[FR] Ability to replace 3D viewports for 2D vector graphics corresponding to Sketchup Scenes

Layout is slugish.

The first time I saw layout in action on an official video I saw an example model (very small and simple) and someone inserting it in a sheet as a viewport, rotating the viewport and dimensioning it very fast in 3D.

I immediatelly immersed in the dream, at that time, that I could do this with my buildings.

We were at version 8 and Layout 2 if I’m not mistaken… I learnt the hard way that if I really wanted to use Sketchup+Layout effectivelly, I had to work in sketchup and prepare things first as much as I could and only send the model, with every viewport setup as a scene, into layout.

Otherwise, it would be, put simply, impossible.

Layout has grown faster since then but it’s still very slow and I think everyone that has to deal with fairly complex models in Layout faces the same issues even with super GPU+CPU combos, as is my case.

So the result is that if you want to be effective in Layout you must endup setting up scenes that represent 2D views of the model and will remain untouched in layout. No change will take place in them that requires revealing they are actually 3D views of the model.

The only requirement we have on these viewports is usually setting up scale, move them around, and framing them.

The workflow is pretty standard by now: setup scenes and stick with them on Layout and if needed, change them on Sketchup and reload in layout.

I know of noone that even dreams on rotating their complex models in a LO viewport.

So, my conclusion is that Layout is basically used to display static 2D views of Sketchup scenes and if you feel this is true too then…

Why is Layout dealing with 3D viewports all the time?..

When any change to a viewport makes Layout stall?

When any time a model is reloaded Layout stalls?

When any missed double click ruins viewport camera?

When this seems to be the main reason overall usability drops so much?

When that’s the reason many (most) users think Layout is unuseable?

And when it’s a feature most of us are not using?

Add to this the fact that any manipulation on a 3D model viewport from Layout’s side will break its direct link with Sketchup and we’re getting to my wish:

I wish that when inserting a model I could generate viewports as 2D vector graphics (SVG probably) rather than the heavier 3D model viewports that I don’t need.

So I envision the following:

1 - An easy way to choose if you want your model treated as 3D, 2D or 2D+3D - When inserting a model the options below would popup and the same thing would happen when using “Send to Layout…” from within SU. On existing Layout files the options would be managed through File > Document Setup > References.

2 - Insert Model as full 3D model - This would behave exactly as we have right now where the model is represented as editable 3D Viewports - It would be the Heavy and Slow version;

3 - Insert Model as a Set of 2D graphics corresponding to Sketchup Scenes - No scene in the model would be 3D, instead it would be replaced by a 2D graphic. Hopefully this would be the fastest import though I imagine converting scenes into graphics when reloading could take some time. (at least the same time it does now… :slight_smile: )

4 - Insert a Model in a mixed 3D/2D - Where you can choose if a viewport treats it’s scene as a 2D graphic or a 3D model. Basically this will give you fine tune control at the expense of a less simpler setup.

  • Raster image - As a jpg, exactly as a 2D viewport on Raster;

  • Vector image - As an SVG, exactly as a 2D viewport on Vector;

  • Hybrid image - SVG lines, on top of a 2D raster image.

The beauty of this would be that it could seamlessly continue the existing Layout workflow without the pain of each viewport being a full 3D model:

  • You could still use low raster quality for edit but high for export;
  • You could still export simple DWG and PDF’s wich would look exactly the same;
  • Styles could still influence an SVG graphic as long as it has the same organizing structure as a Sketchup file;
  • Framing a fixed scale 2D graphic could easily be achieved through masking or using the existing scale handling wich is very natural to 2D work.
  • Rotating and moving are intuitivelly simple to understand that still would work.
  • Finally each viewport could simply be a 2D Sketchup file exported from one or several flattened scenes and linked to Layout through a folder in sync with the layout file.

Basically, this would turn Layout into the kind of software it seems to be. A 2D vector graphics software with some tools that look like Architectural tools and a very neat but hardly usable ability to manipulate 3D views.

I hope this gets some attention and I hope it leads to better ideas.

Thanks and best regards,


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I have to be honest, LayOut frustrates me a lot some times. I love SketchUp so much but I just can’t get on with LayOut. And the other thing is that there’s no other program like LayOut so whether you want it or not you have to use it. I agree that it needs a major ‘reboot’ and over the years I’ve collected papers with ideas and visions, ranging from new tools to performance changes. Hopefully it’ll get better! :slight_smile:

To get 2D vector graphics out of a LayOut SketchUp model view, set it to Vector rendering and then explode it. Best done to a copy in case the original is changed.


Anssi, thanks for the idea, wich I don’t use only because that breaks the link between LO and SU, you’d just have to reimport the whole model and explode again if something changed. I rather keep my 3D viewports and go through the frustration of having to work slowly but with less effort, than the hassle of exploding a Layout viewport.