Ten SketchUp Traps and Their Workarounds - The Part of Tens - SketchUp For Dummies (2017)

SketchUp For Dummies (2017)

Part 5

The Part of Tens


Find tips for handling common problems that new users have as they create 3D models.

Discover resources for improving your SketchUp modeling skills.

Check out other SketchUp modeling tools, including Extension Warehouse and a browser-based version of SketchUp called my.SketchUp.

Chapter 15

Ten SketchUp Traps and Their Workarounds


check Knowing why faces, colors, and edges aren’t behaving right

check Coping with a slow or crashing SketchUp

check Viewing your model the way you want

check Persuading components to budge

check Recovering from Eraser disasters

The bad news is that every new SketchUp user encounters certain problems, usually in the first couple hours using the software. You can call these problems growing pains. The good news is that, because these problems are common, we can write a chapter that anticipates a lot of the bad stuff you’ll go through. This chapter offers tips that help you make sense of what’s going on so you can get on with your life as quickly as possible.

SketchUp Won’t Create a Face Where You Want It To

You’ve dutifully traced all around where you want SketchUp to create a face, but nothing’s happening. Try checking whether your edges aren’t all on the same plane.

remember Ninety percent of the time, when SketchUp doesn’t create a face where you think it should, an edge isn’t on the plane you think it’s on. To check whether your edges are coplanar, draw an edge that cuts diagonally across the area where you want a face to appear. If a face appears now, your edges aren’t all on the same plane. To fix the problem, you have to figure out which edge is the culprit, and the Color By Axis option may help you see this information at-a-glance. Here’s how Color By Axis works:

1. In the Styles panel, change your edge color from All Same to By Axis.

See Chapter 10 for details. SketchUp draws the edges in your model the color of the axis to which they’re parallel; edges parallel to the red axis are red, and so on.

2. Look carefully at the edges that you wanted to define your desired face.

Are all the edges the color they’re supposed to be? If they’re not all supposed to be parallel to the drawing axes, this technique doesn’t do much good. But if they are, and one (or more) of them is black (instead of red or green or blue), that edge (or edges) is your problem child. Fix it and switch back to All Same when you’re done.

If the plane isn’t the problem with your edges, then check whether one edge is part of a separate group or component. To check whether you have a component problem, try hiding groups or components and checking the edges to make sure that they’re all in the group or component you think they’re in. See Chapter 5 for details.

Your Faces Are Two Different Colors

remember In SketchUp, faces have two sides: a front and a back. By default, these two sides are different colors.

When you do certain things like use Push/Pull or Follow Me on a face, sometimes the faces on the resulting geometry are “inside out.” For some people, the issue is just bothersome. If you want to 3D-print your model, the issue needs to be fixed so that your model will print correctly.

To fix this issue, context-click the faces you want to flip and choose Reverse Faces from the context menu. If you have lots of faces to flip, you can select them all and then choose Reverse Faces to flip them all at once.

In 3D printing, this process is called checking your model's normals. See Chapter 9 for details about preparing a model for 3D printing.

Edges on a Face Won’t Sink In

This tends to happen when you’re trying to draw a rectangle (or another geometric figure) on a face with one of SketchUp’s shape-drawing tools. Ordinarily, the Rectangle tool creates a new face on top of any face you use it on; after that, you can use Push/Pull to create a hole, if you want.

When the edges you just drew don’t seem to cut through the face you drew them on, try these approaches:

· Retrace one of the edges. Sometimes that works — you’d be surprised how often.

· Select Hidden Geometry from the View menu. You’re checking to make sure that the face you just drew isn’t crossing any hidden or smoothed edges; if it is, the face you thought was flat may not be.

· Make sure that the face you drew on isn’t part of a group or component. If it is, undo a few steps and then redraw your shape while you edit the group or component.

SketchUp Crashed, and You Lost Your Model

Unfortunately, SketchUp crashes happen sometimes.

The good news is that SketchUp automatically saves a copy of your file every five minutes. The file that SketchUp autosaves is actually a separate file, AutoSave_ your filename .skp . If your file ever gets corrupted in a crash, an intact file is ready for you.

The problem is that most people don’t even know that the autosaved file is there. Where do you find it?

· If you’ve ever saved your file, it’s in the same folder as the original.

· If you never saved your file, it’s in your Documents folder — unless you’re on a Mac, in which case it’s here:

User folder/Library/Application Support/SketchUp 201X /SketchUp/Autosave

· technicalstuff Simple, right? Not so fast. On a Mac, you may need to change your Library folder from hidden to visible. In the Finder app, hold down the Option key while you choose Go ⇒ Library. If you don't hold down the Option key, Library may not appear on the menu.

When you close your model, SketchUp typically assumes nothing untoward has happened and cleans up after itself by deleting the autosaved file.

tip To minimize the amount of work you lose when software (or hardware) goes south, always do two things:

· Save often — compulsively, even.

· Use the Save a Copy As command on the File menu.

When you're working on a big project, the following steps can help ensure you don't lose any work:

1. Save the original version of your file as yourfilename _Master.skp .

That’s the file you’ll always be working on.

2. Create a folder that lives in the same place as your Master file; call the folder something like Your file’s name Archive.

3. Every half-hour or so, choose File ⇒ Save a Copy As and save a numbered version of your file to the Archive folder.

When Aidan is building a big model, he often has 40 or 50 saved versions of it in his Archive folder, dating back to when he first started working on it.

SketchUp Is Sooooo Slooooooooow

The bigger your model, the worse your computer’s performance. What makes a model big? In a nutshell, faces.

tip Do everything in your power to keep your model as small as you can. Here are some tips for doing that:

· Reduce the number of sides on your extruded circles and arcs. See Chapter 6 for instructions.

· Use 2D people and trees instead of 3D ones. Three-dimensional plants and people have hundreds of faces each. Consider using 2D ones instead, especially if your model won’t be seen much from overhead.

Some models are just big, and you can’t do much about it. Here are some tricks for working with very large SketchUp models:

· Make liberal use of the Outliner and layers. As we explain in Chapter 7 , these SketchUp features were specifically designed to let you organize your model into manageable chunks. Hide everything you’re not working on at the moment — doing so gives your computer a fighting chance.

· Substitute simple forms for large numbers of complex components. For example, insert sticks as placeholders for big sets of 3D trees, cars, and other big components. The tips for replacing components in Chapter 5 explain how to swap the placeholders with more complex components.

· Turn off shadows and switch to a simple style, such as Shaded in the Default Styles collection. It takes a lot of computer horsepower to display shadows, edge effects, and textures in real time on your monitor. When you’re working, turn off all that stuff. Chapter 10 is all about styles.

· Use scenes to navigate between views. Scenes aren’t just for presenting your model — they’re also great for working with it. If you create scenes for the different views you commonly use and with different combinations of hidden geometry, then you don’t have to orbit, pan, and zoom around your gigantic model. To speed up things even more, deselect Enable Scene Transitions (in the Animation panel of the Model Info dialog box). Chapter 11 is full of tips on working efficiently with scenes.

You Can’t Get a Good View of the Inside of Your Model

It’s not always easy to work on the inside of something in SketchUp. You can do these things to make it easier, though:

· Cut into your model with sections. SketchUp’s Sections feature lets you cut away parts of your model — temporarily, of course — so that you can get a better view of what’s inside. Take a look at Chapter 11 for the whole story on sections.

· Widen your field of view. Field of view is the part of your model you can see on-screen at one time. A wider FOV is like having better peripheral vision. You can read all about it in Chapter 11 .

A Face Flashes When You Orbit

If you have two faces in the same spot — maybe one is in a separate group or component — you see a Z-fighting effect. SketchUp is deciding which face to display by switching back and forth between them; it’s not a good solution, but certainly a logical one — at least for a piece of software. The only way to get rid of Z-fighting is to delete or hide one of the faces.

You Can’t Move Your Component the Way You Want

When you insert some components into your model, the components by default glue to faces. A glued component instance isn’t actually glued in one place. Instead, it’s glued to the plane of the face you originally placed (or created) it on. For example, if you place a sofa component on the floor of your living room, you can move it around only on that plane — not up and down.

This gluing behavior comes in handy when you deal with things like furniture; it allows you to rearrange things with the Move tool without accidentally picking them up.

If you can’t move your component the way you want to, context-click it and see whether Unglue is an option — if it is, choose it. Now you can move your component around however you want.

Bad Stuff Happens Every Time You Use the Eraser

When you use the Eraser tool, it’s pretty easy to delete stuff accidentally. Worse yet, you usually don’t notice what’s missing until it’s too late. Here are some tips for erasing more accurately:

· Orbit around. Try to make sure that nothing is behind whatever you’re erasing; use SketchUp’s navigation tools to get a view of your model that puts you out of danger.

· Switch on Back Edges. When you’re doing a lot of erasing, choose View ⇒ Edge Style ⇒ Back Edges. That way, you can see every edge in your model, and you’re less likely to erase the wrong ones.

· Double-check. After you do a lot of erasing, give your model a quick once-over with the Orbit tool, just to make sure that you didn’t get rid of anything important. Put a sticky note on your computer monitor that says something like Check after Erase! just to remind you.

All Your Edges and Faces Are on Different Layers

warning Using Layers in SketchUp is a dangerous business. Chapter 7 has tips you should follow when using layers, so we don’t repeat them here, but here’s the short version: Always build everything on Layer0, and put whole groups or components on other layers only if you really need to.

If you used layers and now things are messed up, here’s what you can do to recover:

1. Make sure that everything is visible.

Select Hidden Geometry on the View menu; then (in the Layers panel) make all your layers visible. Just make sure that you can see everything in your model.

2. Choose Edit ⇒ Select All.

3. In the Entity Info panel, move everything to Layer0.

4. In the Layers panel, delete your other layers. When prompted, tell SketchUp to move anything remaining on them to Layer0.

5. Create new layers and follow the rules in Chapter 7 .