SketchUp 2020 -- Color by Outliner?

Hey all – love the SKP 2020 update. Great work decoupling hidden geometry from objects (great for visuals), ability to hide sub objects per scene (great for sequence diagrams without creating a ton of tags) and making it so that layout has more document control functionality (way less scenes to worry about in main model). All in all, very good.

With the outliner becoming a big player in model organization now, would it be possible to add the ability to apply color up and down the hierarchy? essentially creating a third way to “materialize” your scene?

For example, you could use a “color by tag” (formerly color by layer) style to quickly show existing vs proposed, while “color by outliner” could be used more creatively like showing unique colors for building elements or program areas. As with color by tag, applying a color higher in the hierarchy would trickle down unless it is overridden by something else down the stack.


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This can be done in Trimble connect, all ready.
You can colorize (just colors) all the objects that are in your view automatically and per object or group individual.

Thanks, Mike – can you elaborate on this? We don’t use trimble connect in our workflow at the moment. I was referring to functionality in in the main build of sketchup

The problem with this idea is that the hierarchy in Outliner, … is the model object hierarchy, where colors (materials) are applied to the objects (groups & component instances.) As always materials applied directly to faces will override instance level painting.

So basically, there is not anything at “the Outliner level(s)” to assign a color/material to other that the Objects themseleves.

So I’d have to say that this (as proposed) is not feasible.

Thanks, Dan, So if I am understanding correctly, the reason why color by tag/layer works is because the tag is a completely different sorting mechanism whereas the outliner IS the model so it is unable to have “2 materials”, so to speak?

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Yes, exactly.

But this is not to say that it wouldn’t be nice to have more ways to express things in model views, including mixed rendering (part color by tag, part object textures.) @DaveR has showed several of his examples of doing this, but using stacked viewports in LayOut.

You can have a nested structure, and add different Attributes to them, for instance the status or Owner in the Advanced attributes or Dynamic Component attributes.
You can ‘group by’ those attributes in Trimble connect.
So while your object structure could something like
Project-building-(storey 1, storey 2, fundation{slab 1, slab 2})
Slab 1 and storey 1 could have both Status ‘finished’ and the rest ‘in production’
If you group by status, and colorize those (by group), you would have a different view then when grouped by layer. (Trimble connect still uses ‘Layers’, because it needs to be interoperable with other modellers.)