Basic Site Design Troubleshooting

Hi there,

Relatively new to SketchUpPro. Used the free version for a couple months, went through a series of tutorials. I’m interested in using SketchUp as a design tool, being able to draw landscapes, yards in 3D, not so much worried about details, but accuracy in measurements and general visual representation and presentation of ideas.Farmyard Base.skp (15.7 MB)

I’m using GeoLocation to import a map base, drawing lines over top, basic buildings, 2D trees that are representative of real life height, spread etc.

A few issues I’m running into, and am looking for help/advice on:

  1. Lines off plane/not connecting to make faces. I’ve realized now the importance of double checking this as you go, wondering if there’s a way to go back and connect lines/get them on the same plane without manually going through everything.

  2. I’m having trouble placing the trees I’ve made as groups in arrays. They always want to follow green/red/blue lines rather than lines I make with the measuring tape. It also seems that depending on the perspective the measurement between two points is actually different.

  3. I have LIDAR data that I can open in GoogleEarth for my site, and wondering if there’s a way I can import it to my design to show terrain/contours.

  4. Is there an efficient way to use tags to produce layers. E.g. Could I use this function to do an initial site inventory with all existing elements, and then alter/add new elements as a prospective design in a new tag so that you can turn them on/off without permanently having to move them.

You can move vertices (corners) of the shapes you draw to get them back in plane and there are some extensions that will flatten geometry. Probably the best option is to avoid creating the out of plane geometry in the first place and the easiest way to do that is to start with a large rectangle to draw on. Watch for the “On Face” inference tips as you model.

You should be able to make Move follow the guidelines if you are using them. You might find it easiest to move the first copy a bit farther down the guideline and then either hold Shift to lock that direction or press and release the down arrow key.

Depends on the file format. You might be able to bring it in. Be aware that it is likely to bloat the entity count, especially if the data covers a large area.

Tags (which used to be called Layers in older versions of SketchUp) are used primarily to control visibility of objects. You’ve seen that in controlling the visibility of the Location Snapshot and Location Terrain. You can give your objects different tags if you wish so that you can, for example, get rid of all the trees in the view. Remember to leave Untagged as active at all times and leave all edges and faces untagged.

As fare as doing an inventory, you can do that without using tags if you wish. Since you are using components which you named, you can put SketchUp’s Generate Report feature to good use.

Just some notes about your model. First, it’s cool that you have used very low poly trees. Many users like to use highly detailed trees and that can cause a huge hit in performance which your model doesn’t exhibit.

Here are a few things I see in your model. First, you’ve inverted the model axes. Solid blue should go up, not down. That could cause you problems when inserting components because they will be inserted with their axes aligned to the model axes.

Right click on an axis line and choose Reset.

You could change the axis orientation if you wish when setting out your arrays. I personally don’t bother with that but it is an option if you want to use.

Stay on top of face orientation and make sure you correct reversed faces (the blue faces in your model) before you add materials. Correct face orientation is important in a number of regards and it’s much easier to deal with correcting orientation if you do it as you go.

As I wrote earlier, you want to keep your edges and faces untagged. I ran a plugin to correct them here. In your model the incorrectly tagged edges likely came in with a CAD import.
Screenshot - 3_2_2021 , 10_44_48 AM

Also it’s a good idea to purge unused stuff from time to time. Deleting components from the model space does not remove them from the model. This can be very useful but it can also lead to file bloat. Unused materials and styles are the same. And materials that might be used on unused components are still considered used materials. You can purge unused stuff by going to Window>Model Info>Statistics and clicking the Purge Unused button. Again, I used a plugin to do that because it also presents the report I show.
Screenshot - 3_2_2021 , 10_46_04 AM

1 Like

Hi Dave, thanks for the quick and helpful feedback!

A few comments of confirmation and question, some that maybe you can lend further advice on:

  1. The advice with planes was on point. I was unobservant when I started placing lines, now I’ve got most planes fixed. I think I’ve learn like you suggested that starting with a rectangle and then adding arcs/curves after using the rectangle to reference off of is the way to go.

  2. A clarification on the trees and arrays. I’m trying to place more tree lines, but finding that they shift based on perspective…and not just slightly, but to the point where I measure a spacing with the tape measure to place an array, make an array, and then it only is accurate if I’m looking exactly where I placed it.
    I wonder if this has to do with the axis being out of whack before.

  3. I haven’t gotten around to the LIDAR or using tags much, but with the tags if you had any video tutorials that might be helpful I’d be open to suggestions.

  4. I don’t think I quite understand the face orientation and the implications for that. If you could offer further explanation or resources that would be helpful.

  5. Last, unfortunately I don’t understand purging components. More explanation/resources would be great. What was the plugin you used?

Thanks again!