Section Tool In Sketchup - It Needs Improvement With Depth Clipping

Hi All,

I’ve been using Sketchup for 5 years for large scale Scaffold Design and although it is excellent and I love it, it drives me crazy how hard it is to do sectioning, particularly when transferring into Layout to put together design documentation. It has hindered me for years and stopped me from switching to Sketchup for all of my design work as I will often favour going back to 2D CAD instead purely because of the sectioning. I may need 10+ sections from a model and I find it very confusing trying to get them all into one model without making duplicates of model areas specifically to create a new section.

I also use Revit most days for reviewing structural models and Revit has an exceptional Sectioning tool. You go to a plan view, draw your section line wherever needed, it then gives a depth clipping box which you can set to a narrow slither or a deep section if required. You can then EASILY call these 2D sections up in your sheet displays. Unlike Sketchup that has this weird one section at a time rule, showing full depth of the model, unless you start sectioning within groups, which is very messy when I have lots of intricate sections that I want to detail within Layout.

Have I missed something with sectioning? Am I doing it wrong? Is there an add-on in the extension warehouse? Do others agree?! People who have used Revit will surely fully agree with me here.

If Sketchup could add clipping depth to the section tool and allow multiple sections without strange grouping restrictions, I would probably switch to it full time for my design work.

I wonder how’s your workflow cause I also use a lot of sections on my models to create different elevations of my projects, I do all the documentation on layout but I work with scenes on sketchup, and every scene shows only one active section and the rest the same, unless I have a section inside a group or component, but that’s not something usual, just for making details probably, but on layout I just choose the scenes I want it to be shown on the viewport and work with it.

I also use scenes for my sections. It’s more the depth of the section that I struggle with. For example, for every section I want, I have to do two section planes, the first showing what I want, then I have to go and make or find a group to do a section behind in the same plane to create the depth of the section. I find this gets really messy the further I progress into my design.

Image attached for some reference. You will notice some models floating around in the background (green circled). I do this because I get fed up of actually trying to section into that area so I just copy and paste the specific components down into some random space in the model and create some new scenes of them on their own to then viewport in Layout.

I suppose my point is, I have used software that does a much easier, efficient job of creating 2D sections. It would be nice in Sketchup to create a section, set it’s depth of field in this section, save it, then if you want to add a new section you can without it hiding the first or having to go into a group to get more than one section to show at once. Also allowing you to quickly and easily toggle between them.

Maybe I just need more practice, I have actually just found the “Outliner” tray which lists them so I’ll have a play with that. But it still seems clunky to me with room for improvement.

I suppose a perfect solution is a Section Box, the same as you get in Revit. Then you just close the box down onto your model to isolate areas, then set a scene, then adjust for your next one and so on.

A youtube reel shows that section box in revit here:

Maybe there’s a a plugin for it already!

Clipping Objects is another way of describing the “section box” idea.
There’s some discussion on the forums about that (I think as far back as 2016)

I did see some of those discussion, but I have not yet found any good solution/plugin.

I think a good, simple clipping/section box tool would be excellent for Sketchup

My Layout Sections always link to multiple SketchUp Scenes created using the ‘Create Group from Slice’ option.

The main advantage for me is being able to colour the Section Faces however I want to directly within SketchUp. The disadvantage is that the ‘Sections’ are not dynamic which is fine for me because I seldom change the model once I start creating Layout documents.

I understand, I also have requested the implementation of jogged section planes, there are other threads of people asking for the same feature, I hope the developers can add this in the near future, it would be a game changing tool.

I design and detail timber frames (and timber frame homes). For timber frame shop drawings I too wish we had a depth control / clipping box on the section tool - but until then I have been simply dropping ‘white out’ planes behind the bent or build up I am detailing. I have a plugin that drops them in automatically and puts them on a tag I choose. I can then group these if I want, or simply control visibility with the tags.

For home design I will often set these to an opacity level so I hint at what is deeper on in the model but isolate the section. For shop drawings they are solid white to blend into the background. I can then render raster or vector in LayOut.

It’s dated but my workflow for this is in this video from BaseCamp around minute 36

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I alsp miss jogged section lines, or multiplanar sections. That is my main missing issue.

For clipping depth of the section there are people using fog, but that requires raster rendering.I use a simple vertical white plane in the place I need yo hide the rest of the model. This plane can be modelled to hide whatever I need and then works as multiplanar clipping box.

The only problem is that the background won’t become transparent anymore, but this isnvt a problem as in Layout this view of the model is usually the bottom most layer.

I will post an image but the idea is:

  • have a section
  • assign it a layer visible only in that section scene
  • draw a vertical white face that hides whatever you need in your section view
  • if you need it to be diagonal or multiplanar, simply model that as this will become your background
  • hide edges if you want this to be fully white. Leave edges visible if you want to create simple outlines of objects in the scene
  • group the final model into a group
  • assign the same layer to the group as you assigned to the section, this will make that background group show up only in that scene.

EDIT: Example Images


Hi !

I don’t know if it can help you but I use 2 sections plans in 2 groups

We need a solution that doesn’t envolve creating multiple groups and subgroups in order to section a model with a multiplanar section.

Having Sections inside Components or Groups should be limited to things like these, for example, where having a master plan with buildings in a slope, you still need to show the floorplan for all buildings. (this could be also solved with a multiplanar section, but the current solution is cleaner as you can send a building as Xref and use the section both while working in xref and masterplan)

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^^^ this, similar to what JQL does is my process noted above. And I’ve found the ‘white plane’ is the quickest and easiest way to manage this.

I do wish SKP would give us a material that would block back edges - I could then use my process for isolating the section cut with my white out plane and assign a ‘back edges blocker’ to it - then I could show internal joinery / steel connections without jumping through other hoops that I use to detail my projects.

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Thanks for all of your tips and suggestions, I will definitely be having a play around with them!

In summary it seems that we are all suffering the same problem though, the fact that you have to create a workaround with planes/layers/groups to get sections to do something that should be quite simple in SketchUp.

I’m really thinking that a clipping box would be ideal where you just adjust the box to only show what you need, make a scene, and then readjust for the next scene. I hope SketchUp develop this in the future, but I’m doubtful! How could we put it to someone to develop one for the extension warehouse?

If that clipping box isn’t the classical box, but a shape that you can pushpull and deform and it can have an infinite side too, then I’m all up for it and agree with you.

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Someone is currently developing one:

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It does exactly what I was describing. I’m currently waiting on a response from them, they are a Thai developer and want payment for the extension (which I have already installed but can’t use until paid). But it is not clear how to pay them.

I can highly recommend this plugin! I now have it activated in Sketchup and it does what I need.

The developer provided me with a Paypal address to make payment for activation.

Register (Translate the page from Thai to English)

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Interesting plugin but from the videos I’ve watched, it can’t create jogged sections, i really hope this tool is added natively on a future sketchup version. I share an image of how a jogged section looks like.


Ah, I see what you mean now by jogged section. Yes, that could also be very useful.

There may be ways you could use this tool to achieve some results like that. For example, I just used it to only section out a group of components (bounded by the blue box in the image) whilst still leaving the rest of the model visible.

i.e. you could use this section box tool to section your full depth of your two markers on your plan view, but then add the white background mask idea mentioned earlier in the thread into the area just past your lowest marker to hide things beyond it.