Suggestion for 2020.2 new linetype feature improvements

Continuing the discussion from SketchUp 2020.2: How is line style control in LayOut working for you?:

There was a great video and feedback posted by Matt that describes the use of the new Layout linetype feature added in 2020.2.

I’d like to add one more thing that I think is the root of the problems and unless it’s properly dealt with it will cause more problems in the future.

Right now we have singe ‘color by tag’ setting which can be accessed in the tag (layers) panel or style modeling settings. Edges inside Sketchup right now support only ‘by axis’, ‘by material’ and ‘all same’ while you can set several different ‘shading’ modes for faces (hidden line, color only, textured…)

To solve this and make it more unified I propose that SU team removes ‘color by Tag’ from modeling settings of the Style panel and add them to the Edge style and Face style settings.

This way we could set independantly the style of the edges and of the faces which would greatly help with perparing drawings inside Layout.

I also think there should be line thickness control added to the Tags settings. We already have color and linetype setting, so adding thickness would make the most sense.

I wonder what other’s think about this…



For me as I said on the other thread (and I’m open to being persuaded otherwise if it makes sense for workflow), I would prefer to not be bothered by more presentational customisation in SU with the intent that it was for presentation in Layout.

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In my experience I think that setting most of the stuff inside Sketchup would be beneficial because of speed. As we know Layout can be quite slow so setting most of the settings inside SU would be much faster. For example one would define ‘global’ line weights for the whole model via Tags panel and then use Layout controls to override those settings in viewports where needed.


For sure, people report that Layout is slow but for others it is not slow.

Interesting suggestions, the only thing i would adjust is your suggestion to the additional extra line thickness panel in tag.

I would much prefer not adding more panels in tag but i would prefer adding more line thicknesses as options as part of the dashes panel

An example:

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Although I appreciate your ideas, I don’t think that adding more non-geometry annotation features to SketchUp is the right way to deal with performance issues in LayOut!

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I agree this should not be a workaround for performance issue of Layout. That should definitely be addressed separately.

My proposal was more concerning consistency between both apps and issues that may arise when some options are limited only to Layout.

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I agree with your original request. Color by tag per edge or face would benefit some stuff.

I need way more flexibility than this though, so we can have more presentational power in SketchUp output.

Layout is slow and cumbersome to control if you have to go back and forth between SU and LO. Defining every stylistic feature in SketchUp allows for way more power to us users, as not all work finishes in Layout: animations, images, vector graphics…


I second that.

If one has a good way of controlling presentation in Layout how might one be going back and forth between SU and LO…?

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One doesn’t have a good way of controlling presentations in Layout. It’s not possible because what we want to present is inside Sketchup. One can only have a way to display geometry from Sketchup.

If you want to display something in a certain way, that failed to display as you wanted in layout and you have to change something in the model, you have to go back to sketchup. You have to change the layer of an object, you have to model something else in Sketchup, or you have to change a style or tag style and then load it back in Layout to override even further the color or dashes of some lines.

You’ll have to reload the whole model just because something failed… It’s time consuming and I waste ages with these reloads.

Sketchup always had a “what you see is what you get” approach that I love (and I thought we all did). You want to see something different, you paint, you move, you change styles, you do what you want…

But you have many limitations. You can’t combine styles in the same scene. It’s either all painted with materials or all flat and that is what forces us to stack viewports. We want to combine object styles and so we have to create multiple scenes with multiple styles and go through great workarounds in order to present stuff using multiple combinations.

And this is very limiting too.

That’s why, freeing us from constraints, would be to empower sketchup styles per object, instead of making us go back and forth from LO to SU.

If you’d see it right in Sketchup, you wouldn’t need to work so much in Layout.


I see what you’re saying.

I find that, say, at 1:100 my section cut lineweight would be 0.5pt and at 1:20 it might be 0.7pt.

How would that work - would there be two styles in SU?

There could be, but in that case, it would be probably easier to change the scale in Layout.

But don’t think only in architectural drafting terms. Honestly, on those cases, I always use the same line weights. If it’s readable it’s good. In drafting terms, what I want to get rid off is stacked viewports while still be able to export to CAD with layer separation. That’s the only requirement I have.

Now imagine the context of a competition: you have a whole model of a building, it’s fully textured and you have the surrounding context also textured.

However, you want to present the surrounding in white and the building in textures for a simplified version or a schematic design for your competition presentation panels.

How do you do that?

Even if you combo styles in Layout, with stacked viewports, you cannot. You’ll have to create a whole set of masks and draw order on the stack. Reloading the model at a different stage will force you to redo the masks and even the stack… If you want to insert some trees you’re even getting more confusion. It’s a mess. You better do it in Photoshop…

But why? Why shouldn’t we do it in Sketchup just tinkering with styles per object per scene?

I want it creative, unsconstrained, and also able to keep up to drafting and CAD standards, with layers and much less stacked viewports. I think that needs a fundamental change in how styles are handled in Sketchup, what info shows in Layout, and how Layers are exported and less fiddling between LO and SU.


@jure I agree with where you are going. I propose a bit of an interface tweak, and adding a Hidden option.
Why can’t the Line weight & style look like the actual edge? (WYSIWYG)

A few other statements in this topic ring true to me:

Layout can be slow (on large / complex files) and more control in SKP is important. Going between LO and SKP to make small tweaks and re-update & re-render can be PAINFUL!

Layout and SKP need some consistency in how they manage styles and tag settings.

Layout is NOT always the final destination for SKP files, so replacing or deleting functions (from either SKP or LO) is not good - we want both to have good features.

One of the things we do need is the ability to control Edge styles (and other style settings) on a per Scene basis, because we want some geometry to look one way in Scene 1, but look different in Scene 2. This function of Scenes could also be done via styles. Scenes and Styles at the moment are functionally linked, but the interface for managing/linking and adjusting settings is hopeless!!

Right now i fear SKP has created too many ways to adjust visual settings, between Styles, Edge Settings, use of multiple tags (eg 2d and 3d versions), Materials, Tag settings, Scenes and LayOut - it gets too confusing and without an obvious way to view and manage it all - and inconstency creeps in which generates ongoing SKP>LO>SKP>LO> updates, which (as discussed) is PAINFUL

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And that’s why an unified way of styling objects by scene would work.

No messing around Layout and Sketchup. WYSIWYG. what you see in Sketchup is what you get in Layout and in Sketchup you’d have full control. Overriding a line style by tag in Layout would be only a workaround for a particular need.

Separate each tag as a CAD layer for DWG exports from LO and you have a full blown Architectural software with fantastic presentation features.

A couple more tweaks into how to annotate tags, areas, heights and slopes in Layout, an option to hide the section cut line, an option to have section lines displayed correctly inside the viewport and it’s a CAD killer.

Then upgrade IFC interoperability with complying with OpenBIM, have easy way for us to make classifications and generate report to match and you have a BIM suite.

We just have to avoid using Layout as much as we can, unless you can make it blazing fast…

I agree line style should be controlled in SU.

I think it’s important to try to separate modeling from presentation and have the two programs have clearer scope, and not have them overlap too much. This overlap in responsibility means one person can’t open the model for additional design work while another person locks it for working on the presentation, as the presentation person (as of now) needs to adjust scenes in the model. More importantly the overlap is confusing as the programs don’t communicate any workflow to you. Sure, multiple workflows can exist, but a good UX design should gently nudge people into doing things the preferred way without external teaching, just from the design itself.

All that said, line styling is semantic and not “artistic” choices you do while working on the presentation. The styles carry a meaning that makes sense to define already in the model, while e.g. the exact camera locations, section cut placements and so on are choices that makes sense to do in LayOut, based on how the viewport looks together and how they fit into a paper and other things.

When doing the presentation you can realize this text is too small so I make it bigger but then i need to move that viewport over there and get rid of that other viewport but then there is nothing showing the staircase so I move the section cut slightly in this other viewpoint. Those are all choices done when in the presentation mindset. You don’t typically thicken the section cut line of the ground in one specific viewport to visually balance a balloon in the sky. I’d argue the line weights is a chose you make already when setting up the tags in the first place, and likely something you want to re-use using a custom template.

The whole override mental model also gets confusing when there is no corresponding property from the SketchUp model to override. And it gets a bit painful when setting line weights means Tags as a whole is regarded overridden and the link to visibility from the model is severed, when you never wanted to touch that link in the first place.

Also I don’t see much reason to control line weights on a viewport basis. I can only think of two uses of line weights. Either you make a drawing and want thicker lines for load bearing walls and thinner for glass, furniture, scale figures etc and you want these consistent across viewports, or you make “3d view”, and want just a single consistent lien style throughout.

Where we are now I think the best approach is to expose line weight in SketchUp, together with stipple and maybe also color in one single consistent location. Then you could set up walls to have one width, glass another, furniture another and scale figures yet another, and use those styles consistently in any viewpot created at any time.

When modeling you’d probably disable the By Tag Edge Style to reduce noise, but you could use it as a preview in SketchUp and to check everything is correctly tagged.

The override option in LO is kept to allow for early adopters to keep using it the way they are used to, and for fine tuning in rare cases.

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Just thinking aloud… if we choose lineweights

say I have outbuildings about the main building I could tag these buildings using tags that I use for the main building, walls, roof, etc., i.e. they have the same corresponding lineweights.

In Layout elevations how would I control lineweight to show outbuildings beyond the main building in a thinner lineweight?

If I tag the outbuildings differently so that I can control the outbuildings’ lightweight, in Layout how would I show an elevation where the outbuildings were the same distance from the ‘camera’ where I probably would want the outbuilding lineweights to match those of the main building?

I suppose one would create styles for each elevational view…?

That sounds more like something that should be connected to the camera position, like fog. I’ve long wanted fog to work in vector mode too.

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For sure, vector fog!

But if you’re not keen on fog and prefer to emulate depth using lineweight…

You can emulate depth using lineweight if you separate by tags. But you have to figure out what will happen in Layout when you are working with Sketchup. For such a simple case it’s easy. What is not easy is when suddenly a lot of Tags must be different to another to create the effect you need.

The thing here is that any Tag can only have a single dash style in Sketchup and that style is either on or off. Instead of fixing that, the team decided that work should be done in Layout instead with overrides. Now that results in new possibilities, but a further splitting of the work that must be done between both apps.

I understand Eneroth concerns that in a collaborating workflow the presentation control should be held by the person working in Layout not the person working in Sketchup.

However that’s not true, in our office what we do is that we have the person working on presentations dealing with a model that imports the working models. That person creates the scenes and styles needed in that model and inserts it in Layout. So that person has a model that she controls, independently of the other models, and Layout viewports relate to that model.

What we need in sketchup is powerful ways to present the model and export it into the multiple formats Sketchup allows. Layout should be used for drafting, annotation and CAD/Illustrator workflow. It’s Sketchup’s paperspace. A degree of fine tuning in Layout as what we have right now with turning on/off tags and tag line styles is only useful some times. I have not used any of these features since they came out as my old workflow is still more consistent and efficient than what can be done right now.

It still is cumbersome because of Layout speed and bad exports to DWG and I still can’t avoid stacking viewports. Until I can, and speed and DWG are fixed I see no real progress, though I can see that the team is worried about the right things.