3-D city created in SketchUp

Virtual Reality for Planners 2: Modeling in SketchUp

This course provides a step-by-step SketchUp tutorial and teaches users how to create content appropriate for a virtual reality environment. Viewers will learn how to optimize the performance of their software and ensure success in the next steps of the process, including final model export to Unity.

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Course Info

  • Duration 10 video lessons (72 Mins)
  • Published Published
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Browse Course Chapters

  • 1. Introduction (1 min)
  • 2. Modeling Conventions (6 mins)
  • 3. Layers and Clean Models (8 mins)
  • 4. Backfaces, Units, Scale and Geographic Area (9 mins)
  • 5. Poly Count Targets and Poly Diets (8 mins)
  • 6. Terrain in SketchUp (4 mins)
  • 7. Terrain Tiles (8 mins)
  • 8. Textures (14 mins)
  • 9. Multiple Models (2 mins)
  • 10. Preparing Your Final Model (7 mins)

What You Will Learn

  • How to optimize SketchUp designs for a successful export to Unity.
  • Understand the limitations of a real-time environment and how to create a model with the appropriate amount of data.
  • Create efficient and compelling textures for a virtual reality environment using geometric techniques to ensure graphic fidelity and aesthetic quality.
  • How to divide the workload between a team to speed up the process of creating a virtual reality environment.
  • Best practices for exporting a SketchUp model in Unity.

Course Description

Building on the overview of virtual reality technology presented in the first course in the Virtual Reality for Planners series, this course provides a step-by-step SketchUp tutorial to teach users how to create content appropriate for a virtual reality environment. Course instructor Chase Mullen reviews the important design and modeling conventions to both optimize the performance of the software and ensure success in the next steps of the process, including final model export to Unity.

In this course, course instructor Chase Mullen, director of design visualization at MIG, bridges the gap between a conceptual understanding of the application of virtual reality in the planning process and the technical skills necessary to build a VR setting. By the end of this course, viewers will understand key techniques to create efficient and compelling textures and learn other tips for creating an aesthetically pleasing virtual reality model. This course presents advice for dividing the workload within a team in a way that avoids potential issues and helps the virtual reality project to run more smoothly. Finally, learn how the best practices for exporting the model from SketchUp to Unity as effectively as possible. 

Learn these skills

  • 3D Modeling
  • Civic Engagement
  • Communications & Media
  • Modeling & Simulation
  • Technology
  • Urban Design
  • Virtual Reality
  • Unity
  • Trimble SketchUp


This course is approved for 1.25 AICP CM credit.


This course is approved for 1 SACPLAN CPD point.

Meet Your Instructor

Chase Mullen

Chase Mullen

Chase is the Director of Design Visualization at MIG. With an acute eye for graphics and interactivity, Chase molds GIS, CAD, 3D, and VR (virtual reality) data into models that allow people to see and experience potential policy changes or design ideas.

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