Orbit around selection

This is by far the most frustrating part of working in Sketchup. We NEED to be able to orbit around a selected object, not whatever the mouse happens to be over. First of all, When editing linework, it is very difficult to always make sure the cursor lands on part of the line before orbiting. If not, boom, you have orbited to the horizon. Second, when spinning around a model, it is very limiting to always have to start with the cursor in the middle of the screen (or wherever your chosen object is.) Ideally you could click and drag your mouse from all the way on the right side of the screen to all the way on the left, for maximum spin distance around an object. I know this has been requested, but the people at Sketchup need to be reminded!

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I’d recommend a “spacemouse”, makes navigation a lot easier.


Rhino among other programs requires you to manually handle the pivot point, either by changing selection or use some special command to set it. Personally one of the things I love with SketchUp is that you don’t need to get distracted by such micro management all the time. Also it wouldn’t really be practical as you always change the camera while working, including while making selections. To position yourself so you can add something top the selection you may very well need to pivot around a different point than the center of the current selection.

That said SketchUp could definitely handle orbit a lot better when hovering “holes” in the model, e.g. in linework. Rather than falling back to rotating around some point at the horizon (or rather far side of the model bounding box or something like that), SketchUp could extend the aperture to find nearby geometry to pivot around, or if you are editing a group/component with Rest of Model hidden, pivot around the far side of the local bounds.


I find the “contextual orbit” or orbit radius set around a clicked point to be smooth and fast when navigating around a large complex model. It allows me to choose the radius of my orbit organically and instantly without any setup, I would be sad to see that changed. That said, we have all had frustrating moment of clicking through a model to the horizon and getting a bigger orbit than you expected.

I wonder if the maximum orbit radius could be calculated as a factor of the total model cross section in view, or the minimum could be limited to a factor of the current screen size, just a thought.

I import and have to clean up a lot of .DWG line files of architecture in my work and they can be very hard to orbit around for the reasons you are describing. I generally put a large plane (rectangle) about 1’ below my ground level and lock it there, then even when clicking through the void in your lines you get a reasonable orbit.


Thank you, that seems like a good workaround until they add my feature. :slight_smile:
The problem of course, is that I edit groups of lines often with the rest of the model hidden, which means I would have to add an extra plane to every component or group of DWG lines that I work on.

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Do you hide by “hide rest of model” while editing, or via layers, or via outliner?

I set up a shortcut to use CTRL+H to “hide rest of model” while working on a group. The shortcut also shows the rest of the model.


Yeah, that’s a common and useful shortcut, but you’re right hiding rest of model will hide your ground plane unless you place one in each context. If you were to control visibly through layers that would not happen, but I use both too as hide rest of model is very fast. Thankfully pan (shift-orbit) is not effected by the “click through” so can be use-full when zoomed in close.

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I have used Sketchup for seven years
This orbit feature makes the Trimble Essentials Extention for scan data unusable.

Most terestrial point clouds are positioned in a larger coordiate system than 0,0,0.

As soon as I import a real world cloud with a typical survey origin around 1000,5000,100 into Sketchup Studio, its over for orbit.

Is the mouse on a scan point or in the gap between two points?
Much tougher than asurface with a few holes in it.

Defining a center point to pivot around is essential to orbiting viewing with pont clouds.
I’ve never seen a point cloud viewer without this feature.

I tried fiddling axis position, camera settings, clipping options … no impact.

To be fair there is a warning as soon as you import a scan file.

is there anyway to move the origin in Sketchup fom 0,0,0 to something closer to the scans?


You can manually move the origin axis to any location by right clicking on any of the axis lines. Place allows you to mouse click to set the origin, Move allows you to enter values relative to the current origin. Once moved the standard views will conform to the updated global axis (new for 2022). Right clicking on any axis line and choose Reset to return to the original origin.

This will not necessarily solve your point could orbiting issues.

Tried it before and after importing the cloud … no impact.

You could try creating a sphere around the point cloud, group and lock it and perhaps paint it with a semi transparent material. Might give you a space to work in.

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Almost all 3D applications struggle with large, real-world coordinate systems, and have workarounds to enable models to remain near the origin.
@Jacques , does Scan Essentials have in place a system to deal with this?

You can move the point cloud closer to the origin with the Move Point Cloud tool.

There is no option to set the orbit center permanently.

@1234565698fjSDlfkjnaergpo Could you share your point cloud?



I like this idea.

I also use keyboard shortcuts for Hide Rest of Model and Hide Similar. I can toggle between showing or not showing the model as needed even while editing a component.

This topic is revived after three years and the most current post was about a pointcloud imported.
Since the pointcloud is an OpenGL ‘object’ it doesn’t have impact on ‘hide rest of model’ or ‘hide simular’ objects because you cannot edit the pointcloud and it is not a regular object.
The density of the pointcloud and the location of the cursor might also have impact.

I like the creativity of the sphere solution.

Sadly the sphere must be large enough to occupy the whole background but small enough to keep orbit from flailing.
There is no such overlap as orbit becomes hopeless long before the sphere gets to a workable size.

I fear a very clever graphics shortcut that dramatically improved rendering speed has left the software unusable for real world applications.
Even a modest scanner position like 200,100,10 cripples orbital navigation.

The warning tells me the developers are well aware but can’t or won’t fix it.

Point clouds can be tough to visually decipher.

It’s critical you get just the right 3D viewing angle on that bunch of points.
I can’t imagine the same navigational problem is present in Trimble Realworks or any other basic point cloud viewer.

The fix is a simple set rotation point command on the right click menu.

Then allow any scan point to be selected as the rotation point.
It sounds painful but it really works.
This has been a basic feature of all of Trimble’s point cloud viewers since I started selling scanners in the mid 90’s.

Easy money for a third party developer?

No worries, that’s what trial versions are for.
This glitch is so glaring that very few point cloud users could get through a 30 day trial of Sketchup Studio 2022 without noticing.

One could be forgiven for thinking this was either intentional or unavoidable.

Fingers crossed for the next release.

Doubleclicking with the middlemousebutton on a SketchUp entity centers the view. So if you add a guidepoint, it should work.
You then should be able to rotate around it, too.

Apart from the distance issues, I guess.

Are you only viewing? Why not use Trimble Connect for Windows?

How about using a 3D SpaceMouse?