TLDR: I am a bit OCD so my system is very complex but allows for flexibility while retaining output control.
Let me clarify a little bit.
My reference models are for presentation purposes only, not modelling.
My main model is where all the work takes place and has a complex layering system and usually 3 section cuts; plan, cross section, longitudinal section, which I move around and use for modelling purposes. I label them as “working sections/plans” (this is a similar workflow to the one I developed in Revit to manage complex models with 100+ views and sheets). This means I only have about 6 scenes to deal with in my working model at any one time.
When I need to present a section/plan I reference the working model into “presentation model” templates that are setup for the various drawing types. Recently I discovered that the plugin from the link I posted before streamlines this very well.
Within this presentation model I position the templates pre-existing section planes as required and update the pre-exisiting scenes. As my layer/material system is consistent across templates each scene already has the layer, shadow, style and section fills from Skalp (still need to perfect the skalp link but section cut plane plugin can be used with a bit more work) pre-assigned. This model is then inserted into layout where the scenes are placed and the drawings completed.
I’m extremely fussy about how my drawings look when printed, I’m quite OCD about it in fact, so I tend to use stacked viewports a lot to achieve the variation in line weights and colours etc. This means that a single section or plan may have 3 or 4 scenes associated with it (unfortunately sketchup has yet to implement a system that can achieve what I want in a more efficient way) resulting in a very scene heavy model if I contain them all in one file.
The flaws in this workflow are:
- You have to figure it out! It’s difficult and requires the creation of many template files which need to be tested. which is a bit of a mind bender.
- My layering system is quite complex in comparison to others (cant remember the exact number but probably 40+ layers, my first iteration was somewhere north of 120 lol, too many even for my level of crazy).
- You have to be consistent with how you model because components/groups must be assigned to various layers like an onion. This becomes more crucial when moving from design into construction modelling.
- Stacking viewports is a pain, but until the system is improved I’m stuck with it (@sketchup please something like the ability to assign styles to layers will solve this problem).
The benefits are:
- Keeps the number of scenes per model/layout file to a minimum
- The layer system allows for complexity to be added to a model as the project evolves. Meaning I can take a model from conceptual massing to construction drawings with the exact same layering system.
- The layer system can be applied after the fact, meaning that I can quickly explore design options and then assign the system to the best modelled option afterwards (something that is difficult to do in other programs).
- Using the same layer system means I can create template files with placeholder referenced files, section cuts, and scenes, where the correct, layer, shadow, style settings have already been applied for each drawing type. These dummy files can be linked into layout templates where the stacked viewports are already placed etc. (the layout template is slightly more difficult as different projects require different arrangements but it helps to speed things up a bit).
- This template system means I can quickly go from working model to presentation drawings by simply updating the references in each file.
For an example of where it works very well is for RCP drawings. The working model is referenced and mirrored as appropriate in the RCP template. As the RCP template is generated from the Plan template the RCP scenes will match the normal plan scenes when incorporated into layout. If I update the working model I just have to update the reference in the RCP and Layout files.
Does all this sound ridiculously complicated? Yes.
But in practice it is much simpler and flexible than it sounds as I am constantly looking to refine it to be more efficient and simple (I’m currently working on version 3). It combines the ridiculous control of revit’s automated drawing output with the freedom of quick modelling that we love sketchup for. It’s the best of both worlds in my opinion.
So while it is not perfect, it fits my way of working very well. As I said above I’m OCD about my drawings and need a system that fits the way I work.