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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.
So now we want to take a look at one of the more important features of SketchUp Pro and that's the Component Attributes window. Now this is only available to SketchUp Pro users, but it's also a very powerful way to create your own dynamic components. Now you can access this window in two ways. One, you can actually just use the pull- down menu and you can just go into the Component Attributes window, or you can right-click over an object and just scroll down to Dynamic Components and pick Component Attributes. Both will pull up the same window.
Now this is a Component Attributes window. It has a number of different sections. Along the top we have Info, which will give you various infos about different types of things within the body of the Component Attributes window. We also have a Functions tab, which allows us to use mathematical functions to calculate attributes and we'll get to that in a little bit. We also have a Refresh button which just refreshes the values and we also have what's called a Toggle Formula View, which allows us to toggle whether formulas display or not, and again, I'll show you how that works a little bit later.
Now the most important thing about this window is that you can add your own custom attributes to an object. Now we've a number of different preset attributes and those could be added down here. So wherever you see Add attribute, that's where we can add them in. If I click on that, you can see here I've got a whole list of attributes. I can have, for example, info about the component such as an item code, such as a product code that sort of thing. Also the position of the object, the size of the object, in other words, the scale, the rotation, as well as behaviors such as how the scales.
For example, how do you want this object to scale? Do you want it to scale evenly or not? We can also do Form Design and actually create custom forms for your object. Now I'm going to keep this simple and I am just going to go ahead and click here on Position and just add in X, Y, and Z position. As you notice it actually adds in those attributes here and we can do a number of things with those. We can actually just type in numbers. So for example, if I don't want him at 20.99 inches in the X direction, I can just type in a number.
I can type in 0 and it will pop over to 0 and we can do the same for Y. We can actually bring him right back to the origin. Let's go ahead and move him over and then reselect him so we can see what we're doing. Now another thing we can do is we can add in formulas. So, for example, for the Z position, I could type in a number, say, 25 and he would raise 25 inches into the air. But if I wanted to, I could also type in an equal sign and then type in a formula.
Now I could just say =X+Y. Now all I've to do is either type in the value or I can click on it and it will insert it automatically, so I could actually click on any one of these. For example, I just clicked on Description and it will go ahead and add that in, but I really don't want that because that's not a number. So I'm going to leave it at X+Y, and just hit Return or Enter. So now the value of Z is calculated as = X+Y. So as you can see it's bold while these are grayed out.
Now these are user defined and this one is calculated. Now this is where the Toggle Formula View comes in handy. So for example, if I toggle this, you can see how it shows either the formula or the end result. So for example, now let's go ahead and use this. So if I had it as say, 5 units in X, you can also see it's now 5 inches in Z. If I put another say 12 inches in the Y direction, you can see he jumps up to 17 inches high, because it's =5+12 or X+Y. Now this is actually a very trivial example, but you can see how SketchUp now has the hooks to do some very complex operations that we'll be getting into in a little bit.
So to refresh, the Component Attributes window allows you to create components as well as combine different components using mathematical formulas to create smart objects.
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