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Google SketchUp Pro: Tools and Techniques
Illustration by Richard Downs

Creating a dynamic picket fence: Making pickets multiply


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Google SketchUp Pro: Tools and Techniques

with George Maestri

Video: Creating a dynamic picket fence: Making pickets multiply

Now that we have our one picket fence assembled, we can go ahead and add in the intelligence to make those pickets multiply. Now I am working on a copy of the file that we just did. It's called Fence_02 and it's in our Chapter 3 directory. So here I have all the parts basically assembled and ready to go. Now, there is still one little issue and that's that we have a bunch of separate components. We don't have one big component. Let me show you what I mean. If we go to Component Attributes, you will see that every time I select one of these parts, they really are just separate components.
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  1. 3m 33s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      24s
    3. Important Mac and PC differences
      2m 5s
  2. 9m 41s
    1. The Component Options window
      3m 32s
    2. Using the Interact tool
      1m 54s
    3. Using metadata in the Component Options window
      4m 15s
  3. 1h 6m
    1. Using the Component Attributes window
      4m 46s
    2. Exposing component attributes
      6m 0s
    3. Creating a drop-down list
      8m 42s
    4. Creating dynamic materials
      8m 29s
    5. Creating a dynamic picket fence
      2m 10s
    6. Creating a dynamic picket fence: Assembling the components
      4m 54s
    7. Creating a dynamic picket fence: Making pickets multiply
      6m 11s
    8. Creating a dynamic picket fence: Making fence posts multiply
      4m 0s
    9. Creating a dynamic picket fence: Customizing attributes
      8m 18s
    10. Adding interactivity: Motion
      5m 25s
    11. Adding interactivity: Rotation
      4m 10s
    12. Adding interactivity: Changing colors
      3m 45s
  4. 39m 37s
    1. The LayOut interface
      2m 56s
    2. Drawing lines and arcs
      4m 33s
    3. Drawing rectangles
      2m 22s
    4. Drawing circles and polygons
      2m 31s
    5. Modifying line styles and color
      3m 2s
    6. Working with text
      3m 0s
    7. Inserting SketchUp models
      4m 33s
    8. Manipulating SketchUp models
      3m 30s
    9. Working with dimensions
      2m 17s
    10. Arranging and grouping objects
      3m 5s
    11. Creating scrapbooks
      3m 11s
    12. Creating presentations
      2m 40s
    13. Exporting and printing
      1m 57s
  5. 6m 40s
    1. The Style Builder interface
      2m 5s
    2. Working with strokes
      4m 35s
  6. 19m 15s
    1. Importing objects from AutoCAD
      6m 37s
    2. Importing other 3D objects
      3m 14s
    3. Exporting objects
      4m 38s
    4. Exporting objects for rendering
      4m 46s
  7. 19s
    1. Goodbye
      19s

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Google SketchUp Pro: Tools and Techniques
2h 25m Intermediate Jan 15, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Google SketchUp Pro: Tools and Techniques shows professional users of Google's popular 3D modeling software how to create compelling 3D graphics. Author George Maestri focuses on the features available in Pro that make SketchUp a valuable design tool. He demonstrates the new Dynamic Components and shows how using them can add interactivity to a model. He teaches how to create custom Dynamic Components from models, which is a feature unique to Pro. He also explores SketchUp Pro's companion application, LayOut, a presentation tool that retains the editability of models even when they're embedded in documents. Last but not least, George shows how to export and import objects to and from other programs, such as AutoCAD and 3ds Max. Exercise files accompany this course.

Topics include:
  • Making custom Dynamic Components
  • Drawing with Layout
  • Editing textures outside of SketchUp
  • Creating and managing styles with the Style Builder
  • Exporting objects for rendering
  • Creating scrapbooks and presentations
  • Exporting model attributes to reports
Subjects:
Architecture Previsualization CAD 3D Drawing
Software:
SketchUp
Author:
George Maestri

Creating a dynamic picket fence: Making pickets multiply

Now that we have our one picket fence assembled, we can go ahead and add in the intelligence to make those pickets multiply. Now I am working on a copy of the file that we just did. It's called Fence_02 and it's in our Chapter 3 directory. So here I have all the parts basically assembled and ready to go. Now, there is still one little issue and that's that we have a bunch of separate components. We don't have one big component. Let me show you what I mean. If we go to Component Attributes, you will see that every time I select one of these parts, they really are just separate components.

What I need to do is just select them all and make them into one component. I can do that by hitting the G key or by going Make Component. Now, that brings up this dialog box and we can just type in the name of our component, which would be Fencing. So we hit Create. Notice now how the Top and Bottom Rail as well as the Pickets and the EndPosts are now all part of this bigger component called Fencing. So now let's go ahead and make this so when we scale this fence, the pickets multiply. First of all let me show you what happens when you scale it right now.

So I am going to go ahead and scale this. Notice how when I scale it the picket itself scales. We don't have the picket staying the same size. So that's the first thing we need to fix. So I am going to go ahead and undo this and let's go ahead to our Picket option here in our Component Attributes window. If you notice here, we have two values for the size of the picket. One is the Length in Y, which is the depth of the picket. The other is the Width which is the length in X. Right now that's at 5.5 but I don't have that constrained.

So I can constrain that by just going =5.5 and that will force it to always be five-and-a-half inches. Now once I do that notice how this actually turns bold and when something like this is bolded that means it's actually computed or it's actually constrained to a specific number. When things are grayed out such as here, you can actually type in whatever number you want. So now when I scale this, it automatically stays the same size.

So again I am going to go ahead and undo, and now let's go ahead and make this picket multiply as we scale. So we're scaling is actually the master component or the Fencing component here. So for example when I scale this, I am actually scaling this. So what I need to do is actually add in some attributes to Fencing. So I am going to add in a Size attribute and notice when I scale this, this size attribute of length X is what scales.

So that's what we are going to be using to calculate how many pickets we need. So in order to copy the pickets, we need to add in some attributes. So I am going to go down to Picket, hit Add Attribute and let's find the one that says Copies. Click on that and that adds it in. Now we're going to add in one more attribute and that's one that we are actually going to create. It's called Custom Name and we're just actually going to go ahead and enter a custom name and we're just going to type in the word Spacing.

So we're actually creating our own little attribute that we can use to determine the spacing of the pickets. So in this case, let's just go ahead and type in an arbitrary value. We are going to type in 10 or 10 inches between each picket. So now we are going to figure out how many copies we need based upon how wide the fence is. So first thing I want to do is just hit the equal sign here, go in to Copies, and it's going to be equal to the length in X which is scaling it along this red axis, divided by the spacing between this.

So for example in this case, it's 10 inch spacing, so if I had a 120 fence, I would have 12 pickets. So when I do that, what it does now is it actually calculates how many copies I have. So right now it only has 0 copies which means that there is no additional copies of the picket. But if I scale this, notice how this number goes up. Now I have four copies but you can see they are not arranged along the rails. In order to do that, we need to actually calculate the position of each copy.

We can do that by going into the X position of the picket, typing equals and the original value was 0, plus the variable Copy, not Copies plural which is this variable, but a variable called Copy singular and I will show you where we get that in just a second. Just trust me on this. So I am going to go 0+Copy*Spacing. So each picket has an individual number that determines what copy number it is.

So we are going to multiply that by the Spacing. When I hit Enter, there we go! Let me show you where I got that Copy value from. So here we have each of the pickets. Now, if I double-click on this component and click on the actual picket within that component, you can see here under Behaviors, we have Copies and Spacing, which is what we had before. Now, if I click on this other one, the next one, the Copy, notice now we have behavior Copies, we also have an additional attribute put into this one called Copy and that tells us what copy number it is. So this is Copy 1.

This one here is Copy 2, Copy 3. Once you have that, you can multiply that by the spacing to actually have these arrays themselves across the fence. So now if I take this fence and I scale it, you can see now it changes the number of copies as well as arrays them out along the rails of the fence. So now you can see how we can actually array and multiply objects based upon the size of an object.

And this is really useful in any number of different applications. Let's go ahead and continue to refine our fence in the next lesson.

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