7 Important Thing to Know Before Using Layouts for SketchUp Pro – In this article, I’m gonna help you avoid the things that trip people up when they’re first getting started with LayOut for SketchUp Pro. Our goal in this article is to help you avoid those problems. Today I’m gonna show you the seven critical things you need to know before you get started with LayOut.
So, what kind of problems do people run into? Here’s a story from one of friend. Martha is an architect who started her own design firm. She knew her way around SketchUp, and she loved being able to turn hand drawings into accurate 3D renderings.
But when she needed 2D plans and elevations, she still had to hire somebody to draft ’em for her in AutoCAD. She knew of LayOut and figured her SketchUp skills would translate, so she dove right in, only to end up wasting a ton of time and failing to get the results she was looking for. Having learned SketchUp with us before, thankfully, Martha knew to sign up for our course to build her LayOut skills from the ground up.
After completing the learn, not only was she able to easily produce accurate 2D CAD drawings, but the stress of not being able to quickly respond to builders and contractors with design changes had completely disappeared. What we learned from talking to Martha and other friend like her is that they were all getting stuck for similar reasons.
They were making mistakes in SketchUp first that caused them to struggle in LayOut later.
7 Important Thing to Know Before Using Layouts for SketchUp Pro
We’ve come up with a list of the seven key things you need to get right in SketchUp before you get started in LayOut. Now, these seven tips won’t magically teleport you from complete beginner to LayOut expert, but they will get you started down the right path. And by the end of this article, you’ll know enough to avoid many of the bumps in the road people often hit when they’re first getting started with LayOut. Before we jump into the list, let’s quickly review the basics of how SketchUp and LayOut work together.
First, you create a well-organized 3D model in SketchUp.
Next, you send your SketchUp file to LayOut. Then In LayOut, you set up Viewports that are linked to your SketchUp file. You’ll set as many viewports as you need, each one showing a different view of your SketchUp model. And finally, you dimension, label, and use LayOut’s documentation tools to produce anything from 2D plans and drawings, to a full set of detailed construction documents.
It all sounds easy enough, but there’s more to that first step in SketchUp than most people realize. That’s where these seven tips come in. Ready to learn ’em? All right, let’s get started with
1. Ceate Scenes Before Viewports.
When you send your SketchUp model to LayOut, you’ll see a Viewport that’s linked to your model.
From there, LayOut makes it easy to document your design. But here’s the problem, and it’s hands down the biggest problem that people run into when they first try to learn LayOut. Seemingly out of nowhere, LayOut will suddenly switch what you see in your Viewport, messing up all your annotations in the process. It’s so frustrating! But it turns out that LayOut’s just a computer program doing its job.
Unless you tell it otherwise, LayOut’s job is to show you your last saved SketchUp view. Because your SketchUp and LayOut files are linked, if you go back to work on your SketchUp file and save it, the Viewport in LayOut will update. That’s good for design changes, but bad when it messes up the Viewport in LayOut. So how do you make this work for you, rather than against you? In SketchUp, you need to set up Scenes that represent the exact views you wanna see in your LayOut Viewports later.
In LayOut, you set your Viewports to the appropriate SketchUp Scenes, and voila, everything works beautifully.
Any design changes you make to your Sketchup model will carry over without messing things up. Now, in order to help you set up your Scenes for LayOut, follow the next tip.
2. get the right Camera views.
Let’s say you wanna set up a plan view. Trying to use SketchUp’s navigation tools to do that is not only frustrating, it’s actually impossible. So, what’s the right way to do it? Well, it turns out that the answer lies in your Camera menu. There, you can jump directly to a Top Down view without having to try to orbit there manually.
By default, your camera shows Perspective, so you’ll need to turn that off to get a more traditional 2D plan view.
Lastly, use Pan and Zoom to frame your view. It’ll be the same framing you’ll see in your LayOut Viewport later. Then save your scene. Of course, this isn’t quite a plan view just yet. That’s where the next tip comes into play.
3. Give Each Active Section Cut its Own Scene.
Whether you need to show a floor plan, an elevation, or some other cross sectional drawing, you’ll need to add a Section Cut to your SketchUp model. Here’s the problem. Once you add a Section Cut, it can be tricky to get it to show up when you need it and disappear when you don’t. And if you have multiple section cuts, it’s even more of a headache trying to isolate the one you need.
So, how do you avoid this? To get to the answer, let’s talk about best practices for setting up a Section Cut.
When you add a Section Cut, it will be the Active Cut. To get a view perpendicular to the cut, right-click on the Section Plane and Align your View to that plane. And be sure to hide the Plane if you no longer need to see it.
Then, pan or zoom as needed and Save a new scene, or update an existing scene if you’re already working with one. Be sure to repeat this process for each Section Cut. In short, if you make the mistake of adding Section Cuts as an afterthought, you’re gonna make your life way harder. So, always give Active Section Cuts their own Scenes as you go, and you’ll definitely thank yourself later.
Now, once you’ve added your Section Cuts, you may find that you need to adjust which parts of your drawings are visible.
That’s where the next tip comes in.
4. Use Layers the Right Way.
When you’re in LayOut setting up your viewports, you’re gonna need scenes that show specific things in your model, and hide everything else. To do that, you’re gonna need to know how to use Layers in SketchUp. SketchUp’s Layers work a little bit differently than Layers do in other programs you might already use.
To be successful with Layers in SketchUp, you need to understand the following concepts. In every file, you start with a default layer called Layer0. It starts as the Active Layer, which means all the edges and faces you draw will be on Layer0. As you create new layers, there are three simple rules to follow. Rule number one, don’t ever, ever touch the Active Layer.
It should always be Layer0. I’m serious about this one. If you don’t follow this advice, you will ruin your SketchUp model and eventually have to start over. Second, organize everything you draw into Groups and Components, and assign all of your Groups and Components to new Layers that you’ve created. Make sure to plan ahead for the Layers you’ll need, and you’ll have an organized model that’s easy to work with when setting up Scenes for LayOut.
And third, when you need to hide and show related Groups or Components together, select them all and turn them into a new higher level or Parent Group, then assign that new Parent Group to its own Layer that you can hide and show. This last idea is a super powerful feature of SketchUp, and allows you to easily set up complicated views. Of course, you’re gonna need to invest some time developing your own strategies for organizing and layering your SketchUp models, or you can start with the ones that we recommend in our LayOut course.
Okay, let’s move on to our next tip. At this point, you’re properly using Layers, Section Cuts, and Camera Views together with your Scenes.
You’re probably feeling ready to jump into LayOut.
5. Control Line Weights via Styles.
Line Weights are hands down the biggest mystery for people that jump right in and start trying to make things happen in LayOut. The only mention of Line Weights in LayOut is this setting right here, and when you click it, it doesn’t do what you’d expect. So, how do you control Line Weights in LayOut? At this point in the video, I’m sure you can guess that the answer lies in SketchUp. In SketchUp, the Styles window is where you go to control whether you see Materials, flat colors, or just a white model, as well as where you control the background colors you see.
But it’s also where you’ll be able to set the stage for controlling your Line Weights later in LayOut. For any Scene, you can have essentially three Line Weights, One for your Edges, one for Profiles, and one for Section Cuts.
The numerical values you assign to the thickness of the lines are ratios, so Edges have a built-in value of one, and it’s up to you to decide whether the other Line Weights are two times, three times, or however many times thicker you like. Then in LayOut, you can further refine things by dialing all the Line Weights up or down in thickness together. Now, I know what you’re thinking.
I need more than three Line Weights! Not to worry. I’ve got a bonus tip for you.
It’s true, when you set your three Line Weights for a Style and save your Scene, the linked Viewport in LayOut will be constrained to those three Line Weights. But you can stack more than one Viewport on top of another in LayOut!
That means you can have as many Line Weights as you’d like. And while this might feel like a workaround for Line Weights, it does actually allow for some other powerful Viewport stacking effects once you get the hang of it. Okay, let’s move on to the next tip.
6. Name Your Groups and Components.
In LayOut, you use the Label tool to name things in your drawings.
If you have lots of things to label, this can mean a lot of typing and plenty of chances to make mistakes. What’s a better way to do this? Well, back in SketchUp, when you make your Groups and Components, take the time to name them properly. Later, in LayOut, the Label tool is smart enough to automatically display the name without you having to type it over and over again. This can be a huge timesaver.
For Components, you name them when you make them. For Groups, you can name them in the Entity Info window. All right, one tip left, and it’s a big one.
7. draw some 2D symbols in SketchUp.
In LayOut, you’ll likely need to show 2D symbols that represent objects in your design, like door swings or furniture symbols.
If you’re like most self-taught students I run into, you’re likely to make the mistake of drawing ’em in using LayOut’s tools. But what if you need to reposition things in your drawing, or worse, you have to make design changes in the SketchUp model? It can turn into a real mess. Okay, you may already see where I’m going with this one, right? Sometimes, it’s best to draw your 2D symbols in SketchUp first and group them with their 3D counterpart.
Let’s use a door for example. First, find or create a 3D door model. Next, draw the 2D door swing symbol and make it into a Group. Then, create a 2D Symbols Layer and assign the swing to that layer. Finally, group the 3D door and the 2D door swing together into a Parent Group that you can move and position together in your design.
For any plan view Scenes, toggle on the 2D layer so it’s visible. For perspectives and elevations, turn off the 2D layer so only the 3D elements are visible. Okay, that takes us through the seven key things you need to know before you get started with LayOut. Just by watching this video, you’ve already prevented your future self a lot of pain in LayOut. Did you learn something new in today’s article?
Also, before you go, let me know which tip you found most useful by leaving a comment below right now.
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