12 – Building, Buying and Obtaining 3D Models

Your 3D visualizations will be no good without quality models to populate it and give it an added sense of realism. These 3D models can be trees, barriers, bulldozers, people, cars, traffic signals and basically anything else you can think of! So, we just need to become experts at modeling all kinds of forms in 3D, right? Well, not really…

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We all need to use isolated 3D models now and again (most often now) when creating the worlds within our projects lie. It took me a while and some hard lessons to realize that creating everything from scratch wasn’t necessarily the best method. In fact, don’t do it! There are thousands upon thousands of quality models that you can freely use for most situations- even commercial. While I am not a lawyer, I have done my best to interpret the terms and conditions of Tremble Sketchup’s Model Warehouse and it seems like you can use them in most cases as long as you are not selling them or claiming that you made them. A short excerpt is below or click here for the full thing.

“B. Authorized Uses
The license to the Models granted above is limited to:
  1. Creating derivative works of Models (“Creations”), including by substantially modifying geometry, color, or other attributes of the Models, provided that if you upload any Creation to the Warehouse, you will be subject to the Section of this Agreement titled “Distribution of Models through the Warehouse” and such Creation shall constitute a “Model” under this Agreement;
  1. Incorporating or aggregating Models and Creations into a larger work or a deliverable for a third party (“Combined Work”), provided that the Combined Work includes substantial additional content to the original Model;
  1. Distributing Models, Creations, and Combined Works to third parties for your business purposes (including for commercial purposes);
  2. Making a reasonable number of copies of the Models, Creations, and Combined Works in connection with the above uses; and
  1. Using the Models as Trimble may approve from time to time in its sole discretion.
C. License Restrictions
Your use of the Models is under a license, not a transfer of title, and you may not:
  1. Remove or modify any copyright or other proprietary or legal notices from the Models;
  2. Use the Models in violation of any applicable laws or regulations or for any unlawful purpose;
  3. Claim or misrepresent any ownership of any Model which you did not create or develop;
  4. Sell, offer to sell, make or distribute any individual Model on a standalone basis, unless you are the Developer of such Model or otherwise authorized by Trimble or the Developer;  
  5. Use any Models, Creations or Combined Works in a manner that competes with the Site (including aggregating such content in another online warehouse or similar product or service); or
  6. Aggregate any content (including Models) obtained from the Site for redistribution, or use or distribute any content obtained from the Site in a mapping or geographic application or service, except as expressly authorized under these Terms.”

Building, Buying and Obtaining 3D Models



  • Sketchup
  • Revit
  • Civil 3D
  • Microstation
  • 3ds Max



Image credit to TurboSquid user