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SketchUp tips for improved 3D modeling process

16th March 2010

By Global Assocaites SketchUp Team

In order to use SketchUp in your project efficiently you have to make 3D modeling process swift and precise with the following tips and tricks.

Shortcuts: You have to apply shortcut method for enhancing the speed for modeling process. For this purpose you have to map all the toolbars, menus and plug-ins to shortcuts for managing & saving time for modeling process.

All the shortcuts can be exported or imported through the preference dialog and re-mapped as per your requirements.

Some example of shortcuts:-

♦ a – unhide all
♦ l – unhide last
♦ h – hide/show rest of model
♦ j – hide/show similar components
♦ m – monochrome mode
♦ n – (normal) shaded with textures mode
♦ x – x-ray mode
♦ g – make group
♦ p– position texture (mapping) (next to enter key for speed)

Customize Your Components: You can customize SketchUp components at the time of inserting an object from components list as per your choice. Separate your selected object by shifting it from other components and click Edit / Component / Explode. This will instantly turn the object to be broken into several pieces. After making necessary modification as per your requirements highlight all the broken pieces of the object and select either Edit / Make Group or Edit / Make Component to reconstruct it.

Application of Script: Always try to apply scripts in your projects. This will speed up your 3D modeling process. SketchUp executes command scripts free for you and you can automate tasks like adding labels to figures, assigning materials to surfaces, and drawing geometric shapes like parabolas and ellipses by using these scripts.

You can also use a programming language called “Ruby” to write plug-ins (scripts) for SketchUp. You can simplify multi step operations and develop the 3D modeling process by downloading and installing it.

You can find script in the following places:-

♦ SMustard
♦ Sketchucation
♦ Ruby Library Depot
♦ ScriptSpot

Guides: Always try to apply guides for making the 3D modeling process smooth. Use tape measure tool to put in parallel ones and Protractor tool to put in angular ones. These tools are beneficial for layout grids, check measurements, to assist with snapping and for various purposes. If you find problem with junked guides you can instantly clear all the guides with one shortcut arrangement.

3D Modeling control Quintet: At the time of working with shortcuts you can create five on/off toggles alias Color by Axis, Monochrome, X-Ray, Hide Rest & Hide Similar. These will facilitate you to promptly scrutinize the models and hold control to the models.

Application of Group/Layer/Scene: You can apply layers and scene to simulate groups of geometry for objects. Create separate layer for each part or group of parts. Before using layer group it initially to get geometrical separation. Separate your geometry with different colors to recover a separation of materials of surfaces. All the geometry surrounded by the groups stays on default layer 0. You are able to receive two levels of information by grouping and assigning to layers and this can be enhanced by applying page or scene method.

A new plug-in alias VisMap just released and it will help to identify what layers are assigned to what scene.

Auto Save: You can use numerous scripts to enhance the modeling process and while applying scripts you should always turn on auto save option and saving period time is set in such a way that go well with your modeling speed.

SketchUp checks your model for unrecoverable errors during the auto-save, preventing the overwriting of a good auto-save file.

In order to solve the file corruption issue you should always manually save a new file after making necessary modification to modeling procedure.

Templates: SketchUp is installed with several templates and you can use templates to save style, units, location, layers and components for trouble-free start-up of a new model in a new file. You can load a template SketchUp file manually using File > Open each time you desire to generate a model. Select the 'Set as default template' checkbox to save this template as the default template (to load every time you load SketchUp).

Always try to utilize a template with a preset of layers using a standard naming. You can add components & materials to a template for reprocessing them for some types of work.

Finally I will suggest every one to go through the Google SketchUp Users Guide (.PDF) before get ready to perform a 3D modeling project with SketchUp.

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