What's your beginners tip?

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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Gaieus » Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:47 am

The problem with autosave is exactly what Pilou says. When your file becomes rather large and it "hits" you the worst time, it can take forever. Imagine you are in an operation with a heavy ruby plugin (which can take a while in itself, too) and then in the meanwhile comes the autosave.

I basically turned it off and got used to saving the model at every possible and "logical" time (mainly after some major steps). However it would be a risky thing to suggest this...
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby ~GoldenFrog®~ » Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:11 pm

Ah, well, being a rather lazy person, I never make models so large tht it takes a long time to save 'em, but I get your point.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby liam887 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:10 am

Gaieus wrote:The problem with autosave is exactly what Pilou says. When your file becomes rather large and it "hits" you the worst time, it can take forever. Imagine you are in an operation with a heavy ruby plugin (which can take a while in itself, too) and then in the meanwhile comes the autosave.

I basically turned it off and got used to saving the model at every possible and "logical" time (mainly after some major steps). However it would be a risky thing to suggest this...


ditto

although when you forget to manual save..................... :(
happens more than i will admit lol
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby boofredlay » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:42 am

I did the same. And now I am hard wired to hit save before any plugin operation ;)
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Gaieus » Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:08 am

Yes indeed, I also forget to save sometimes and once it did happen to me that I splatted and lost some hours of work - exactly the worst timing as it was a tight deadline.

That's why I also wrote it would be risky to advise this...
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Design1 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 4:09 pm

Model somthing that is accesable to you, your house, letterbox, a piece of furniture etc model and delete/build until you get it right. Emulating the real world will force you to uncover new aspects of SU you may not otherwise stumble upon.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby DreadedOne509 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:07 pm

As a beginner myself (more aptly called a newb) I can say with confidence that the first
thing someone should do is RTFM (read the 'manual'). It's long, boring, etc etc et al ad nauseum but more than worth it.

Just the toolbar and tools sections are worth the time and effort. There are so many context and tool altering keyboard
key combination's for the various tools that it'll really be worth your while.
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Replacing (almost) identical groups/components

Postby jgb » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:52 pm

It's a mistake I made by the bushel when I started using SU.

I made multiple copies of grouped geometry instead of making them components.
My rule now is if ANYTHING is more than 1 occurrence, it is a component.

So when I did convert one of the group copies to an identical component (select, explode, make comp) I was faced with the task of replacing the same groups with that same component, in the exact same position. When I moved the comp into the groups position, it would snap into position and I was not able to select only the group to delete it.

I tried several things with variable success, until I stumbled on this simple solution.

Before you move the comp onto the group, edit the group and add a single line from any point to outside its existing bounding box, then close it.
Move the comp into place. It will still snap in place.

Now simply click on the extended group line and you can easily select and delete only the group. 8-)


------------------
There is also a TT tool that replaces identical groups with an identical comp, but it does the whole drawing, which is not what you may want, and if even the slightest difference is present, or the group is nested, it will not replace the group.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Speaker » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:18 pm

If you want to completely get rid of Sketchups face shading while keeping the colour, then turn on the shadows and set the light slider to 0 and the dark slider to 80. I found this useful for making the RBG value of the faces to match the one in the material editor.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby JosefaHoge » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:08 pm

Hey

thanks for your beginning tips. They are really helpful for me to develop my interest and expertise and most importantly understanding the tool.
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Phil's Bestmate Tips

Postby bestmate » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:33 pm

If i may ,can i give you our future experts ( trust me it won't take long ) tips to help them along

1/ Accurate inferencing, To me is the corner stone to clean non hair pulling out experiences in sketchup ( Zoom zoom to see were your putting that line)

2/ COPLANER If that face will not fill in after 10 minutes ( and i have been there) its not flat ! If there are two lines very close together where there should be one ( you know, those lines that look alittle thicker that the other lines), then the party on its the way to pair shape city Ha ha.

3/ Work cleanly and and erase those lines that should not be there ( the lines that keep flashing puppy eyes at your inference engine) ,and your clinical approach will reward you , in not wanting to get off your computer ,rather than throwing it out the window .
Enjoy Phil
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby jgb » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:11 pm

Regarding non-coplanar problems. If the attempt to face keeps failing, even after you have drawn and redrawn all the lines multiple times, here are a few ways to help find the culprit. Not always successful, but usually eliminates the co-linear line problem.

If your triangular, rectangular or multi-line entity fails to face, you need to revert it to triangles. Draw lines from vertex to vertex, being careful to let SU tell you that you are using endpoints only, before you click. Zooming in helps, but if you encounter the clipping plane getting in close, then turn OFF perspective. (Camera; Perspective) Then you can get in real close.

Another problem with drawing lines is where you are trying to draw a line (from A to B) that is not quite on-axis, and SU will tell you it is "constrained by line at point". Simply ESC and draw the line from B to A. Usually works. This is probably the biggest culprit creating co-linear lines.

Now let's say you do have a suspected co-linear line. You delete both of them, and redraw a single line, but the face still won't form. The culprit here is the tiny line segment formed at the vertex after the 2 co-linear lines were drawn. It can be nearly invisible unless you zoom in real close, and that takes time. So rather than go looking at all 3 corners for it, try this.

Turn ON the Entity Info dialog box. You also need to turn on hidden lines. With the object viewed such that there are no other endpoints behind the suspect vertex, use the left to right select in a very small box just covering the vertex, and not any whole lines. If Entity Info says no selection, the problem is elsewhere. If the Entity Info says there is a very tiny line (or more than 1 line) then there is the problem. Just delete all of them. Do all 3 vertexes. This may deface other adjacent faces, but now you can delete a line and redraw it endpoint to endpoint to reform the faces.

Note that this will NOT find a vertex gap, but deleting and redrawing lines at endpoints cleared of tiny fragments will cure the gaps.

Another culprit is trying to face on a curve or arc line. Since there is no real endpoint within the length of the line, placing other lines to form a face may not be right on, and this can create a tiny fragment or gap to throw off the face. Just explode the curve/arc and that will help finding the true endpoints on the curve.

When you have the whole object faced with triangles, you can start deleting the internal lines making all those triangles to get back to your multi-line face. If a face disappears doing this, then that triangle was not co-planar with the rest of the face, and you have to redraw that section in a co-planar manor. Or, just UNDO the deleted line, and make it soft and smooth (Entity Info box again).

And with all that, I still spent 2 1/2 hours yesterday trying to get a triangle to face, and ending up deleting the whole section around it and starting over.
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Re: Replacing (almost) identical groups/components

Postby Dave R » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:54 pm

jgb wrote:I made multiple copies of grouped geometry instead of making them components.
My rule now is if ANYTHING is more than 1 occurrence, it is a component.

So when I did convert one of the group copies to an identical component (select, explode, make comp) I was faced with the task of replacing the same groups with that same component, in the exact same position. When I moved the comp into the groups position, it would snap into position and I was not able to select only the group to delete it.

I tried several things with variable success, until I stumbled on this simple solution.

Before you move the comp onto the group, edit the group and add a single line from any point to outside its existing bounding box, then close it.
Move the comp into place. It will still snap in place.

Now simply click on the extended group line and you can easily select and delete only the group. 8-)


I only make components, not groups. Then I never need to waste time making the conversion from group to component later. If I want to replace one component with another, it's automatic so I don't have to add any extra geometry to be able to get hold of one later. I've never found a case where a group is preferable to a component. Even when there's only one occurrence of something, I make it a component.
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Re: Replacing (almost) identical groups/components

Postby jgb » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:28 pm

Dave R wrote:I only make components, not groups.


No argument with that. I almost always end up converting a group to a comp when finished with its design.
The main reason I keep groups is to cut down on the extensive list of comps (many of which would be sets of comps) I would create during the design. I use the groupings to segregate sections of geometry to avoid unwanted merging, then explode the group once done, but within a comp. I also usually group several comps into 1 coherent set, where I may have a slight difference in the set makeup in various places in the model. Groups and comps both have their advantages and should be used accordingly.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Dave R » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:53 pm

"Groups and comps both have their advantages and should be used accordingly."

Yup. Just never have found a need for groups even when nesting components. Depends upon ones workflow and style and it is good the SketchUp is so flexible.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby mitcorb » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:20 pm

@Dave R:
One of your best beginner's tips only recently mentioned elsewhere, is the use of an upscaled component instance to do intricate modeling which would be very difficult (empty faces, unresponsive inferencing, zoom clipping)with the object at its intended scale. Since scaling an instance does not affect the other instances, this allows great freedom. All editing done on the larger instance is immediately reflected in the smaller. When finished, simply delete the larger instance.
This one really stuck with me. I have pretty much stopped whining about the scale problem.
Salute :thumb:
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Dave R » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:37 pm

Thank you very much for that. And of course if you make an extra copy of the component and scale it up before editing, you can discard the large copy when you've finished. No need to worry about scaling it back down and getting it in the right location. Actually there are a number of cases where I will pull out a copy of a component to edit it rather than hiding the neighbors. And example of that can be seen at 5:20 in the video here. And I wouldn't think of just moving a component before editing with the intent of moving it back.

None of this is useful to those who prefer groups to components.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby jgb » Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:35 pm

Dave said "if you make an extra copy of the component and scale it up before editing, you can discard the large copy when you've finished. No need to worry about scaling it back down and getting it in the right location." :thumb:

For the less experienced SU modelers, you need to scale up the copy of the component OUTSIDE its bounding box BEFORE you edit it. If you edit the comp, THEN scale it up, all copies will scale up as well.

Anything you do to a comp on its bounding box, such as scale, rotate, apply material/color (and a few others) applies only to that particular copy of the comp. Anything you do to a comp IN edit mode applies to all copies.

If you need to make a change to the geometry of only 1 copy, make it UNIQUE first, then edit. However that isolates that copy from any changes to/from other similar comps.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby mitcorb » Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:58 pm

@jgb:
I think this is an important clarification. :thumb:
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby PDS869 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:58 pm

Clean up your AutoCAD files BEFORE importing into SketchUp. Dimensions, notes, symbology, extraneous linework.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Crankston Shnord » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:57 pm

Don't start with a big project: Do something simple as your first model. In other words, rather than trying to do an Abram's Tank as your first model, try a door or something.

Cheers,
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Rich O Brien » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:00 pm

@Crankston

What's SetchUp?
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby Crankston Shnord » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:13 pm

Ha, Ha, thanks Rich.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby SamuelSketcherupper » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:44 pm

A bit of advice on external issues that effects your work...
Get a good chair.
Sleep well.

The Google Sketchup for Dummies book helped me a lot.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby wheeljack » Sun May 01, 2011 4:21 pm

So a lot of hobbyists have been using SU to design various parts for their projects and printing them at shapeways.com

The exported .dea files out of the free version, which is what I have, seems to upload unprintable for some reason. I was able to solve this by downloading MeshLab and importing the .dea file into it and then exporting it again as an STL. the same file became printable. I'm not sure how this wizardry works but it does.

hope this helps someone out. this bit of info would have saved me a week of swearing! :lol:
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby mitcorb » Sun May 01, 2011 5:01 pm

That .dea would be Collada .dae, right? What I think I know is, dae can convert to obj(or they are the same thing), and some apps can handle either one.
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby wheeljack » Sun May 01, 2011 6:27 pm

mitcorb wrote:That .dea would be Collada .dae, right? What I think I know is, dae can convert to obj(or they are the same thing), and some apps can handle either one.


yep, I messed it up. thanks for catching that. yes, it's collada .dae. sorry 'bout the f up. :)
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby StilTeg » Wed May 18, 2011 9:11 pm

My tip for a beginner : Never hesitate to try ... Even without plugins ... I did not use plug-ins for that view, but it may have been simpler with them ... I'm just not used to it ;)
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby jgb » Thu May 19, 2011 6:17 pm

All beginners with SU, will attempt some model that they have in mind to get the feel of SU, before committing to it. That entails using only the generic out-of-the-box SU. Nothing wrong with that.

Then they find that SU is way more powerful than expected, so they try more complex stuff, and not really knowing any different, get a bit bogged down in the details, which is all a natural part of the learning curve. It's when they start spending quite a bit of time and effort repetitively doing a common task that they start to ask for help from forums such as SketchUcation. We are quite happy to help. SU is not a closed club. In fact the best part of SU is its openness and plugins are the way that happens.

For all its might SU does have some limitations and omissions to its capabilities. And people want special additions to solve their own problems as well. That's where the RUBY magicians come to play.

They see and solve the problem, almost always for free, and with well developed solutions. Most plugins are specific to a special need, and will appeal to just a few users, while others are quite universal to all SU users, and perhaps should have been a part of SU from day 1. The SU user can decide what to plug in based on their specific needs.

In fact, many times a user (new or experienced, and that means me, as well) has suggested a need for "something" only to be directed to an existing plugin (or even an SU built-in feature) that does just that and probably more.

I'll present you with an example of how my experience with SU has been immeasurably enhanced with plugins.

I had been using ACAD for a number of years, and as a 2D CAD, it is very good. But I needed a 3D tool to visualize some airplane designs fomenting on paper for many years. I don't just draw the outside shape, I delve deeply into the structure and systems of these designs. Then ACAD came out with a 2 1/2D version, that over a few years I failed miserably to get a handle on. I tried all sorts of 3D apps, but they too had very steep learning curves and most simply lacked the tools I needed.

Then about 4 years ago I came across SU V6. I loaded it, and within 2 hours had the basic airframe defined on my big freighter project.
:sketchstatic: :sketchstatic: :sketchstatic: :sketchstatic:
In 2 solid weeks of using ACAD, I never got even close to that level of definition. I never turned on ACAD again. :puke:

My first foray into plugins was my dislike for the way SU starts up with the draw tool. Great for a blank worksheet, but less than useful when opening an existing model. My first "ask" to an SU users forum was how to default the startup to the select or pointer tool. Answer = Startup.rb. :thumb:

There are 2 major laborious tasks associated with airplane design (more really but I only will deal with these 2)... Weight and fairings. You need to have a really good handle on component weight, and for that you need to know the accurate volume of a solid object multiplied by the density of its material.

Determining the volume was a major task for some complex shapes, and involved a big EXCEL spreadsheet. I had to breakdown the object into simple shapes that could be computed mathematically, and aggregated into a final total volume then weight in EXCEL. And do it all over again if I made a change to the object in SU. So I asked and the answer was Volume.rb. However it had an error in calculating certain shapes, but was better than the manual way for the other shapes.

Then SU V8 came out with solids. I didn't need the Pro solids features, the Free version had accurate volume, but only for valid solids. My biggest bitch about SU is that it is smart enough to tell you that there is an error, :thumb: but quite stupid not telling you what the error is and where to find it, :twisted: so you can't readily fix it. The hours spent sleuthing a solid and then redrawing it to maybe solve it were numerous to say the least.
Solution = ThomThom's TT_Solid_Inspector.rb
There is no way I could manually locate a tiny "~0in long" line that prevented a solid. SI in 2 seconds.

Drawing fairings is a complex job to get an aerodynamic smooth curve that merges with multiple curved surfaces, ie: wing to fuselage. There are quite a few fairings on an airplane, some big, some small. For many reasons I could not use the SU Sandbox tools to get a good shape, and those very few I did get needed a lot of manual tweaking. It really was easier to do it all manually, but ether way, a moldline change meant the fairing was usually all toast and had to be redone from scratch. A big fairing took literally a few days to get right. Then I was directed to Fredos Curviloft.rb.

Now all I need to do is draw 3, 4 or 5 curves that define the fairings perimeter and a few control curves, and in less than a minute, I have a very good, very detailed fairing, in fact too detailed, but I am learning how to control that. Changing a moldline, or tweaking the fairings curve is as simple as scrapping the fairing and adjusting the control curves to create a new fairing in a very few minutes.

As a result I am now totally redrawing my big air-freighter fuselage using the new tools. I am now 3/4's through in less than a week compared to many weeks spent on the original before I had these tools.

I just counted, I have 27 plugins in my SU-V8 folder. Some I've had a coons-age (transfered from SU-V6), like Startup.rb, Weld.rb, Pipe-along-path.rb, Layer-manager.rb and a few others.

Added to SU-V8 are ThomThom's extensive tools library, Fredo's miraculous curve, joint and surface tools, Several plugins by TIG and a bunch of others. Some I use almost as much as the draw tool in SU, others I have forgotten about till I just looked at what's in the plugin folder to write this. :oops: Then there are a few plugins in my download folder waiting for the opportunity to load and test.

All this boils down to a simple fact. You can dig a ditch with a shovel or use a backhoe. Both will get the job done. So if you are doing a task repetitively, or with difficulty, or just can't figure out how, ask here.

Like Apples IPhone, there's a plugin for that. :enlight:
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Re: What's your beginners tip?

Postby SketchUpNoobie » Thu May 19, 2011 6:28 pm

jgb wrote:Like Apples IPhone, there's a plugin for that. :enlight:

:lol: This should be TIG/Fredo/Thomthom/Whatt's slogan. ;)
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