Large House + Using Layouts for Construction Document Elevations

Hello Sketchup Community,

My firm is working on a 60,000 SQ.FT. house which we are going to model entirely, referencing Enscape for walk throughs and other visuals.

Instead of duplicating this work, in Autocad, we would like to use LayOut to produce all our interior elevations.

Sounds simple right? However, we have run into a few hiccups.

  1. The file is simply too large to create all 500 scenes (4 elevations and 1 plan for each room). We used curic section to set these scenes up simply, but they created too many layers and tags.

  2. We tried dividing the entire model up by exterior facade, basement/first/second floor, as well as East and West wing, then using the cross reference organizer, but it simply had too many bugs and caused glitches in our models.

Has anyone used LayOut to produce an interiors set, from a very large model? I would be interested to know what plugins you used and how you set up your scenes/files.

Thanks!

-Allie

Allie, have you looked into the workflows of Nick Sonder? He and Matt Donley wrote a book about his process. Have it in my library and it did wonders to my understanding of building sets of drawings.

I’m not working on your scale at all, but his workflow can scale from small to very large.

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I’ve done some of this but not as big. You probably will need to use multiple SU files with the building model inserted as a component and then cut sections and create scenes till it gets to big and then repeat.

I don’t work on interiors but I do work on large housing developments (so, models with hundreds of uniques rooms, plus exteriors, 100s of scenes & tags, etc). I use the following methods for doing large numbers of glazing schedules or exterior elevations & plans in LO.

First, I split the model into two basic types (two is ideal, but sometimes 3-4 if it’s a really large project).

SKP file 1 is the “Basic” "structure; it contains only the information about the structure and finishes are needed to produce the technical drawings in LO (the Plans/Elevations and maybe Lighting Plan etc). This SKP model is sent to LO (sometimes more than 1 LO file, eg upper and lower floor) to be (typically) be rendered or hybrid mode, and dimensioned so it needs to be kept fairly simple.

SKP file 2 is a “HQ” (high quality) version. This references in the SKP file for the Basic Structure but adds all the detailed components that are used for rendering (enscape, in your case) such as furniture and soft landscaping. This model will contain a lot of scenes, but they wont be sent to LO (the file would be too big anyway).

Either model can be used as the main design tool.

If you find that this process doesn’t work because your model is organised into a different component heirarchy then I know a few workarounds involvng rendering proxies (if you want me to explain, ask in a reply).

For scene management, Eneroth makes a scene manager/organizer extension that works for transferring scenes (and camera views) between models.
@kengey has a good extension for auto-rendering LO and scene export, which I think will come in handy for you.

So, on to the scene-reduction method:
To cut down the number of scenes sent to LO you can put as many wall elevations as possible into one scene. I don’t use sections unless absolutely necessarey because I find that organsing them (will all the tags and styles they generate) becomes a nightmare! Instead, if you are able to, make each wall a component containing everything that belongs on that wall (including glazing, skirting board, etc). Then arrange all of the wall components in your SKP model off to one side from the main 3d house, in a grid array with all walls facing ‘up’.
Then it’s possible to create one scene (a plan view) that captures ALL of the elevations at once.
In LayOut you can bring in that scene (viewport) and crop it down (and scale it) to just the info shown on one page (eg 4 interior elevations).

For the plan view I would do the same; use one scene for each level in the house, and crop it down to room-by-room plans.

so conceivably you could have just a handful of scenes to represent every room plan and elevation! (realistically if the model is huge you will want to break it up to practical numbers)

Warnings & notes:

  1. There’s a practical limit to how much you want to send to LO (especially if rendering in vector or hybrid mode), so maybe putting 200x4 elevations into one viewport is too much…try for 50 or 100 to find a balance between No. of scenes and rendering time and admin time.
  2. Once it has been created, try not to shuffle the grid layout or update the Scene’s camera position, since it will shift all of your LO viewports.
  3. If your modelling component heirarchy allows it, then you can utilised stacked viewports to create a second scene that contains the complex geometry (3d mouldings, light fittings, etc) which you can render in Raster mode.

Organizing a model based on “wall” components may not be your typical workflow… For example if (like many people) you might have all of the skirting boards in one single component …if tha’ts the case then you will need to ‘explode’ that down to individual skirting board components and use a Tag to organize them (and the Selection Toys extension will be invaluable here). This method of modelling is a bit daunting at first but it actually works quite well if you can get the hang of it.

You dont necessarily need cross-reference organizer. Cross referencing can be done manually just with a windows folder full of all thecomponents you want to load. In the component browser you can rightclick any componet and select “replace”. There’a good extension call Component Replacer that may help if you are bringing in components between models.

Layer Organizer is another extension that could help since you can stack layers meaning a more compact menu…but since 2020 I dont know if it works (tags organizer?)

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Awesome reply Sam, thanks for sharing all of this valuable info with everyone. Helped me out a bit sifting through what you wrote and seeing how you do it.

I prepare a separate SU file for interiors. The main model is a reference in this file and never edited. In the interiors model I use sections to capture each wall elevation to create each scene.

For a behemoth 60K sf house I would likely create several SU interior files and create scenes by level or wing.

This minimizes the number of scenes you create on an individual file. I do this for Site, floor plans and elevations, RCP, Sections, and interiors. So each of my projects has (2) base SU files-Site and Structure. Then there are (3) additional SU files that reference the main Structure SU base file-(RCP, Sections & Interiors).

The benefit is speed in both SU & LO and you can focus on individual tasks rather than pouring everything into a single file.

The downside which isn’t too bad is you have to remember to update the SU reference.