Layers, components, entity info, i'm new but capable, please help me!

So basically, my company purchased Sketchup for me to learn and utilize to develop some models. For this reason I am unable to share images or files of what i’m working on. I’ll do my best to describe the trouble i’m having, i’m sure it’s just that I lack more experience with the software.

I’ve build a floor to spec, which is it’s own layer. I’ve built a room to sit on a small portion of that floor (also to spec), which is on it’s own layer. Within the “room layer” i’ve pasted some furniture from 3d warehouse. However, one piece of furniture pasted to it’s on unique layer. I’ve changed it’s entity info to attach it to the layer I want, but it appears it’s only “linked” as I cannot delete the initial layer it was pasted to without losing it altogether. This is my problem across the board. Essentially I want the entire room and all subsequent furniture in it to be a component or group or whatever it needs to be, so that I can have identical duplicates repeated across the floor (each room being their own layer (and uniquely visible).

I’m sure i’ve missed some very basic concept of components and/or groups that is causing my issue, but basically I need each room to be visible, individually, in a scene for later batch rendering.

I’ve looked around and have been unable to find an answer or similar end result to what i’m looking for.

Any advice is so much appreciated.

You seem to be using layers incorrectly. In SketchUp, all geometry and surfaces go on the default layer, Layer0. In order to keep the model manageable you have to be mindful with the created geometry. As you go along, always create groups (or components, as the case may be). The groups are “tagged” to the layers you have created. In this manner you still have control over visibility (using scenes) and you keep differing geometries separated in “containers”.

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Another thing to be careful of is to check the model you download from the Warehouse. Quite a lot of models do not conform to best practice in terms of ascribing layers and other things. Some regulars here always construct their own models just because of this. If you do want to use other people’s work, it is a good idea to open the downloaded model and take a look at how the author has dealt with layers, whether the drawing has been purged, and so forth. You may need to do some tidying up before saving it to your own library and using it in your models.

There is also a lot of discussion in this forum about the value of Groups. Some very astute users here only use Components (search the forum if you want to understand why).

As @Julian_Smith says, a proper understanding of the way layers work in SU is key.

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Basic Concepts


A properly constructed model…
• is an assembly of Groups and Components.
• has no raw geometry left floating about in the model space.
• is one where all raw geometry is created and remains on the Default Layer0.





Don’t think of SU layers as layers. SU layers are tags/classes applied to entities, not drawing contexts that prevents different things from sticking or merging. My advise is to ignore the layer feature until you have gotten used to how groups, components and the outliner works.


Thank you all for the advice. I believe that I was only getting 50% of the concept of the layers. Though I understood that Layer0 needs to be active at all times, I did have some success in “pasting” things to other layers to hide their visibility and keeping Layer0 blank to get the transparency (which is what i’m looking for).

Before posting, I also was able to achieve what i’m looking for with a new file, and simply creating a cube, making it a component and then adding instances of that component to individual layers, and hiding instances when not needed. Which i’m trying to do with whole offices. I’ll check out those tutorial links Geo provided and get a bit more familiar with the three topics.

Sounds like what I may need to do is keep all the geometry on Layer0, and simply apply their entity info to layers to assist my visibility needs?

Can’t thank you all enough though. Very helpful.

Yes, that is how SketchUp “layers” should be used.

I’m not sure how to parse that sentence. The only things (99.99% of the time) that should be associated with a layer other than Layer0 are components and groups (and guides and labels I suppose). Raw geometry - edges and faces should virtually never be associated with a layer other than Layer0. In other words, a component can safely be associated with layer “Desks” while the actual edges and faces of that component should be associated with Layer0.

This result is easy to achieve by always leaving Layer0 the active layer, and just drawing. Draw the first few bits of the new object. When ready, select those first few bits and pieces and create a group or component with them. Associate that group or component with the desired layer. Then open the group or component context (by double-clicking it) and continue drawing the object. This sort of approach not only addresses SketchUp’s confusing “layer” model but also prevents new geometry that you are drawing from sticking to unintended prior edges and faces.

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Yes, so I guess my question is if I build a rectangular room with 4 walls, and a floor, and paste in copied furniture from 3d warehouse (just as a start), how can I make a component of all of it?

Because I thought I did, it was in the components window, and if I set entity info to be unique “Room 1” is a layer, “room 2” is a layer, but they are identical, #2 is copied from #1… I can view room 1, I can view room 1 and room 2. But if I hide room 1’s layer, room 2 also disappears. Even if I “make unique”.

So, my assumption is either that i’m trying too hard to keep the walls, floor and furniture ON the specific layer, instead of layer0 (and changing entity info)… OR there’s some issue with making it a component that includes sub components, especially based on what someone above said with 3rd party furniture not always being friendly to layers etc, depending on their make. For efficiency right now, over beauty, I’m just looking for the quickest way to duplicate an office repeatedly, without being associated with each other, so that in each “scene” i can have them individually visible or all visible at once.

And I’m a graphic designer coming from the photoshop/illustrator world, so this is an entirely different concept of layers for me, I admit. But I feel like I do understand it, just not how to finesse it.

SketchUp groups and components can be hierarchical. A component can consist of some raw geometry (edges and faces) plus some “nested” groups or component instances. Thus, it is entirely possible and normal to create a component consisting of a floor (which is either a group or its own component definition), some walls (ditto), some furniture (ditto), etc.

Each of the groups or components within such a hierarchical or nested component can be associated with different layers. In order for a given object to be visible, the layer that the object it is associated with and all the layers associated with its enclosing or “parent” objects (groups or components) must also be set visible. Managing such “intersecting” layer assignments can be tricky.

I would begin by selecting all the bits and pieces of the office (floor, walls, furniture, etc.) and making them a component. Then you can create as many instances (copies) of that component as you wish. You can associate different instances (copies) with different layers as you see fit. The copy intended to represent Joe’s office can be on layer Joe, while the copy intended to represent Jane’s office can be on layer Jane. If you edit any instance of the office, you will see the geometry change replicated to all copies (the cool thing about components!). But the layer association of a given instance of the component is not replicated - it’s unique to that instance.

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Thank you. I’m not sure what my issue was. It seemed like the first time I had made it a component it only selected a small bit of geometry as the component itself (top 2 lines of a wall or something… i had made the entire room a “group” first). After exploding it I tried again, but however hiding the first layer (for this sake i’ll say Joe’s office) it would also hide “jane’s office”. So, i’ll keep trying because i’m not sure where the deviation occurred that prevents it from working out.

Thanks again for being patient. I’ll get it.

Good luck, SketchUp is a pretty cool tool. SketchUp’s “layers” are quite different in concept from many other tools’ features with the same name. In SketchUp a layer is just a visibility tag. There is no stacking order, there is no separation or isolation of geometry stickiness or merging. Just visibility control.

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Exploding a group/component would assign the edges and faces to the layer were the group resided, it is almost the same as changing the active layer to an other then Layer0. The best way to explode a component is to explode and while the geometry is still selected, assign the whole selection to Layer0 in the entity info panel and then group it, you do not want loose geometry hanging around in your model.
Keep entity info (always!) open, check what is selected and to what layer it belongs…


Think of layers as tags or classes applied to objects rather than places objects are in/on. For instance you can’t cut something, change active layer and paste it “there” for it to be “on” that layer. When you paste something it retains its associated layer, regardless of active layer. Changing active layer doesn’t take you “into” that layer; it merely changes what layer is applied to objects made by the drawing tools. Double clicking on a group or component on the other hand actually takes you into it and allows you to draw within it.

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Thank you all for the feedback. I started from scratch, using only layer0, then made component from the entire room I built, and then added layers and instances of the component. Appears to be working like a charm. You all saved the day… and possibly my job.



In SU:

  • Layers are not layers (in the usual sense)

  • Solids are not solids (they are facetted voids)

  • Lines are not lines (they are edges)

Yeah, I know! But you’ll get used to it.

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Groups and Components vs Layers — SketchUp Help

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