Viewing a Model in 3D Space

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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.

There are several tools in SketchUp for viewing your model in 3D space. The most commonly used camera tools are the Orbit tool, Pan tool, Zoom tool, and Zoom extents tool.

Preparing to Use the Viewing Tools

You must have a model in the drawing area before we can practice viewing. By default, SketchUp contains a model of a person at the origin of the axes. You can use that model for the purposes of these exercises. Or, follow these steps to place one of SketchUp's pre-built models into the drawing area:

  1. Click on Window > Components. The Component Browser is displayed.
  2. Click on the 'Collections and Searches' drop-down list identified by a downward arrow ().
  3. Click on the Architecture item. Architectural collections are listed.
  4. Click on one of the collections, such as "Furniture." The 3D Warehouse appears.
  5. Click on one of the collections, such as "Beds." Several components appear.
  6. Click on one of the pre-built architectural models, such as a "Twin size bunk bed." The Twin size bunk bed page appears.
  7. Click on the Download Model button. The Load into Model? dialog box appears.
  8. Click on the Yes button. The model appears in SketchUp attached to the Select tool.
  9. Click anywhere in the drawing area to place the model. The model will be positioned in the drawing area.

Using the Orbit Tool

Use the Orbit Tool to rotate the camera about the model and is often used while drawing to quickly change your view in between drawing operations. Activate the Orbit Tool from either the Camera Toolbar or the Camera menu. To orbit your model:

  1. Click on the Orbit Tool ( ) in the toolbar. The cursor changes to two interconnected perpendicular ovals (( ).
  2. Click anywhere in the drawing area.
  3. Move your cursor in any direction to rotate around the center of the drawing area.

Using the Orbit Tool (3-Button Mouse)

A 3-button mouse allows you to orbit a model without exiting the current drawing tool, speeding up your drawing. To orbit with a 3-button mouse:

  1. Click on the Pencil Tool () in the toolbar. The cursor changes to a pencil ().
  2. Click and hold the middle-mouse button. The cursor changes to the Orbit Tool cursor ( ).
  3. Move your cursor in any direction to rotate around the center of the drawing area (continue to keep your finger pressed on the middle mouse button).
  4. Release the middle-mouse button to return to the Pencil Tool (). The cursor changes back to a pencil ().

Using the Pan Tool

Use the Pan Tool to move the camera (your view) vertically and horizontally. Activate the Pan Tool from either the Camera Toolbar or the Camera menu. To pan using the Pan Tool:

  1. Click on the Pan Tool (). The cursor changes to a hand ().
  2. Click anywhere in the drawing area.
  3. Move the cursor in any direction to pan.

Using the Pan Tool (3-Button Mouse)

A 3-button mouse allows you to pan your view without exiting the current drawing tool, speeding up your drawing. To orbit with a 3-button mouse:

  1. Click on the Pencil Tool () in the toolbar. The cursor changes to a pencil ().
  2. Press and hold the Shift key.
  3. Press and hold the middle-mouse button. The cursor changes to the Pan Tool cursor ().
  4. (optionally) Press and hold the left mouse button while pressing and holding the middle mouse button (scroll wheel) to activate the Pan Tool.

Using the Zoom Tool

Use the Zoom Tool to move the camera (your view) in or out. Activate the Zoom Tool from either the Camera Toolbar or the Camera menu.

  1. Click on the Zoom Tool () in the toolbar. The cursor changes to a magnifying glass ().
  2. Click and hold anywhere in the drawing area.
  3. Drag the cursor up to zoom in (closer to the model) and down to zoom out (farther from the model).

Using the Zoom Tool (3-Button Mouse)

A 3-button mouse allows you to zoom in or out without exiting the current drawing tool, speeding up your drawing. To zoom with a 3-button mouse:

  1. Click on the Pencil Tool () in the toolbar. The cursor changes to a pencil ().
  2. Roll the scroll wheel (middle-mouse button) forward to zoom in on your model.
  3. Roll the scroll wheel (middle-mouse button) back to zoom out from your model.

Using the Zoom Extents Tool

Use the Zoom Extents Tool to zoom your view to a distance where the whole model is visible and centered in the drawing area. Activate the Zoom Extents Tool from either the Camera Toolbar or the Camera menu. The Zoom Extents Tool is often used when your model goes off screen or you find yourself confused about the view of your model. Click on the Zoom Extents Tool () in the toolbar. Your model is centered in the drawing area.

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