Dimensions in layout = straw breaking camels back


I’m on the brink of ditching SU based on the performance of layout (evidently I’m not alone), however sentimentality (and 20 years of learning!) sees me trying to make it work for our business.

There are lots of issues with Layout, but the following is not just a case of being patient (editing a text box with more than a line of text in etc etc)…

I use SU for kitchen and cabinet design. The initial drawings have to have all edges rounded/chamfered so that I can get some decent renders via Vray, but when these are then imported into Layout, these small details make accurate dimensioning a devil. It’s so ridiculous having to explain to contractors & clients that whilst (for example) the island is 3.200m, it shows as 3.196 because of the chamfer, or that the running measurement is different to the sum of the individual components because I don’t have an accurate degree of control over where the dimension points snap to.

Am I missing something?

I’ve tried using a local space bump map to round/smooth edges in Vray, but it’s a bit too inconsistent (not all edges want the same treatment).

All input appreciated (apart from anyone pretending that Layout DOES do SU justice… you’re fooling no one!)

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You could perhaps use different objects with different tags for the chamfered versions and for the “idealized” blocky versions? Then overall drawings could be based on the blocky versions whereas renderings and potential detail drawings are based on the chamfered versions.

What’s the dimension of these rounded/chamfered edges ?

In a similar field and I gave up rounding the edges.

I’ve always found Layouts dimensioning to be a bit of pain, even with the viewport set to Vector and the line width to 0.1 it’s still not always possible to pick up the edge I want to Dim from.

I now model with square edges and leave it at that. I use Blender to render so if I feel the customer might need to see the edge rounded I apply a bevel modifier in Blender prior to rendering.

As Christina already suggested, you maybe could use some nested objects with a different tag just for dimensioning so you temporary hide the the chamfered objects to do your dimensioning?

Also, you could have a look at the FredoCorner plugin.I use it for rounding / chamfering objects for rendering as well and with this plugin you can revert the chamfering/rounding any time by just using the plugin again on these objects.

My V-Ray is not currently working but I seem to remember that it too has a “modifier” that makes modelling such minuscule fillets or bevels unnecessary. @eric-s , do I remember right?

general rule of scaling I learned in arch. school. If you’re having difficulties dimensioning elements you’re drawing, then maybe your scale is not the right one.

Say I’m making a house at 1/100 scale, off course I’ll have trouble putting dimensions on the 0,4cm baseboard and its 0,2cm radius rounding.
Maybe it’s fit for a 1/50 or a 1/20 plan. or even a 1/5 close up detail section just for it. But on the main model, it wont have a nice rounding. actually, at 1/100, it might not even be drawn, it would only register as a thick line.

A 3d model has a goal. If your goal is to give models of the global sizes, then yes, you might not need to design the ultra precise and small chamfer. Because at the scale you’ll print, you don’t need it to exist.
Then, on a second page, you can zoom in and provide detailed views of the mouldings.
For that, Eneroth provides a good advice, either make a copy of the model for close ups, or put the close ups mouldings on separate tags

at least, that’s what I learned back then. It’s tempting to model everything super detailed, but at times, depending on the scale you’re exporting, it can become a handicap.

Totally agree and I do do this occaisionally.

One model of the overall space, say a kitchen, that I can use for floorplans and general dimensioning.
Then separate models of the individual cabinets with more detail for manufacture.

For the client, they get the floorplans, a few sectional views and possibly a render if they’re willing to pay :slight_smile:

I’m quite happy with Sketchup and Layout and just learn that if I can’t do it one way, then I can always find another way to get the results.

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It’s interesting…Layout is the problem, not the particular workflow…hmm. As I have heard said recently and fully believe, if one has a problem with Layout it might not be Layout.

Hey OP…have you considered using a copy of your main file for VRAY? Do you do your Layout drawings first and then VRAY or the other way around? Either way, if your workflow is specifically about getting drawings but you have to do this thing to get good pictures, seems like you could just make a copy of your sketchup file and use that for VRAY. This would remove the entire issue perhaps?

Could see a problem there if changes come in, but nothing that can’t be overcome like the dimensioning issue. Or in other words, is it easier to add round corners in a second file or easier to dimension said round corners in Layout?

Also, Layout IS good for Sketchup and I have a lot of design professionals behind me doing massive work with the tool. Layout’s real problem is that it is cash poor. No cash, no improvement. No improvement, no professional adoption. No adoption, no cash…this is the song that never ends and it can go on and on my friends…


Would you mind posting a screenshot or gif of the island example you mentioned?

Is this the kind of issue you’re having?

Thanks for all the replies… a couple of interesting suggestions which I’ll put to the test.

The notion of having to do a separate drawing for dimensioning is just mad really- given that our clients will make multiple amendments to a drawing prior to us fabricating, the drafting time would be prohibitively lengthy.

Re the scale I use; plans and elevations are produced at either a very standard 1:20 or if possible 1:15 for slightly improved clarity. At this scale it’s not at all unreasonable to expect to be able to show the extremities of a cabinets width.

The modifier in layout mentioned is the local-space bump for edges… this can work, but applied to all edges it can have pretty dire effects on performance.

Thanks again!

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Yes. You are correct in that you do not need to round corners at all. You can tell V-Ray to round them in the render only via material settings. See this video for more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4sJW_9E4VQ&ab_channel=SketchUp


Another idea that comes to mind is that if the top of the cabinet is rounded (like a countertop), you can always have it on a tag that can be temporarily turned off with the Layout viewport tag override. Then you can grab the extremities dimension underneath. You can also have a footprint tag, or as Eneroth recommended a blocky version tag. Temporarily turn off the rounded corners, grab the dimension from a hidden tag, and then reset the tags back.

Can you specify .1 of precision in the dimensions dialog box? That way you get 3.2 m

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Hey Keith,
Good call to follow the money (or lack of money in this case).
Do you care to speculate as to WHY Trimble has kept Adam and his LayOut team so consistently cash poor?
Why can’t they really develop LayOut to be a worthy partner to SketchUp?
Do you think it’s “Can’t” or “Won’t”? Can’t would be really bad news … but won’t isn’t much better in terms of end product. Why won’t they invest in the potential of LayOut?
Either answer would benefit so much from a little transparency from Trimble. Just understanding WHY Trimble is maintaining this stance would help a lot.

well… given that the construction drawings ( dimensions) have more downstream life than a one of rendering I avoid chamfering in SU and rely on the rendering software to tweek the chamfers if really needed


@gsharp totally agree with this assessment.

Beamer, interesting question…is the short answer, fear? Honestly, the answer doesn’t matter to me anymore. I absolutely know that Layout DOES do Sketchup justice and Im completely unwilling to throw it away because I have worked in most of the other solutions, and especially ALL of the other options for cabinet production and nothing else comes close. Nothing.

Whatever Sketchup and Trimble do will mostly like not compromise it any further. If it stays the same, Im still golden. The tool works a treat for me. My high end cabinet shop clients love my drawings and my template and what more can I ask?

Except for Outliner control in Layout Im fine. Hint Hint Hint my dearest Sketchup Staff.

As others have said you can change the precision/decimal places of the dimension.

But you can also manually edit the dimension text and override the snapped dimension.

I agree though, that dimensioning is a massive pain in the backside in LayOut and drives me up the wall every time I have to do it.

What annoys me the most is when you’ve dimensioned up a number of drawings, say a set of elevations, then you have go back to the model to change something that affects just one of those elevations, but when you refresh the model link after going back in to layout you go back to a drawing that hasn’t changed and all of the dimesnions have the little red boxes that mean you have to select them all and ‘Reconnect to model’ - WTF is that about? Am I doing something wrong?

I have found using Update Model Reference a second time seems to reconnect the dimensions to the model. This shouldn’t be necessary but seems to work for me.

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I’ll give that a try Andrew, thanks.