Position Camera bug in 2022

In Sketchup 2022 on Mac the feature of using the Position Camera command in Parallel Projection mode to create a clipping plane does not work.

This is serious because the feature is the preferred way of creating interior section viewports for dimensioning in Layout, as it is far superior to cluttering the Sketchup model with dozens of impossible-to-manage Section Planes.


Keith

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The Clipping thing was “fixed” in 2022 because most users complained about it. Your comment is the first one I’ve ever seen from someone wanting to induce clipping.

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That’s odd. There are many YouTube tutorials that teach the method. That’s how I learned it. I now have many large Layout files that use the technique and are now trash. I guarantee I won’t be the last to complain about it.


Keith

1 Like

The ‘fix’ for the clipping issue that a lot of people want to avoid, would clash with the cases where you used that clipping to good effect. The camera is backed out until any geometry behind the camera is now in front of the camera.

To get intentional clipping, where you want to not see a lot of geometry that is this side of what you are showing, you can use a clipping plane that is perpendicular to the camera direction.

What you say about LayOut is a good point though, if the ‘fix’ for clipping carries into existing LayOut documents, that could lead to some extra work for you.

I re-read what you had said, and see that you have tried section planes. It may be worth sending us a typical LayOut file, to see how many times it is that you have relied on the clipping issue. Until there is a way to let people use or not use the clipping issue to good effect, you may need to stick with 2021 for those kinds of documents.

To make sure the product managers know about your use case:

@MikeTadros @Mark

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The problem is that the Position Camera clipping-plane technique is the only viable technique in Sketchup for this use. If you’ve ever tried managing a model with 60 scenes and 20 Section Cuts you would know why Section Cuts are not a viable solution. If you put value on your time, that is.

I create check sets that are not different than what most architects create. A check set for a typical small home has in the neighborhood of 20 viewports showing dimensioned orthogonal to-scale face-on views of cabinetry and other such details. Trust me on this: any architect or draftsman using Section Cuts in her Sketchup Model to create these viewports in the Layout drawings is wasting a lot of client billing hours.

Sticking with 2021 is not a viable solution. I don’t find the new features in Sketchup all that valuable, but I definitely need some of the new features in Layout. Like viewport auto-text for scale, page count, etc. Besides that, the documents I’ve created have to persist for years. Long after I will have been forced to 2022 and beyond for support and feature reasons. I cannot afford to be on old versions of software I depend on. Using 2021 Sketchup with 2022 Layout doesn’t fix the problem. I tried it.

And all the documents I create are “those kind of documents.”

I do not believe for a minute that I am the only one with this use case. As I say, it is commonly taught on YouTube tutorials because of the well-known issues with Section Planes. No one who has ever tried Position Camera clipping for creating the viewports I’m talking about would ever again waste their time with Section Planes.

I have no idea how I would ever get to a “product manager” to explain this use case. I’d be happy to do it if I knew how. Although, I find it a bit hard to believe every product manager wouldn’t already know of this use case.


Keith

3 Likes

When we tag things in the forum with @keithd for example, that person gets a special message to say they have been mentioned. I tagged the two most important product managers. They will drop by, I’m sure.

Aside from adding an option to say “don’t fix the clipping plane issue”, I wonder if it would be possible to have a clipping plane at camera position option. That is, you position the camera where you need it to be, and when you go to parallel projection a clipping plane is placed for you.

May not be the right option, but hopefully something can be done to give back what 2021 had.

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Could you give a link to a youtube tutorial showing this method.

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I didn’t know this was affected. Most people complaining about clipping (I sense) are new to SketchUp and haven’t figured out how it works, or are desiring to make very large models (in virtual area). I think this way of making interior elevations (which uses clipping) and ceiling plans is very cool. I don’t personally use it a lot, but I appreciate the loss. I guess we can’t call this a bug though, but consequence of a design direction.

Start watching this one at 4:00 minutes: Interior Elevations in Layout from Your SketchUp Model - Interior Design Modeling for Layout #7 - YouTube

Or, better yet, this one which is entirely about the technique: Creating SketchUp Elevations for Layout without Section Cuts - SketchUp Quick Tips - YouTube.

Justin mentions this technique in many of his tutorials. I have seen it in videos from other instructors as well. But Justin’s are easy to locate on his website.


Keith

1 Like

I would call it a bug. Think about it from the perspective of the Position Camera tool. The definition of that tool is that it is supposed to place the camera at the start point and look in the direction of the vector. If you really did that a camera in parallel projection mode it would not see anything behind it, which is how it worked in Sketchup 2021. So the Position Camera tool is now broken, which is a bug.

If they really did “fix” the annoying clipping problem simply by backing out the camera, as Colin says, then they didn’t fix the real problem, they just hacked in a patch that had unintended consequences.

It’s interesting that in nearly 20 years of using SketchUp and being active in the various SketchUp forums, I’ve never seen anyone defend clipping or indicate they want clipping until this thread. I’ve seen lots of threads in which users have complained that clipping is a bug and it needs to be fixed.

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I can’t actually send my Layout files as they are proprietary. The project I’m currently working on has 17 interior elevations created using this method.

It will cost me many hours of work (and $) to redo using Section Planes. Partially because of the rework effort, but mostly because doing the same thing with Section Planes will triple the time it took to do the initial work with Position Camera.

I wouldn’t complain as loudly if they had removed the clipping functionality from Position Camera but also fixed the Section Plane UI to make it usable with many planes and scenes. For example, not only do I have to fix the 17 directly affected scenes and viewports, I have to manually go back and fix all 50 of my other scenes (in this one project) because anything you add after Scene creation–like section cuts–are ON by default in all scenes. In Sketchup in general, rework is always hugely more time consuming than creating it in the first place. That is true even when you know how to create and organize Sketchup projects to minimize rework effort, which I do.

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I am not defending “clipping.” I am only defending the original design of the Position Camera tool, which was to show things in front of the position point in the direction of the view vector and not things behind the camera. That is no longer how Position Camera works in 2022.

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https://extensions.sketchup.com/extension/5fe151f4-aefe-4dcd-b37e-c0766caaa6e4/auto-invisible-layer

Yep - several other people teach this as well, including Matt Donley. I can’t remember where this came from originally (not me :smile: ), but it’s been pretty standard for a while now.

I agree with this assessment - I don’t know why it makes sense for the camera to display geometry that’s behind the location of the 3D camera in a 3D space in parallel projection mode. Considering they only partially fixed the clipping plane issue anyway, this seems like a step backwards to me.

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I remember learning about this technique, using it a bit, and then saying, “Oh, never mind. I’ll just use section planes,” but now I can’t remember why. I agree, I still want way better scene management. That would make a world of difference.

Wasn’t the problem that the camera’s clipping plane was somewhat forward of the camera’s position? You could see things being clipped in your field of view? Perhaps as a feature that @keithd describes the issue isn’t so much where the camera is but where the clipping plane for that camera happens? What Keith is describing when positioning the camera is really choosing where to position the camera’s clipping plane, but it doesn’t happen right at the camera, does it?

Thanks. I knew of this extension, but using it worries me. So I haven’t. Yet.

First, this problem was only one of the many problems with retrofitting Section Cuts for what I was doing with Position Camera. There are many more serious issues, this was just an easy example to explain.

Second, I use extensions, many of them, but I try to be careful about which ones I use. I cannot afford to introduce any extension that if it went away tomorrow would leave my project damaged in any way. I avoided the auto-invisible-layer extension because I couldn’t tell from the description how it functioned. It seemed like it might be adding some sort of hidden layer or function or something that mask off newly created tags in old scenes. If I could be certain this extension were safe to use were it to ever disappear, then I would try it. I guess I could test it out by trying a file made with the plugin on a different installation without it. I will do that.

But even if it works it won’t eliminate all the difficulties of retrofitting Section Planes or using them in lieu of Position Camera going forward.


Keith

Not sure about that. But I’ve never had a problem with that. It’s usually easy to position, or reposition, the camera where nothing that should be visible in front of the camera is being clipped.

Actually, an argument for something like this could be made based on ages old drafting convention, but everything “behind the camera” so to speak is conventionally drawn with dashed lines, like upper cabinets in plan, for example. It could be a nice feature with control of how it’s depicted, but it also has the problem of how far do you look. People already struggle with that in elevation beyond the section plane.

The clipping solution involved moving the camera backwards, until all geometry in its line of sight is in front of the camera.