[Feature Requests] for Optimizing 2D to 3D and visa versa workflows

I have been experiencing a number of problems with my workflow in layout and the support team sugguested I post here so here goes! I have written out my thoughts and experiences :
I use sketchup and layout on a professional basis to produce designs and permit documentation for all of my projects. I love these tools but there are major areas where they are lacking and do not seem to be optimized for the work I would like to do with them.
In recent weeks I have been inundated with a large workload and have become increasingly frustrated with these lacking areas. The amount of time lost working with layout with it’s inadequacies is really unacceptable. I am seriously looking into and will be forced to learn alternative toolsets if these issues persist. It’s a bummer because the SU and LO suite almost suits my vision of a strait forward design and documentation tool that provides seamless 2d-3d workflows. I have been dreaming about and imagining such a software tool since architecture school and was so happy to get SU pro for the first time in 2016 because it seemed be just that tool . This is exactly why I have taken the time to write this post for this forum. Hopefully if enough people chime in and agree with some of these feature requests, there will be plenty of momentum to get the Sketchup and Layout software engineering team at Trimble to make these changes for future version releases.


1.) Only one feature request for sketchup at this time. I like to use styles that display linework only with black lines and a whilte background. The trouble is when I have any kind of curved surfaces the lines do not display properly on curved edges. If I draw a cylinder for example it will show only the top and bottom of it but not the sides. ll


1.) This is an important request and if it is possible would allow a workaround and nullify my #2 request. If I could do this I would be able to do linework tracing over images with large file sizes in alternative 2D drafting software. My request is this: The Ability to import dwg linework into layout linework as well as the ability to export layout’s vector linework as dwg files that can then be brought back into sketchup or any CADD interface. I often have situaions where I need to move back and forth between 2d and 3d and it can be hours of extra labor to re-scale and re-trace linework. Along with this, I would love the ability to embed scaling data into dwg files that I would export if I could. The same on files that I am bringing in. It can be an extra bit of work to scale maps. It would be great to be able to export dwg from layout at a particular scale then be able to open that same dwg up in SU and have it already be sized 1:1 scale exactly as I drew it in layout. h

2.) Optimize workflow while using image overlays for tracing. This has been the biggest time loser for me and is most my important request for trimble to adress and fix. I have been working on various parcel mapping projects where I start a project with a drone survey and then produce an accurate orthophoto using photogrammatic processing tools. With this orthophoto I can then scale it in layout to be optimized for that particular map and trace over that photo with vector drawing tools to then come out with a finished product of a highly accurate 2d map of the parcel. The big problem is that once I bring that orthophoto into my layout project file, any tracing I want to do over that is excessively slowing down my mac. I have become accustomed to operating with the following procedure but still half of my time is wasted. I will start a section of line (say 20-30 points) and then go ahead and click all of the points I will want the line to be even though the computer has not caught up yet. I literally am making most of my clicks while the gay beach ball is spinning(mac’s stuck or stalling cursor display). I know exactly where my cursor is by using the center of the beach ball. Then it is time to wait for the computer to catch up and finally my line is in place. 20-30 points can easily take the computer 2-4 minutes to actually lay it down. This is totally unacceptable. I have tried to only import relatively small image files but with the amount of resolution that I need I can only get my image files down to 10-20 mb. I know this may be a difficult fix for trimble but there needs to be a way to minimize the image file impact on the software. I am sure it is the image file slowing LO down because when I turn off the layer I have that image on everything runs smooth. Long story short - here is my request for this item: Layout should be able to access reference images by making links to the file rather than actually embedding the file into the project file. Much like would be the case with making a video in a video editing suite… Often times there is the option to link to assets outside of the project file and view them full resolution there but not actually have them embedded and slowing down the project.

3.) Trim command to trim multiple intersecting lines. This would be incredibly helpful. Another item that I have wasted much time on in the past is trying to get LO to work with me in trimming many lines all along the same path. Much of my work involves drafting site topography and grading plans. When I want to add elevation callouts to each of the topo lines I will set all of my callouts where I want them to be then will draw a strait guideline on either side of the callouts to provide reference as to where to trim the topo lines to not visually interfere with the callouts. Next is the task of trimming all of the lines. The problem is with inconsistency of LO’s blade tool snapping. Sometimes LO will allow me to snap to the intersection of the guideline and the topo line I am cutting but not ALL the time. A lot of times it just does not work. The process of trimming each line is excessively time consuming in the first place then this problem adds to the frustration. If layout had a tool which would allow me to use that guideline as a reference by which I could trim ALL of those lines at once it would be amazing.

4.) Quick keys for more crucial tools. No key for blade tool for example

5.) More specified control parameters for zoom command. Ability to zoom into a selected area and zoom extents.

6.) Does anyone know a full listing of all of Layout’s special commands that would be added into the command line (window that shows measurements at bottom right of window). For example when I want to choose the number of sides my polygon tool is drawing just select the tool and press the number I want then S then enter. I would love to see a cheat sheet of all commands of this sort.

5.) Keep support ticketing portal operating properly. At my first attempt to contact SU trimble support about these issues I was thwarted. For some reason when I went to go start a support ticket I came up with an error message when entering my registered SU serial number. Please trimble! Keep your support systems in proper working order and make sure that paid clients of yours can access the support that you are contractually required to provide them with! I was then faced with the issue of how to get through to you when your system is not recognizing my serial. Perhaps this could be fixed by providing a login portal for paid customers where they can log in and access support and any downloads that apply to them? No phone numbers are listed since you only cater support to paid customers. I had to track down the support phone number by contacting trimble corporate and finally got the SU support number from the vm away message of the operator there. When I called the number you had the most annoying hold message possible. Every 3 seconds the lady says “ a rep will be with you shortly” . I know I am on hold and waiting to talk with someone…. it is quite unessisary. Maybe replace that message with some nice music? When someone did finally pick up 1/2 hour later they hung up on me!? Trimble: Please fix this for everyone’s sanity. Thanks.

Turn on Profiles in your style settings.

Both features are there already.

Illustrating what Anssi wrote.

Profiles off.

Profiles on and set to 1:

If you edit the style and want to keep the changes, remember to update it by clicking on the thumbnail in the upper left corner.

for #2 - you could look at some of the SU contour plugins and do some reduction on the images (such as find edges, etc) to create contour maps, then flatten it. it might make sense to do the work in SU instead of LO and then use that model as an overlay.

Thank you all for your responses. This info is a very helpful start towards coming to solutions for some of my questions! Thank you Anssi and DaveR for your SU Sage advise :slight_smile: Simple solution for the cylnder question. Makes total sense that that would be an adjustable parameter within SU styles. Anssi, I did a quick test of dwg import/export procedures between SU and LO to verifiy your sugguestion on that topic. Currently my only software tool to work with dwg/dxf files is SU- otherwise I would run the test with another CAD software. It was partially successful - Happy to say that I was able to import dwg linework exported from SU into LO. One curious thing came up during that however. When I brought it into LO a circle for example, which was one continous path of 24 line segments as SU produces by default. When I brought it into LO, the circle had been split up into its component parts rather than letting me select it as one whole entity. This is a an important part for me as much of the linework I am doing in my site maps, grading maps etc need to be selected as whole units. Having each line split up would be detrimental to the efficiency. Are there particular dwg export settings I can change to make sure this does not occur? The second part of this topic is the converse of the first operation. I am able to export dwg files from LO linework, however when I attempt to bring it back into SU it comes up with import errors. Perhaps export settings may be the answer for this one too? See attached screenshots of the error messages. Thank you glennmstanton for your sugguestion regarding the use of SU contour plugins to do reduction work on the images. I am not yet familiar with such tools but looking into it more now! This would save tons of work for me if I don’t have to trace over image files in layout to draft my mapping lines. Are these SU native plugins you are talking about? Can you please point me in the direction to find said tools? I am realizing that I can likely use some software that I already have with Affinity Designer to vectorize raster images but I am not sure yet if I will have the option to export as dxf there. Thanks again all and looking forward to this continued conversation!

hmm apparently i can only put one embedded media per post as a new user. This gets the idea across of the dwg import error into su I was referring to

strange that lo seems to be sending the linework off into space for some reason. this is what came up first then when i press close it just says file failed to import