Dual Level Scene Tabs

Hello everyone.

I just want to say that Sketchup is a beautiful program. It is so simple and clean but also very capable.

However, there is one really annoying lack of feature that bothers me. And that feature is the lack of dual level scene tabs.

Essentially, when a file starts to get large it becomes very handy to have over 50 scenes so that i can switch from one scene view to another and be just where i want to be rather than have to constantly pan, zoom, and orbit, three processes than can be very time consuming. Using scenes greatly simplifies this process. However, the fact that the scenes are just a single level linear array makes navigating them very sloppy and annoying when there is too many of them.

So i figured, why not have the usual array of scene tabs, and then within every scene tab you have another array of scene tabs. Its essentially like having a folder within a folder. So you can have like 10 scene tabs, and when you click on one then you get another array of ten below.

So now you can navigate through 100 scene tabs in a very rapid and organized way by clicking on one of the ten scene tabs and then clicking on one of then ten scene tabs inside the selected one. This would be so quick and easy and natural whereas having 100 scene tabs in a single straight line would make navigation extremely slow and disorganized to the point of absurdity.

This feature to me would be fantastic, especially since the Windows version of Sketchup doesn’t allow multiple files to be open within a single Sketchup instance.

Any thoughts anyone?

I hope the developers get a hold of this feature suggestion.

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Check this plugin: VisMap2. It’s kind of old but see if it works.

Thanks. I seems interesting but not quite the feature i described.

You are bit “late to the party.” Already requested, see this, same category:

It only makes sense that i am not the first person to discover this feature that is lacking from Sketchup.

The thing that really bothers me though is how the developers did not discover or implement this idea into Sketchup. Wouldn’t such a feature be pure common sense to them. This multi level structure concept is essentially the equivalent of having folders within folders all the way to the end where you get the files. It is like having a menu within a menu. It is essentially everywhere in computers and beyond. It is the cornerstone to proper organization of large data. All the developers (for any program) have to do is ask one simple question: “Will there be a large number of items of whatever it is? If so, then we need to implement a hierarchical structure.” Pure and simple!

The difference between navigating 100 lined up scenes (and layers) to a major project and having 10 groups with each group containing 10 scenes is colossal.

But anyhow… i have to contain my anger. I guess i just have to find a way to work around this hole. If anyone has an idea or a link to a plugin that offers a similar function please do post it. That would be greatly appreciated.

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I think what you are after has probably been requested before. It is not unlike wanting to be able to nest layers, another thing that often features in wish lists.

In the hope that it helps you get over your anger (!), I would just add that my experience is that what often seems a gaping hole to some of us users often turns out not to bother the vast majority. I guess developers have to take that into account in deciding what features to include or leave out.

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I guess you are right. Perhaps the lack of “nested” scene tabs and layers isn’t that bothersome to the majority of users - especially given that they probably don’t use Sketchup for major projects.

Although from my perspective i just can’t see why this would be so given how basic and useful such features would be. As soon as i started using Sketchup i noticed they were lacking and questioned why?

But what can we do other than hope they see this post and consider implementing such features in newer releases.

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Yes, all we can do is hope.

I remember being puzzled for a long time about the way AutoCad did things that didn’t seem user-friendly at all as a building designer. Then someone pointed out to me gently that architects represent a tiny proportion of those who use CAD, compared to, say, engineers. It may be similar with SU in that it gets used for all sorts of things by all sorts of people, so it is hard for developers to know quite who to listen to!

You need to understand that SketchUp has a long history. The “inventors” were a couple of college students fulfilling a coursework project. It was very simple in the beginning.

They saw a need and started a company, and began improving the application little by little. But they have always had a philosophy of simplicity. In those early days, they didn’t really envision professional engineers using it the way they do today. So, pls give them a bit of a break, when it comes to the “I saw it needed such and sucha feature immediately.”
(I noticed many missing features myself coming from using CAD, Database and Office software for 30+ years, but those guys didn’t have this when they started out, and were only trying to create a simple easy modeling applet.)

Then the company changed hands twice, and each new owner has had different ideas on what the goal of the application is. Trimble is an engineering services company so features are getting better, but it has taken some time to clean things up “under the hood” that stagnated whilst Google owned SketchUp.

Take some time to read the both Application Release Notes and the API Release Notes from v8M4 onward, and you’ll see a drastic change in the amount of work and the direction of changes once Trimble acquired SketchUp.

And… You should read this thread, … it explains well their core philosophy:

With regard to nesting of layers and scenes, … the issue is compounded by import and export concerns. The hierarchy of the model objects need to translate to other major formats (DXF, DWG, DAE etc.) or be “flattened” according to some rules that everyone can agree on. (I’d perhaps like any “>” character in a single level format layer or scene name, to import into a nesting allowed format as a nested layer or scene, whichever it is. And visa versa. But the external formats would need to not choke on such characters in layer or scene names.)
The same holds true for any backsaving to older “flat” SKP versions, or upsaving or component loading into newer nestable versions.

Add to this graphics rendering issues. It’s just not simple, and will require extensive testing when implemented.


Simon, that is a private discussion thread. :rolling_eyes:

What you say makes sense Dan. I obviously was not seeing the whole picture.

Maybe i should start a new post asking people how they manage many open scene tabs.

Oh, whoops, sorry! I guess it’s too late to do anything about it now?

@Cadie I love this idea and have also wished for it, but for now, there might be a few things you could do to make things easier on yourself:
Are all of your scenes different camera angles, or do they also incorporate style changes? I learned to have some scene tabs just for style changes, with only the Style checkbox activated in the Scene Manager, so that I could quickly change styles for each scene, instead of duplicating the same view in another style in a separate scene.
When I’m ready to make an animation and I know it’s going to create a lot of scenes, so I open a new file, import my existing model, and then build new scenes from that. I have to be super careful not to edit that imported file, though. I have to lock it. When I want to edit something, I edit the original file and save it. Then in the animation file, I right-click: Unlock and right-click: Reload the imported model/component.
This might not be worth the hassle for you, of course. I’d really love to see a model so complex that it literally has 100 scenes.

Simon, edit the post to remove the link, it’s never to late to save face…


@katyakean I did not quite get your first suggestion with having some scene tabs just for style changes. I would need to try it out to get a clearer picture.

However i did get your second idea. Here is a video of what your talking about: SketchUp External References

This definitely is a practical workaround to not having nested scene tabs. It will change everything for me now. It is just what i needed. Thank you for that Katy.

Of course it is too bad i have to have all the files running on separate instances of SU rather than be able to have 1 instance running multiple files as is the case with the Mac version of SU.

Oh well. I guess its not too bad since SU is not a huge program that takes up a lot of memory.

As for having a really large project that needs 100 scenes i can only say that my project has a lot of fine details and having more scenes that are easily manageable only makes operating SU more efficient and organized - which i now have with external references.

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@Cadie, yes, that video is a great example of External References! Thanks for sharing it.

As for the Style-changing scenes, it’s a neat trick I learned from Mike Brightman. I’m not sure if it was from one of his tutorials or a webinar. I don’t have time right now to search for it, maybe someone else here knows.

I’m also really curious about needing so many scenes in the first place. Was it largely because of Animations or Presentation/Layout scenes? Was it because of the model being really, really big and complex? Or are there a lot of visual impediments, such as having to go from room to room?

There are a few other techniques for reducing the need for Scenes. A lot of them have to do with Navigating and Camera settings. I don’t know your work, but, just to cover the bases, even things you likely already know: are you navigating as efficiently as possible, using the center scroll wheel to Orbit and Zoom (and the center and left mouse buttons to Pan?), and maybe using a Space Mouse? That space mouse is a lifesaver sometimes, after the learning curve.
For interior scenes, might it help to save a scene with the Field of View changed to 65 or so? And using the Look Around tool instead of Orbit?
Using Section Cuts and Layers fully can prevent a lot of navigating needs for me, personally.
After external references, maybe you don’t need additional methods to reduce the need for as many scenes, but maybe one of those could help as well.

@katyakean, I need many scenes because i do have over 1000 objects (groups or components) in the fantasy house that i am building and i am also modeling really small scale stuff to larger scale stuff. For this reason its very useful to have many scenes. Being in one corner of an object while zoomed in and then having to zoom out scroll over to the next corner and then zoom in takes as much as 5 to 10 seconds, whereas using a scene for each corner allows me to cycle from one corner to the other in 1 second.

Also, my project is constantly being modified. It is not a one time project where i can start a section complete it and then move on to another section. It is more along the lines of gradually building all the sections in unison as each section slowly becomes more correct and complete.

As of yet i am not using the scenes for animations right now. That comes when i am finished. Right now i am using the scenes for more efficient modeling. Perhaps i should be using scenes for animations though! That is something that i have to think about.

With respect to operating SU i am only working with a standard mouse and keyboard shortcuts.

Field of View, look around, section cuts, layers, all of those i am using. Now i am going to restructure my project for external references as i am also going to change the keyboard shortcuts to something that suits me. As an example, panning and orbiting are two operations that always go together and i just don’t see the logic in having the “O” for orbit and the “H” for panning when they are apart from each other. Right now i am using the “G” for orbit and the “H” for panning and i find that to be much better.

But i should note that as of yet i am at around 300 objects in my project. I was only inquiring into nested scene tabs because already my scenes are piling up.

As for the space mouse i can only say that it looks interesting. I have never experienced one before and i did see it a few months ago but sort of brushed it aside. Perhaps i will need to look into it some more. Especially if it really speeds and simplifies things for me.

If you or anyone has any suggestions as to which model is best i would greatly appreciate the recommendation.

On a side note, in case anyone is interested, i am also looking into getting a plugin that allows for 3D viewing with anaglyph stereoscopic glasses.

Oh, that makes sense. I had to work super detailed once, nuts and bolts and all, and there was a lot of zooming in and out all over the place. That was actually when I started using the space mouse. The model was so much easier to control.

If you’re using keyboard shortcuts to orbit and pan, though, then it seems you’re missing out on the joys of super fast SketchUp navigation. Have you tried using the center scroll wheel of a mouse for orbiting? You can be in the middle of using any tool, and then press the center scroll wheel and drag, and then let go of the center scroll wheel, and you’re back in the middle of whatever tool and action you were using before. Does your mouse have a center scroll wheel that will let you try it out? How does it feel to use? Not all mice are equal for that action, also; it’s often best to try out a few kinds of mice.

Is that these kinds of glasses?

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Looks like i may need a new mouse - or a space mouse for that matter.

I just configured my mouse so that i can use the center scroll wheel for orbiting but the feeling when pressing down on the scroll wheel for my mouse just isn’t right. It’s very stiff and shaky. It is not meant for frequent use.

I also am not sure if i like using the middle mouse button for orbiting.

Im looking at this space mouse right now and its wonderful. Space Mouse Pro 3D

I got some thinking to do.

Thanks for all the tips katy.