The biggest issue I have with DWG export is related to the workflow from Sketchup to Layout that makes overlaying viewports mandatory. This specific workflow is even more important if you have to separate your CAD files elements with different layers and styles.
I’m thinking on separating:
- Section lines and face colors from view lines and face colors;
- Consultants/Engineer overlays;
- Info like building zone limits or terrain perimeter for permits;
- Terrain Contours;
- Terrain features like roads, water lines, power lines, sewage systems…
- Trees and vegetation;
- And whatever else…
This is only possible if you either overlay a CAD drawing directly into Layout (since 2018) or, like I do, if you overlay sketchup scene viewports on top of each other.
Example of these overlayable scenes in this gif from the sketchup file:
Now, the resulting Layout file and PDF export is looking great like this:
The problem is that this isn’t true on DWG files.
DWG is standard for working consultants, permit stages and for some of us drafting and construction documentation. In my case construction documents are simpler with 2 overlays only but they are so many that I hate the end of it where I have to fix all DWG files.
In fact, DWG files look good in CAD’s paperspace too:
NOTE: They have some major flaws on texts if you export as DWG entities
However, engineers/consultants, clients and even municipalities require tidy model spaces so they can work better. And that is not happening with Layout exports to DWG if you have overlays.
In the image above, from 1 to 10 you have all the different layers you need overlayed. They are separated by layer in CAD, with the organization I had in Layout, but they are not juxtaposed on modelspace. Besides that, for each layer there is a viewport in Paperspace, that references a different position in CAD modelspace and this is also overkill in my opinion:
To tidy up the drawing and be able to share it, I will have to manually juxtapose every overlay, by selecting and moving stuff to the left. In this case it’s fairly easy as the overlays are simple and selecting stuff is therefore easy.
However, as the drawings get more heavy and complex it’s increasingly diffiicult to select objects:
In my case I am extra careful in making all overlayed viewports the same size in Layout, so I can then move them to the left and juxtapose them nicely in DWG and fix them.
Besides that, if you have made Layout viewports in a sequential order, the overlays are ordered in modelspace which will facilitate your work later.
However if you didn’t do that, the overlays will get their order mixed and make more trouble like this:
In the end, if you did things right and had Ortho on in CAD you can send a nice modelspace DWG file like this:
However, if that is not the case you have to do it all over again because the contour lines are .783576m off and the engineers will complain, the client will ask what’s happening and why you’re sloppy and you have to say that you have a different software called Sketchup and Layout… ouch!
This workflow is not prone to mistakes and is a deadline killer! If you have to share a lot of drawings every week, between meetings, mails, phone calls and schedules, you’re dead only moving stuff around and solving the puzzles…
Death by Layout+CAD!
So, all this text leads to the following requests:
1. Solve our need for overlays separation in Sketchup+Layout by allowing Sketchup layers to translate to LO layers and be manageable there (turn on/off, override colors and styles, export to CAD);
2. Overlay juxtaposed viewports in Layout nicelly in CAD’s modelspace and create a single paperspace viewport for them all.
Of course this is easier said than done. So I have the following suggestions for .2:
- Every viewport in Layout shouldn’t be exported as loose lines into CAD’s modelspace, these lines should be organized into a block instead;
- If the reference point of the block is in a fixed corner of a Layout page you can insert all blocks of a page in the same point in modelspace.
- Then all viewports in Layout file are nicely juxtaposed in modelspace and you can create a single viewport in Layout.
As this won’t be a method all users will like make it optional:
- Export all pages as a single viewport? Y/N
- Have users select which Layout viewports will be bound together into a single DWG viewport, creating a new method of viewport in Layout grouping for solving these exports.
I will further think on this and though I’m sure only a few users will read this post, I’d really appreciate the discussion.