SU Pro + Layout for architecture projects

By the way. A problem we are encounteeung is when a component is imported as a “xref” it is not possible to reliably place it in the same place in the model space of the working model as compared to to model from which it is imported.
Have you found this and is there a technique?

I’m also working on a plugin for that.

The building is cut in XREF parts same as JQL then every people working in the project create a “copy” of the master file. So if you have five people working together, you 'll have 5 working files and 5 or more XREF.
When you open a XREF parts the plugin 'll warn you and block other componenent in the other working file for this XREF. And in one click you 'll reload all the XREF file…

If you don’t modifie the axes of the XREF component, it stay in the good place in the other working file.

The original master file is only use by the one who’s working with layout, he can create all the scene he need. And every one can create the scene they want in there own file, it 'll not affect the layout presentation…

A plugin was also create
but it was not working well for us…

I use Sketchup and layout has a full solution for Architecture, but you clearly need to have a well organise file. I’ve done also a plugin like Scalp but more simple, base on the TIG “section cut face”, it works only for the moment with my own layer organisation,
I plane to make it more customized but for that I need time :slight_smile:

Your best bet will be Copy/Paste in Place.

Simple huh?

You can then reload and choose the component you wish…

I’ll be interested in knowing more about this plugin and will check the links.

The issue I see here is that having 5 copies of the whole model and linking things together might be great sometimes, if you always want to have all collaborators having the full building context, but it’s probably not like that everytime.

I, for instance, also use Xref to avoid clipping issues in extra large size models.

The thing is that you’ve got your own working file, your are not working to the original one so you can do what you want, delete scene made your own scene replace Xref with an other one (like a simple low poly XREF, etc…) so every collaborator can organise is work independently for the other one…
I do Xref with big file also and with other cad drawings like dwg file so they w’ll go the good place and good layer every time I re-import them…

That makes a lot of sense, but I wonder if your implementation really works.

Have you also noticed that reloading components affects existing/new materials and components? Usually they duplicate if something has changed either in the external model, which makes sense, but also in the main model, which doesn’t make sense.


In the main model I have a stone material which I’m still working on but is exported to all external models.

When external models are reloaded the stone material is already final in the original model, but it’s still in the initial state in the reloaded model. I’d like to change it to the newest version but I can’t so I have to do it manually. If models have an huge list of materials I’ve got a long road ahead.

With components it’s exactly the same. I have a window that is a component and exists in a lot of places in my original model and also on xrefs. I export the xref component and change the window in the original model, I reload the xref and the window is still old. I will have to manually replace every window and every component that has changed since then.

This process will simply take away all the speed from xrefing models, are you adressing it?

Yes same trouble as you I used Materials replacer for materials. It 'll be great if my plugin 'll solve that … And i think i can do the same plugin for definitions, it can be done fast.

The team edit plugin, save all definitions of the model as XRef, but it’s to much file some time.

Material Replacer works great as it even keeps UV’s but it’s still manual labour…

Hi all,

Reviving this thread - any other architects out there using SU + LO?

I would be interested to hear how others are structuring their jobs, advice, etc.

I’m transitioning from SU + Autocad to SU + LO and am mid-stream on two small but highly designed & detailed projects which I am using for the transition - a house and a dance studio. It’s been bumpy. I’m just one person, so no shared models issues for the time being. I’m not likely to dive into writing my own plugins. I too started with Sonder/Brightman, but I also can’t abide not having information in the section cut, or giving up 2D details, nor is my work that repetitive. I’ve absorbed the importance of doing as much as possible inside SU with styles and scenes. Guy, i’ve found and tried your impressive plugin but I’ve found managing all the background stuff it does a bit beyond me. Currently I’ve evolved to modeling for overall plans/sections/elevations (~1/4" scale), then adding information for details by cutting sctions and drafting 2D inside the SU model, which seems a workable arrangement, and better than exporting to Autocad, which would seem to result in having some sheets (and part of my brain) still stuck in Autocad. Latest bump is generating isometric views of the overall building on hybrid or vector in LO - the level of detail in the model seems to be more the LO can process. It will make an image-only output, but the the resulting PDF becomes absurdly large. The model is 38MB, which seems not huge to me for LO to process.

Specific advice?

General thoughts from other architects?

Personally, I can’t add much more to the idea that Sonder/Brightman are an excellent starting point to evolve one’s own workflow.

I too am one person.

I keep my SU models as simple as possible which are principally for 1:100 or 1:50 elevation, section and floor plan overviews in Layout.

My more detailed drawings for construction documentation (1:20 thru to 1:5) I will draw as 2D directly in Layout using it’s tools tracing over SU scenes. The amount of tracing over will depend on the level of detail required.

I have built up a Layout scrapbook of common drawing components/elements and standard details that I can re-use.

I also use SU and Layout for up to 1:50 scale. I started using Skalp for section hatches at that scale but it has some major limitations that are not being handled, so I no longer rely on it.

For up to 1:1 I don’t use Layout, which is very hard to draft with. I use section cut face plugin and draw details on section cut faces using SketchUp drawing tools and hatching with SketchUp materials. Then I use Layout to present those details and export to CAD if needed.

I’ve been exploring SketchUp as BIM manager too and I think it can be done.

Most headaches stem from Layout to CAD output. It is really under par and just barely feasible.

My issues with Layout rendering speed are mostly non existent these days, my major grievance is in its tools and drag clicking evertyhing. SketchUp works flawlessly Layout is a constant pain in the neck with all it’s different and such ineffective drawing methods and complex scene and layer management, and all the overlaying viewport s we need

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Thanks Paul, João. If either of you are open to share drawing examples I would be very curious. I’m attaching an example of the kind of thing I’m trying to do.

My experience is similar to yours, João - SU works fine for me, but the transition to LO has been hard. Some things I really like compared to Autodesk (who needs such such a complex management exercise just for text style?) but overwhelmed by my struggles with the drafting tools… Am I missing something, or is there no way to draw to (model) scale in LO? And is there a way to adjust the selection tool? I find the invisible radius around the cursor to be so large that it selects all sorts of adjacent wrong stuff.

Paul, I’m impressed that you are able to do so much in LO, although I’ve heard of Illustrator used to produce 2D documentation so perhaps not so different. Any tips?

Do either of you have a suggestion for speeding up LO high quality rendering of an overall view of a model with (apparently) lots of geometry? Preferably to vector? I’ve tried most of the usual stuff, I believe.

This is a view of a Section of a model displayed in Layout at 1:5.

The hatches you see there are just the raster images produced by Layout when exporting to CAD/PDF.

The texts and dimensions are Layout’s.

There is a way to draw to scale in Layout. I don’t use it often though:

You click the Make Scaled Drawing and a box pops up in the Layout drawing space. You assign the scale you want, for instance 1:100 and if you draw a line with 1 unit it will actually draw a line of 1cm on paper instead of 1m. It auto converts what you draw in that box instead of you having to think that 1cm=1m. The box is a group. If you want to edit it you double click on it and draw again with units being auto converted.

However, for drafting I simply do not do it in Layout. I draw in Sketchup and insert a viewport of the drawing in Layout. I’ve tried drafting in Layout but found it innefective as I said before. I do not use CAD either.

Hello all, Hoping you all are doing well!
Recently I have joined a BIM modelling team for a large architectural project (around 300,000 square meters). I was assigned to do terrain and site modelling with landscape elements. Since past few years I have been working on sketchup making relatively small models of around 1000-10000 squaremeters.

My question here is How I can Geo-locate a large area, importing CAD dwg with cordinates to sketchup? I have tried importing one CAD file, but when I click on preserve CAD orign in the options, the file is no where to be found! Kindly suggest and comment here for a solution. Thank you in advance

Well, for a project that size I hope you have a CAD Manager / Team coordinator… and you need to have a consistent reference point that is carried thru all the data…

Autocad teams usually have the world origin miles/kms away from the project site… I highly recommend you also agree on a local origin that you all consistently use…

Generally it is some reference point that will never change… be it a property datum , local survey point or some practical offer from that to an agreed grid coordinate. Once established it should be locked in a reference file along with the offsets to the original world coordinate system.

Important thing is to plan now… document it for the team, lock it down and stick to it…

wow, this is an old thread