Line tool not drawing and creating faces in strange places

Hello all,

I am a new sketchup user, and I have encountered a problem I can’t seem to find the solution to. A few days ago, I could use the line tool to trace the edges of shapes from a CAD file I had imported into SketchUp. Each click would create a new line, and when I closed the shape, a face would form. Now that no longer happens. If I try to use the line tool while tracing the edges of my CAD file, either a line will not appear, or it will create a face with the existing CAD lines as part of the shape. I can’t control or predict when this will happen though, and it is just as likely to create a face of a shape that I’m not trying to trace as it is the one I am trying to trace. When I try to use the line tool, it will sometimes create one line segment, but then not create another one connected to the first. Funnily enough, none of these problems happen if I sketch a shape in open space; then the line tool works fine.

I have made sure my graphics card drivers are up-to-date, and that SketchUp is using the “high performance” card (NVIDIA RTX 400.) I’ve also tried importing the CAD file into a new Sketchup file, but the problem persists. I’ve tried restarting the computer as well. I’ve looked online, but can’t seem to find a solution that works. Does anybody have any advice? (I’d upload the file, but apparently it is too large.)

Without seeing your file it’s difficult to say what’s going on for sure but the first guess is that your imported CAD linework is located at a huge distance from the origin. Share the file so we can see what you are working with.

Thanks for your reply. I’d like to share the file, but the forum says it’s too large. Is there a better way to share a large file? I tried compressing it to a .zip file, but no luck.

Upload it to DropBox or WeTransfer and share the link.

I don’t have a dropbox or we transfer account, but I uploaded to google drive: Milton Core Design.skp - Google Drive


A few things to try.

  1. In your other CAD software, make sure all the line work is on the the same plane in the Z axis. Usually this is 0. Faces will not close if the edges are not on the same plane. If you can’t verify or do that for some reason in your other CAD software, you can take advantage of SketchUp’s rounding limitations by drawing a new line above and off to the side of your imported line work, then scaling everything in the Z direction by .001, move this line up again, and repeat scaling everything by .001, then do this one more time for good measure. I find 3 times flattens all the line work to the 0 Z axis plane.

  2. Make this imported line work a single large group. That way when you draw on top of and outside of this group, the new line work will not auto-merge with the imported line work. This is also something you should do for all separate elements within your model, such as walls, floors, roofs, furniture… otherwise things will auto merge and stick to each other, making a large model very difficult to work with.

Hope that helps. :slight_smile:

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You have the Camera set to Parallel Projection and located at a great distance from the model Your model is at a great distance from the origin and covers a very large area.

Hang on. I’ll correct it as much as I can and share it back to you.

Edit: After correcting the camera position, I fixed incorrect tag usage–all edges and faces should be untagged. I also purged unused stuff from the model. This reduced file size by about 37%.
Screenshot - 2_15_2024 , 10_16_19 AM

You should be using groups and components in your modeling. As it is, everything you’ve added is loose geometry. That makes your model more difficult to work with.

Here’s the file.Do your modeling with the Camera set to Perspective. Save Parallel Projection for specific scenes. That will help prevent you from getting the camera positioned as you had it and will make the drawing process easier. If you don’t need all of the geometry from the CAD import, erase the unneeded parts.

Thank you for your reply.

  1. From what I understand, you are saying that the faces wont form unless the lines drawn are all on the same z plane. I don’t know how to check this, but I am fairly certain they are. I am of course willing to double check, but I don’t actually know how to do what you kindly suggested, specifically, scaling in the z plane.

  2. I currently have the imported line work in several tags from the source file, so I have been turning them on and off as needed, which worked fine before. I would then add anything I created in SketchUp to its own new tag based on what it is (grass, road, sidewalk, etc). In this case, would making all of the CAD lines live in one tag change anything?

Thank you!

Thank you for your time. I was under the impression that parallel projection was fine to work in; is that not the case? Like I said, I’m very new to this. Additionally, how does the model’s being far from the origin impact the function of the line tool? Specifically, what would make it stop working when it was working fine earlier this week?

SketchUp is designed such that modeling should be done with the Camera set to Perspective. Parallel Pojection is mainly intended for output.

When the model is place at a huge distance from the origin the graphics engine starts to have issues. In this case the main problem was actually that you had the camera place a huge distance from the model. You don’t see that in Parallel Projection but it happens. Modeling with the Camera set to Perspective helps you keep the camera at a reasonable location.

Thank you! Interesting. So if the edges and faces should remain untagged, what should be tagged? I had thought that a component was made up of edges and faces and that those together get tagged, but I think I’m wrong. Sort of teaching myself on the fly here, so any knowledge is helpful.

Does the unnecessarily large file size affect the programs’ performance?

Wild. Thank you. I’m going to peek around in the file you sent and see if I can get back on track.

Groups and components that contain the edges and faces. This is the standard work flow for SketchUp. It helps you prevent mistakes and it also makes the workflow easier because you are never having to chase the tags as you work. Leave Untagged active at all times, give tags to groups and components and you’ll find the process much easier and faster.

A component is a sort of container to hold the edges and faces. It has a number of features, one of which is to receive the tag. Components and groups prevent geometry from combining similar to the way jars prevent strawberry jam and mustard from combining in the refrigerator.

It can. How much depends on your computer’s capabilities. No point hoarding stuff you don’t need.