Section depth in SketchUp heaven

I’ve seen other posts about this, but they all seem to be closed to further comments and I’d really love to breathe new life into this, if possible. Here’s my feature request: The ability to define a limiting depth for a section cut. Please don’t respond with the standard workarounds as I’m aware of all of them. I think it would be great to have this functionality built right into SketchUp.

In my vision of SketchUp heaven, this is how it would work: when you right click on a section plane, there would be a new menu item - say “Set section depth”. Choosing this would bring up a little dialog box where there would be checkboxes for “Zero” and “Infinite”. “Infinite” would be pre-checked (because this is, and should remain, the default section depth). If you check “Zero”, then all geometry would disappear except for the 2D slice intersected by the section plane itself. (This would be a little bit like the “Create group from slice” option.) If both “Infinite” and “Zero” are unchecked, a second, parallel section plane would appear opposite the initial section plane, allowing the user to place it to define the end of the section swath. Other than the ability to be selected and moved independently, the two opposing section planes would otherwise behave as a pair. They would have the same name and the same active/inactive status. The dialog box could also contain an input field where the user could enter a numeric distance between the start and end planes, if preferred. Then, the resulting section would only display the geometry that lies between the two planes.

Maybe there should also be a “Sections” tray to help the user manage the various sections. And the active/inactive status of all sections would also be toggleable from within a Layout viewport.

In my SketchUp heaven, that’s how it would work.


I second your vision, what can we do to incentivize this feature for Trimble and Sketchup development team.

Maybe I’m missing something, but how is this different than just moving the section plane? Is what you’re after the buttons?

Good feature request. No need to add a tray, I think. Or you could have more than one active section at a time, that would allow this and other configurations.

Yeah totally! I never understood why this isnt available.

In other software you can define a box to use as a view clipping area…and this pretty helpful to do cutaway drawings etc.
Could this be added as an extension I wonder???

Using a sketchup component as the “clipping box” would be a smart method.
Section planes can get pretty complicated to manage (number, organise, activate/deactivate)…


I guess I don’t use so many sections as other people. I figure there are ways of working with them through the outliner and entity window. Or perhaps an organizer would make a good plugin.

This can be faked with 2 sections planes. See this SU file.

Section slice (2 sections planes).skp (91.2 KB)

Still it’s a good feature request.

Yes, I was aware of this workaround and have used it sometimes. It’s okay, but in my opinion, it’s rather inelegant (like most workarounds). The section planes have to be individually controlled and the grouping of geometry sometimes has to be driven by the workaround. I would prefer that my grouping decisions be independent of the placement of section planes.

No, I’m requesting the ability to limit the depth of a section. Currently, every SU section plane has infinite depth - so all geometry on the visible side of a section plane is visible regardless of how far into the background it is. Often it would be beneficial to be able to limit that depth to a specific distance so that you don’t see irrelevant geometry in the background. Sometimes it would be beneficial to have a zero-depth section - showing only the slice of geometry that is intersected by the section plane itself. Currently, the only way to do that is with awkward workarounds or fog. I think a more sophisticated, native feature is in order.

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I agree that this would be a useful feature as would also be the different type of section cuts as shown here:

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Yes, good suggestions. I was only thinking about two parallel, opposing section planes to set the start and end of a section. But there’s no reason why 3D geometry couldn’t be sectioned in multiple, non-parallel planes - like the 3 orthogonal planes used in your Earth example. Maybe I need to dream bigger!

Yes indeed. There are many creative and sophisticated ways to section and display 3D geometry. SU is a fairly sophisticated 3D modelling platform and with it, we can create very impressive 3D models. But a 3D model becomes much more useful when the details of it can be effectively communicated to others. Unfortunately, SU’s section planes are simple and crude and really limit the user’s ability to display his/her model in ways that effectively communicate the details to others. If the SU developers really want to shore-up some weaknesses, enhancing the capability of sectioning seems like fertile ground.

absolutely agree!!!

Dooing a partial 3D sectioning can be achieved by using a subtraction of some shape, like a cube, from the model. Then, some patching may be required.

Okay, but you’re talking about actually altering the geometry, right? I would rather leave the geometry intact and have some creative options for cutting sections in order to peer inside the geometry.

Yes, this would alter the geometry. Not the best solution but a possibility.