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Creating a Basic Component

When you transform geometry into a component, your 3D model has all the basic component behaviors and capabilities:

  • Your component is reusable.
  • The component geometry becomes separate from any geometry to which it’s currently connected. (This is similar to groups.)
  • Anytime you edit your component, you can edit the component instance or the definition.
  • If you like, you can make your component stick to a specific plane (by setting its gluing plane) or cut a hole in a face (by setting its cutting plane).
  • You can associate metadata, such as IFC classification types, with the component. Classifying Objects introduces the main classification systems and how you can use them with SketchUp components.

Tip: Before you create your component, make sure it’s aligned to the drawing axes and connected to other geometry in the way you intend to use the component. This tip is especially important if you want the component to have a gluing plane or a cutting plane, because this context ensures that the component sticks to the plane or cuts a face in the way you expect. For example, make sure a couch’s legs are on the horizontal plane. Unless you need a window or a door in the floor, create a window or door component on a wall that’s vertically aligned to the blue axis.

When you create a component, you can create it right in your model or in a separate SketchUp file. Either way, you use the Create Component dialog box, as shown in the following figure.

Follow these steps to create a component:

  1. Select the geometry you want to include in your component. For tips on making selections, see Selecting geometry.
  2. Choose Edit > Make Component from the menu bar, or context-click the selection and choose Make Component. The Create Component dialog box appears.
  3. In the NameDefinition box, type a meaningful name for your component. You want the name to be specific enough that you can easily locate the component in the Outliner among your other geometry. See Working with Hierarchies in the Outliner for tips on naming groups or components.
  4. In the Description box, add a short description of your component.

    Tip: The description is a great place to include details that will be meaningful to you or others over time. For example, whereas your component name might be “St. Patrick Window,” the description can include more detail, such as, “A Gothic-style Harry Clark stained-glass window that depicts St. Patrick and has a cutting plane.”

  5. (Optional) To set a gluing plane, select one of the following options from the Glue To drop-down list: Any, Horizontal, Vertical, Sloped. When you select a gluing plane, the Cut Opening checkbox becomes active, and the Always Face Camera and Shadows Face Sun options become inactive. If you set a gluing plane, go to Step 6. If you don’t want to set a gluing plane or a cutting plane, skip to Step 7.
  6. (Optional) To enable your component to cut an opening in a face, select the Cut Opening checkbox. Skip to Step 9.
  7. (Optional) To make your component a 2D form, select the Always Face Camera option, which increases performance by eliminating the need to render the component as a 3D model. SketchUp comes with several 2D people components that are examples of 2D forms that always face the camera. If you leave this option deselected, skip to Step 9. If you select this option, the Shadows Face Sun option becomes active; go to Step 8
  8. (Optional) Select the Shadows Face Sun checkbox to cast shadows from the component’s current position as though the component were facing the sun. The shadow shape does not change as the component rotates to face the camera.

    Tip: The Shadows Face Sun option works best with components that have short bases (such as trees). This option does not work well with components that have wide bases (such as people in midstride).

  9. (Optional) Click the Set Component Axes button to move the component’s axis origin or the cutting plane. After you click the button, the cursor enables you to set a new axis origin in the same way you use the Axes tool. After you set a new component axis origin, the Create Component dialog box becomes active again.

    Tip: You might change the component’s axis origin for the following reasons:
    • The component’s axis origin determines what corner of the component is loaded onto the Move tool cursor when you insert a component instance in a model.
    • The red/green plane’s orientation also defines the cutting plane. If you want a vertical cutting plane, like the back of a window, to cut a face, then you need to move the red/green plane to the back of the window. The following figure shows a window component in the making, after the component axis origin was reset to place the cutting plane on the back of the window.
    • If you’re using the Shadows Face Sun option, position the component’s axis origin at the bottom center of the component for best results.

  10. (Optional) Select an option from the Type drop-down list if you’re using classification data. See Classifying Objects for details.
  11. Leave the Replace Selection with Component checkbox selected if you want to transform the geometry you selected in Step 1 into a component. Deselect this box to leave the geometry as-is but create a component definition based on it. The component definition becomes available in your In Model collection.
  12. Click the Create button to complete your component.


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