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 viewport proxy versions in SketchUp. Additionally, this will help you create your own library.

There are a few ways to create Thea models from existing geometry.


  • Select the SketchUp component
  • Open the Thea tool panel and switch to the model tab
  • Expand 'Component Options' and click on 'Create Proxy'

This will bring up the 'Create external model' window with display options for the Thea proxy.
Create external model window

  • From SketchUp: Create a preview image based on the SketchUp View
  • From Thea: Create a preview image using Thea Render
    Clicking on the button will start interactive rendering.
  • Detailed proxy: Enable this to create a reduced mesh for the proxy and control the quality by adjusting the value
  • Triangles - points: Defines the type of the reduced mesh. The amount of triangles or points depends on the detailed proxy value defined above
  • Save proxy as .mod.skp: Creates a .mod.skp file with the same file as the Thea model
    This file represents the reduced mesh of the proxy and will be displayed in the viewport instead.
  • Add bounding box: Adds a bounding box to the Thea proxy model.
  • Replace the instance: This option will replace only the selected model in the scene
  • Replace all instances: This option will replace all the instances of the selected model in the scene

Finally, click on the save button and select the location of the Thea proxy model (.mod.thea).

Original Model Detailed Proxy: Points Detailed Proxy: Triangles


Import Models Button
Thea content browser can be used to convert external models (e.g. 3ds, obj, fbx).

Using the 'Import model' button

  1. Open the Thea content browser
  2. Select a model category from the left sidebar where the import model will be created in
  3. Click on the 'Import model' button and select a supported file
  4. The Thea proxy will be added in the current model category

Supported file formats: 3ds, obj, dae, fbx, thea.xml

Using custom folders
If your 3d files are located outside of the "Thea Data / Models" folder, you may use the following steps to add a custom folder.

  • Open Thea content browser
  • Find 'Custom folders' in the left sidebar
  • Right click and select 'Add folder'
  • Add a location with supported 3D files
  • Select the custom folder
  • Double click on supported files to generate Thea models with the same name


You can create or update viewport proxies by right clicking on the model preview in the Thea content browser.

  • Select 'Create proxy component…' to create a new viewport proxy or
  • Select 'Update proxy component…' when a viewport proxy already exists


Editing Thea Proxy Materials Learn how to easily edit Thea proxy materials
Generate Custom Previews for Thea Models Generating custom previews for Thea models for the Thea content browser