Reducing edge count from multiple windows in a large model

I’m working with Scott Baker (@NewThinking2) on a very large SU model. It uses hundreds of floor to ceiling window components, some with and some without sliding doors.

The original windows were very simply drawn, with scaled rectangular horizontal bars at top and bottom, and rectangular verticals, at modular intervals of 2ft, with double glazed transparent glass in between the verticals. The end verticals are scaled down to half thickness. So all the different sizes of window openings in multiples of 2ft use only three subcomponents, though in different numbers - one horizontal, one vertical, and one glass panel component definition.

If there are sliding doors, two short window panels are inserted in a simple component frame - rectangular sides and top - scaled to half thickness, and a lower height to fit inside the frame, and positioned partly overlapped so the doorway is part open.

The window component can be edited to different lengths in multiples of 2ft by making the original longest one unique, deleting one or more verticals and one or more glass panels, moving the end by 2ft, and scaling both horizontals to fit.

A few need 18" instead of 2ft panels, which is achieved by scaling the glass panel to a smaller width and moving the vertical(s) and end vertical accordingly.

Even so, with so many windows, the large number of edges slows down orbiting and zooming, so I looked for a simpler way to represent these windows for everything except close up viewing (though it works surprisingly convincingly for everything except extreme close up.

Here is an image, and a close-up of the original:

I created a simpler version with a part-transparent image taken from a direct front view in Parallel Projection of the window model. Making the ‘glass’ part of the image translucent was the hardest part of image editing - I used a mix of Preview and Pages on my iMac.

I then used the 'Import image/As texture and applied it on a rectangular face of the same overall size as the original windows, sampled the texture after applying it to the front face, and used the paint bucket to apply it to the back face, where it automatically ‘mirrors’ the front. So the doorway opening in the image comes in the same place front and back.

I then mirrored the face a couple of inches away behind the original face, and made the pair into a component.

After that, I pushpulled an opening for the doorway, to create faces for the sides and top of the opening, to give it solidity and applied black texture to the window side, and default white to the frame side of the opening.

The offset gives a good illusion of depth, enhanced by the doorway faces.

Here’s what the imaged version looks like, and a close up of the doorway:

And here’s the SKP file of both
Windows 40ft with sliding doors - solid and imaged.skp (1.5 MB)
The original has (in round numbers) 800 edges, 400 faces, four major components, and 60 (internal) component instances.

The ‘imaged’ version has (again in round number) 150 edges, 50 faces, and one (internal) component instance. I could probably simplify this further, since most of the faces and edges come from the 3Dwarehouse shutter component surrounding the windows (130 edges and 40 faces).

Multiplied by hundreds, the edge and component count savings add up to a substantially faster model to work in, orbit and view.

The only problem I haven’t been able to solve yet is how to alter the transparency of the Glass component to match the imaged one.

This should be easy, but I can’t find out how to change the opacity and make it ‘stick’ on a Mac. It’s probably easy, but not obvious - at least to me. I select the material, change the opacity slider, and select the material again - the opacity jumps back to the original 50%. I make a duplicate of the original (built in) blue glass Material167, change the opacity in the duplicate to 30%, and find it is still too opaque. So I change the opacity again to a lower value, but as soon as I select it again to apply it, it jumps back to 30% again. Not intuitive!

The help article I found only applies to Windows versions of SU, and I’m on a Mac.

Do I need to make another duplicate every time I want to change the opacity? Then delete the former version?

your using 2 different colours…

open Material167 for editing to B4D1F5 and set opacity at 72% then close the edit field for it to stick…


I thought I was probably missing something simple. Thanks.

This topic was automatically closed 91 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.