Learn to Use the Component Attributes Window in SketchUp 8
Using the Component Attributes window
Now let's take a look at Dynamic Components in SketchUp, and these are smart components; they allow you to add intelligence to your objects. Now we use these a little bit in the earlier chapters where we used the Interact tool to actually interact with objects. And creating these objects is a function of SketchUp Pro, so you'll need SketchUp Pro in order to do this chapter as well as the later chapters. But if you do have SketchUp Pro installed then we can proceed. Now Dynamic Components are found in a couple of places.
The first one is under Window, we have Component Attributes and that's really the core of creating dynamic components, or If we select any component and right-click over it, we can go into the Dynamic Components menu and find Component Attributes. Both of these bring up the exact same window. Now this Component Attributes window allows us to add and create smart components and smart behaviors for our objects.
So in the case of this character here, Susan, we can actually use the Interact tool to change the color of her shirt. And notice how as I interact with her, her material color is changing right here, so every time I click, it changes. And we can see here what the programming is; onClick set Color to this color, this color, this color, this color. So basically it has four colors defined by the RGB values and basically every time you click, it swaps between each one of those colors.
Now this window has two tabs; one is the Info tab, and basically this just tells you how to work this menu. And the second one is the Functions tab, and if we scroll down in this, you can see that we have all sorts of functions that we can use to add our smart behaviors, everything from Logical Functions to onClick, so when you click on something, what you want to do with it; Trigonometric Functions, Text, specific SketchUp Functions as well as just regular Math Functions.
All of these can be used to program your objects. Now along the top also we have what's called a Refresh button and this will just refresh the window in case it doesn't automatically, and then we have this one called Toggle Formula View. Now what this does is it toggles the formula if we look here at Material, we can see that the Material = Color, and here's where we're setting colors, so the materials equal that color, or this is the result of that. So either we're showing the equations or the results of the equations, okay.
So both modes are handy, just note that that button is there. Now down here we can actually add our own attributes or add existing attributes to our objects. So if I click the Plus sign here, it'll pull up this menu. And this gives me a number of options; one is Component Info, do we want stuff like item codes; if you want to add a barcode number to an object, you can do that. The object's Position, its Size, how it's Rotated, as well as Behaviors; how do you want the Scale tool to work, if you wanted to make Copies.
So if I scale something, I can make multiple copies and we'll get into that as well. Do we want to create forms; we can actually create forms that are attached to our objects, or If we want we can enter a custom attribute as well. And we're going to be getting into most of these later and let's just do something really simple. I'm just going to go ahead and add in the attributes for Position. So what this does is it gives me these options here, X, Y, and Z. Now if you look at the actual scene, you'll see that the Red Axis is the X Axis, the Green Axis is Y, and the Z Axis is the Up and Down or the Blue Axis.
So the best shorthand is to remember that R, G, B equals X, Y, Z, so Red, Green, Blue and X, Y, Z are together. So Red is X, Green is Y, Blue is Z. But the more important thing is that we have numbers in here, and so the simplest way to use this is that we can actually just type in numbers, so this is a great way to actually precisely position your objects. So let's say I wanted this object exactly at 0, so I want to go ahead and type in 0 for X and type in 0 for Y, and it's already at 0 for Z. So now we have Susan right over the origin.
Now if I want I can also type in any other number I want; let's say I go to Z and let's say I want to put her 12 inches above the origin. So that'll basically just put her a 12 inches high in Z; I'm going to go ahead and 0 that out. So another thing we can do is we can actually input equation, so we can actually tie the value of one variable to another. So when we input equations, we can actually tie one attribute to another. So, for example, for Z, I can actually type in the number, or I can type in an Equal sign, and then say well equals what.
Well, we could say it =X; I can either type in X as a number, or I can click on X here. So if I just click on this variable, it'll add it in. So all I have to do is say now Z =X; hit Return. Notice how these are still gray but this is bold; that means that this is calculated. And if we want, we can toggle Formula View and you can see what the formula is; it's =X. So let's put a number in for X, so let's say let's put in 12. So if I put in 12, it goes 12 in the X direction plus 12 in the Z direction.
So let's go a little bit further with this, we can say =X+Y, so now I'm doing math. So I can say =X+Y, hit Enter. Now I can say let's say Y is a 10, so it goes 10 in the Green direction, 10 in the Blue direction, and let's say Y is 6. So now it goes 6 in this direction plus 16 and you can the see the numbers right here. So this example might not be too practical, but you can see how we can start tying the behavior of one attribute to those of others.
I'm going to get a lot more sophisticated than this in the later lessons. So to sum up, SketchUp Pro allows you to create smart objects or Dynamic Components. And those can have all sorts of attributes applied to them, and those attributes can also be calculated to make your components smart.
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