Layers vs. Components/Outliner

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Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby SchreiberBike » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:27 pm

I've tried using layers, but I have not found that it has any advantage over putting things into nested components and using the outliner to hide and unhide.

Clearly there are advantages for layers and I'm missing them. What am I missing?
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby juju » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:27 pm

Working in layers gives you the ability to to show any number of them, or more to the point, not show any number/combination of them.

Personally I don't work in layers in SU, but do so extensively in CAD.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby pmiller » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:28 pm

Using layers for hiding gives you great flexibility for creating scenes that reveal different parts of the model. This is very useful while you working on complex models -- eg. hiding complex geometry that would slow down display update. But even better, layers permit you to show alternate designs in the model, even construction phasing, etc. and I find layers make easier to keep track of what's in a complex model.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Wo3Dan » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:28 pm

Even if you don’t care about layers you will undoubtedly admit that having a separate ‘text’-layer and also a ‘measure’-layer can be very useful. In other programs you can toggle text and/or measures on and off. In Su you need layers to do so.
And how about a different layer (or even several) just for helpful construction lines (within a component to be non sticky). I don’t mean the guides that will all disappear if by mistake you click the wrong button: ‘Delete Guides’.
Apart from that layers can be useful to keep items together that have something in common: 4 layers=>foundation//floors//walls//roof or
4 layers=>electricity//water//heating//gas or…..
There are endless ways to make good use of layers. Even if only to control visibility as said here before.

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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Jackson » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:29 pm

I (like most SU Pro users) model everything on layer 0. I only create new layers and move geometry to them for 2 reasons- either for viewing, so different pages have different parts of the model diplayed or for hiding irrelevant geometry while I'm working on the actual building (trees, cyclorama, landscape, etc.) I always have a page called "Working" saved with a file which shows just the building, maybe some imported dwg plans, no shadows and a 50mm focal length.

On the rare occasion that I do a 1:1 construction detail in SU I'm more likely to use a layer for each material/element, as you tend to do in Autocad.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby rhankc » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:29 pm

The outliner is a bit complex if you go deep. (for me anyway). I find I dont like dealing with the layers until I need to lighten up my screen or the model. Entities like dimensions, text, note text, heavy entities like landscape objects, a smooved topo. all these can be groped or componented and sent to their own layer until you need them.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby robmoors » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:30 pm

The reason why I work with layers is because if I work with just groups and components and I hide them and I turn on show hidden geometry you still see the geo from those hidden groups and components. There is a function with which you can hide the components not to show up, but this is not possible with groups.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby SchreiberBike » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:30 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions above. I've been training myself to use layers and I see two big advantages.

1) Scenes are sensitive to layers, but not to hidden or unhidden groups and components.

2) If a layer is not turned on, the geometry in that layer is not loaded, so it doesn't slow things down as much as if it is in a component, but hidden. (I'm not sure about this, but it seems to be true.)

And in a smaller way, 3) they help to keep outlines from getting too deep. I can also see 4) on more complex models where some aspects are established and aren't likely to be changed, putting those things in separate layers makes things easier. I've also been trying 5) to keep various options available by moving one version to a layer, then trying a different design - then you can flip back and forth to compare.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Gaieus » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:31 pm

SchreiberBike,

You are approaching the use of layers the best way. What you have "listed" - well those are mostly all the benefits of using them in SU.
Go ahead experimenting and "playing around" - and soon you will be mastering in it!
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Jackson » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:31 pm

The one most important bit of layer advice I would offer is to always keep them to a minimum. It's fine to have 20+ layers in Autocad (or 200+ if you're a surveyor!), as you tend to only work in a few at a time (and they tend to be coloured by layer), but in SU I find multiple layers become a pain to deal with as they need to be switched on and off so often and it's not obvious visually which geometry is on which layer. I try to keep less than 5 ideally: typically (for architecture) "plans" containing dwg plans and sections for setting up the model, "roof" so I can switch it off for working on interiors, "furniture" and "trees" as these components can really slow down an SU file when you're working on it.

BTW, the hidden attribute of components and groups are saved with scenes, but only if they are independent i.e. if a group is within another group it's hidden attribute will not be saved with a page. IMHO it's important to understand this as it can really help reduce the number of layers you need to create.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby SchreiberBike » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:32 pm

Jackson wrote:BTW, the hidden attribute of components and groups are saved with scenes, but only if they are independent i.e. if a group is within another group it's hidden attribute will not be saved with a page. IMHO it's important to understand this as it can really help reduce the number of layers you need to create.

That explains why I was so confused earlier this week. Thanks for pointing that out.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby utiler » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:32 pm

Hang on... I just thought of something.....
can we "hide" a component or group in a scene and have it visable in another even if it was on layer0? If not why not? Wouldn't that help? A simple script to right-click, select "hide in current scene only" would do the trick......
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Jackson » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:33 pm

utiler wrote:A simple script to right-click, select "hide in current scene only" would do the trick......
A


SU does this as default- if your component is visible in all your scenes, but you hide it in one (and update that scene) it will still be visible in the others..... although it might be handy if you could right click and select "hide in all scenes"... in fact if the same function were available for layers that would be very useful. Hmmm... time for a wish list post I think.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Edson » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:33 pm

one of the best advice i was given when starting with SU: draw ALWAYS on layer 0 and move only the grouped elements to another layer (the geometry remains on layer 0).

as mentioned by many people in this forum, layers are a visibility tool. you do not actually move an element to a layer, it stays where it was drawn. so, as hard as it may seem to understand, when you draw something on layer 0 and after grouping it "move" it to layer 1, it actually stays on layer 0.

this will save you a lot of headaches. when i first started i thought i should move the geometry to another layer as well: this caused me many hours of perplexity as i did not know where some geometry went.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Paul Russam » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:34 pm

I nest groups/layers on a regular basis, try this:

Create 3 layers - Layer 1,Layer 2 & Layer 3

Ensure that your current layer is the default (Layer 0)

Draw 5 Boxes

Select and group 3 of the boxes

Select the 2 remaining boxes and group them

Pick one of the groups and change its layer to 'Layer 1'
Pick the other group and change its layer to 'Layer 2'

Select both groups and Group them together

Select this super group (sorry couldn't resist) and change its layer to 'Layer 3'

Make a few copies of the super group

Try turning the layers on and off and see what happens.
Try turning Layer 1 off, copying one of the super groups and then turning the layer back on.

Here's a practical example:
I recently did a housing scheme consisting of around 200 houses, as you can imagine the model would get a bit slow with 200+ detailed houses visible.
I had the following:
The house grouped on Layer 'House-Type1-Body'
A footprint (Grouped) of the house on Layer 'House-Type1-Footprint'
And a super group of the two on the layer "House-Type1-All'

I was able to have the house's (House-Type1-Body) switched off, whilst still being able to copy/rotate/mirror them in to position and only when I needed to see them did I switch on the houses and off the footprints.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Gaieus » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:34 pm

This is excellent idea Paul - something like using "dummy components" (that you can "reload" later).
Another way could be if SU allowed "sublayers" (as I read on one of the forums).
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Paul Russam » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:36 pm

DoorMaker uses this method:
D-Leaf00 - Doorleaf @ 0 degrees (Shut)
D-Leaf30 - Doorleaf @ 30 degrees
D-Leaf60 - Doorleaf @ 60 degrees
D-Leaf90 - Doorleaf @ 90 degrees
D-Swing - Arc on floor (For plan views)
D-Door - Master layer containing the super group of the above.

This way you can have all the doors open at 90 with the swing arc visible for plan views and open at 60 for 3d views.
If you create a scene with 0 then one with 30 another with 60 then a final one with 90 you can have an animation of doors opening/closing.

But the best thing is that copying the super group will copy all the groups within it whether they are visible or not.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Gaieus » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:37 pm

Yes, I definitely see the reason and usefulness of this workflow.
I did this monster Gothic reconstruction and also needed to find out workarounds to be able to work within the model but still hide the details (tracery windows, ribbed vaultings, galleries etc).

I just made the individual pieces in separate files and then joined them in a final, master model. But then these entities were grouped together so I could turn individual parts/details OR the whole building on/off.

Just I was not very consistent with it from the very beginning so I got a bit messed up - well, I had not had such a (physically) "big" project previously.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Edson » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:37 pm

excellent tut, paul. the solution is deceptively simple as it has tremendous potential for use. thatnks.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby SchreiberBike » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:37 pm

excellent tut, paul. the solution is deceptively simple as it has tremendous potential for use. thatnks.
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Re: Layers vs. Components/Outliner

Postby Paul Russam » Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:38 pm

SchreiberBike - Exactly right.

Here's a quick file using the houses example above.

Copy/Mirror/Scale one or more of the footprints then switch on the House-Body layer.

Layer Grouping Example
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