Workflow help/advice

I’m working on a drawing that should be simple, and at this point I would have been finished had I draw everything by hand. I am comfortable using SketchUp, I find it to be a very intuitive program to use and have been paying to use Sketchup Pro for a while now and am running the latest version. Unfortunately, I have not had the same success with Layout.

I have tried modelling my details in Sketchup then use viewports to add dimensions and notes in Layout. I do not feel I have the control in Layout, using this method, to ensure the drawing looks the way I want.

I have tried, instead, to draw the details using Layout’s 2D Line Drawing tools, which I am much happier with because the hatching and line weight can be controlled. This only seems to be efficient if I’m tracing a section I’ve already modelled in SketchUp, thus drawing every detail twice. Ive tried drawing directly in Layout, but the snap system Layout uses is very hard to work with and the tools are limited and temperamental.

Layout seems to be much more difficult to use than it should be. Is this just me or am I missing something? Not only that, the speed Layout runs at is killing me. My system is good, I think – it runs Sketchup effortlessly (iMac 4.2 GHz quad core i7, 24 GB Ram, Radeon Pro 580 8 GB video card, I run the working files on a high speed flash drive different than my flash system drive the program is installed on). I’ve bought the Logitec MX Master 3 mouse based on suggestions I’ve read on this board.

Is there a way to copy a vector illustration drawn in another program then paste it into Layout then set the scale? I’ve tried using both Illustrator and Sketchup to do this without success.

Is there an alternative to Layout that also integrates with Sketchup?

Any advice/input will be appreciated…

Without any examples of the problems you face, it is hard to understand them. In particular, you say:

Modelling in SU and adding notes and dimensions in LO is exactly what the software is designed for. If it’s not looking right in LO, it can’t be looking right in SU either because LO is just a viewport into the scenes you created in SU. Where is the issue, more prcisely?

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How detailed are your details in SketchUp?

Generally, unless I specifically need it, I limit my detail in SketchUp to what can be clearly seen at 1:100 or 1:50 in Layout. This also gives me a lighter SketchUp model.

In Layout I will use Layout’s scaled drawing feature to draw my 1:20, 1:10, 1:5 details tracing the basic outlines from the SketchUp model.

I have built up a library of common construction details and have scrapbooks of regularly used elements.

Check out Mike Brightman’s YouTube videos on using Layout (you don’t have to buy his ConDoc plugin)

I don’t find this but I’m on a PC and it seems many Mac users are experiencing problems with Layout.
I find working in Layout very good - do you make use of keyboard shortcuts?

@simoncbevans you’re on a Mac - are you having performance issues in Layout?

As Simon suggests, it would be helpful to see one of your typical projects. Uploading a LayOut file so we can see it would make it easier to give you useful workflow advice.

No Paul, everything seems fine, even on a late 2012 Mac. However, that may all change as I am today taking delivery of a new supercharged Mac and, knowing how these things sometimes go, I may find some things have taken a step backwards!

The only comment I would make is that a lot of people seem to want to use LO as a kind of poor man’s AutoCad to create 2D drawings. Maybe as things evolve that will become a realistic possibility, but trying to do so now isn’t yet practical in my view. I find it much easier to work in SU in Parallel View and keep any linework in LO to a minimum.

Thanks everyone for the quick replies.

The reason this all came to be in the first place is that the project I’m working on has a complicated underground profile and drawing crushed gravel and compacted earth afterward in 2D made the most sense. I’m happy with how things are looking so far, but I’m getting the sense that I’m trying to use LO for something I didn’t realize it wasn’t meant to be used for.

I began by drawing a flat version of each detail in SU which is sent to LO. I don’t like how little control I have over how each detail looks. To solve this, I have traced each detail using LO which has worked but want to avoid drawing each detail twice and being happy with only one version. I find that tracing an object using LO works just fine as long as the info is in the model and layout has something to snap to.

I’ve using as many shortcuts as possible. I’m still learning them, but have a shortcut guide next to my computer.

I have copy of Brightman’s book, which has helped me a lot.

Here’s my current LO file: Addition Plan Final copy.layout (5.1 MB)

I’m happy with how things are looking so far, but am unhappy with how inefficient it seems to draw what I think should be simple. For example: rebar placement (not yet in plan). I think the consensus here is that I’ll either have to pay for an extension such as condoc or pay for a subscription to AutoCAD LT, but even then Im stuck using a predetermined system forcing me to work a certain way.

Thanks again for the help so far.

I don’t have time at the moment to go over all of your LO project but one thing I would suggest which will improve your efficiency is to set up your scenes correctly in SketchUp and don’t modify the camera settings in LayOut. The only settings I would use in the Camera section would be Scale for Parallel Projection standard views and ticking the box for Preserve Scale for perspective views. I would also recommend disabling SketchUp model editing in Preferences>General.

I figured something out here that seems to work for now. Exporting a scene as a 2D graphic saved as a .dxf and then importing the file into LO allows use of Layout’s fill and line weight tools. I do have to glue each line segment together in order to fill each shape, but this is far better than drawing everything twice. And it avoids the rapid decrease in speed that happens when I zoom way into a LO page to work on a very small detail.

One note, I found that exporting as .dxf preserved scale whereas exporting as .dwg didn’t.

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