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Creating a dynamic staircase

From: Google SketchUp 8 Essential Training

Video: Creating a dynamic staircase

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.

Creating a dynamic staircase

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Google SketchUp 8 Essential Training
Google SketchUp 8 Essential Training

88 video lessons · 28795 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 7m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Installing SketchUp
      1m 12s
    3. Starting SketchUp for the first time
      47s
    4. Using the exercise files
      49s
    5. Tips for Mac users
      3m 22s
  2. 43m 52s
    1. Interface basics
      4m 42s
    2. Adding toolbars
      2m 38s
    3. Navigating
      3m 48s
    4. Changing perspective
      2m 51s
    5. Walking around
      3m 12s
    6. Creating camera views
      5m 15s
    7. Shading faces and edges
      7m 59s
    8. Creating shadows and fog
      5m 50s
    9. Creating Scenes
      5m 9s
    10. Setting preferences
      2m 28s
  3. 22m 19s
    1. Selecting and moving objects
      6m 25s
    2. Scaling and rotating objects
      5m 36s
    3. Manipulating faces and edges
      4m 8s
    4. Advanced selection tools
      6m 10s
  4. 48m 47s
    1. Line tool fundamentals
      5m 42s
    2. Refining objects with the Line tool
      3m 39s
    3. Using the Rectangle tool
      4m 44s
    4. Pushing and pulling faces into 3D
      5m 30s
    5. Creating circles and polygons
      6m 5s
    6. Creating arcs
      4m 0s
    7. Using the Offset tool to create outlines
      8m 33s
    8. Using the Follow Me tool
      3m 24s
    9. Softening round edges
      5m 16s
    10. Creating 3D text
      1m 54s
  5. 16m 45s
    1. Using the Tape Measure tool
      4m 41s
    2. Using the Protractor tool
      7m 16s
    3. Creating text labels
      1m 7s
    4. Using the Dimension tool
      1m 18s
    5. Creating sections
      2m 23s
  6. 20m 45s
    1. The Component window
      5m 32s
    2. Creating components
      3m 55s
    3. Using the 3D Warehouse
      3m 15s
    4. Importing from Google Earth
      2m 26s
    5. Using the Interact tool
      1m 54s
    6. Using the Component Options window
      3m 43s
  7. 25m 3s
    1. Grouping objects
      5m 42s
    2. Working with layers
      3m 27s
    3. Creating layers
      4m 20s
    4. Using the Outliner
      6m 42s
    5. Hiding and unhiding objects
      2m 48s
    6. Locking and unlocking objects
      2m 4s
  8. 41m 32s
    1. Using the Materials Browser on a Mac
      2m 49s
    2. Applying materials
      3m 2s
    3. Editing materials
      5m 4s
    4. Creating materials
      3m 19s
    5. Adjusting materials
      4m 38s
    6. Applying bitmap images
      2m 43s
    7. Mapping curved objects
      3m 39s
    8. Projecting maps on curved objects
      3m 27s
    9. Importing floor plans
      4m 27s
    10. Modeling with floor plans
      8m 24s
  9. 27m 11s
    1. Applying styles
      2m 26s
    2. Editing styles
      8m 30s
    3. Outputting 2D bitmaps
      3m 13s
    4. Basic animation
      5m 56s
    5. Advanced animation
      7m 6s
  10. 20m 40s
    1. Creating terrain from contours
      6m 22s
    2. Modeling objects with contours
      1m 42s
    3. Creating terrain from scratch
      3m 40s
    4. Sculpting with the Smoove tool
      3m 2s
    5. Stamping and draping objects on terrain
      5m 54s
  11. 15m 3s
    1. Geolocation with Google Maps
      3m 11s
    2. Using Photo Match to align cameras
      4m 30s
    3. Modeling in Photo Match
      7m 22s
  12. 59m 46s
    1. Using the Component Attributes window
      6m 41s
    2. Exposing component attributes
      6m 0s
    3. Using math and functions
      8m 49s
    4. Creating dynamic materials
      7m 2s
    5. Creating a dynamic staircase
      8m 52s
    6. Hiding objects dynamically
      2m 58s
    7. Configuring staircase rise and run
      5m 21s
    8. Adding interactivity: Motion
      5m 24s
    9. Adding interactivity: Rotation
      4m 55s
    10. Adding interactivity: Changing colors
      3m 44s
  13. 15m 58s
    1. Creating solids
      2m 25s
    2. Using Boolean operations (Union, Intersect, Subtract)
      6m 46s
    3. Working with Trim and Split
      4m 45s
    4. Creating outer shells
      2m 2s
  14. 21m 28s
    1. Importing objects from AutoCAD
      6m 40s
    2. Importing other 3D objects
      3m 8s
    3. Exporting objects
      5m 39s
    4. Exporting objects for rendering
      6m 1s
  15. 14s
    1. Goodbye
      14s

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