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Thread: Sketchup: Components and Layers Question

  1. #1

    Sketchup: Components and Layers Question

    I'm running into some strange issues with Components and Layers.

    I have a very large and old model of my home. It's a complete model of my home down to the millwork and light fixtures. Luckily, I live in a 1981 tract home so the millwork isn't complicated.

    Anyway, I've been working on this thing continuously for about three years now. My skills at Sketchup have been improving the entire time and I think that's part of the problem. There's been a couple occasions where I've done a major overhaul of sections because I discovered a new technique or it turns out the methods I was using were shortsighted.

    Now I am running into a problem with Components that are split across layers. For instance, I have a component for a door frame. The individual parts of the component may be on "Layer 0" but the component itself may be assigned to "Main Floor". Additionally, I've somehow come up with some composite components (components which contain other components) that amplify the problem exponentially.... the interior components may have parts on different layers from other components of the same component, etc etc etc...

    The main problem is with hiding layers. I have each room of the house as its own layer so I can hide areas I'm not working on. In a couple rooms, it seems like all the millwork is on "Layer 0" but the room structure is on the appropriate layer. I have to click on/off two or three (sometimes seemingly unrelated) layers to get the room, millwork, and built-ins to all appear correctly. Then I look at the components and they're on the right layer but the guts of them are not. It's frustrating.

    I've also run into a ghosting issue. Sometimes I'll have a layer where one part is somehow shared between layers. This one I don't really get how I'm even doing it. But Sketchup begins to act strangely, not letting me add geometry or adding it but highlighting it blue. I'm obviously doing something wrong there.

    Finally, all these reused and scattered components make the Object Browser really unwieldy. I don't use that tool much but it'd be nice if it were comprehensible.

    I just don't know what to with all these re-used components. Is there a page or document somewhere that shows best practices for using components in a multi-layer environment?

  2. #2
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    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars


    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  3. #3
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    David,

    It does sound like you have a bit of a mess. It can probably be fixed up, though. Here's the way I would approach it. It might sound bad but I think it'll be the easiest way to clean things up.

    First, I would make sure there is no loose or un-componented geometry. If you find any, put it in a component at least for the time being.
    Next, open the Layer manager and delete all layers except for Layer 0. You can't delete that one anyway. Make sure you opt to move everything to the Default layer (Layer 0). This will be the easiest way to correct layer associations.

    Note regarding the use of layers. Follow these simple rules for using layers in SketchUp. Always leave Layer 0 active. Never make any other layer active. Make layer associations for components but always leave edges and faces on Layer 0

    Go to Outliner (Window menu) and work through your components to clean up nesting and make it all correct. Personally, I would explode all components or groups that contain other components/groups. This should leave you with only lowest level components. Check as you go for any loose geometry and deal with it as needed to make components.

    also, if you've created any scenes, delete all of them.

    Now make new layers. Don't make any layer associations yet. Just create the layers and give them names. After you've got all the layers, go down the list and turn off their visibility. If you still want to control room visibility as well as visibility of parts in the rooms, make the appropriate layers for both.

    Now with Entity Info open, go through your model and make layer associations for the components based on the rooms. So you'll assign all the components that are in the kitchen to a layer called Kitchen and so on. As you make the layer associations the components you've selected will disappear. Go through your model this way until you've assigned all components to some room layer or another. You'll know you've finished when you have a blank drawing window.

    Turn on each room layer one at a time. Select all of the components and make a nested component. So turn on the Kitchen layer, select all the visible components and make a nested component called 'Kitchen.' Make a layer association for that kitchen component with the kitchen layer. Then open the Kitchen component and go through changing the layer associations for all of the components in there to the correct layers. Appliances, molding, cabinets, etc. As you work through this process, all of those components will again disappear until you've got a blank drawing window.

    Repeat the above process for each of the other rooms. You won't need layers for kitchen molding, dining room molding and so on. Just one layer for molding, another for cabinets, another for doors and so on.

    When you get finished with all of this, turn on all the layers again. You should have the entire model visible. At this point you can handle looking at the model in several ways. If you want to look at only the living room, turn off all the other room layers. If you want to see only the molding in the living room, turn off all the layers except the molding layer.

    Turn all the layers on and go to Window>Model Info>Statistics and choose Purge unused. Save the file.

    This sounds really complex but if you use a methodical approach, it is manageable. If you'd done it right from the beginning it wouldn't be a huge chore but of course you've been learning as you've gone along so...

    A couple of things to keep in mind: Try to avoid too much nesting of components. It just makes it harder to deal with the model. I tend to limit my models to only two levels of components.
    And be aware, if you explode a component/group which had been assigned to a layer, the geometry will take the layer association. After exploding and while the entities are still selected, immediately change the layer association back to Layer 0. There really shouldn't be much need to explode components, anyway.

    One other thing, just in case. Switch to the Monochrome faces style and make sure you have no exposed back faces. If you do, correct their orientation.

    As to the "Object Browser", I assume you mean Component Window. There are a couple of things that you can do to make it easier to deal with all the components. One is to purge unused components. Another is to try to make use of the same components as often as possible. For example if all the interior doors in the house are the same size, you don't need 3 different bedroom door components and a bathroom door. Just one 'Interior door' should suffice.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Caughron View Post
    I thought I smelled popcorn.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

  5. #5
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    David, It does sound like you have a bit of a mess. It can probably be fixed up, though. Here's the way I would approach it.
    Darn, Dave beat me to it . . . .

    Great assessment Dave. I have run into similar situations on a much smaller scale. With the help of your threads, posts and articles I fought my way out of them. Thanks from all of us, as always.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Thanks from all of us, as always.
    ++++1
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Richards View Post
    I thought I smelled popcorn.
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars


    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  8. #8
    So the long and the short of it is that a good workflow is to have all geometry on Layer 0 and then move completed components to different layers as needed?

    I think that was where I really go into a bind... having geometry from multiple layers inside a single component located on a third layer.

    Busting the model and reassembling is what I was trying to avoid, but it sounds like that's the only way.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Agnew View Post
    So the long and the short of it is that a good workflow is to have all geometry on Layer 0 and then move completed components to different layers as needed?
    Yes. good and efficient work flow in SketchUp involves making components--leaving no loose geometry--and then making layer associations for the components while all that geometry remains on Layer 0.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Agnew View Post
    I think that was where I really go into a bind... having geometry from multiple layers inside a single component located on a third layer.
    That will get you in a bind. You don't want any geometry on any layer but Layer 0

    Quote Originally Posted by David Agnew View Post
    Busting the model and reassembling is what I was trying to avoid, but it sounds like that's the only way.
    I know you'd like to avoid it but I think you'll find that going any other route will lead to more "confusion and delay" which I expect you don't want. An alternative would be start a new file and draw it all again. It would probably go faster and you'd probably be more efficient. What I described really shouldn't take all that long.

    Just a note about layers: In SketchUp, layers are different from layers in other programs you might be used to. Layers do one thing and one thing only. That is control visibility of entities. They do nothing to create separation between entities as they do in other programs. When you uncheck the visibility box for a layer, it is sort of like the Romulans turning on the "cloaking device" which made their Bird of Prey invisible. The ship is still there, you just can't see it.

    Even though the geometry is on Layer 0, turning off a component's layer visibility will make that geometry invisible even though Layer 0 is visible.

    As you found, having geometry on other layers causes all sorts of problems. By keeping the geometry on Layer 0 and always keeping Layer 0 as active, you'll find you have a lot less headaches. This is good practice for everyone even if your models are very simple. Don't learn bad habits.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

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