SketchUp model into ARKit. Use SketchUp home remodel and Apple's ARKit (beta) for augmented reality. Goal: import a model (in this case, a remodel) to overlay onto existing real world that you can walk around and 'experience' and compare.
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Tracey's weekend experiment with SketchUp home remodel and Apple's ARKit (beta) for augmented reality.

Goal: import a model (in this case, a remodel) to overlay onto existing real world that you can walk around and 'experience' and compare.

See also my youtube video for the results!

Descriptions and even the video results can't convey how neat our future is!

Altered, updated, and leveraged from a youtube comment based off a Unity tutorial..

Steps to import SketchUp into ARKit App:

  • Get Sierra or newer, download xCode 9 Beta
  • Get this sample code/app from the Apple developer site:
  • Use this zip file's xcode for your new app template since its very good at manipulating the model (helpful for experimentation)
  • Use Sketchup and Export your model as "DAE" (collada format).
  • ALternatively, download a dae model from 3D warehouse (or import one to a new sketchup project), eg: unzip if downloading from 3D warehouse directly.
  • Rename .dae file to 'sketchup.dae' (you can more easily try other models later shorten steps by same name).
  • Leave the subdir name as is (texture assets - images) next to the sketchup.dae file
  • Put sketchup.dae and imagery subdir in new folder named 'sketchup' in xcode project under 'Models.scnassets' subdir (should have 'cup', 'candle', and other model subdirs)
  • In xCode, click on sketchup.dae file and load/inspect in the editor.
  • Convert the dae file to scn format from the Editor menu. (optional)
  • Rotate the model by selecting euler x-coordinate change it to -90. (otherwise it will load the model on its side and you won't be able to correct from within the app). See my youtube video for context here -- not obvious!
  • Edit the VirtualObjects.json -- copy the 3 lines from 'cup' entry, and rename 'cup' to 'sketchup'.
  • in 'Assets.xcassets'
    • copy cup.imageset to new subdir sketchup.imageset
    • you can change the two .png files to 60x60 and 90x90 files for custom imagery for app's placing menu (optional)

Tada! When you build to your phone (required: iOS 11 -- beta -- 'burner' iPhone 7S anyone? 8-) the app should auto-launch. Try the cup, candle, and vase, etc. first. You should now have an extra 'sketchup' button to try. Depending on your X/Y/Z grid setup and scale -- it may not load in front of you -- look around the space and it may be hovering above you. Just pull (one finger careful drag) until you get it on the floor/surface). You can also rotate the model orientation via careful two-finger rotate gesture.

For something like a large model (eg: house, remodel)

please see my youtube video for (the results! and) tips and tricks

on the hardest (oddly) parts -- getting 'into' the model and scale.

Some helpful links:

[ what follows is the original for this ]

Placing Virtual Objects in Augmented Reality

Follow best practices for visual feedback, gesture interactions, and realistic rendering in AR experiences.


Augmented reality (AR) offers new ways for users to interact with real and virtual 3D content in your app. However, many fundamental principles of human interface design are still valid. Convincing AR illusions also require careful attention to 3D asset design and rendering. By following this article's guidelines for AR human interface principles and experimenting with this sample code, you can create immersive, intuitive AR experiences.

Getting Started

ARKit and this sample app require iOS 11 and a device with an A9 (or later) processor. (ARKit is not available in iOS Simulator.)

Provide Clear Feedback

Help users recognize when your app is ready for real-world interactions. Tracking the real-world environment involves complex algorithms whose timeliness and accuracy are affected by real-world conditions.

The FocusSquare class draws a square outline in the AR view, giving the user hints about the status of ARKit world tracking. The square changes size to reflect estimated scene depth, and switches between open and closed states with a prominent animation to indicate whether ARKit has detected a plane suitable for placing an object.

Use the session(_:cameraDidChangeTrackingState:) delegate method to detect changes in tracking quality, and present feedback to the user when low-quality conditions are correctable (for example, by telling the user to move to an environment with better lighting).

Use specific terms a user is likely to recognize. For example, if you give textual feedback for plane detection, a user not familiar with technical definitions might mistake the word "plane" as referring to aircraft.

Fall back gracefully if tracking fails, and allow the user to reset tracking if their experience isn't working as expected. In this sample's ViewController class, see the session(_:cameraDidChangeTrackingState:) for a way to temporarily use lower-fidelity tracking, and the restartExperience button and method for resetting tracking.

Help users understand the relationship of your app's virtual content to the real world. Use visual cues in your UI that react to changes in camera position relative to virtual content.

In this sample, the focus square disappears after the user places an object in the scene, and reappears when the user points the camera away from the object.

Enable Direct Manipulation

Provide common gestures, familiar to users of other iOS apps, for interacting with real-world objects. See the Gesture class for implementations of the gestures available in this sample app, such as one-finger dragging to move a virtual object and two-finger rotation to spin the object.

Map touch gestures into a restricted space so the user can more easily control results. Touch gestures are inherently two-dimensional, but an AR experience involves the three dimensions of the real world. For example:

  • Limit object dragging to the two-dimensional plane the object rests on. (Especially if a plane represents the ground or floor, it often makes sense to ignore the plane's extent while dragging.)

  • Limit object rotation to a single axis at a time. (In this sample, each object rests on a plane, so the object can rotate around a vertical axis.)

  • Don't allow the user to resize virtual objects, or offer this ability only sparingly. A virtual object inhabits the real world more convincingly when it has an intuitive intrinsic size. Additionally, a user may become confused as to whether they're resizing an object or changing its depth relative to the camera. (If you do provide object resizing, use pinch gestures.)

While the user is dragging a virtual object, smooth the changes in its position so that it doesn't appear to jump while moving. See the updateVirtualObjectPosition method for an example of smoothing based on perceived distance from the camera.

Set thresholds for gestures so that the user doesn't trigger a gesture accidentally, but moderate your thresholds so that gestures aren't too hard to discover or intentionally trigger. See the TwoFingerGesture class for examples of using thresholds to dynamically choose gesture effects.

Provide an area that's large enough for the user to tap (or begin to drag) a virtual object and still see the object while moving it. For examples, see how the TwoFingerGesture class calculates its firstTouchWasOnObject property.

Design interactions for situations where AR illusions can be most convincing. For example, place virtual content near the centers of detected planes, where it's safer to assume that the detected plane is a good match to the real-world surface. It may be tempting to design experiences that use the full surface of a tabletop, where virtual scene elements can react to or fall off the table's edges. However, world tracking and plane detection may not precisely estimate the edges of the table.

Keep the User in Control

Strive for a balance between accurately placing virtual content and respecting the user's input. For example, consider a situation where the user attempts to place content that should appear on top of a flat surface.

  • Try to place content by using the hitTest(_:types:) method to search for an intersection with a plane anchor. If you don't find a plane anchor, there might still be a plane at the target location that has not yet been identified by plane detection.
  • Lacking a plane anchor, you can hit-test against scene features to get a rough estimate for where to place content initially, and refine that estimate over time as ARKit detects planes.
  • When plane detection provides a better estimate for where to place content, use animation to subtly move that content to its new position. Having user-placed content suddenly jump to a new position can break the AR illusion and confuse the user.
  • Filter out hit test results that are too close or too far away. In most scenarios, there's a reasonable limit to how far away virtual content can be placed. To prevent users from accidentally placing virtual content too far away, you can use the distance property of ARHitTestResult to filter out hit tests that exeed the limit.

Avoid interrupting the AR experience. If the user transitions to another full-screen UI in your app, the AR view might not be in an expected state when they return.

To keep the user in the AR experience while adjusting settings or making a modal selection, use the popover presentation (even on iPhone) for auxiliary view controllers. In this sample, the SettingsViewController and VirtualObjectSelectionViewController classes use popover presentation.