We will walk through the majority of steps necessary to complete our work within SketchUp together - however, much of the work will require creativity and imagination as well as trial and error in order to obtain the required design/shape. In order to help everyone throughout this process - I have posted some scripts and will post videos that will assist you in using SketchUp and it's many tools.
Work with Layers
Use the Outliner and Entity Info
Work with Layers
Use the Outliner and Entity Info
- Now let's take a look at ways to get organized in SketchUp. SketchUp has a number of tools that help you to stay organized, and one of them is called Grouping. Now all Grouping does is take a collection of objects and combine them into a group so they can be manipulated as one. So here I have this trailer. Now this trailer isn't grouped, it's just a collection of faces and edges. Now if we wanted to, for example, move this trailer, we couldn't really do that all that efficiently, so if I were to select one of these faces and select the Move tool, you can see that I'm actually remodeling this.
- I would have to select this whole thing, and then move it by moving all of the components.Now this isn't really an efficient way to move it. If this scene were a lot more complex, it might be very difficult to select all of these objects, so this is where things like grouping come in handy. So to group something, it's really a very straightforward process. All we have to do is select some objects, I'm going to left-click and drag and select everything in the scene, and then we can group in one of two places.
- If we right-click, you can see we have Make Group and then also from the Edit menu we also have Make Group. Now regardless of where you select it, it will group the objects into a group, and notice how this bounding box comes up around the object, and that tells you thatit's all one group. Now I can click off of this or select it by clicking anywhere on it, and once I have this in place, I can use my Move tool, my Rotate tool, or Scale to manipulate all of this as one object.
- Now, they're times when you'll group something and you may want to go inside that group to rearrange something or manipulate the objects, so if I select this group, I can double left-clickand that opens the group. Notice how the blue line becomes a dotted line, and that tells me that the group is open, so now I can select parts of the scene and I can manipulate them to reshape whatever's in that group. Now to close this, all I have to do is just click outside of it and that closes the group, and then the next time I select it, it will select the entire group.
- Now if something is grouped, there are times when I'll want to undo that group, or explode it,so we can do this in one of two places. If have a group selected, under Edit we can go into Group and we have Explode. We can also right-click above the group and we also have the Explode option. Now all Explode does is basically remove the group, it doesn't really explode anything. Now once I have this exploded, basically that group just has gone away.
- Now, I can also take groups and combine them into groups, so I can actually nest groups, so let's say I want to take the stairs and make them separate from the trailer. Well, all I would have to do is select the trailer and then right-click and make a group of that, and then select the stairs and make a group of that, so now this scene has two groups, one for the trailer itself and another one for the stairs.
- Now if I select both of these, I can right-click and group them again, and when I do that, notice how we get basically the same thing that we had before. Now, notice when I double-click on this, when I select these objects, I'm actually selecting groups, so I have a group within a group, so I can double-click on this and then finally go into this group, and then if I click out of that, it clicks out of that first one, and then I go back into these groups, and then I have to click out of it again to get back to the main level.
- So as you can see, grouping is a great way to organize scenes and to keep things together.
Work with Layers
- Another way to organize your scene is to use layers. Layers allow you to have named groups of objects that can be shown or hidden at will. Now Layers is its own separate window, so on the Mac you would go into Window and find Layers. But here on the PC we will actually go into our Tray. Now the window is the same for both. Now the Layers window is pretty straightforward. We have a number of layers in the scene and each one of these can be made Visible or not.
- So if I were to say click off the Yard all of that object would go away, or turn off the Roof layer,or we can turn off the Plants. Now when I get down to the House and I try to hide it I'm going to get an error message. And that's because you can not hide the current layer. Now the current layer is determined by whatever one of these radio buttons is pressed. So as I press them notice how it also reveals these layers.
- Now the active layer also has a function in creating new geometry. So whatever layer is selected the new geometry will be contained within that layer. So if I have the Yard layer highlighted and I were to just draw something simple, like a rectangle, and maybe pull that up into geometry that geometry is now part of the Yard layer. So if I were to select a different layer and hide that Yard layer that box would go with it.
- Now I'm going to go ahead and select this box and delete it. Now we can also move objects between layers. So if I, for example, take this Yard layer you can see that everything in that Yard disappears. And if I take the Plants layer you can see that those are the Plants. But let's say I wanted this planter here to be part of the Plants layer. Well, we can change that through what's called the Entity Info window. Now the easiest way to get to this is to right-click above the object and go Entity Info.
- Now this will either open a window or open something up in your Default Tray. Just depends on whether you're on Windows or Mac. Now this has a number of different options for the object. Now we can do things such as hide or lock the object, but what we're interested in right now is just the Layer field. So right now this is in the Yard layer, so when I toggle off that Yard you can see how that disappears, but when I go back to that Entity Info you can see I can actually assign it to any layer.
- So let's say I wanted to assign it to the Plants layer. So now this planter is part of the Plants layer, so now when I hide the Plants the planter goes with it. Now if we want to we can also create layers. So if I want to add a layer all I have to do is hit this plus sign and it brings up a layer. And let's say we wanted to create something like a sidewalk. So I'm going to create a Sidewalk layer, and then make that the active layer.
- And let's go ahead and just draw a sidewalk for this house. So all I have to do is zoom out a little bit, and let's go ahead and just draw a simple rectangle here along the front of that lawn,and then we can use our Push/Pull tool to pull that up into a simple sidewalk. Now because the Sidewalk layer was active this contains that object. So if I go to a different layer I can turn that Sidewalk on or off.
- Now if I want to I can select all of this and go into my Entity Info window and change the layer.So if I wanted to I could change it to any other layer I want. Now in addition to creating layerswe can also delete them. So if I select say the Sidewalk layer I can delete it by hitting the minus sign. Now when you delete a layer it's going to ask you a question. Do you want to Delete the contents? Do you want to Move the contents to the Default layer? And that would be Layer0.
- Or do we Move the contents to a Current layer? Now we're going to go ahead and move these to the Default layer, so I'm going to go ahead and hit OK. So that goes away and now everything is on the default layer, so that sidewalk is on the default layer. So as you can see, layers are a great way to organize your scene, to turn parts of the scene on or off, either for modeling or presentation. So hopefully you can use these very effectively in the future.
Use the Outliner and Entity Info
- Another way to organize your scenes is to use the outliner. Now the outliner is basically just a list of everything in the scene. Now we can get this on the map by going under window and there will be an option for outliner. And I have mine in the tray on the PC. But regardless, you'll get a window that looks something like this. Now the outliner will have basically just a list of objects. So if I select one of these, you can see that I'm actually selecting objects in this scene.
- So when I select roof, it selects the roof. And then I can also select the windows underneath the roof, or the palm tree. Now each one of these basically an object or a group of objects in the scene. So down here you can see we have a bunch of groups. Now these groups aren't really named descriptively, but we can change that as well. So let's say I select this group here, and that's all the stepping stones. Now if we hit this plus sign, we can actually see what's underneath this group.
- And again, you can see that it's all stepping stones. But if I want to rename this, we can do that. So all I have to do is right click over this, and hit rename, and it gives me the option of renaming it. So I could just say front path or something like that. So now I have this group is called front path. Now notice how all these objects also have either a dark block in front of them or a checkerboard. Now the dark block means that it is a group.
- The checkerboard means that it is a component. Now I'll describe what components are in just a little bit, but just understand that. Now once you have these selected, you can go into the entity info window. So if i right click on this and go in entity info, it'll bring up this window here in the tab, or it will float a window on the Mac. Now this window we've used before, this allows us to assign these to specific layers, we can give it a type, in other words we can categorize it, I can hide the object, I can also lock it.
- So when I lock it, notice how it shows up in red. And that means that i can select it but I can't move it. So it's actually locked in place. And I can also unlock it. And I can also turn off or on shadows. So I can actually make this cast or receive shadows. I can turn that on or off on a per entity basis. Now as we've seen before, a lot of these have these little plus signs next to them.And this is really just a way to group objects, and we can actually have hierarchies of groups.
- So for example if I were to select this group here, those are these plants over here. So if I were to open this up, you can see that each one of these is a hedge shrub. And if I open that up, you can see that we actually have additional groups of leaves in there, as well as subgroups of leaves. So as you can see, we can get very deep nesting of objects, and we can create basically a hierarchy of objects within SketchUp.
- So hopefully this gives you an overview of the outliner, and hopefully this will help you to organize and navigate your scenes in SketchUp.