Sketchup Modeling Hacks: Easy tips that save your time (Part Three)

Layers, Groups, and Components are the most underestimated tools in Sketchup; they give you limitless possibilities while modeling, read on and try to apply them and discover how you can incorporate those tools to save on modeling time.

In case you missed the previous parts, you’ll fine them Part one here and Part two here.


Groups and Layers

These nifty options are a wonder in Sketchup; they help declutter a huge and detailed model, making it easier to focus on the task at hand.
Each can be used in either creative or basic ways to achieve higher productivity, let’s start with Layers:
 – To open the Layers window go to Window>Layers.
 – Like in all Sketchup interfaces; Layers window is pretty straightforward.
 – If you click on the Arrow Icon you’ll get a menu that has “Purge” in it; this deletes all empty layers.
Screenshot (36)
 – You can hide a Layer by unchecking it, and you can edit a layer by selecting it.
Now let’s get down to business. One of the best methods I personally use is that I do all of my basic shapes on the original layer ‘Layer0’, then before I apply any furniture, textures, or lighting, I add the following layers (For an Interior):
  • Ceiling (Includes ceiling vents and everything hanging from or placed on the ceiling.)
  • Lighting (NOT THE FIXTURES, just the lighting objects that come with your rendering engine; IES cones, Spot Light cones, Omni Light orbs, etc.)
  • Walls (Includes doors and door frames, arches, columns, etc.)
  • Wall Accessories (Windows, Scones, Clocks, Wall Vents, etc.)
  • Wall Lighting (If there’s any; again NOT THE FIXTURES.)
  • Furniture (I usually either add all furnishings on one layer if it’s a couple of spaces, or just add a layer for each room if it’s a whole house; this includes drapes, rugs, and accessories)
  • Floor (Carpets, Tiles, Stairs, etc.)
After all the layers are added, I start adding the components to it; using multiple selection I select all the objects that need to go on a certain layer, then Right Click>Entity Info>Layer, and from the drop down menu pick the layer for it.
Whenever I’m just too lazy to be tidy; I go for Groups.
 – To add objects to groups: select the objects you want in that group Right Click>Make Group. Voila!
 – To Edit a Group, double click on it.
 – You can even hide a group if it gets in the way.
What I do when using Groups to make my life even easier is that I group the components in categories like I did in the Layers above; so instead of creating layers I just select the objects and group them by category.


Components can make your editing multiple identical objects easier and your model lighter and clutter free.
– To Create a Component: Right Click>Make Component.
– To open Component window: Window>Components.
– To Edit Components: Double Click.
What’s so awesome about components?
I’ll tell you. Let’s say you modeled a cafe table, copied it around, and now you want to change something in the design or color. You don’t have to open each and every one and edit it. Nope. All you have to do it just edit one of them and the rest follows automatically. If you want to edit a component/s separately without others being affected, all you have to do is select it/them and then Right Click>Make Unique. That’s it!
Now, if you open the Components window, you’ll find all the components that you created in your model + some templates that can be useful when modeling; so go on and explore with it. You’ll love it.
Screenshot (37)
Example of things found in the Components’ Templates
Tip: When using Spot Lights or similar VRay lights that are used a lot around a model; you can add it to the fixture, apply textures, add the customized values, then select the whole thing and make it a component. This will make it easier on you when going from space to space and adding them. Plus, if they appear too dim or too bright when rendering you can just edit one and the rest will follow suit.
I think this covers it for now 🙂
For more tips on speeding up Sketchup, you can go here.
If you need something more detailed on working with those three tools, you can download my free eBook ‘Organized Workflow’ from our Library by joining our mailing list.

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