Dynamic Components Frequently Asked Questions

Dynamic Components Frequently Asked Questions

What is a SketchUp component?
SketchUp components are groups of geometry (edges and faces) that anyone can make in SketchUp. They're kind of like mini-models within your main model, and they can represent anything - furniture, plants, vehicles - anything. You can find pre-made components in the Components browser in SketchUp. You can also find them (lots of them) in the 3D Warehouse.

What is a Dynamic Component?
Dynamic Components are SketchUp components to which attributes have been assigned. Attributes can be simple pieces of extra information like Part Number, Cost and Weight. Attributes can also contain spatial relationships (like how two parts are positioned relative to each other), and behaviors (like animation and smart scaling). Some Dynamic Components are very simple (a pipe elbow with a part number attached), and some are very complex (a door whose trim doesn't stretch when you scale it, which can be configured into thousands of different permutations, and which swings open and closed when you click on it).

Where do Dynamic Components come from?
Any SketchUp Component can be turned into a Dynamic Component. To create and edit Dynamic Components, you need SketchUp Pro 7 or higher. Some Dynamic Components are created by us at Google (just to get the ball rolling), some are created by manufacturers and resellers to promote their products, and the rest are created by SketchUp Pro users all over the world.

How can I tell if a component is dynamic?
In the SketchUp Component browser and on the 3D Warehouse, Dynamic Components are identified by a little, green icon that looks like this:

Where can I get pre-made Dynamic Components?
You can find Dynamic Components in two places:

  • In the "Components Sampler" and "Dynamic Components Training" collections, accessible from SketchUp's Component browser (Menu > Window > Components)
  • In the 3D Warehouse, using Advanced Search to specify "dynamic models" or by including the term is:dynamic in your search query. For example, search [dining table is:dynamic].

Are Dynamic Components free?

Can anyone use Dynamic Components?
Anyone with SketchUp 7 (or higher) can use existing Dynamic Components, but you need SketchUp Pro to create new ones.

How do Dynamic Components work?
Dynamic Components "work" in different ways based what the person who created them wants them to do. But basically, you can interact with Dynamic Components in four ways:

  1. Using the Interact tool (Menu > Tools > Interact), you can click on a component to make it do what it's set up to do (animate, go to a scene, etc). If a Dynamic Component is set up to react to the Interact tool, the Interact tool cursor will change its appearance when you move over the component. It will look like this:
  2. Using the Component Options dialog box (Menu > Window > Component Options), you can configure a component by choosing options from lists and typing in dimensions and numbers. Keep in mind that only some Dynamic Components are "connected" to the Component Options dialog box.
  3. Using the Scale tool (Menu > Tools > Scale), you can make a component get bigger or smaller without distorting, just like the real-world object it represents. For example, some dynamic stairs are set up to automatically add steps as you scale them larger. Some Dynamic Components are "connected" to the Scale tool, and some are not.
  4. If you're using SketchUp Pro, you can edit the underlying attributes of existing Dynamic Components (or create new ones) by using the Component Attributes dialog box (Menu > Component Attributes).

Do I have to be a computer programmer to create Dynamic Components?
Absolutely not. As long as you have SketchUp Pro and have a basic familiarity with using formulas in spreadsheets, you can create your own Dynamic Components.

What kinds of components can be dynamic?
Absolutely any SketchUp component can be made dynamic.

Where can I learn more about building my own Dynamic Components?
Depending on your learning style, you can read the User Guide, watch the videos, check out a Self Paced Tutorials or explore the Function Examples to learn from sample working Dynamic Components.