LayOut’s Dimension tool allows you to easily add dimensions to your model. Here are eight tips to help you become even more efficient at adding dimensions to your LayOut documents.
LayOut Dimension Tool Basics
In its simplest form, the Dimension tool is used to measure the distance between two points on a page by doing the following:
- Activate the Linear Dimension tool.
- Click on the first point you’d like to measure.
- Click on the second point you’d like to measure.
- Drag your mouse out to where you want to place the dimension line, and click to set position.
That is the basic way to insert a dimension in LayOut, but there are some other things you should be aware of. Style, leaders, and alignment are all important if you want to create accurate and clear dimensions. LayOut also has some built in shortcuts to increase your speed while inserting dimensions.
While I’m a big advocate for taking the time to set up scenes in SketchUp ahead of time for the viewports you’d like to create in LayOut, there are actually many tools built right into LayOut that let you insert and orient viewports on the fly. In this article, we’ll go over how to create a basic LayOut document without any preparation in SketchUp.
If you’ve got a lot of section cuts in your model that you’d like to create viewports of in LayOut, then you really need to take the time to save scenes in SketchUp ahead of time to assign to viewports in LayOut.
But what if you’re looking to create a few simple perspectives of your model in LayOut to get it out the door quickly? There are many tools built into LayOut that allow you to insert any SketchUp model and control the perspective and style without any preparations ahead of time.
Inserting a model into LayOut
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You could go straight to LayOut with your model, but it’s worth noting a few things to save you from frustration down the road:
- If you have a lot of guides (from the Tape Measure tool) you’ll probably want to delete them so they don’t end up in your viewports. Go to Edit -> Delete Guides to delete all guides in your model. (If you’re editing a group/component while you do this, it will only delete the guides in that group/component.)
- If you DO have section cuts in your model that you don’t want showing up in your viewports, you need to make sure you have a custom style created that hides section cuts or section planes.
- If there are certain objects in your model that you don’t want displayed in any viewports, you must hide them. Either assign them to a hidden layer (Go to Window -> Entity Info -> Select the layer you want to assign it to. Then go to Window -> Layers, and uncheck that layer visibility.) Or, hide the objects by right clicking them and selecting Hide. (You can unhide them from the Outliner Window)
To celebrate the launch of my new book ‘SketchUp to LayOut”, I hosted a free webinar on launch day. (If you missed the webinar, you can watch the replay at www.Sketchuptolayout.com) This was my first ever live event, so needless to say it didn’t go off without a hitch. Shortly after the webinar, I slapped myself on the forehead as I realized some of the essential tips I forgot to mention in the webinar. So here they are:
The Best Feature of LayOut
This one is so obvious, I can’t believe I forgot to mention it. Hands down, the best reason you should be using LayOut to present your SketchUp models is that LayOut maintains a dynamic link to your SketchUp models. This means that you can insert viewports of your SketchUp model into a LayOut document, and if you ever make any changes to the model down the road, you can tell LayOut to update the viewports to reflect those changes.
There are a few things to watch out for, but first, let me bring you up to speed on how viewports and model references work:
With the release of Sketchup Pro 2013 came the new pattern fill feature in Layout. Not only is this a great solution for providing hatches in your Layout documents, but pattern fill can also be used for creating a number of unique effects. I’m going to show you how people have been creating hatches in Sketchup, as well as how to use the new Pattern Fill feature in Layout.
Why we need hatching
A Hatch is a symbolic pattern added to a drawing in order to help identify materials, objects, and spaces. They also help define section cut planes. Architects have been doing this for decades. Even before computer aided drafting they would draw in hatches by hand.
- Most hatch patterns are standardized, which makes them universally understood by whomever is interpreting your drawing.
- Hatches help visually identify areas that represent materials or objects from areas that are just empty space.
- Hatches help differentiate between material types. For example, different types of wood look very similar to each other if rendered as a realistic material. However, if you use hatches to define the different types of material, the hatches are easily distinguishable. This ensures accurate interpretation of your drawings.
- Hatches help define the plane of a section cut.
- Hatches tend to communicate better when printed out on a black & white printer, as compared to printing out realistic materials applied from Sketchup. Plus, they save on ink.
If you have Sketchup Pro, you have Layout. It’s the companion software package for Sketchup that helps you prepare your model in 2D perspective views for printing out on paper. One of the most common tasks you’ll have to do for Layout is prepare your model for importing. It’s easy, and it’s best to spend a little more time in Sketchup to configure your scenes before you even open Layout.
Prepare Scenes in Sketchup FIRST, then import into Layout
Layout does have some built in camera tools, allowing you to “open” your imported Sketchup model right from Layout and orbit the model. But you just don’t have as much control as you do from Sketchup. So as you’re planning out your Layout document, think about what types of views you’ll want to get, then open your model in Sketchup to find those views and save them as scenes.
When you are using Sketchup for architecture or construction, you’ll find there are many views you need to capture from each model. Make sure you label each scene as you create it so you can reference the name when selecting it in Layout. These are some typical views I like to configure, then save as scenes in Sketchup.
- Modeling View – This is just a scene to save my default modeling settings. As you start configuring your other scenes, you’ll want to go back to modeling and this scene will get you back there fast.
- Top View – Bird’s eye view from directly over head. You can just select the preset top view button in Sketchup. Don’t worry if the view is not rotated correctly. You can easily rotate it in Layout.
- Perspective View – I like to put a nice 3D “Sketchy” perspective view right on the front page of the drawings. I usually crank the field of view up to 60 to get a nice perspective view.
(Camera --> Field of View --> 60)
- Elevation views – Most of the pages will be elevation views. (Elevation views are the perspectives as if you are standing directly in front of something, looking straight at it.) You’ll typically have multiple elevations in a drawing set.