What does Layer Order do?

Hello Community:

There are many threads regarding Layer Order and how to numerically- and alphabetically-sequence the Layer Order list.

My question is: What does reordering the Layer List actually accomplish?

Sure wish I could show you a screenshot snip here - but my problem is easily described:

Two Layers: One is the Driveway (made into a a Component) and the other Layer holds several Autos - also made into components.

No matter how my Layer List is sorted and not matter whether the Auto Layer or the Driveway Layer is listed above the other, the Driveway Layer is always drawn ABOVE the Auto Layer. Each Auto’s outline is shown OK, but if I position an Auto Component on the Driveway, the color filling of the Auto disappears for the portion of the Auto that’s ON/under the driveway.

Autos need to be ABOVE the Driveway, naturally, but my Autos will only go BELOW the driveway.

The Driveway and Auto components were properly created on Layer 0 and then assigned to their own Driveway and Auto layers.

Perhaps the worst part of this problem is this: When I created these Components and Layers, they rendered correctly - Autos were on/above the Driveway. But after closing and re-opening the Sketchup model, the Autos are UNDER the Driveway.

Reordering the Layer List has no effect. I’m out of ideas. Thanks in advance for your help!

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Layer order only changes how the layers are displayed in the layer window, it has no effect on how the layers are shown in 3d space.

I answered a similar question earlier today.

Note that on LayOut pages, layer order actually determines how items on pages are displayed, just like in most 2D graphics applications.

Thanks for your reply.

But my question about Layer Order is with Sketchup – not Layout.

What does Layer Order do in Sketchup, with regards to one layer hiding elements of Layer below?


Robert Oswald

Absolutely nothing. As Box wrote, layer order in SketchUp only affects the order in which they are displayed in the Layer list.

A group or component higher in the layer list will not obscure the view to a component or group on a layer lower in the list.

Hi Robert,

So far the focus here has been from the perspective of the stacking order of layers… and of course how they control the visibility of objects in SU.

But, I think it’s worth looking at this whole thing from the other direction. Because what’s also at play here is how SketchUp is trying to faithfully represent a true 3D modeling space for us to work in. And ultimately, all the rules which apply to our own 3D world, have to also apply in SU’s modeling space, otherwise it’s just not believable.

A stacking order does exist in SU, but only in the 3D modeling space. . . it can’t happen in the layers panel, because the layers panel can’t override what that various thicknesses are between any two objects. Nor can it override what the relative coordinate positions are going to be between any two objects.

Two pieces of paper can’t sit on the same plane… one of them has to be on top of the other, and it’s position will be offset from the other based upon whatever thickness it has.

SketchUp has to account for thickness and volume, otherwise it’s just going to be like any other 2D graphics program that has to rely on the rules of perspective to represent 3D imagery.

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Hi again, Jim:

Update – I got the green background turned off in Layout. So that’s a work-around.

But is there a way to turn off the green background at the source – in Sketchup?


Robert Oswald

Yes. You need to edit the background setting in the Styles window. And that’s where you should turn it off anyway, not in LayOut.

Screenshot - 1_28_2018 , 11_24_52 AM
Click on the green square. Edit the color.

Screenshot - 1_28_2018 , 11_25_39 AM
After you have it set to white, you’ll probably also need to untick the Sky button and then click on the large thumbnail in the upper left corner to update the style.

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