Way to turn all but one group transparent?



Is there a way to turn all but one group in a model transparent in order to focus on that one group? I’ve tried doing this with transparent materials; not only is it tedious, but the lines remain opaque and create visual confusion. I’ve played with X Ray and as far as I can tell it applies to the entire model. I also spent some time exploring layers. It seems like my solution may be there, but I haven’t found it.

Regarding what I’m trying to achieve - here’s an antenna mount we field measured and I modeled…

I’m struggling with finding good, uncluttered perspectives in which I can dimension the individual mount parts while also showing the context of the part. Is there a way to do this in SU?

Thanks in advance for any help!


place the detail on separate layer, rest on another with a layer color that is transparent then from styles,modeling choose color by layer and styles edges by material


Are you going to use LayOut for the documentation or are you going to export images to insert in a document?

Would this sort of appearance work?

Obviously I did this from your image. It wasn’t difficult but it would be a whole lot easier to manage with the SKP file. Start by putting the groups you need to show with dimensions on different layers. Then for the given part, make a scene with its layer turned off and a second from the same camera position with that layer on and the others off. Export images from each scene and combine them in an image editor.

Since you want to show dimensions, dimension the group in question and put those dimensions on another layer so you can make them show only when that group is the focus.


I have been using LayOut for simpler models as I have a template set up to control the size of the images and specifically the font size of the dimensions. I’m still quite new though, and am open to adjusting the my tools and workflow.

That’s precisely the appearance I was going for! I followed you suggestion (thanks for the easy to follow steps) and was able to replicate your results:

And for the record, here’s my SKP file that I should have included in my initial post:

Thanks for the solution and for helping me learn a few more SU skills!


That looks good. If I understand, you made two images and combined them in an image editor? If you’d like to do something similar in LayOut so you can do the dimensioning like you’re used to, here’s a simple way to do that.

Use stacked viewports with the viewports on different layers and an intervening layer with a face that is not 100% opaque. I made an example here. Normally I would give the layers more useful names.

Layer 4 has the viewport for the scene called "Face assembly 2"
Layer 3 has a rectangle with fill on and the stroke turned off. I tinted it pink so it would show.
The Default layer has the viewport for the scene called “Face assembly 1”

Dimensions could be added in SketchUp in Face assembly 2 (put them on a layer that can be killed for other scenes where that assembly might show.) or you could insert the dimensions in LayOut. If you do the latter, put them on a layer above my Layer 4 so they can be kept separate from the viewports.


Yes, I initially made two images & combined them in GIMP. This time I followed your steps and created this in LayOut:

This is fantastic! I wasn’t familiar with LayOut’s Layers or SketchUp Model panels, so I spent some time getting to know them, and LayOut makes so much more sense now. Thanks again @DaveR for further expanding my SU skills!


I have a question: in the physical sense, where does the intervening transparent layer need to be placed? I understand by way of layers in photoshop etc that the rectangle would exist above the default region and below the target region in the layer order in the payers palette, but does it matter where the intervening ‘rectangle’ entity is positioned?


Quentin, did you catch that this transparent rectangle is made and placed in LayOut? Since that’s the case, you could think of this in much the same way as in PS. The only position requirement for the rectangle is that it cover the background portion of the model.

You could do essentially the same thing in an image editor and just put a transparent fill on the layer between the background image and the foreground. Of course that isn’t really necessary in an image editor because you could just make the background a bit washed out or make it black and white while the foreground image is left alone.


sorry no, I didn’t catch that! I almost never use Layout however. That technique would make adding the transparent rectangle even easier, great tip Dave!


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