I know exactly the issue you describe and I use a similar workflow myself.
I havent been able to automate a process across different PCs/monitors or anything like that.
All the Rendering extensions (including SMustard, Indigo, Fredo Portrait) appear to use raster graphics as exports. Could somebody @Fredo6 allow them to export to PDF (we would need to enter a scale factor and lineweight)?
The other issue with such extensions is the fact not everyone will update & maintain them…there’s a required investment in training and maintenance when deployed across a team.
The only solution to achieve consistency is to go through LayOut first.
I would say SU>LO>AI is easier than going through Illustrator, but a lot depends on the complexity of your SU content and how many PDFs you want to layer up in AI.
My workflow uses a workaround:
- I go from SU to PDF, using a known output scale (eg 1:500); the dimensions of the PDF (the “extent”) and the aspect ratio actually dont matter as long as everything fits on a page/artboard once its placed into AI. A Sketchup Scene will help keep everything roughly centred.
- I stack the PDF layers in AI which has an artboard.
- To stack them accurately in AI, I use a basepoint (cross) or a site boundary or other simple layer which is used to Snap everything together.
This doesnt solve your problem of wanting to update & relink PDF layers automatically.
If you are updating dozens of PDF as layers in one AI drawing, then you can export them all, stack them all together in AI then move them all into place as a Group. So you dont need to manually snap/scale /rotate every single image.
If you want clarification on this process Im happy to elaborate.
I definitely find this workflow (SU to AI) produces very professional results and excellent quality output PDFs (AI is so much more powerful than LayOut as an illustration tool). However this process could be SO Much easier if SU had a few basic functions (like the aspect ratio setting you describe) and also a “export SU Layers to PDFs” or “export SU Scenes to PDFs”