To keep SketchUp model sizes small and still produce very high-quality renderings, export the heaviest components (trees, cars, etc.) into external .mod.thea files and replace them with simplified ‘proxy’ versions in SketchUp. Proxies can also be created for Thea models that come from other modeling applications. This can be done in the Thea Browser. Every SketchUp component can be exported into an external .mod.thea file and replaced by an automatically generated approximation of the original. The special external model creation tool can be opened by right-clicking on a selected component and choosing the ‘Thea Render/Create external model/proxy’ option.
Click on the ‘From SketchUp’ button to obtain a thumbnail of an external model directly from SketchUp. Or click the ‘Render’ button to start a new rendering using the current engine and settings; it is recommended to choose one of the interactive rendering methods. Only a selection will be rendered. To see a preview while the rendering is still running, click the ‘Render’ button again; just a portion of the view will be shown. You can adjust the camera/sun position to achieve the best look. When you are happy with the result, you can create proxies as described below.
To create a proxy from original components, select 'Detailed proxy.' Choose between Triangles or Points, and specify the maximum number of triangles or points. On the right is the original model containing about 27,000 faces. Just below are two proxies, each containing only about 2,000 triangles or points.
If you only want to use the proxy in the current model, disable the ‘Save as .mod.skp’ option. As you can see in the bottom proxy on the right, the ‘Add the bounding box’ option was enabled. To display only the bounding box, disable the ‘Detailed proxy’ option. You can choose between replacing only the selection, or all instances of the selected component. When you click on ‘Save,’ you will choose where to save the external model and, optionally, the proxy. All textures associated with the component will be saved in the same folder. To create a proxy component from an existing Thea model, right-click the thumbnail in the Thea Browser and choose between triangles or points. When the ‘Detailed proxy’ option is enabled, you can add a bounding box if desired.
Proxy components can be also created manually in various ways, but they have to be based on proxies that were created using one of the two aforementioned methods.
The following method works especially well for trees:
This gives you three images, which you can then import to SketchUp and place inside the proxy component. You can explode them (turn the images into editable geometry) and delete the bounding box. Once you are happy with the result, you can right-click on the component and save it in the same folder as original .mod.thea file.
In Thea for SketchUp, it is possible to import FBX files and convert them to proxy models. While importing an FBX file, the user is able to adjust the proxy materials.
When Proxy Creation window closes – you will have a ready to render proxy inside SketchUp and corresponding .mod.thea on your HD.