Manual

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Install the Latest Version:  

RELEASE NOTES:

Keep in mind when updating from ConDoc 4.7…

  • You can upgrade by accepting the prompt inside of SketchUp, or by downloading the latest version from your Profile page. There is no need to uninstall old versions before installing the new version.
  • On update, drawing sets from previous versions will remain untouched in your plugins folder, while the new drawing sets will be added.
  • The drawing sets are similar, but some drawing names in the new drawing sets have changed, meaning they will not run a proper ConDoc Export on scenes created with the old drawing set. Continue using old drawing sets to finish any projects you have already started.
  • ConDoc LT is the default drawing set on a new install.
  • On upgrade, ConDoc will continue using the last drawing set you loaded.

NEW IN CONDOC 4.8:

  • New ConDoc LT Drawing Set
  • 45 Degree Shadows on Elevations
  • Expanded ConDoc 2D Drafting System
  • Improved ConDoc PRO Drawing Sets
  • Improved Background Drawing Set
  • New Site Plan Drawings with Dynamic Topography
  • New Section Perspective Drawings
  • Improved Digital Site Survey
  • Updated Tutorials and Manual

STEP 1: On your Profile page, click the large red “DOWNLOAD CONDOC TOOLS” button to save the latest .rbz file to your desktop.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner css=”.vc_custom_1569966208949{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]STEP 2: In SketchUp, click on the Window drop-down > Extension Manager. Click the “Install Extension” button in the bottom left corner and select the ConDoc Tools .rbz that you just downloaded. Restart SketchUp.

 

 

 

 

 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner css=”.vc_custom_1569966851289{padding-bottom: 75px !important;}”][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]STEP 3:  Click on the Extensions drop-down > ConDoc > Activate to open the ConDoc activation dialog. Use your www.condoctools.com username and password to activate the extension.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1569968390242{padding-bottom: 75px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_btn title=”TEACH ME MORE” color=”inverse” size=”lg” align=”center” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-youtube-play” button_block=”true” add_icon=”true” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fcondoctools.com%2Ftutorials%2F%23getting-started|||”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_btn title=”DIG IN DEEPER” color=”black” size=”lg” align=”center” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-book” button_block=”true” add_icon=”true” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fcondoctools.com%2Fmanual%2F%231492100731430-3343b013-4572|||”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_text_separator title=”WHAT IS CONDOC” title_align=”separator_align_left” color=”black” border_width=”2″][vc_column_text]ConDoc is a series of templates, layers, and model organization strategies that provide a clear path for SketchUp success. The ConDoc System is built to achieve specific results for designers; expanded array of line weights, dynamic hatches, communication with consultants, drafting 2D details, and sharing work amongst a team.

ConDoc comes loaded with all the layers you need to efficiently organize your model, a Heads-Up Display that keeps the designer constantly in line with the ConDoc Standards, a Plan Generator to help set up your new construction or renovation projects, and Drawings in Layout to that provide 100% connectivity between your 3D model and 2D construction documents for creating industry standard drawing packets in SketchUp Pro and Layout.

We are driven to provide you with a seamless work flow process, ease all of the intricate steps involved in document creation, and enable you to have complete control in all aspects of your project without the need to use other software programs. We hope you enjoy using ConDoc Tools Version 4, thank you for your download!

The following information contained in this manual is derived from The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture Second Edition. We hope you find it useful![/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_tta_accordion active_section=”0″ collapsible_all=”true”][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-lightbulb-o” add_icon=”true” title=”SOLUTIONS” tab_id=”1492100731430-3343b013-4572″][vc_empty_space height=”50″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]Regardless of your skill level, there is a ConDoc solution for you. ConDoc 2D is easy instant drafting, ConDoc LT generates professional 2D drawings from any 3D model, and ConDoc Pro opens up the full suite of professional features. A ConDoc Pro subscription includes all three solutions for one low price. This is a complete design and drafting system, everything you need to create stunning drawings like a pro, today![/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

CONDOC 2D

Simple drafting system, professional results. This delightful drafting system is so effortless that you will be knocking out impressive drawings within one hour, guaranteed!

  • Easy Drag-and-Drop 2D Drafting – If you can use a mouse, you can draft professional drawings with ConDoc 2D. Browse through our curated collection of building elements, furniture, fixtures, plants, and appliances. Drag-and-drop to place. Click-and-drag to arrange. It does not get any simpler!
  • Instant Graphic Standards – Your graphic standards struggle ends with the simple act of installing ConDoc. Instantly upgrade your resource libraries with professional title blocks, palettes, annotations, and drafting symbols. This problem is solved, set your focus back on design!
  • Create Professional Drawings – ConDoc 2D enables anyone to make beautiful drawings. Use these symbols to weave a cohesive style through your entire set. Now your presentations look amazing, and you do too!

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CONDOC LT

Instant 2D drawings from any 3D model, even your last project. Finally, you can relax while designing in SketchUp. Freely ignore layers and model organization. Think and design in 3D any way you like, confidently knowing that ConDoc LT will automate your drawings.

  • Works With any Layers – ConDoc LT Drawing set works with anyone’s layering and model organization. Open any model you have ever created, ConDoc LT works.
  • 3D to 2D, Quick and Safe – ConDoc has been carefully refined for over 5 years. During this time we have surgically removed clicks from your workflow, carefully carving away toxic inefficiencies, resulting in increased efficiency and less opportunities for error. There is simply no faster or safer way to turn your 3D designs into full sets of precise 2D drawings.
  • Create Drawings with Easy Clicks – With ConDoc LT you are never more than a click away from professional plans, sections, elevations, and perspectives. Choose from 3 distinct default visual styles: Precise “CAD”, Loose “Sketch”, and presentation-ready “Color”.
  • Use CAD for Your Consultants – Load the ConDoc Backgrounds drawing set to generate Professional 2D CAD backgrounds for your consultants. Since all they ever see are .dwg’s, they might not even know you are using SketchUp!
NOTE: ConDoc LT is the default drawing set on a new install.

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CONDOC PRO

Professional drawings for permitting and construction. As a disciplined architect, you have high expectations for graphic standards. And for good reason, drawings are your deliverable, the only tangible object a client sees until the building is complete. Professional drawings speak to your competency. Line weights and hatches are not just for vanity, but necessary to clearly communicate your design. ConDoc architect unlocks the full array of line weights and descriptive dynamic hatches.

  • Full Sets of Drawings, Fully Automated – Right out of the box, ConDoc Pro automates all of the drawings you need to document and permit a building. Site Plan, Existing Conditions Plan, Foundation, Construction, Roof, Electrical, Floor Framing, Furniture, and more.
  • SketchUp Standards – When you’re hustling to hit a deadline, give everyone on your team the same SketchUp standards for success. Not only does this improve the team’s efficiency but it also ensures consistency. A “.condoc” file holds all of your layers, styles, and custom drawings – ready to share with your team.
  • Use CAD for Your Consultants – Load the ConDoc Backgrounds drawing set to generate Professional 2D CAD backgrounds for your consultants. Since all they ever see are .dwg’s, they might not even know you are using SketchUp!
  • Make Your Own ConDocOnce you’re mastered ConDoc Pro, you can use the Configurator to make it your own – and we can show you how!  The ConDoc Configurator makes “your ConDoc” using your own layers. Need custom drawings like a sprinkler plan? A lighting plan? A planting plan? Unique layers for your project type? It’s all possible with the ConDoc Configurator.
  • ConDoc System – When you group and layer with our mantra; LEVEL, ELEMENT, LOCATION, CONDITION, you get expanded functionality from the ConDoc system heads up display. Shuffle through levels, peel away the exterior, and isolate new, existing, and demolished entities with the click of a button.
NOTE: On upgrade, ConDoc will continue using the last drawing set you loaded.

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SketchUp Resources

Our previous ‘demo models’ and ‘ConDoc Components’ have moved and are now available on the 3D Warehouse.

  1. Navigate to 3D Warehouse in SketchUp or online via https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com
  2. Search ‘ConDoc’, download demo models and dynamic components.

LayOut Resources

Our previous version 3 titleblocks and LayOut resources are now built into your ConDoc.rbz. No need to manually install everything, simply add the ConDoc.rbz as mentioned above and everything will be put in place for you. If you do have any windows open, be sure to close everything, quit and re-start LayOut after you install the ConDoc.rbz.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

Find our ConDoc 4 resources in the 3D warehouse.

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 Your  ‘ConDoc Annotations’ are included in your ConDoc4.rbz.

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 Your  ‘ConDoc Titleblocks’ are included in your ConDoc4.rbz.

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Core Concepts of Model Organization

 

The system works like this: Nested groups have layers applied to each level. Group the same order every time, regardless of the project size or type: LEVEL > ELEMENT > LOCATION > CONDITION. Each part of the design model will be placed in the corresponding group. This is our baseline, our default system. Once you master it, you can expand the system into whatever you need, simplify it for your industry, and expedite it with shortcuts to save some time.

Layer0 is always active, all edges and surfaces are drawn on Layer0, and all groups will be assigned to Layer0 when they are created. The ConDoc System will warn you if Layer0 is not current; just click on the warning to fix it. The ConDoc System is there to keep you on track.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner content_placement=”middle”][vc_column_inner][vc_empty_space height=”50″][vc_single_image image=”16820″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

Model organization overview graphic.

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The ConDoc System warns you when Layer0 is not active. Simply click on the warning to remedy the problem.

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Within the SketchUp Workfl ow for Architecture system, the new, existing, and demolished condition
is always last, or the smallest container in the nested line. The ConDoc System illustrates this in a compressed string
of text.

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  • Group early and often. A model that has been grouped can be salvaged; a model that has not been grouped is unworkable. It is much easier to explode a group, or ungroup, than it is to pick through a
    pile of sticky geometry. When in doubt, make it a group!
  • Group objects together by categories that the layers describe, then assign the layer to a group. Only assign layers to groups, not to edges or surfaces.

TIP: One exception to this rule is the CONDOC – Always Off layer. This layer can be applied to edges to “visually merge” two groups together, making them seamless, such as first and second story walls on a two-story project or where new walls meet existing walls.

  • There is a series of switches that works every time. Always assign layers to nested groups in this order: Level > Element > Location > Condition.
  • The CONDITION groups—new, existing, and demolished layers—are always the last level of organization.
  • Each LEVEL group gets a floor and a ceiling and everything in between. Ceilings build down off the bottom of the floor above.
  • Interior walls go from finished floor to ceiling. Exterior walls go from finished floor to finished floor above. These are typical situations and can be broken as necessary.
  • All door openings, interior and exterior, must be cut all the way to the bottom of the wall; otherwise, plans will not net a clean opening.

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Nesting Groups and Layers

 

A persistent question is why do we need nested groups? Why don’t we layer per line like computer-aided design (CAD)? Once you understand the benefit, it’s a no-brainer—the system presented is a fool proof, easier way of doing things. It eliminates opportunity for errors and requires less troubleshooting. Nested groups avoid having an endless layers list.

For example, if you have a two-story house with a basement, you would need hundreds, maybe thousands, of layers to accurately describe each combination of LEVEL, ELEMENT, LOCATION, and CONDITION. Managing that many layers is hard enough; imagine applying them to all of your geometry. With nested layers, you are able to reuse layers within each LEVEL, within each ELEMENT, within each LOCATION, and within each CONDITION.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”50″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16844″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

Group your model accordingly. Note the floor height for finished floors are included in level layers.

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Door openings are always cut to the finished floor.

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Nesting Groups

 

Start with nesting groups within one another. This is the way to organize every model, for every project type, to get predictable results. This section is more theory than practice but will be a strong resource later. Just take a moment to understand the order of how the model is organized with this system; you will implement in practice for new construction and renovation projects. The order in which you actually group your model is likely different than the order the groups are explained in this section. What order you group doesn’t matter, as long as the final organization is correct.

To start nesting groups, you first need to separate the different levels of your design into groups: one group that holds everything on the first level, another group that holds everything on the second level, and so on.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”16850″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

The objects and geometry that represent each level of the model are first separated into LEVEL groups.

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Twenty-five ELEMENT groups within each LEVEL group.

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Three CONDITION groups within each of the LOCATION groups within each of the ELEMENT groups within the each of the LEVEL groups.

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Edges, surfaces, and objects are held within each of the three CONDITION groups. This is the last level of organization for the default system.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space height=”50″][vc_column_text]Next, double-click inside of each of the LEVEL groups; you will need to make 25 groups that hold ELEMENT entities. Select the walls, right-click, make group. Select the floors, right-click, make group. Select the roofs, right-click, make group. Do this for all 25 ELEMENT groups that correspond with the objects represented by the ELEMENT layers.

Inside each of the ELEMENT groups, you will add two LOCATION groups, one to hold exterior entities, the other to hold interior entities. Inside each of the LOCATION groups, you will add three CONDITION groups, one to hold new entities, one to hold existing entities, and one to hold demolished entities. Inside CONDITION groups is where you will add edges, surfaces, and objects. Because groups are invisible containers, the best way to build a model is to get after it—that is, just start modeling. Begin by grouping objects based on the layers; these layers are also further described in the next section so you know what goes in each group. You will need to select geometry and objects in order to create the groups. Build the walls, make a group. Add doors and windows, then put them each in their respective group. Add floors and ceilings, then put them each in their respective groups. Once you have a decent amount of the model built, select all the elements that make up the first level, and put them in a group. Take it from there. Let’s use a simple model to illustrate the point. Here is a simple two-level renovation composed of new and existing floors, walls, and a roof.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”50″][vc_single_image image=”16849″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

Group geometry and objects within each level based on the ELEMENT layers. For instance, roofs grouped together, walls grouped together, floors grouped together, etc. You will do this for all ELEMENT layers. Within each ELEMENT layer, the organization continues with LOCATION and CONDITION.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]TIP:  You could use components just the same, but if an element is unique, not repeating, and the only one in the model, then there is no need for it to be a component. Components are better suited to objects, specifically repeating objects. Groups are better suited to overall model organization.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Layers

 

Layers control the visibility of entities in SketchUp; edges, surfaces, text, groups, components, section planes, and images can all have a layer applied to them. If an entity is on a layer that is not visible, the entity cannot be seen. You can assign only one layer to each entity in SketchUp, but if the geometry is nested inside multiple groups, we can assign a layer to each of the nested groups, which ultimate controls the visibility of the geometry in the final nested group. We need nested groups primarily for the advanced layering that makes the entire SketchUp Workflow for Architecture and ConDoc System work.

TIP:  When I say ELEMENT group, I mean the group that has the ELEMENT layers applied to it. When I mention the “LEVEL 01 group,” I am referring to the group that has the LEVEL_01 layer applied to it.

We group entities per their LEVEL, ELEMENT, LOCATION, and CONDITION, but SketchUp doesn’t know what these containers are. We need to assign layers to the nested groups. Layers are the container’s nametags— they make the geometry a “roof,” a “wall,” or a “floor” so they will be displayed appropriately. The geometry contained in the last nested group will be visible only if all the nested layers are visible. For the following example, let’s assume our model has two levels, and only the roof, walls, and floors as ELEMENTS. This will give us a simple example to test nested layer visibility.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”50″][vc_single_image image=”16867″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

This Model Organization Diagram illustrates the new exterior walls on level 01 of the simple renovation project. If any of the layers in the chain are turned off, the walls can no longer be seen.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Let’s explain what we created by assigning layers to nested groups, a series of switches to see the geometry. Like a light switch, all switches in the circuit must be on for the light to be visible. If any layer in the chain is turned off , the geometry will be invisible. Using our simplified renovation example, let’s look at the walls to demonstrate the point. They are organized LEVEL_01 > ELEMENT_Walls > LOCATION_Exterior > CONDITION_New. If any one of these layers is turned off, then the geometry that represents the walls will not be visible.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”50″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16868″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

All nested layers must be visible to see the edges, surfaces, and objects within the final CONDITION group.

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If the LEVEL layer is turned off , then all other nested groups cannot be seen, regardless of whether their ELEMENT, LOCATION, or CONDITION layers are visible. LEVEL layer turned off makes the entire level’s geometry invisible.

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If an ELEMENT layer is turned off , then all groups within it will be invisible throughout each LEVEL. ELEMENT layer turned off makes that geometry invisible in all levels.

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If a LOCATION layer is turned off , then all groups within it will be invisible throughout each ELEMENT within each LEVEL. This is how the Interior and Exterior utility scenes peel away the exterior of a model so quickly and easily. LOCATION layer turned off makes that geometry invisible for all elements in all levels.

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If a CONDITION layer is turned off , then all groups within it will be invisible throughout each LOCATION within each ELEMENT within each LEVEL. CONDITION layer turned off makes that geometry invisible in all levels.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/4″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Ultimately, if you put everything in the right place, you can use layers to control visibility with full control. This is what enables hatching, line weights, and consultant exports. The entire system runs on this concept of nesting groups with layers.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”16873″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

Place geometry in the correct group with the corresponding layer.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]TIP: Paste in place is a more powerful paste; it is used to move an entity from one group to another. Simply cut as usual, then navigate to the proper group, and choose Edit > Paste in place.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-list-ul” add_icon=”true” title=”LAYERS” tab_id=”1492101003147-dcfeeb0d-66ed”][vc_empty_space height=”50″][vc_column_text][Click to jump to a section]

LEVEL | ELEMENT | LOCATION | CONDITION | CONDOC

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TSWFA/ConDoc Default Layers

 

The following section contains a detailed explanation of each of the layers included with the core system and a description of the group they are applied to and suggested contents. You will find this to be a great reference while you are in the early stages of organizing a model. These layers are the keystone of the SketchUp Workflow for Architecture, as well as the default layers used by the ConDoc Tools. There are five categories of layers: LEVEL, ELEMENT, LOCATION, CONDITION, and CONDOC.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner el_id=”level”][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

LEVEL Layers

 

Level layers are simple and straightforward; they describe the stories of a building. LEVEL layers are the first level of model organization (Figure 15.21), holding all the subsequent nested groups for the respective levels: Level 01, Level 02, Level 03. These layers are automatically added by ConDoc Tools Plan Generator, but you can also create them manually. Levels are necessary to break a model apart into coherent plans.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16874″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

LEVEL layers are the first level of nesting.

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LEVEL layers can be added manually or automated for each project using the ConDoc Plan Generator.

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ELEMENT Layers

 

ELEMENT layers are applied to the next nested group — they can be thought of as nouns, whereas the other layers are more like adjectives. Elements are the pieces of a building that complete your design. ELEMENTS are second in line for nesting. Listed are the ELEMENT layers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16876″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT layers are the second level of nesting.

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ELEMENT layers can be added manually, included in a template, or automated by the ConDoc Configurator.

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ELEMENT_Background

 

The Background layer is applied to the nested group that holds all sketches, field measurements, and CAD imports for drawing on top of. These entities can be imported images, separate groups on Layer0, or loose geometry. Anything that drives your design is a background.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16893″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Barriers

 

The Barriers layer is applied to the nested group that holds anything that is not necessarily a wall but that gets in the way. Th ink retaining walls, fences, planters, and railings, both interior and exterior. These objects are best represented using a three-dimensional (3D) object for perspective views and two-dimensional (2D) graphics for plan views.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16795″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Beams

 

The Beams layer is applied to the group that holds components that represent the beams that hold up your design. Beams can be wood, steel, concrete—anything structural. These objects are best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16796″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Ceiling Equipment

 

The Ceiling Equipment layer is applied to the nested group that holds objects that are attached to the ceiling. For instance, fans, HVAC ducts, and sprinklers. These objects are best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16797″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Ceilings

 

The Ceilings layer is applied to the nested group that holds all edges and surfaces that represent ceilings. Ceilings are built down from the floor group in the level above. Even though a soffit technically has a vertical wall, it still belongs in the ceilings layer.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16798″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Columns

 

The Columns layer is applied to the group that holds components that represent the columns that hold up your design—usually steel, concrete, or wood posts—sometimes exposed, sometimes buried in a wall. These objects are best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16799″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Context

 

The Context layer is applied to the nested group that holds all models of surrounding buildings that are worth noting. Th is could be detailed buildings to play off of in design or even rough block buildings to describe a cityscape. These buildings are made by geo-modeling techniques, downloaded from the 3D Warehouse or from FormFonts.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16800″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Decorative Objects

 

The Decorative Objects layer is applied to the nested group that holds any object that breathes life into a scene. These objects will show up in perspective views and on the RENDER and VR scene tabs, but typically not in plan, section, and elevation. For instance, magazines on a coffee table, candles on the dining room table, or a bottle of wine in the kitchen. Because decorative objects are not used in plans, they do not need a 2D graphic and 3D object.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16801″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Doors

 

The Doors layer is applied to the nested group that holds objects representing doors. Doors must be represented by a 2D graphic and 3D object in order to render properly in plan.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16802″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Earth

 

The Earth layer is applied to the nested group that holds edges and surfaces representing soft ground including grass, mulch, and dirt.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16803″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Entourage

 

The Entourage layer is applied to the nested group that holds objects representing people, animals, and action in general that bring life to a scene. This is different from decorative objects because you often want the people turned off in SketchUp but still render decorative objects in your rendering program.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16903″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Equipment

 

The Equipment layer is applied to the nested group that holds objects that represent appliances, HVAC units, electrical boxes, and utilities. These objects are best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16904″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Fixtures

 

The Fixtures layer is applied to the nested group that holds all objects that represent plumbing fixtures, millwork, sinks, vanities, cabinets, and built-ins—anything that you would have fabricated. These objects are best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16905″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Floors

 

The Floors layer is applied to the nested group that holds edges and surfaces that represent the floors of a building or house. You can divide the floor surface to paint different floor materials. The floor should be represented by a mass that stretches to the extents of the framing. Usually the floor framing is completely hidden by the floor ELEMENT.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16907″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Foundation

 

The Foundation layer is applied to the group that holds edges and surfaces that represent the footings, stem walls, and steel that support a structure. If needed, a foundation can be represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views. Usually, a concrete slab belongs on the floor layer.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16909″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Framing

 

The Framing layer is applied to the group that holds components that represent the minor structural framing that holds up your design. All two-bys, floor joists, and rafters belong on the framing layer. Framing is typically not seen, wrapped in drywall, buried underneath a floor, and covered by the roof ELEMENT. These objects are best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16910″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Furniture

 

The Furniture layer is applied to the group that holds objects that represent chairs, beds, tables, and couches. These objects are best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16911″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Hard Surfaces

 

The Hard Surfaces layer is applied to the group that holds edges and surfaces that represent roads, sidewalks, and patios—anything that is paved or poured outside of the house.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16912″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Lights

 

The Lights layer is applied to the group that holds objects that represent all can lights, sconces, and chandeliers — anything that is hardwired in. A lamp typically belongs on the Decorative Objects layer, or possibly the Furniture layer if you need it to show up in the furniture plan. These objects are best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16913″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Roof

 

The Roof layer is applied to the group that holds edges and surfaces that represent a roof. A complex roof is best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views. The roof ELEMENT usually covers the framing ELEMENTS.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16914″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Stairs

 

The Stairs layer is applied to the group that holds edges and surfaces that represent stairs. The stairs are usually best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16915″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Trim

 

The Trim layer holds geometry that represents decorative trim pieces—for instance, baseboard, fascia boards, window trim, and crown molding. Exterior trim and gutters can also be placed within this group.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16916″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Vegetation

 

The Vegetation layer is applied to the group that holds all objects representing trees, shrubs, and flowers. These objects are best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16917″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Walls

 

The Walls layer is applied to the group that holds the edges and surfaces that represent the walls in your design.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16918″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

ELEMENT_Windows

 

The Windows layer is applied to the group that holds components that represent the windows in your design. These objects are best represented using a 3D object for perspective views and 2D graphics for plan views. The 2D graphic should cover the inside face to outside face of the wall to properly mask out wall hatches that will be stacked below.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16919″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner el_id=”location”][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

LOCATION Layers

 

LOCATION layers are third in line for nesting. They are used as adjectives that further explain the ELEMENT groups. These layers are assigned to the groups within groups that have ELEMENT layers. They add another switch in the chain to further control the visibility of geometry. You will make the decision whether an element is an interior element or an exterior element. If there is no clear answer, you probably don’t need to assign a location (see “Simplify the System” in The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture Second Edition).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16878″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

LOCATION layers are the third level of nesting.

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CONDITION Layers

 

CONDITION layers further describe ELEMENT layers. They are always last in line for nested groups and layering. These layers are applied to a group within each of the CONDITION groups. CONDITION layers describe entities that are new or being added to the project; entities that exist in the project that are to remain; and entities that exist in the project that are to be removed, relocated, or destroyed.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16879″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

CONDITION layers are always the last level of nesting.

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CONDOC Layers

 

The ConDoc layers are needed to make the whole system tick and ultimately help you achieve your desired look for drawings and renderings. They are more conceptual and abstract in nature, relating more to 3D modeling than the actual built environment.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator border_width=”3″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

CONDOC_Always Off

 

The CONDOC_Always Off layer is used to visually combine two groups. This is one exception to the all-geometry-on-Layer0 rule. This layer is turned off in almost every scene. Learn more about this in TSWFA 2 Chapter 21, Crucial Concepts for Construction Documents.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16864″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

Elevation where a line is removed. Use the simple diagram.

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CONDOC_2D Graphic

 

A 2D graphic is used to force a specific symbol in the final plan drawings. If you are using a 2D graphic, you must have a 3D object as well. 2D graphics will be turned on in all plan views but turned off in sections, elevations, and perspective views. Learn more about this in TSWFA 2 Chapter 21, Crucial Concepts for Construction Documents.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”50″][vc_column_text]

CONDOC_3D Object

 

A 3D object is the real-world representation of an object. If you are using a 3D object, you must have a 2D graphic to accompany it. 3D objects will be turned off in all plan views but visible in all sections, elevations, and perspectives.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16865″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

Typical grouping and layering of an object that does not render properly in plan.

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CONDOC_Draft Layers

 

The DRAFT layers are used specifically for ConDoc DRAFT mode, where the DRAFT layers become active. Lines are shown in a line weight–by–layer color view. This is very similar to 2D CAD. The stock DRAFT layers give you five line weights plus one hatch layer. Th is is usually sufficient for drafting 2D details and diagrams. You must use the Detail tool to snapshot views. Learn more about ConDoc DRAFT mode in TSWFA 2 Chapter 23, Drawings.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16866″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

ConDoc DRAFT mode limits navigation to 2D panning and zooming. Lines are shown by layer colors, which correspond to line weights in LayOut, similar to traditional 2D CAD.

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Simplify the System

 

Although there is value in predictability and doing things the same way for every project when you’re learning, you can begin to cut corners once you have a full understanding of the core system. The following tips will save advanced users a lot of time and complexities in model organization:[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

  • Eliminate LEVEL layers all together. For instance, if you don’t have multiple levels, why bother calling out the first floor as Level 01? For single-story projects, there is no need to use LEVEL layers.

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  • Use only the ELEMENT layers that you need; simply disregard those that you don’t. For example, maybe you are creating a simple, quick drawing that needs only walls, doors, and windows. Disregard everything else. You can leave them in your model just in case it develops further, but there is no need to acknowledge layers you are not using. For instance, if you don’t need a furniture plan or interior rendering, you won’t need to organize and layer the furniture groups.

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  • Eliminate the LOCATION layers that you don’t need because there is nothing to compare them to. For instance, windows are typically all exterior, so why call them exterior if there are no interior windows to call out? This happens often with ELEMENT_Context, ELEMENT_Earth, ELEMENT_Foundation, ELEMENT_Hard Surfaces, ELEMENT_Roof, and ELEMENT_Vegetation.

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  • Eliminate CONDITION layers for new construction projects. Why call elements new when there is nothing existing or demolished to compare them to? When creating new construction projects, eliminate the CONDITION layers.

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  • Only model what you need. If you don’t need a 3D rendering of the interior, consider just drawing simple masses or, even simpler, flat rectangles for cabinets and 2D symbols for fixtures such as toilets and sinks rather than including their more detailed 3D objects.

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  • If an object renders properly in plan, then it does not need a 3D object and 2D graphic configuration.

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Simplified model organization for a one-level new construction project; there is no need to identify the level because there is only one and nothing else to compare it to.

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Eliminate LOCATION layers for objects that are “exterior” by default.

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When organizing a new construction project, there is no need for new, existing, and demolished.

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Expand the System

 

The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture can be expanded to work with any project type, level of complexity, and building typology. Stick with the same techniques for model organization and nesting, but you
can add additional nested groups and additional layers to further describe your project. For instance, you could use another descriptor to define wall types in your project. The nesting would look like this example:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16931″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

Expanding the system to include a wall type description.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Notice that the CONDITION layers still come at the very end of the organization to ensure the scope diagram functions properly. In order to describe wall types, you will need to add corresponding TYPE layers
to your model: TYPE_A, TYPE_B, TYPE_C. Adding a wall type nested group and layer allows you to further describe the walls in your project. For instance, rather than hatching interior and exterior walls, or new and existing, you could choose to hatch wall types. Th is will better sync with a wall type schedule and details, and it will more clearly describe the construction. Let’s build on what we have and expand the system further to handle phased construction with wall types:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16927″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

Expanding the system to include project phasing in addition to a wall type description.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]In order to describe phased construction, you will need to add corresponding PHASE layers to your model: PHASE_I, PHASE_II, PHASE_III. Let’s expand the system even further to handle multiple buildings
with multiple units, phased construction with several options, and wall types.

In order to describe all of these additional descriptors, you will need to add corresponding BUILDING, UNIT, and OPTION layers to your model: BUILDING_01, BUILDING_02, BUILDING_03, UNIT_A, UNIT_B, UNIT_C, OPTION_1, OPTION_2, OPTION_3. This is the most complex I could think of, though not the limit, and probably not a likely scenario. Just know that you are unlimited with this system. Th is scenario takes the system to the max and is unlikely to happen. If you are adding several buildings to your model, you most likely aren’t concerned about granular details such as units, phases, and wall types.

If you are designing multiple buildings, you likely will not be including any of the interior ELEMENT layers. Most likely you aren’t pulling furniture plans out of this model—but you could.

It’s endless how extremely complex you can get with your model organization. Imagine, for example, how a retail campus would break down into several buildings, each with several multilevel shops, all with their own interior and exterior spaces. Most likely you will have a one-level strip mall—that’s easy! Put in the effort to understand the system as a whole and at its most extreme level. This way, the more realistic scenarios are easy—they will just flow without interruption.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-picture-o” add_icon=”true” title=”HELPFUL DIAGRAMS” tab_id=”1532121185211-f066b0c1-ad93″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_single_image image=”16977″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_column_text]

A final model with detail added (shown exploded for effect).

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Putting the context building into the proper group.

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The ELEMENT model organization of walls. Next, add the LOCATION groups and layers for each
ELEMENT group.

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Model organization for decorative objects.

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A final model with detail added (shown exploded for effect).

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LOCATION layers assigned to the groups containing wall geometry.

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ELEMENT – Walls layer assigned to the group that holds the LOCATION groups.

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ELEMENT, LOCATION, and CONDITION layers applied to the wall geometry.

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To represent an ELEMENT as demolished, move it from the existing group to the demolished group.

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Add proposed construction elements in the CONDITION_New container.

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These objects render properly in plan when looked at from above.

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Utilizing a 2D graphic and a 3D object will allow the object to be represented properly in any drawing. These objects don’t render properly in plan and require a 2D graphic.

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The ConDoc Dynamic Door Component.

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Model organization diagram of the ConDoc Dynamic Door component.

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The horizontal section planes sit approximately 4’ above the finished floor.

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One active section plane per group. The larger section planes trump the smaller.

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Have more questions? Get the complete answers in The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture Second Edition. We cover everything in-depth from a to z!

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