SU and LayOut outlines

Ok hive mind, got a question I haven’t been able to solve, could be there isn’t a native solution. This falls in both SU and LO territory, but here it is.

How might you go about creating just the outline of a model, so it could be a vector path in LayOut? Take this tasty cupcake, let’s say I wanted to print it out on paper, but then send the outline path of it to a laser cutter or other cnc type machine. I’ve done this, but had to create the outline manually. Is there a better way to do it?

Things I’ve tried…

  • Manually tracing the outline in LO to create the path. Works fine, takes time, especially for complex models.

  • Exploding the SU model in LO into its line work and trying to work from there. This is messy, the line work explodes in unpredictable ways and requires a lot of cutting and joining. It’s sometimes easier to trace.

  • Create a style in SU that is pure black and white, export that image to something like Illustrator to run a trace of the outline, create the path, import that path into LO and line it up with your image. Convoluted, but possible and could be streamlined to make it work quickly.

  • Export the same b/w image and use a plugin like bmptrace to create SU geometry that could then be vectorized in LO. In theory this might work, for me, I haven’t been able to get that extension working correctly so haven’t been able to make it work.

Anyone have other ideas? It may just be that there isn’t a native solution to this, but could be an extension or something I’m not thinking of, plus the community is so much smarter. Hope the explanation make sense.

Can you share the SKP, Tyson? I have some methods i’ve used before but not sure they’d work with that model.

If you have a renderer and output an alpha channel it would give you the B&W image to trace in illustrator… not a solution but might help streamline #3?

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Perhaps you can get pretty near with style settings

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I just tried it two ways:

  1. SketchUp ‘Colory-by-layer’ EPS export to Illustrator. Used Pathfinder in AI to ‘create outlines’. Saved ‘Outlines’ as DWG. DWG to LayOut (model space).

  2. SketchUp ‘Color-by-layer’ with profiles showing. Insert SU file into LayOut. Switch to ‘Vector’ rendering. Explode SketchUp view. Separated profiles (outlines) from interior edges. *Note some minor linework cleanup required.

Both methods took only a couple mins so likely either is faster than tracing by hand.

Of course. This being just an example, wondering how well it would work with any model… But hey, tasty cupcake. :wink: . Cupcake.skp (333.3 KB)

How about this:

  1. Set up the desired view in SU.
  2. Export as 2D dxf.
  3. Import 2D dxf.
  4. Erase interior edges. You could use Eneroth Auto Weld to weld edges to make them quicker to erase or create a face for the overall shape and use Thom Thom’s CleanUp3 to delete coplanar edges.
  5. Set up the scene to send to LayOut.
  6. Render viewport as Vector.

These are some fantastic suggestions, I’m doing some testing on a different model or two to see how well I can replicate these results. Will share in a bit…

Awesome sauce, thanks everyone!!

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Just to share another example. Both Dave’s and Erics methods are certainly useful and depending on the tools you have, very effective.

Dave’s option stays within the SU Pro ecosystem, which could be useful if you don’t have Illustrator, and isolating your outlines doesn’t take too long. Super solid workflow Dave, thanks. I had forgotten to try using dwg as a way to flatten the linework and then re-use it.

Eric’s option is more viable for automating it seems, as you could set up the style for any model, send it to Illustrator and have the path turned around in moments, regardless of the complexity, so if you have Illustrator or a comparable vector tool, a really useful workflow.

That’s why this community is frickin amazing!

Here are some of these options tested on a warehouse model to explore some interior outlines as well.

Thanks again!