Please improve Layout's rendering priority for Text entities

This is a fairly simple one…I’ll take my time to explain it so it’s 100% clear.

I have a common issue that involves text generated from SketchUp but output via LayOut.

LayOut will hide part (or all) of a text label if it is obscured by 3d geometry. That sounds okay in principle, but makes little sense in practice.

Text (labels/leaders, but sometimes dimensions) is often added within a SketchUp model.
[ There are many reasons for this, including the abilities of various extensions to automate labelling for things like levels, dimensions, surface areas, materials, etc. It’s not uncommon for me to have dozens or even hundreds of spot height labels in a model]

In the example image below I have used Tig’s “Height Above Datum” extension to add a couple of spot heights. You can see how two of them are applied to a flat surface and appear normal, but one is obscured (cropped)

because it is applied to a sloping surface.

I ask that text such as this would either:

  • Render in front of all faces, no matter what.
    or, if that cant be acheived, then:
  • Render the complete text if any part of it is visible.

It makes no sense having half a text field visible & exported in LayOut.


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Makes sense.

Further than that, text inside a viewport should be conglfigurable on Layouts, so we can match it’s size, style and even placement in accordance with the rest of the layout document. Of course we can do that inside SketchUp, but it’s very cumbersome and time consuming.

I also believe text in Sketchup should be exported as real text from Layout to DWG and PDF. It exports as a bunch of lines now, making it impossible to edit/find in DWG or PDF files.

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The whole purpose of layout is to be able to add text and dimensions. Yes, geometry will cover text if that’s how your scene is set up in SketchUp. Why can’t you just add text and dimensions in layout?

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You literally just described why layout exists.

Also, SketchUp is all geometry. Even the text. When you import a DWG, the text is geometry. Because, like I said, SketchUp is just a bunch of lines.

I think you are asking for something that purposely doesn’t exist in SketchUp

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That’s what we do, don’t worry. We use Layout text and know that it exports correctly.

The question should be reversed then.

If Layout is able to add text and dimensions to a Sketchup model, why do we still feel the need to add text and dimensions in Sketchup?

You can find the answer in the first post.

I have abandoned the idea that text or dimensions will ever be improved in SU, i have adapted to using only LO but still argue the fact that text and dimensions should import/export traditionally.

I have also abandoned the idea at a time, but now I don’t care anymore. I don’t care if my texts are exploded and my engineers or even clients angst towards me.

It’s something that would lead other people to simply quit Sketchup, but I decided to put up with it. It’s annoying but I do.

I tried doing all texts in Layout and it’s doable, but it’s painful. It’s manual work. It doesn’t change if model changes. It’s stupid.

We have a model that is being constantly changed, it has data that could easily be converted into leaders and texts automatically and dynamically, butLayout is blind to it.

Sketchup is also natively blind to it, but some hero developers try to change that.

Example of a big pain point on simple data: AREAS

Area tags are possible to do in Layout but there’s no easy tool for that.

It’s possible to retrieve a face area from the model and into a Layout Tag with auto text. (Sorry into a leader. Tags are sketchup layers these days… what a mess!).

However, how to do that correctly?

Your model never has the correct areas for rooms. You often have more than one material on floors and have to split the floor into two faces. If you retrieve an area for one, you only get half the room. This renders Layout’s Area from Faces useless, so you have to workaround that. (Story of Layout’s work is workarounds).

If the example of floor materials is not enough for you, think that your floor slabs are almost never the shape of the room. They intersect with wardrobes, bathtubs, shower plates, walls that come from below, stairs that cross the slabs, built in benches, kitchen islands and every sort of features built into the floor. So there’s not many scenarios where Layout Auto Text for Areas can easily help us retrieve an area.

What I do is have an horizontal plane in Sketchup, intersect it with model and clean it to retrieve room faces. (I use section cut face for that but within the same principle)

From these faces we can then use Layout’s auto text labels to populate areas in the floor plan. It, but it has to be redone each time the building changes. Very cumbersome.

Layout should have an area text tool.

We would draw a shape around the room and a text with the area should pop up in the center, though we should be able to reposition it as we can in a multiline text box nowadays. The text should be able to be populated with the room name/number too. That shape should use Sketchup PIDs to adapt to changes in the model. It should be able to be linked to tables in Layout and connected to imported XLS or ODS tables, maybe google docs format too.

Does Layout have it? No.

However Sketchup has something close it in the form of plugins.

@Fredo6 has developed a tool in FredoTools.

You can retrieve all sort of areas from the model and export them as CSV and you can use it in a spreadsheet and then import that spreadsheet into Layout. It’s still not great for room taggin, but it’s doable and helps with generating reports by material area, which Sketchup report isn’t able to. Those reports can get into Layout.

@TIG has also developed area text tag plugin.

You click on the face and retrieve it’s area via a text. It’s way easier than Layout’s tool and it’s also dynamic, however the text it generates will be treated as geometry when imported to Layout, not text.

The main benefit is that you can also export a report and you can make the report based on room names.

You have to choose what you prefer. Having true texts when exporting to CAD and PDF, or having your work done fast?

It’s a stupid choice but’s that’s why part of my texts are exploded in CAD. Should I go for another BIM app?

Maybe in the future I will have to… unfortunately.

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There’s a HUGE can of worms to open when it comes to LayOut and Text/Reporting aspects.
Getting data OUT of sketchup+LO has always been a problem and seems to be a low priority for the SketchUp development team. This is why SKP seems to sit in the “concept design stage” which then leads to architects rebuilding a model (from scratch) in BIM software.

On the other hand, we have extensions that automate things…but arent always very versatile (or reliable).

Basically, layout should have an area text tool that works much faster and better than the current Text tool calculation. We also need it to report on different prioperties such as Material Name or Height (Z height/elevation), or Tag Name.

That seems like a fairly simple request, doesn’t it?

I like the idea of using LO to trace around things and then report on them (a little table within LayOUt to report on basic areas/quanities would be nice); Tracing around thigns may work for Rooms (large/simple shapes and few of them), but what about Glazing or Wallpaper and Sheetrock? (e.g. where you have lots of objects…Im not tracing them all manually!).

Finally, SKP Generate Report needs to be more aligned with Area reporting. There’s no easy way to get surface areas our of SketchUp natively (and, if wantign to create a table eg bill of materials, then you have to go via Excel as well)
There are some basic extensions that can report on Bills of Quantities, but I havent found any I like. I have commissioned a few from Extension developers (similar to Fredo’s and Tig’s text tools).

One thing I haven’t tried yet is Sefaira. In theory, that will need to understand room sizes, wall types and sizes, glazing quanities, etc, etc…how does it gather information and report on things? (I dont know anybody who has tried it).

I also agree with your assessment about generate report. Reporting on material areas, which was a basic thing, wasn’t there last time I checked…

For Sefaira the best workflow is to model a simple face model of your building with zones and opaque façade, glazing and shades. So you model a new model that looks like your model.

This is actually an issue for most of energy analysis software.

Interesting conversation and ideas …
Has anyone in this thread copied @adam ?

Maybe if you made the floor area a component in SU you could extract the area, material etc in LO automatically …?
Alternatively, maybe you could use the report tool in SU to extract room areas and reference the table in LO…?

but agree data extraction/interchange is a dogs breakfast in SU/LO… all the data should be explicitly or implicitly in SU (the model) and that data should be dynamically available in LO ( the presentation tool for that data)… currently some is… some isnt

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