Suggestion for 2020.2 new linetype feature improvements

In all seriousness (genuinely), for someone who has models significantly smaller than yours and has no performance problems with Layout, it would be interesting to load one of your layout files to get an understanding of what you are experiencing.

(and my Layout files are not just one or two pages and minimally complex)

I don’t want to share my layout files freely but I can show you what happens when I load them or how they behave overall. It’s painful.

I must akbowledge that the team behind SketchUp and Layout are seriously trying to tackle issues and honestly that’s a strong reason to put up with Layout.

If my studio was already at another level, I have no doubt that Layout would make me ditch away SketchUp.

Up to conceptual level Layout can handle everything beautifully, but once working with layout implies more than 3 reloads per day, we are not happy with working with it.

Dimensioning works well if you do not reload, but while dimensioning you are reviewing the project. If a door is not right you need 1 minute to change it in SketchUp and 5 to reload the model in Layout. Unbearable.

Your experience sounds exactly like mine.

Models of 200-500m are quite common in urban design/landscape architecture/commercial architecture projects. There are lots of assets and 3d meshes to work with and these need to be updated regularly, so spending time 'stripping’them (or simplifying) isnt ideal/practical.

LayOut does work for big projects, but it’s very slow. Dimensioning is particularly painstaking, even with snapping turned off. And tags/line styles get confused on large multi-page docs and need to be reset often.

In response to the idea of Per-object styles( and Per-tag styles), this would be very useful in some cases such as showing a component as a hidden (dashed line) object in one view but a sold line in a different view. Another good benefit would be the ability to show some objects in colour/materials, while others are shown in white (hidden line) would open many new creative possibilities. (and speed up rendering processes; if we had one tag rendered in Hybrid, while all other (less-important) tags rendered in raster (stacked viewports still need to be used to acheive this).

Ultimately I think SU & LO would perform much better if LO didnt try to import the entire SU model.
By allowing LO to manipulate all the Tags and the viewport camera, it seems to be necessary for LO to import the entire SU model and hold it in memory. This means LO files are hundreds of MB and very slow to work with, even though the particular page we are viewing might be very simple. Updating links, etc, is very slow.

I can’t work out why rendering in LO can’t be done using OPEN GL . It takes seconds to flick to a new scene in SU, but can take many minutes to do the same in LO (in hybrid mode). Or why can’t the process of Rendering (eg swapping to hybrid) by executed upon export to PDF, and run as a background process???

This speed limitation within LO makes people avoid putting high quality objects into models (trees, cars, people) and instead rely on either basic 2D items (looks amatuerish) or use a secondary process (photoshop) to add them, or maintain a 2nd sketchup model as a ''client presentation/rendering"model - which distrupts design workflow. So LO is signficantly bringing DOWN the quality of our SU modelling experience.

@paul.mcalenan i’ll send you a LO file this week - obviously it’'s commercially sensitive so cant be shared. You 'll need a decent spec PC to open it.


It definitely does.

There’s something I never understood in Layout: why should it use a SketchUp 3d model in every viewport.

I have tried using 2D SketchUp files in Layout and it was fast. If, instead of loading a full 3d model into each viewport, LO would deal with 2d models of each scene in SketchUp, it would speed up many times.

It would be a matter of having a batch 2d exporter for SketchUp scenes and then inserting those into layout. This could be done automatically in the backstage between SU and LO.

Maybe the batch exporting process would be a bit slow, but once it finished everything would be fast from then on.

Now reloading a model is also slow, but then refreshing viewports is slow, working is slow, snapping is slow and that’s all contributing to a slow workflow.

I have sent the suggestion to the SU team. It would already be easier if we had a batch exporter for 2d scenes, but we can only export them one by one and into DWG, loosing a lot of 2d visual data.

Our studio has used a workflow of scaled PDF export from SU (very quick, using scenes>PDF) then using Adobe Illustrator to stack the PDFs into layers, then ad all the other drawing elements such as vector hatching, titleblock, legends, tables, annotations etc . Dimensions can be restyled using the SU dimensions & area annotatioins.
The SU -> Adobe Illustrator workflow is excellent for certain projects but gets a little bit fiddly if there are lots of iterations to a design or if there are lots of dimensions.

Lately I’ve really been trying to use LO more and get fast with it… mixed results.

One thing that both SketchUp and Layout are lacking is any sort of special shaders such as inner glow, image fill,etc. . I must say that plans produced using the Adobe Illustrator workflow just look a lot nicer (less ‘technical’) than SU+LO. I can’t figure out why the Color Picker in LO is so slow and clunky! It’s a real chore to pick and apply nice colours. The text editor is also really slow and annoying. Compare this to Indesign / Illustrator and the difference in useability is very obvious, and it shows in the results of the final output.

Here’s an example of relatively small scene - just a living room and kitchen with furniture. SU file is 150mb in size: Download files(Request access)

See how long it takes Layout to update viewports after making changes in SU. This video that was recorded on my laptop (Asus N580GD with i7-8750H and 16GB RAM, Geforce GTX 1050):

I made a simple change in SU that took about 30s to save and almost a full minute to update viewport inside Layout so ~1:30 in total. Now imagine having to go back and forth several times… And switching between pages is also very slow - see how long it took to do another update and to switch between pages - especially to page 10 in this video: - (it took more than 1:30min!)

I’d say that if you need such illustration options then you are better off to do it in a specialized app like Illustrator anyways. We have been doing that also when we need special presentation style. It’s a nice to have feature but not neccasary for Layout as long as you can export sucesfuly to other vector editing apps.

Does the link to the download files work?

Sorry, link was broken. Please try again:

Hi Jure,

Thanks for sharing the files, I’ll send you a message later.

But checking out the videos you made…

In the first video I notice that in the viewport panel you have auto render enabled. What this means is that for every viewport on every page all those viewports are going to refresh themselves!

You’ve got 24 pages in the LO file with viewports on 23 pages (some pages have more than one viewport).

And on many have those pages, in the video example, the viewports don’t even show a scene that contains the change that you made.

I set the viewport panel to not auto render and and I made the same change to the SU model that you made in the video. Apart from the initial model update that was about 7 seconds the actual update of the viewport in question (right click>render model) was a mere 1 second.

Sure this means that all the other viewports in the LO file will show the yellow exclamation symbol but many of those vierwports don’t show the scene that you changed.

Nice work BTW

I don’t see a need for all color adjustments or effects, but being able to adjust tone some, separately for edges and fills, would help.

Also, and it’s difficult to exactly understand because of the language and your tag organisation, for example there is a viewport that links to a scene in SketchUp that shows the entire floor area where 3D objects are turned on but in Layout you have resized the viewport to show only a section of the floor area.

I don’t quite know how it works - someone more knowledgeable can confirm - but possibly it’s the case that when that viewport renders Layout will also render all those 3D objects that are in the linked scene but not showing in the viewport…?

I went through your Layout file and for each viewport I turned off (in Layout) the tags (I thought) relating to the soft living room chairs where those chairs were not visible.

I then turned on auto render, hid those cabinet doors that you did in the video and the change took about 18 seconds.

I’m sure file can be cleaned up and optimized… Keep in mind however that I have sent you one of our smaller projects and even after your cleanup it takes quite a bit of time to reload.

Right now I’m working on a project where files are in excess of 300MB (cleaned up and purged!)…

I’m using this option in my bigger projects, because without that it’d be impossible to work. I also set all vieports to render in Low quality to speed things up. However all this are just workarounds to make slow vieport renedring just a bit more managable. It’s not a solution to the root cause.

I don’t know how Layout renders SketchUp models - it’s beyond me.

But how fast do you expect Layout should render a single viewport? Micro seconds? Lest than that?

Is it your expectation that Layout should be able to update a large model and render a multi-page document with multiple viewports in less than 10 seconds or even significantly less?

Do you consider turning off auto render and having low display resolution enabled an unnecessary workaround or just a necessary requirement when working with large models?

I recently re-read Nick & Matt’s book and decided to break up my Layout construction document files (that were getting upwards of 30 pages) into multiple files, one for elevations, one for plans, one for sections, one for details, etc.

No, that’s not neccesary. If Sketchup team can make vieports to update 2x faster I think we’d be quite happy already. But obviously the faster the better.

Yes, already using auto render off in preferences. It’s annoying though when you have many vieports and pages and have to constantly click ‘Render Models on Page’…

Yes, we are also doing that with bigger projects since it’s the only way we can really work. We also try to split SU models into components and use in Layout only those that are really needed (for example construction documents only include 2D furniture and not 3D and such. All this helps us to stick with Layout - otherwise we would already be using another package …

And it’s impossible to click render locked layer models, which is really annoying… And if you want to reload locked layer viewports you have to open document setup > references which is even more annouying.

It’s not only speed trouble in Layout is a sum of so many details that should be fixed and tools that should work like Sketchup but instead work by dragging around and pointing to bad inference system…


Is it your expectation that Layout should be able to update a large model and render a multi-page document with multiple viewports in less than 10 seconds or even significantly less?

I’m often waiting more than that (5 mins per sheet is not uncommon in hybrid) but what 's also killer is the time it may take to fix a small issue that might be notice dwhen reviewing a PDF (eg, a symbol out of place in SU) . This is the process:

  • download & open the skp file (2-4 mins)
  • find and fix the issue in SU (10 seconds)
  • update the scene and any other scenes that need to be considered (1-2 mins)
  • save & upload the skp model (2-4 mins)
  • relink/update the skp reference in layout (2-4 mins)
  • re-render in layout (in hybrid) (3-5 mins++++)
  • check if the issue is fixed
  • re-assign any stray dimensions (1-5 mins)
  • save the LO file (2-3 mins)
  • export to PDF and check that output as well (2-5 mins)
  • upload the LO file (…)

average time to fix a tiny issue… 23 minutes
If you are usng multiple LO and SU files to generate a documentation set for one project, then the process is much longer! Add about 12 mins per LO & SKP file.

Yes we do try to check & double the design in SU perfectly so we dont have to fix mistakes…but they do creep in (and clients, designers, etc want to make little tweaks at the last minute)
It’s just that during the documentation stage is where a lot of little tweaks and amendments are made and that seems to be a painstaking process right now.

If SU+LO were truely seamless, we could “flow” little updates either from LO to SU, or with some live sync type thing. Or if the updates & saving & rendering etc were quicker then each step would be shorter.

Thinking abput this, I think SU+LO do need some sort of file/content managment interface that can help us keep track of all related files, dependencies, and can automate some of the output processes. The numerous tags, scenes,files, layout docs do take some careful planning to keep track of and, when ther’es a deadline and a flurry of work at the last minute, it’s this sort of thing creates errors on docs that are sent out (eg a particular sheet didnt update because we forgot that a specific stacked viewport was locked, because it happened to be in hybrid and we didnt want wait for it to re-render each time).

I really think we do need some sort of managemnt system (could be a spreadsheet) for multiple SU+LO docs, with all the tags & scenes & styles & all that…and AutoPDF… theres alot that can be automated (eg batch export of PDFs, updating references and re-rendering and PDFing all files with a simple right-click on the icon)… or at least just helping us keep track of things.


Annotation stage is scary. What you describe, with small differences, is where we have most of our inneficiencies at our office. We design better because of Sketchup and we present our designs nicelly with LO. We can develop and detail a sketchup model with accuracy speed and great results, while iterating through design at the construction documentation stage (which for us is still a design stage) but when we need to annotate we flunk the ship.

It’s the amount of times we have to small details while annotating that forces us to reload the model, that affect us the most in LO. We do split the LO files into multiple types of drawings, we do have lightweight models, we have everything very well controlled for maximum efficiency and speed from Sketchup and Layout, but 5+ min reloads simply are not helpful. It’s distracting because no one will wait 5+ minutes for a reload. It’s against morale.

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Same here. I hope someone from @SketchUpTeam is reading this…

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