7 Tricks to Use Sketchup More Effectively For 3D Modelling
Whether it is a creative or an enterprise application, users typically find ways and means to customise their working environment. The reason for this change is because of the default settings which are either inconvenient or simply overwhelming. By getting rid of unwanted or rarely used tools, users simply enlarge their working space, allowing them to concentrate on the model/task rather than waste time shifting various toolboxes.
The idea is to use the application effectively and efficiently by adopting tricks or exploiting hidden features which augment performance of both the users as well as the software. Sketchup for 3D modelling is one such example. Mentioned below are 7 tricks to use this application more efficaciously.
1. The Orbit Tool
One of the most popular and frequently used tools is the orbit tool. It is used to preview an object in various perspectives. Typically, it rotates the subject in space allowing user to view it from several camera angles, offering an insight into the semi finished design. Now, it is cumbersome to switch modes and click on orbit tool to preview every now and then. So what is the solution? The answer is mouse enhancement and modifier keys.
In a three button mouse the scrolling button can be clicked to access the orbit tool irrespective of user’s current status. Simply click and hold the center button to activate the orbit tool. This action is applicable in all scenarios except when the user is working with Walk tool.
Do you work with a two button mouse? Fret not. Simply click the left mouse button along with the control key ( Windows ) or Options Key ( OS X ) and voila you have activated the orbit tool albeit temporarily. Try out other combinations and see how you can enter pan mode quickly and get out of it with equal ease.
2. Keyboard Shortcuts
This tip or trick allows you to create an environment which doesn’t require frequent use of mouse to shuffle between various tool palettes. So how is that achieved? The answer is through keyboard shortcuts. It dramatically increases the speed, lowers gestation time, and allows users to stay focussed on the job rather than shifting gaze from one application element to another.
To assign a keyboard shortcut go to Windows menu and click preferences. In the subsequent dialog box click the Shortcuts option which shows all the available commands. Select the one you want to assign a keyboard shortcut. If any default keys are assigned, it will show in the assigned list. Go ahead and designate a relevant short cut key/s or function key.
A point to note: not all menus or functions are visible in the Shortcut panel. Some of them are activated only when a particular section of the subject is selected. For example when a face is clicked the reverse face context menu gets activated and it can then be assigned a shortcut key.
3. Making Copies
Yet another way to increase efficiency and minimise monotonous tasks such as copying or creating multiple copies of an entity within your drawing is to use built-in but hidden feature of this application.
Click on the select tool. Next, select elements of the drawing you want to make copies of. Click on the move tool. This will change the cursor to four sided arrow. Now, here comes the tricky part. Press and release the control key ( Windows ) or Options key ( OS X ). This is where the fun begins. The cursor now changes to a four sided arrow with a plus sign. Select elements for which you need a copy and move the cursor. The selected elements will tag along the cursor till you click and end the action. Voila! Your duplicate elements have come into existence.
So what was so great about it? Well, you need not copy/paste and waste time creating scores of duplicates which forms an essential chore in Sketchup.
4. Measuring Distance
Building creative models is all about accuracy. It is also about placing of various elements within the model. A slight miscalculation can rob you off that much appreciative nod or a pat on the back. Use tape measure tool to quickly measure the distance between various entities instead of calculating along the scale at the top or simply leaving it on your experience. It works like a charm and doesn’t take much time. Simply click on the tape measure tool and click on the start point. Take the help of inference tool if you want to make sure you have clicked the right spot. Drag the cursor along the axis to the end point. That’s it! The tool measures the length on the fly and displays it at the top.
Press escape key to initiate a fresh measurement task. Do not use spacebar or backspace as it may cause conflict with the values entered in the measurement toolbar.
5. Enhance Speed
This trick is used to pep up the application. Once you are done with textures, shading and special effects simply turn off the features. These are typically memory hogging tools. Once you turn off you can immediately find a marked difference in the performance. Apart from this there are other tools which just occupy precious RAM space and put a lot of drag on your application.
Here is another trick to make Sketchup zippy. Simply turn elements into components and make copies of the component. This will reduce the amount of memory demanded by Sketchup.
Purge data which is saved in the memory of the application. This is typically a data file which can deleted via Window >> Model Info >> Statistics. Get rid of this data and make your application run faster and smoother.
6. Enhance Performance
To run Sketchup in a truly supersonic mode close all unwanted applications and make sure you have good amount of RAM. Another suggested tip is to update all drivers and associated software patches. Hardware acceleration is one area which needs close inspection. Make sure to exploit this setting. Go to Windows, preferences and click on OpenGL. On the right side you will find the hardware acceleration option. Check this box and actually experience the adrenaline rush through Sketchup.
7. Auto Text and Auto Save
Auto text was introduced in Layout 2014. Use this feature and get rid of initiating non-creative tasks such as inserting date, page number, title etc. You can create your own customised tags also.
Yet another feature which you should exploit religiously is auto save. By default this application saves the project every 5 minutes. Fine tune this setting to meet your requirement. However, never make the mistake of deselecting it. The auto save data is preserved in the auto save folder of the application till the project is actually saved. In case of application/system crash, you can get the copy of your updated project in this folder.
Garry Forster is an online blogger for 3D Stuff Maker (http://www.3dstuffmaker.com/evolution-3d-printer ). He likes to blog on 3D printing Events, Ideas, Technologies which are related to 3D Printing and 3D Printing Tutorial. Follow him on Google+.