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Architecture, design, and media professionals all over the world are using SketchUp to create detailed 3D models efficiently and quickly. In SketchUp 6 Essential Training, design expert George Maestri teaches the foundations of SketchUp's drawing, design, and rendering tools. He covers the fundamentals of the application, the interface, and the Sandbox extension, which is used to create realistic organic shapes and terrain. George also discusses how to model and texture objects from existing photographs and export models to Google Earth to visualize how buildings fit in a real landscape. Exercise files accompany the course.
As your scenes get more complex you are going to need a way to look at the scene kind of globally, and to look at the scene in a more abstract manner. You'll probably do this using the Outliner window, let me show you what that is. Here is the Outliner window, and right now it's pretty empty because we are in an empty scene. There is really only one object in this window and that's Bryce, which is this little guy here. Now the Outliner window contains all the objects within the scene. So in order to see how this works we need to create some more objects in the scene.
Let's start by creating a box, let's just do a rectangle, and then I am going to use the push/pull tool p to extrude that into a box. So if you notice when I create this box it doesn't show up in the Outliner window. The only way that it can show up in the Outliner window is if it's a group or a component. And you can see here that this Bryce guy he has this four pane little thing next to him, that means that he is a component. So let's make this box a group. So I am going to left-click and rubberband select this, right-click over the box and say Make Group. When you do that you will notice it comes up here as a group.
Now the difference between a Group and a Component is really this little icon here. As I was saying the four-paned one means it's a Component, the solid one means it's a Group. If you double- click on this it opens the Group, so I can actually have access to the individual objects within it. If I double-click on this I came to have access to him as well. Now once you have this group you can actually give it a name. You can do that by using the Entity Info windows so just right-click over the box, select Entity Info, and in here we have a name field. So all we have to do is just type in the word Box. When we do that and close the window you'll notice that this changes to box, so I can double-click.
Now if I want to I can copy this. Again I can just do M for Move and then just Ctrl+click and slide and I can make a couple of additional boxes. So now I have three boxes, and they all have the same name. If I want I can again just go in Entity Info and name it say Box1, and Box2 and so on, I don't have to do that, but I can. And if we want to we could actually select, I am just going to Shift+Select all of these boxes, and we can group them again. If we group them again notice how it creates a hierarchy. So I have the original group, which contains all three boxes, but I can go into any individual box within that group. Double-click on that and I can get to any individual component within that group. So this is a really good way of organizing scenes.
Now the Group itself I can also rename, this group of boxes I can have an Entity Info for that as well, and I can just call it something else, I can call it for example Boxes. When I do that it changes the name for that. Once I do this I can actually have nested groups of objects, so I can have boxes or I can hit the plus sign here and see every individual box. Now when you have a more complex scene, this is going to become a really important thing. In fact, let's go ahead and open a more complex scene. So this is just the street full of houses.
Now let's look at this instead of in the Layers window let's look at this in the Outliner window, so I am going to go Window > Outliner and you will see we've got a lot of objects in here. So as you can see each house is individually grouped and the little fences are grouped, the lampposts are components, some of the fences are groups, the houses are all groups. So you can see here which one are groups and which ones aren't. Now if I take one of these houses, say House 01 and I expand it you can see that it's actually made up of a number of different objects, in fact if I zoom in to this you can see that I actually have components within this group, so you can actually group components as well, and so each one of these has an arched window which is a component, and then I also have a simple sphere which actually just access the door knob of the door.
So you can see I can have a very complex hierarchy of objects within this scene. In fact if you want up here in the Details button you can actually expand everything, and you can see the entire hierarchy of this scene. So you can see that we've got a lot objects in this scene and we've got a lot of hierarchies here. We can also collapse all. So let's take a look at for example one of these streetlights. This is a really good example of multiple grouping.
So we take one of these lampposts here and expand it, we'll see that it's a component and under here we have a component called lamp head, which is the head of the lamppost, and under there we have a group, which is this, which is the top of the lamp. Then we have another group, which is the very, very tiptop of the lamp. So you can see you've got this thing going three levels deep. So as you work with more-and-more complex scenes you are going to get used to working with the Outliner because it will allow you to get a much higher overview of your scene.
The key to working with the Outliner is having descriptive names. If you just group things and don't name them then you are going to look at this and everything is going to be named Group, and it's going to be meaningless, you have to give things meaningful names. So when you group something, immediately go to Entity Info and type-in a name that's meaningful, and if you can do that then as you go through your scene and you have to go back and select things you'll have meaningful names that you can go back to. So that's the basics of the Outliner.
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