When orbiting inside a small group or component, with the rest of the model hidden, you have to click on geometry for the camera not to go crazy. If you click slightly to the side of any geometry the orbit tool chooses a pivot point far away in the distance which moves the camera far to the side where you can no longer see your work.
Experienced users are so used to this that we hardly even notice it anymore. We just make sure to click the geometry, not the background. For beginners on the other hand I think this specific issue is the cause of much frustration and is the reason why many new users seem to hate SketchUp camera control while experienced users love it. I’ve even heard other students saying they don’t use SketchUp because of the crazy camera .
If you zoom out to view the whole model and orbit it by clicking in the background it orbits as you would expect, without losing the model from sight. If you copy your small group/component to a new fresh file and edit it there instead you also experience the expected orbit behavior. If you are inside the small group or component on the other hand, with the rest of the model hidden, it seems the model is orbited around the far end of its bounding box, causing what you work on to disappear from sight.When the rest of the model is shown this isn’t much of a problem as there is usually geometry where you click.
If this behavior could be tweaked to make the bounding box of the open group/component, instead of that of the model, define the orbit pivot point when clicking outside geometry, I think orbiting in SketchUp would be greatly improved and a lot of new users would stick to using SketchUp instead of abandoning it.