Viewing models in 3 dimensions

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SketchUp implements the concept of a camera to represent your point of view of the model. Simply, you (the user) are treated as though you were a camera looking at your model as you work. This concept is particularly important when your model is something that you want to tour, such as a house, as though you were walking through it in the real world. In this case, SketchUp allows you to change your point of view to a specific height and angle to the model and walk through the model as though it were real.

Manipulating the camera

You can manipulate the camera (your view) in a number of ways to aid you in your designing.

Camera tools

There are other ways to manipulate the camera (your point of view) in SketchUp, including zooming in and out and panning. The following table lists all of the camera tools in SketchUp:









Zoom Window


Zoom Extents


Position Camera




Look Around


Perspective and paraline projections

In addition to your point of view, you can view items in SketchUp in a paraline (also called axonometric) projection or in a perspective projection. Axonometric means 'measurable from the axes' and an axonometric projection is a view of a model in which lines appear parallel in both 3 dimensional and 2 dimensional space. Also, lines have a length that is to some scale in an axonometric projection when printed (for example 4' in SketchUp = 1" on paper). The following image shows a axonometric or paraline projection, notice how the roof, and wall lines appear parallel.

Perspective, however, distorts the view such that it represents the model as though the lines were vanishing to a horizon (certain items appear closer while other items appear to be far away; entities are not to scale). The following image shows a perspective projection.

SketchUp defaults to a perspective view, but can be toggled into a paraline view for those who prefer a point of view that is similar to what you would see when drawing 3D objects in a 2D space (such as when drawing a cube on flat paper).

Note: The iso camera view in SketchUp is not the same as an isometric projection in which anything along the x, y or z axis are in proportion. This view simply shows you all of your model and is a standard camera angle for viewing models in a 3D space.


SketchUp layers are used to control the visibility of geometry within large models. A SketchUp layer is an attribute with a name, such as 'Layer0,' 'Layer9,' or 'Chairs.' Elements can be assigned different layers. For example, all Component entities that are chairs can be assigned to the 'Chairs' layer. This layer can be then be hidden temporarily to hide everything on the layer from view.

Note: Geometry on one layer is not separated from geometry on another layer. For example, faces sharing a common edge will both be affected by a modification to that edge regardless of what layer the faces are on.

Default "Layer0"

There is one Layer, Layer0, in SketchUp, by default. All entities are automatically placed on this layer unless you create another layer, designate the new layer as the active layer, and create entities on the new layer.

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