Coordinate Systems (UCS)
The 3D Connection tool will support a User Coordinate System (UCS) you create in CAD. You can use our UCS tool to create a realistic origin, snapping to a point that correlates with the desired (or actual) 3D origin. This in turn will prevent SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit from becoming unresponsive or crashing when you attempt to import.
For information about creating a UCS, see our User Coordinate System (UCS) documentation.
3D Connection Basics for SketchUp: This webinar will show you how to use the Land F/X 3D connection tool to integrate your CAD design into a working 3D model. (1 hr 3 min)
SketchUp Basics: This webinar will introduce you to 3D modeling in SketchUp, giving you a basic understanding of some of the most important tools and concepts you need to use SketchUp for your designs. (1 hr 3 min)
SketchUp Basics Part 2: In Part 2 of our SketchUp Basics webinar series, we go into the proper use of components and groups, right-click options, working with lines and dividing into segments, rotate and copy tools, and the paint and texture options. (1 hr 3 min)
Issue: Plants don't show up in SketchUp
Issue: When you import and export between CAD and SketchUp, your blocks (plants or site amenities) look overly large or small, or are scaled incorrectly
SketchUp: Basic troubleshooting (adding, placing, importing plants)
Issue: Unable to update Land F/X SketchUp plugin
Issue: SketchUp becomes unresponsive or crashes when importing from CAD using real-world coordinates
Issue: You have an academic SketchUp license and are unable to locate your Land F/X project in SketchUp
Issue: You received an "Invalid" error when attempting to export your design from CAD to SketchUp
Issue: Objects are appearing in the incorrect locations or backward in your SketchUp model
Issue: Contour lines are not exporting or importing correctly from CAD to SketchUp
Issue: The Land F/X SketchUp plugin freezes or becomes unresponsive
Issue: Your custom 3D plant symbols are not showing up in SketchUp when you import your drawing
Issue: Clicking one of the Land F/X tool buttons in SketchUp does nothing
Issue: Your SketchUp components are not lining up correctly with your CAD blocks
Issue: Plant copies with the same code are missing when you attempt to send your project to SketchUp, Rhino, or Revit