Whenever I sit in front of a fresh install of a program that I use regularly and have tweaked to the way I want, I always get a sense of frustration. Following that is a compelling urge to spend the next 30 minutes vigorously trying to remember all the settings I had changed followed by the next few days of stumbling into things I had forgotten.
Still, once you have it set up perfectly the way you want it your productivity returns to normal and as you blast away work with speed and ease you’re left with glee and wonder that these settings are not stock. ‘Did the developers even use this software on a day to day basis!?’ becomes the staple thought as you hammer those custom hotkeys.
Anyway.. I just finished a re-install of my computer and so I had to do this for the umpteenth time – so i thought i would document my tweaks this time around and distill them into the minimal set of changes necessary to perform on stock SketchUp.
TL;DR : Minimal Changes to stock SketchUp for functionality
- Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > View/Component/Hide Rest Of Model/ > Assigned > Shift + H
- Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > Tools/Axes/ > Assigned > Shift + X
- Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > Camera/Zoom Extents > Assigned > Shift + Z
- Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > Edit/Paste In Place > Assigned > Ctrl + Shift + V
- Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > Edit/Delete Guides > Assigned > Shift + D
- Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > Edit/Make Group > Assigned > Ctrl + G
Model Info > Scene Transitions > Uncheck (why is this default!, plain annoying)
Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > View/Component/Hide Rest Of Model/ > Assigned > Shift + H
Sketchup Mantra #1 : ‘Group early and often’ – William Culver
I’m sure you are grouping like a mad person keeping semantic elements separate (Walls, doors, windows etc). If not, you should be. Double clicking into groups, clicking out of groups becomes the way you manage cluttered scenes and Shift + H becomes your best friend. Often times you’ll want to go into a group and have the rest of the scene disapear so you can focus on that one element, then you’ll start to push/pull and realise that you need to snap to something higher up in the heirarchy or in the root scene (hey your root scene has no ungrouped stuff right!? :P). Well hitting Shift+H mid push/pull is not only awesome, its sanity-necessary!
Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > Tools/Axes/ > Assigned > Shift + X
With all that grouping you’re (now) doing you’ll run into times where the axes is still aligned to the world but not necessarily right for the element you just grouped (diagonal rafters as an example). Why is there no stock hotkey for moving the coordinate space? Now there is :).
Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > Camera/Zoom Extents > Assigned > Shift + Z
For that time you are orbiting around a hollow object and your camera goes nuts because you clicked in empty space and you’re orbiting around an arbitrary point in space.. Annoying isn’t it?.. A hotkey for Zoom extents becomes paramount because now you can ‘blind orbit’ and then re-center afterwards for maxo-joy!
Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > Edit/Paste In Place > Assigned > Ctrl + Shift + V
Another grouping workflow lifesaver.
Often Some times I find myself regretting my overzealous grouping and want to move something into another group or out of a group- Basically refactoring the hierarchy. Here an Edit/Cut, click out the group, and Edit/Paste In Place combo is in order so a hotkey here is absolutely a time saver.
Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > Edit/Delete Guides > Assigned > Shift + D
Necessary clean up. If you’ve ever clicked into a group or component to remove a guide then please stop. Delete guides is your friend. It only deletes downwards in the hierarchy too so this is awesome 🙂
Windows > Preferences > Shortcut > Edit/Make Group > Assigned > Ctrl + G
Is this even stock? It might be. It has to be right?!. Well I’m putting this here because as you know by now this is probably my most used hotkey in SketchUp. Absolutely essential.
Angry Veter Rant: Components.
I used to be big on Components – now not so much – here’s why.
In my early days I had a mission to make the most intensely useful, multipurpose, dynamic components possible. I tried my best to make ‘The One Ring Window’, one window to rule them all. 3 years later and I had built up a MASSIVE library of components. I had 12 ‘One Ring windows for clients that had edge cases that i just couldn’t add on my ‘One Ring’ window so guess what.. the elves got three windows and then the dwarfs got 7 windows.. and blah blah blah. A new job would come in and I would go to my component library to select the closest components, but yanno what.. they were never perfect to the job at hand. At one point I had such a library of components that searching through them to select something that was 90% perfect and tweaking it saved me no more time than doing it from scratch.
The bottom line is, I ENJOY my job.. I enjoy modelling windows! I’ve distilled it down to a repetitive but awe inspiringly speedy process so these days i just make bespoke windows for almost every project, unless its clear that they are exactly the same as ones I’ve used in the past, which is hardly ever.
When do i use components
I use components in a model when there is an element that is repeated more than once. Most of the time it starts life as a group and gets promoted to a component if it’s repeated and i think i’ll need to edit it, ever.
I only get serious with components if i know there is something cross project, repetitive and boring.. for example gutters. I happen to hate doing guttering so I made some helper components that are fully dynamic and help me with my day. They tend to get exploded down to groups eventually if i need to treat them uniquely.