How to organize and model complex projects


#1

I was wondering how people tend to organize their building projects from start.

What i have found out is that i tend to start drawing something, lets say a building project. It starts small then ends up becomming complex and hard to keep track of. Either from to many layers etc.

What i then found out doing is to lets say have 1 model/skechup file for each room. Since each room may have a lot of layers. I wish there could be a “sub layer” divission to keep track of stuff. But in that one room i have structure layers in detail, then added gypsum, lists etc. It ends up heavy and complex. And to have all this in 1 model might get to much?

I really like to model everything down to smallest detail before i start renovating each room in this case. So i know where all the structures, beams etc are, where i should put pipes etc. Find problems before they become a problem in real life.

In this link you can see my entrance hall how i draw it. its starts small and ends up like a mess. And the file itself is almost 25mb by itself.
https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=C0E28C04B107031!1941

Maybe i should have several models/sketchup files of each room? for different stuff. But then again one change in structure and i would have to change in another model too…

So how do you guys do it?

Like one model for outside of house with faces etc an empty shell?

One model of structures beams?

I tried reading around but can’t seem to find some ideas to how i should do it, and i can also see that everyone has their own way of doing it. So thats why im asking. How do you do it?


#2

Hi,
I have the same problem. What i do is the following:

  1. I set up layers (like you do)
  2. I make stuff like framing a component. In other words i will model all the framing parts and then when i dont want to see them i put them on a layer and hide them.
  3. I use the hide button a lot.
  4. If a model is becoming too complicated, i copy the model and then paste the copy next to the existing model and i strip down the model and re-organize my layers.
  5. Grouping multiple layers into one layer. Some components you download from Warehouse come with multiple layers, so it will clog up your layer window. You can get these all back into 1 layer.
  6. I guess, it’s a constant battle, once your model gets too complicated, it is a good idea to re-group and organize your layers and components.

Hope this helps.


#3

I was wondering how people tend to organize their building projects from start.

What i have found out is that i tend to start drawing something, lets say a building project. It starts small then ends up becomming complex and hard to keep track of. Either from to many layers etc.

What i then found out doing is to lets say have 1 model/skechup file for each room. Since each room may have a lot of layers. I wish there could be a “sub layer” divission to keep track of stuff. But in that one room i have structure layers in detail, then added gypsum, lists etc. It ends up heavy and complex. And to have all this in 1 model might get to much?

I really like to model everything down to smallest detail before i start renovating each room in this case. So i know where all the structures, beams etc are, where i should put pipes etc. Find problems before they become a problem in real life.

In this link you can see my entrance hall how i draw it. its starts small and ends up like a mess. And the file itself is almost 25mb by itself.
https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=C0E28C04B107031!19412

Maybe i should have several models/sketchup files of each room? for different stuff. But then again one change in structure and i would have to change in another model too…

So how do you guys do it?

Like one model for outside of house with faces etc an empty shell?

One model of structures beams?

I tried reading around but can’t seem to find some ideas to how i should do it, and i can also see that everyone has their own way of doing it. So thats why im asking. How do you do it?

@U5tabil

Izrael has some good suggestions. I tend to make sure that all of my layers are color coded, and that I make everything as simplified as I can. Making components helps too, so that you can stick them in a named layer and turn the visibility off for any components in the way (as long as you remember to turn them back on). Here is a pretty simple tutorial that Sketchup put out:

http://help.sketchup.com/en/article/38572

Hope this helps.

~Drew


#4

This is what i do too. Like the outer and inner door in this example i made in its own sketchup model, then pasted it into the “main” where i instead of having 10 layers for the doors detail only put it as 1 layer called “inner door” by example. So yeah i keep organizing and like you say, its a constant battle. But if i just could find a routine to it from start it might be better.


#5

Do you name layers as you go, or do you fight with them after? I found that naming layers as I go and doing my best to design the projects with a ‘method to the madness’ works well. I used to name layers when I remembered. That was a nightmare and a half. Once you get a routine down, you should be good to go.

~Drew


#6

I’m modeling the house I just bought right now and I’ll describe my method, which is kind of an experiment as I go.

I always keep Layer0 as the active layer, and every line and face goes on that layer. Only groups and components are assigned to other layers. I’ve had problems in the past where two faces on separate layers shared a common line, and when one of those layers is hidden and you try to delete that line, you start to rip your hair out trying to figure out why it wont go away…

  1. I drew the floor plan in 2-d (with proper wall thicknesses) and made that a group and put the group on a separate layer.
  2. I traced the floor plan room by room, grouping the walls of each room together. Note that two rooms can share a common wall which is usually 4 inches thick, so in the model only the face that is in the current room is part of that room group. My walls are hollow (ie, not filled with studs, because thats a waste of time).
  3. Rather than having each room as a layer, I’ve opted to just hide and un-hide room groups as needed.
  4. Plants, cars, furniture, and other high polygon items are on separate layers so that I only see them when I want to render. These items slow modeling waaaaaaaaay down. (I like 3d trees with lots of leaves)
  5. The roof group (which has sub groups) is on its own layer.

Notice I’m saying group rather than component. Since each room is unique, I decided groups were more appropriate than components. I try to keep my components down to help me find components faster in the components window.


#7

Here is my method of “building a house” from the ground up. At this stage I use the Outliner exclusively and don’t worry about layers. (more on layers later). I begin by modeling the foundation, footings, carrying beam, lally columns and mud sill. I then group all these elements and then group into group “01_FOUNDATION.” I then model the floor joists (components), rim boards and subfloor and group to “02_FIRST FLOOR SYSTEM.” Now I model the first floor exterior walls, interior walls, install doors and windows and the finish floor. These I group into “Exterior Walls”, “Interior Walls”, “Windows” and “Doors”. I then group these “groups” into “03_FIRST FLOOR LAYOUT.” Next, I model the kitchen and bath and make into groups “02.1 KITCHEN” and “02.2 BATH” all nested into the FIRST FLOOR LAYOUT group. I continue in this manner all the way to the ridge. If it is a large house, I will make three separate models - The Design Model, The Framing Model, and the Site Model. The framing model contains all of the wall, floor and roof framing generated by “Housebuilder” and modified to fit my circumstances (stairs openings cut in, soffit details added). With the framing model, I complete the structural analysis and beam sizing. The site model is the design model with the inside “gutted”. Since I don’t use Layout to prepare construction drawings, I don’t worry about layers. I create my construction scenes by removing items in the outliner and using the section plane to create floor plans. These scenes are imported directly into my 2d CAD program and the construction plans are drafted. The Framing Model is used to generate the floor and roof framing plans and a structural perspective. In my next post, I will explain how I use layers and Layout. Hope this helps.


#8

A few useful model management videos from the 2008 3D Basecamp sessions and beyond:
From the best practices pages of the SketchUp Sage Site


#9

I tend to name layers as i go. Trying to have a system like “structure north”, “details north”, try to seperate them from direction north, west, east, south etc.

And like Chris i keep my Layer0 as primary. And all components and groups get into an layer once made. So i can easly hide and show as i go. Especially having each side of the house as layer so i can work with one side at the time without having to much problem navigating around, ending up in walls etc. And having like wall structure on one, and gipsy/cover over that on another. But always trying to keep the 4 sides seperate.
I always make component and groups of stuff, so i dont have that problem of getting lines in wrong places etc. as i go. Its just that it ends up as insanly many layers. Thats why it should be sub layer in my opinion.

And offcourse i use scenes so i can get to places easly with some layers turned of etc.

But again. should i keep all in one file? Like interior and exterior of a house with all details. Even stuff you will never see in rendering, only on working drawings, like beams etc. But again is nice to have whats inside walls if your building it not just for show right?

If you think of it. Let say you have a house and wants to render it from outside it would be nice to maybe see some furnitures in the windows or lights inside etc right?

But again the model will be really heavy in the end. probably 100-150-200mb in size (my hall by itself is 25mb). Maybe it will be like working in mud and be useless and to slow.

But sublayers would be awesome. then i could at least put “construction” in 1 and finish stuff in another etc.

I did find this layer plugin
http://sketchucation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=20949

What could be nice is that lets say i have a model for each room in detail. it would be fast with working. and then i could load them into the “main” later. if i needed an update i go back to the other model change. go back to main and then load that model back in. without needing to move it around each time…

I need to figure some of this out.

Also having plain a plain surface texture will probably help keeping the model run smothly. and then have the render work the depth of stuff, stones, tiles etc.


#10

somebody had a plugin for hierarchical layers. i.e. layers with sub-layers. It was pretty cool, but had a few bugs so I stopped using it. I don’t know if the bugs ever got out. Sorry I can’t remember the name of the plugin.