SketchUP notes

Couple useful notes for every day SketchUp use which going to make your workflow way faster.


For example for construction parts of the building, don’t make more than, let’s say, ten big groups. Organize groups per use or floor or any other bigger group of elements.

Don’t make too many small groups with components inside big groups. After some time you will lose track with editing components in so many different groups.

Scale, FredoScale

With more complicated elements, like a canopy, for example, it is much easier and it`s good for practice to model the canopy from the beginning rather than changing an existing one. Scaling and stretching a simple rectangle we are dividing a single surface into (in the best case) two surfaces. In most of the cases, if not stretched right, we are making model 3 times bigger and heavier.
View > Tollbars… > Fredo6 Tools / Fredo6 Fredo Scale


Exploding everything is good, but not always. In the case of using components, it is good to have elements inside a component in groups. In that case, the computer is reading just one component information; even if there are hundreds of the same component within the model.


If you are preparing the model for Lumion, from time to time, it is good to check all sides of surfaces. Front (white) is visible in Lumion. Back (blue) side is not visible in Lumion, so make sure that you don’t have a blue surface in monochrome style.
Window > Styles > Monochrome



Importing CAD file need to be the cleanest possible, with connected lines and in the same plane. If they are not in the same plane in CAD, use FLATTEN (CAD12) or EXPLODE all and in Properties, change Z coordinate to 0 (CAD14), to make them on one level.
Spline in CAD is strongly not recommended to be imported in Sketch Up. In case you use them, make sure you convert all splines into polylines before importing in Sketch Up. Or alternatively, you can select lines which you want to make polyline and use the plugin Weld.
Before importing CAD into Sketch Up execute PURGE/OVERKILL and AUDIT commands in CAD.
Be aware that with importing CAD file to SketchUp you are importing all layers, hidden lines, lines on different heights. Taking just lines one by one which you need and copying them to new empty SketchUp file is the best way to avoid the mess with imported CAD file. After modeling, copy just finished groups, clean elements in a single layer which will help you to keep the size smaller up to 40%. After importing entire model to a new clean file, you can clean it more with plugin Purge and CleanUp.

Extensions > Purge…
Extensions > CleanUP > Clean…



In detailed model at any time, you can make an accurate section, which one can be exported back to CAD or can be used like 3D section.


If you need to use plug-ins, use them just when is necessary. Often they will make your model nicer but with additional polygons and will ultimately make your model really heavy and hard to work with.
If you are importing files downloaded from sketch up a warehouse, before importing them to the main file, make them clean and ensure the file size is kept to a minimum.


When you are modeling new model, try to keep it the simplest possible. More complicated shapes try to make with a smallest possible number of polygons (triangles).
Sometimes for more complex operations with bigger and more complicated model (Intersect faces, Push-pull plugin, SoupBubble plugin…) it is better to copy just that part to a new file, finish operation and bring it back to the main file to avoid Sketch Up crashing. (It will save your life).


You can have door handles with screws on master plan while they are simple enough not to make the main model heavy.


SketchUp files which are going to be used just for picture exports can have mistakes, double faces, front/back side surfaces, but soon as we need to produce an animation for the same model, SketchUp file needs to be complete from every corner.
A model which will be taken into Lumion, doesn’t need to have people, trees, cars, materials. Even tables and chairs can be made like one separate group and imported to Lumion like separated model.
In case that you have complicated landscape, it is possible that same landscape can be modeled in Lumion faster than in SketchUp.
Swimming pools need to be modeled with real depth, with the water surface on top upon which a water material will be applied.


As soon as the model is taken into Lumion after modeling, you can use different random colors for different elements. Materials will be applied in Lumion. For more opportunities to edit imported material in SketchUp, it is better to import same material into Lumion.



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