Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
One of the really cool things that SketchUp can do is multiply objects. So you can take an object that has repetitive values such as a staircase or a picket fence or studs in a wall, and you can actually have the number of copies calculated by SketchUp. So in this example here I have a staircase, and normally if I were to scale this, you would just kind of stretch it. But because this is a smart staircase, the stretch will actually determine how many steps are required.
So when I let go of that stretch, it actually fills in the space with stair steps. And if I wanted to scale this down, it would make those smaller. As you can see, this can be a very handy way to create smart objects. So let's go ahead and create the staircase from scratch. So I'm going to go ahead and open a file called Stair_01, and this is just my basic steps. So I've got these steps here and if I wanted to I could certainly copy these and build the steps from scratch, but let's go ahead and do this automatically.
So first thing we need to do is just take a look at how this is built. So I'm going to go into my Component Attributes window, and you'll notice here I've got couple of different objects here. So I've got Stairs which is a group here, and then underneath that I have a Stair_Module and the Rails. So basically I have the Stairs, the Stair_Module which is the steps and the risers, and then the Rails which are the posts and the actual handrails. So let's go ahead and start making this copy based upon the scale of this master Stairs_Module.
So if we are going to scale this, we're actually going to be changing the length. So let's go ahead and add an attribute in here called Size. So this adds in the length of X, Y, and Z. Now if we're going to scale along this axis here, you can see how I'm actually scaling along the Y axis here. So this is the value that we're going to use to generate how many copies we need, so that's going to be Length of Y (LenY). Now we need to figure out how many copies we need, so let's go into our Stair_Module and we're going to add an attribute.
And the attribute we're going to add is called Copies, okay, and this is going to determine how many times SketchUp is going to copy those stairs. So we need to actually add in a few additional pieces of information. First thing we need to know is how is the staircase built, what is the run of the stairs; in other words, how long are the steps, and what's the rise; how much do you go up with each step. Well, we need to kind of add those in, so let's go ahead and add in some custom attributes in our main staircase here.
So I'm going to go ahead and add in a custom name here and I'm just going to add one called Run which is the run of my staircase, and another one called Rise which is how much the steps rise. So we can use those to actually determine how to copy the steps. So the Run is the length of the step, and that's the one that's really going to matter in terms of how many copies we want. So if our length gets longer, we're going to have more steps in the Run.
So what we can do is we can say the number of copies, we're going to go to our Stair_Module here and we're going to say the number of Copies equals this Length divided by the Run and hit Enter. And that's going to give us an error, and it gives us an error because we haven't given a value for that Run. Now I already have built these stairs and I kind of know that these steps I repeat every 11 inches, so I'm just going to type in 11. And once I do that, that little error goes away and it tells me that this is expecting to do one copy.
And so I should have an additional copy of that stairs somewhere out there. Now if I go into my outliner, you'll see that under Stairs, I actually do have an additional copy here, so I have my Stair_Module and I have a copy. But that copy is placed exactly in the same place; it just copied it; it didn't copy it and moved it, it just copied that stairs. So I'm going to go back up here, so now we have the Stair_Module, so what we need to do is not only copy it but we need to move it the Run of the step plus lifted up the Rise.
So I'm going to have to add some attributes here, so I'm going to Add attribute>Position, I'm going to close this here. And once we do that, we're going to add an amount to Y that is equal to the Run plus the number of Copies. So I'm going to say 0, okay, which is the original number here, +Copy. Now we're typing in Copy singular, not Copies, and so Copies tells us how many steps we're having, Copy tells me which Copy number that individual step is.
So if I have one copy, this is going to be 1; if I have 10 copies, we're going to have 10 steps and each is going to be labeled with 1 through 10. Times, so the Copy number times the Run of the steps, so Stairs!Run. And if I do that, notice how that Copy just instantly goes out, and so now I've got my horizontal number in place. But we also need to lift the step up the length of the Rise, now I am going to need to type in the number here and I know my Rise for this particular step is 6 inches.
So Rise goes in the Z direction, so I'm going to say Z =0+Copy* the Rise (Stair!Rise). So once I have that done, notice how the step just kind of pops into place. Very cool! So I can do the same for the railings, so let's go through and do this one more time; we're going to do this a little bit more quickly. We're going to add an attribute for Copies and then add another one for Position, and so we're going to basically do the same thing here, so I'm going to minimize the Stair_Module here.
So Copies is going to equal the Length divided by the Run, and then we should get that same number. And then my Y position is going to equal 0 plus the Copy number times the Run; there we go, okay. And Z is going to be very much the same, it's going to equal 0 plus the Copy number times the Rise. So now I have two steps.
Now before we go any further, let me show you how it gets that Copy number. So I'm going to go into my steps here and double-click on these, and if I go into my Component Attributes window, you'll notice that my Stair_Module here has a value here for Copy. But if I double-click in here and actually select the actual Stair_Module here, this first one here just has Behavior Copies this is my master. If I go to the second one here, the step that has been copied, you'll see it has Copies plus it has a Read Only variable called COPY, and this is what I pulled in when I use that to determine the positioning of that step.
So now that I have this in pace, I can actually start scaling this. So if I scale this, notice how it makes the copies, but oops! I still have a little bit of an issue here. So let's go back into my Component Attributes window, and what we need to do is kind of lock down the actual size of this, so I'm just going to Undo this here, and let's go in to Add attribute>Size. And what I want to do is make sure that the sizes of these don't change, so instead of numbers, we're going to have equals which is going to force these to be the exact number that they started with.
So once I do that, as I scale, now the steps won't change, I still need to do it for the Rails, so let's go ahead and do that for the Rails. We're going to Add attribute>Length, and then again, I'm going to type in an Equal sign before the number. And that forces it to be that exact numbers; basically it locks it down from scaling, so it won't scale at all. So now that I've done that, I should be able to scale these steps and get multiple steps.
So this is a great model for you to use for multiplying other types of objects as well.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
100 Video lessons · 12007 Viewers
56 Video lessons · 11371 Viewers
83 Video lessons · 9314 Viewers
109 Video lessons · 5148 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.