Opacity by tag (layer)

It would be great to be able to change the opacity of everything on a tag. Here’s how I’d use it: I’m an architect & urbanist who regularly builds streetscapes. Trees on the streetscape, when viewed straight-on from across the street, can be as much as 50% opaque and you can see both the tree and the building behind it just fine. But if you’re looking down the street, where tree stacks on tree, then the buildings are entirely hidden because of the many layers of trees. And this varies with the angle at which you’re looking. So if there was opacity control for tags, I’d set the scene, then just play with the opacity slider for the street trees tag until it looked just right.

I’m certain there are countless other uses for such a feature. Has anyone requested something like this before? How might this feature get serious consideration?


Not at my computer right now but (I might be mistaking this with some other technique) this can be done… :thinking:

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I don’t know how it might work for you but what I was thinking of when I replied earlier was that in SketchUp you can set the colour and opacity of a tag and then have a style that had the property Color by Tag set.

As Dave suggests maybe combine this with stacked viewports…

While the ‘color by tag’ can handle opacity, you will loose the textures. What has been requested many times is a way to apply a style per object.
Style per tag would be nice, too


Style per tag would be incredibly useful. You could hare a monochrome context and a textured building or a sketchy addition to a more life-like current situation.


I’ve wanted to ask for this as well, but always wondered if the developer was limited by what Open GL could do. Yet another PowerCADD feature I miss while working in SketchUp. If Layout could support it, you might be able to cobble together something with stacked viewports. This example had to take multiple exports to Photoshop for assembly (Photoshop also has the ability to change opacity by layer).

(from a previous post here)


In Edit mode, you can slide transparancy of the ‘Rest of model’ already and with the ‘Move’ tool, Objects turn into X-mode to pick handles of the bounding box that are in the way.

So OpenGL is not limiting, I guess?

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I have a feeling opacity is something it could handle with ease.

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I feel like I find a reason regularly. For example, sometimes I present a space I’m designing with furniture in it. I would love to take the whole furniture layer and just make it transparent so we can focus on the architecture or other elements. And no, using stacked viewports and layout or another app is not a reasonable “solution” here.


Come to think of it, I haven’t really tried out Fredo’s Ghost extension. It could be a solution here. Has anyone else used it?

Yes. It could be an option. I suggested it yesterday but it seemed to be ignored.


Sorry, I didn’t see your post. I think it was deleted before I even saw the thread?

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“Opacity by Tag and Component”, and “Style by Component” would open up HUGE creative and technical possibilities for SketchUp documentation and visualisation.

I like to think of a new standard for technical details where the detail view is visible WITHIN the wider context of the ‘illustrative’ 3d model.
This makes ahuge leap from the common practise of having a nice-looking 3d model then sheet after sheet of “details” which are just bascially 2D CAD linework/annotations.

I’d like to get something like this (thought his is a terrible example)…without all the manual fiddling around or use of numerous stacked viewports.

Fredoghost is good but it’s a heck of a cumbersome workaround to what should be a simple process of using common opacity sliders & styles applied across a whole model/document.


Fredoghost creates proxies with geometry that mimics certain styles. While some workflows will benefit, it’s not the same as applying different styles like ‘Sketchy edges’ for surroundings and site context in combination of fi the ‘Default style’ for proposed designs.

The request from the TS would be welcome to have this implemented in SU AND LO. Now I, when finished the compleet drawing, I duplicate some parts and make one grey/ghosted and switch on/off in certain LO pages/viewports or in scenes.

Combination of Fredoghost, “Opacity by Tag and Component”, and “Style by Component” would be very welcome.

This is for now no.2 on my wish list, just under a better page numbering and auto inking of page numbers to other pages in LO

I would also like to see the ability to “fade in” or “fade out” a tab… adjustable duration… might be part of the same tech…

I’ve played with this. Color by tag is available, but I think only color, not texture. I use this for buildings. The visibility, even through many layers is pretty good.
I think you could open each tree component in a separate draw file and add x-ray to the component and save it as a new name.

I’m not sure, but hopefully the component would maintain that attribute. Maybe Save As might work?
Worth a try at least.

I do know that I have adjusted the opacity of materials in SketchUp. A Adode photo image has transparent background when saved as a PNG.

Also there is a free program called RP Tree
Maker produced by Render Plus available on the web that produces trees that you can design yourself with tons of options as well as lots of premades. They are 2d face me and fully rendered. You can control the density of the leaves when you build them.

They are PNG images with see through Alpha backgrounds that will even allow the sun to pass through so shadows are softer.

Let me know if this works for you.


Agreed, I have wanted this feature for some time! Going in to change materials opacity stinks as a solution to do things, and xray is to overwhelming in complex models.I would love to quickly change the transparency of the concrete tag to easily see the reinforcement inside. If scenes keep a record of the tag opacity then it would so much easier getting details into LayOut without layering viewports and doing silly tricks to get the same result.

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I would also highly appreciate the the feature “opacity by tag”. I totally agree with irunfree!!

What we really need is Style by Tag, or Style by Object. To apply different styles simultaneously to various objects on screen. This would allow for transparency differences and also so much more, but it’s a complicated feature request.