Saturday, November 17, 2012

TUTORIAL: Working with Layers

OK, so I have had a request for an explanation on how to work with layers. I’ve seen a lot of people, particularly newcomers, start working on a nice new model, and then all of a sudden, they abandon the project because Sketchup is too slow. Sketchup is by no means the most powerful software, but if used right, you can make incredibly heavy projects (I’ve made one over 34 million polys) and still have your program work. 

Alright, for this tutorial I will be discussing how to use layers. Layers are a means by which Sketchup temporarily hides parts of your models that you are not working on. This speeds up the model immensely as you don’t need to wait for it to do all the calculations on areas you aren’t working on. To do this, I will show you the example of a stand, which will have seating added, before I retroactively add the layers. Make a small stand, as seen below. 

Now, add your seats.

You may notice that the model is a little bit less responsive now. To rectify this, we are going to turn off the seats. To do this, select all the seats in the model. This is able to be done by going to the components menu (Window – Components), clicking the home button (it looks like a house), then right-clicking on the seat component and selecting ‘Select Instances’.

Your screen should look something like this.

Next, we are going to go and add these seats to a layer. Go to Window – Layers, and click the plus button. Name it ‘seats’.

Next, right click on one of the seats, and go to Entity Info. Click on the ‘Layer’ dropdown menu and select ‘seats’.

Back on the Layers menu, uncheck the box next to the layer ‘seats’, and you will notice that the seats in your model disappear. They are still there, just hidden. Recheck the box, and the seats will come back.

If you click the circle next to the layer ‘seats’, you will change the default layer. This means that all lines you draw, objects you paste and so on will by default be located on the ‘seats’ layer. This is incredibly handy if you need to make a lot of work on one layer and want to save time, but make sure that you change the default layer back when you are finished working.

I hope this tutorial has helped provide the basics of working with layers for all of you. Good luck and happy modelling!


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