Make Groups and Components


Modelers need to have a way to control how things interact.  Grouping stuff is a quick way to segregate related entities from the rest of the model.  Things inside the group or component wrapper will not be affected by changes on other parts of the model.
To get more control over a wrapper itself and the contents of the wrapper, jump into the use of components.  TaffGoch created a HousePlan file to help people understand how groups and components are used.  Open the Entity Info window while examining the file -  from the Window menu, SketchUp menu on a Mac.   Entity info lists what the parts are and layer location.


Like groups, components throw a segregation wrapper over selected entities.  But it does more.
  • If you are using the same entity multiple times (for example, a window or a tree), make it a component, and then use copies of the component. Multiple instances of a component are lighter-weight than multiple copies of an entity or group.
  • Use components as an archive.
    • Save a copy of a model in Component Libraries/Collections to readily retrieve it for future use.
    • Use the component as a jumping point for future model modifications, as there is a tool in the context menu (select component, right-click) to make a unique copy.
    • When a part of the model is in an awkward location to modify in situ, add a copy of the component in an accessible location, square to axes, to modify the geometry instead.

Model major components in a separate file.

Component context menu options
Components Browser
  • Bring the components into the main, master model file by importing them through File > Import or through the Components browser from a custom, component library.
  • Refresh those edited library components
    • Changes to external SKP files and library components do not automatically update when changes are made in external copies.
      • Select a component in the workspace and replace component instances through the right-click context menu as described above.
      • Open the two browser panes in the Components browser (SU6 & SU7)
        1. Click on the house icon to get the In Model components
        2. Right-click the old component and select Reload
  • There's a Xref Manager plug-in for those accustom to AutoCAD methodology.  Xreffing is a way to coordinate and manage the re-importation of external components and DWG/DXF files into master SKP file.  Look for the latest version of XrefManger at the Ruby Library Depot.  It's located in the Files-Converters-Mics section.  Open the plug-in in a plain text editor, like Notepad, to find additional instructions. 
    • Another way to Save or Reload a component is through the right-click context menu
      1. Select a component in the model work space
      2. Right-click and choose Save As in the context menu to save the component to an external location.
      3. To update the external component, select the component, right-click > Reload
BIG TIP: Do not change components axes
  • If you set up a component in a master file and want to save it in a separate file, do not disturb the axis location in the new file.
  • When the external model is reloaded into the master model, it will oriented and placed according to the axis position.
  • For example, layout and set up a component in the master file.  Then select the component and save it in an external file.  Stop all new modeling of that part in the master file.  Instead refine and update that model in the new, external file.  Do not change how the model is oriented to the axis.  Whenever changes need to be shown in the master file, select the affected component and Reload it from it's external location.

Use low-poly, proxy components as place-keepers.

  • Try using low-poly component versions early in the modeling process.  Replace them later with better components. 
    1. Make a replacement component.  It will appear in the Components browser, In Model library (click on the house icon.)
    2. Select the component you want to replace in the model workspace
    3. Right-click on the replacement component in the Components browser and select "Replace Selected."
    1. Use low-poly components for distance view Scenes of the model.  Then only use more detailed component versions for close-up Scene views.  (See the Relevant Plug-ins section below to help automate this process.)
      1. Place the low-poly component version on it's own Layer, and the higher-poly version component on another Layer
      2. Place a low-poly component and it's higher-poly counterpart on top of each other.
      3. Make some Scenes with the low-poly Layer visible and make some final presentation Scenes with the higher poly Layer visible.
    2. Check out the proxy plugins listed below.
    Note:Some ray tracing renderers can be set up to ignore the low-poly, proxy models which are visible in the workspace and will render the high-poly models placed on invisible layers instead.




    Relevant Plugins

    • cgScenes  chrisglasier - Helps manage scenes, layers and components in a single re-sizable automated interface.
    • Component Comparison  ThomThom - Compares components for geometric similarities - replaces the instances of similar definitions to use the same definition.
    • EditInPlace  Cadalog, Inc - Plugin that lets you edit (modify) components and groups in a separate Google SketchUp window.
    • HideAll  Todd Burch - Hide all unselected Objects in your model.
    • HideTool  Todd Burch - Left click to hide anything and everything you click on.
    • Loose2Groups  Chris Fullmer - Groups loose geometry.
    • Make_Component  Matt666 - Tool to make and convert components or groups from selected entities.
    • Proxy Components
      • GhostComp  Fredo6 - Makes simplified, proxy components to allow those smaller ghost component to substitute for the detailed version.
      • GOSU  Renderiza - Toolset that lets you trigger different actions when you click a component - URLs, sound, files, folders, Scenes, etc,... and proxies.
      • MaxtrixProximity  TIG - Helps to create and manage components based on their complexity depending on the proximity of the camera/viewer - for place-keeper fans (located in the Geometry/Drawing section of the Ruby Depot.)  
        • Open the script in a plain text editor for instructions (to insure foreign formating is not added to the file.)
        • SketchUcation thread
      • Proxy Components  One of the contruction wizards which comes with RpTools.  It makes low-poly versions of of selelcted conponents and places them on a special low-poly layer. - Windows 
    • XrefManager  TIG - helps to manage reimporting updated, external components and DWG/DXF into a master SKP file.
      • Open the script in a plain text editor for instructions (to insure foreign formating is not added to the file.)
      • SketchUcation thread
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