AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue
#21 (August 22, 2007)
Using Layers and Scenes for Design Exploration
in Google SketchUp
Independent Writer and Consultant
In this tutorial, we will create two versions
of the same room. The two rooms will have different
wall and floor materials.
Before creating any objects, open the Layers
window (Window > Layers)
and create two additional layers called "Room
1" and "Room 2." This is done by
clicking the + icon and assigning
a layer name.
Create a floor and two walls, and use the Materials
window to add some color or texture.
Select the floor and walls and group them (Edit
> Make Group). This is because
we will place the two identical rooms in the same
spot, and grouping prevents the two sets of walls
and floors from sticking to each other.
Make a Copy of the group. Then
edit the second group (double-click a group to
edit it) and change the wall and floor materials.
The next step is to place each group on one of
the layers created in the first step. Right-click
on one group and select Entity Info.
Set its Layer to "Room 1."
Do the same for the second group, placing on
the layer "Room 2."
Move one group so that it coincides exactly with
the other group.
Place some furniture components in the room.
You can now use the Layers window
to switch between rooms. Uncheck the Visible
box for "Room 1" and only "Room
2" is visible.
Reverse the layer visibility to see the other
This is easy, but there's an easier way to switch
Use the Layers window to make
sure only "Room 1" is displayed. Then
open the Scenes window. Before
creating a new scene, uncheck Camera Location.
Then use the + icon to create
the scene "Room 1."
For the next scene, use the Layers
window to display only "Room 2," and
create a second scene called "Room 2."
The tabs for the two scenes appear at the top
of the Google SketchUp window. Click the tabs
to switch between the rooms.
Because Camera Location was
not saved with the scene, you can orbit around
the room as you like to view the room from any
angle. You can then switch scenes to see how the
floor and walls look from the current angle. The
Hidden Geometry option in the
Scenes window enables you to
do thisthe scene remembers what objects
were not displayed when the scene was created.
This method can be used to explore multiple options
for any design. For a kitchen, you can try out
a few different countertops or backsplashes. For
a living room, you can place two sets of furniture
in different locations to explore room layout.
For exterior work, you can even place landscaping
components on different layers to try out a few
About the Author
Bonnie Roskes is the author of Google SketchUp 6: Basic and Advanced Exercises, which is her fifth release on SketchUp. Books on Version 7 will be released soon, including one for O’Reilly Media. She has also released a series of SketchUp design project books and geometry project books for kids in K-12, along with some free resources for teachers and parents. Info on these can be found at www.3dvinci.net.
Bonnie has also authored books on Piranesi and OneCNC, as well as reference manuals, user guides, and tutorials for other CAD applications. She has a BS and MS in structural engineering, and worked for several years in bridge design and analysis before moving to tech writing.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for info on any of her books.
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Tricks > Using Layers and Scenes for Design
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