Problems with Layout

Am i the only person having quite severe operating problems with Layout? I can’t get the Insert function to work more than once per session, the Sketchup Model in Layout convert from Raster to Vector or Hybrid simply doesn’t work, the program seizes up and ultimately shuts down - Layout has never been a smooth operator, always rather cumbersome, but now it’s an all-out lame duck. Is there a “fix” coming?

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Personally I find Layout absolutely brilliant but what can I say about your post. There is very little to go on. How big is your SketchUp file? Do you have problems with every Layout file or is it just your current project? If you post your problem file here (or a cloud link to it, somebody will no doubt analyse it and comment on it for you.

Do you insert the same sketchup model more than once into your file? You should just copy the viewport and paste on the pages you need then change the scenes. How big is the file you’re working with? Can you share the layout file?

I moved this thread to: Technical problems - Layout…

Are you trying to insert the same reference file more than once? If so, don’t. You should only insert a reference file one time into a given LO file. If the reference is a SketchUp model, it gets inserted one time. After that you copy a viewport from the model to make additional viewports. Select the appropriate scene for each viewport.

This has always worked fine for me. I have seen models that are very slow to render as Vector or Hybrid due to huge numbers of edges that need to be considered for vector rendering. It might be that there are some things that can be done in your model management to improve performance. If you were to share a LayOut file that is slow to render viewports, we could take a look and try to help you out.

It would help us if you correct your profile. ‘2023’ does not identify the operating system you are using. And it would help to know what graphics card your computer has. The rendering stuff relies on that device.

Might do you some good to read the 20-30 posts in the forums with similar titles to yours.

Top answers to your question:

  1. No one knows anything about future “fixes” for Layout and Trimble/Sketchup NEVER tell their plans.
  2. 80% of the problems with Layout are 100% connected to the users knowledge of Sketchup and how to use it with Layout. A users ability to model their house in Sketchup never equates to their success in Layout. Using Sketchup is simplistic. Using it with Layout in order to get professional, non-soul-crushing results requires a shift in mind-set and app proficiency…
  3. Computer specs, while important, generally have nothing to do with the problem. Reference #2.
  4. “Can you post your Layout file”

Some of the other threads on this topic will do a great job maturing your understanding. Reading them can also be soul-crushing as you have to subject yourself to a lot of complaining. But, the answers are there and a future with Layout as a tamed little kitty is possible.

Hello Dave, thanks for your comment. I am new user to Sketchup and not particularly gifted in computer tech so, i make mistakes.
I think the issue is my work practice - i tend to start with a Sketchup model that i build up for Client presentation - consequence is it is a large file typically 20-50MB.
I wouldn’t have a clue if or what graphics card i have - how can i find out?

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That’s a common thing for users who have problems with SketchUp and LayOut. Models can often be more efficient and lighter in “weight” which makes the modeling process easier and faster and also makes the work in LayOut easier and faster. There are things that need to be done in SketchUp to be ready for LayOut. Creating appropriate scenes is one of those.

How you find out depends on the operating system. Listing ‘2023’ as your operating system means I can’t tell you exaactly. Your operating system should be either Windows 10, Windows 11, or some version of Mac OS.

Now i understand. My computer is running Windows 11.
I have no idea about the graphics card.
I’m getting the Impression that part of my problem with Layout is that my SketchUp model is too complex for efficient transfer to Layout.
I work through various concept design stages with my clients until we reach an agreed preferred design. The Sketchup model becomes heavily populated with Warehouse imports especially trees and people.
I’ll try saving a stripped down version of the Sketchup model to transfer to Layout and see if that is more successful.

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This isn’t uncommon. Things like trees and plants, especially 3D objects, can be extremely heavy with geometry. Furniture, appliances, and other entourage can also be very bloated. Every edge and face you add to the model has to be handled by your CPU and GPU and in LayOut, when rendering as Vector or Hybrid those edges give your computer plenty to do.

Keeping your models light and clean will go a long way to improving things. It’s a lot like keeping a work site clean and tidy.

Be thoughtful and discerning about content you download from the Warehouse. Look at the details and think about the value that object will add to your model. Is it worth the “cost”? Here’s an example. I searched for ‘BBQ grill’. The first one I picked looks like this.
Screenshot - 12_4_2023 , 7_50_25 AM
And here are the details.

The second one I picked on.
Screenshot - 12_4_2023 , 7_51_28 AM

And its details.

Granted they are different grills but does the first one bring enough additional value to your model to be worth the extra “cost” in polygons, materials, and file size?

Don’t add components to your project directly from the Warehouse or any other source. download them into a separate SketchUp file and examine them to make sure they are suitable before adding them into your project. Clean them up if needed or reject them and look for something else.

Purge your models of unused stuff frequently. Make sure texture materials are reasonably sized. There’s no point in having 10,000 pixel wide textures in your model. That resolution will not carry over into image exports or PDFs from LayOut.

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So - the solution is to have 2 parallel SKP 3D models:

  1. for client presentation - heavily populated with people, landscaping and “things” to give context. This is the way i communicate with my clients.
  2. for use in Layout - a stripped down version of the presentation model.
    Is this what is intended for the software developers?

You should still use appropriate entourage for this and use @DaveR 's advice to download those into a separate SketchUp file to examine them for suitability before adding them to your model!!

What do you mean by that?

Hello Kevin, reading that you “find Layout absolutely brilliant” is immediately alienating for any person experiencing difficulties. Quite obviously, you can’t possibly understand the difficulties that we mere mortals are experiencing (AutoCAD is brilliant, Layout is not). Brilliant or otherwise - for a sole trader like me, Layout is very complex and not in the least bit intuitive - I’m an architect designing houses and gardens for a living, I’m not computer tech-head and i don’t have the time to become one). I persevere with Sketchup+Layout because (a) AutoCAD is prohibitively expensive (b) I have already invested more than a year developing my skills and I can cobble together proper tech drawings but, it’s very very slow and not cost effective, and most importantly, (c) i really like the Sketchup software, 3D modelling is the way i communicate with my clients and it is very compelling - i’m a designer not an IT enthusiast.

The Sketchup “concept” is brilliant but I can’t help but feel that the software developers are over-reaching - trying to do too much. It seems to me that the “concept” is that one should build the 3D model in Skp then use the Section cutting function and transfer those drawings to Layout to produce technical drawings for submission to Councils (or whatever is your regulatory approvals authorities) with notes and dimensions and further to tender drawings for builders and sub-contractors. The problem there is; while doing the notes etc, inevitably in that tech drafting stage you come across things that have been forgotten or clients’ want small changes, so the base drawing needs frequent updates and amendments and this where the wheels fall off the Sketchup cart - it’s impractical to have to go back and forth to the Skp file for everything little thing.

As i see it the problem stems from using Sketchup 3D images/files converted to “look like” 2D drawings and transferring that to Layout - the apparent 2D drawing remains in fact a 3D image that’s been flatten out - so it’s very messy to make amendments to the Layout 2D image. Transferring data from Skp to Layout is clumsy and illogical. Opening a Skp portal once only in a multi-sheet Layout file defies logic - each drawing in a drawing set should be a discrete portal.

I’ll continue with Sketchup+Layout - i’m so far down the track it would be ridiculous to start over with something else - I live in hope that the Sketchup software developers will take off their tech-heavy goggles and instead, look at their product through the eyes of their (non-tech, designer) customers and modify the software to become much more intuitively logical and user friendly.

@SE7 Maybe you can get some ideas from this Google search about Nick Sonder. He has helped many to gain an understanding of the Layout process.

Hi Stephen.

Thanks for your reply. I think you described Layout as “an all out lame duck” and I replied that I find it absolutely brilliant which I do. I offered some suggestions that would help you get meaningful replies which you appear to have received. Best of luck with your Layout journey.

That’s subjective, I worked for many years using just Autocad, and I don’t find it remotely brilliant for 2D or 3D. Sketchup and layout together make the perfect bundle for an architect in my subjective opinion. Of course it’s basic to have the knowledge to know how to work properly on sketchup and Layout, if one doesn’t know how to do it of course that the experience on Layout will be bad. It’s better to invest some time learning to avoid all the problems that people have when using layout blindly.

Yes, it is subjective - as was Kevin’s " I find Layout absolutely brilliant".
As you say, you have many years of technical CAD experience - and that’s exactly my point, to operate Layout efficiently you need to have many years of tech experience.
I’m investing a lot of time in blogs and videos, it’s a very frustrating process - i have client deadlines to satisfy.

I like the 3D functions of skp but, like many many others I do have issue with Layout, especially transferring data from skp into Layout to produce 2D technical drawings.
I’m a sole practitioner so I have to rely entirely on various blogs and instructional YouTube videos

I implore the software developers to listen to their customers and to invest some time and effort to adapt their software to be less complex, more intuitive and user friendly.
Blaming your customers for not being well enough informed is a recipe for market place failure.

@SE7 assuming you went through the layout offerings here:

it sounds like you might benefit from some focused one on one training. There are quite a few people who can help.

From reading your posts here it seems like you lack an understanding of how all the pieces fit together to create a drawing set (referencing above the multiple insert error, lack of file management scheme, etc), followed on by a lack of understanding of what heavy lifting Layout needs to do behind the scenes to make nice drawings (populating models via the warehouse, ‘heavy’ vs. ‘light’ models) -etc.

You don’t need to be tech savvy to use SKP and LO - basic computer skills do help to keep things running smoothly, no different than understanding how to adjust the wires on your parallel straightedge or when to clean your inking pens. Tools are tools - you can certainly hammer in screws but it’s probably better to learn how to properly install them.

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Thank you bmike for the link. I have not seen those packages before.
I will commence straight away to work my way through both collections - any tips on which one first?
Love your analogy of hammering in screws.

I enjoyed terrorizing my carpenter Sam, asking to borrow his spirit level,
Sam: “Sure, do you know how to operate it?”
Me: “Nah, doesn’t matter i just need something to stir the paint.”

Start with LayOut Essentials and then try the Design Package.