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Making a Scene in Google SketchUp

Making a scene in SketchUp is not like taking a snapshot of your model. If you create a scene to save a view, then do some more modeling, and then return to that scene, your model will not go back to the way it was when you created the scene. The camera position will be the same and the settings will the same, but your geometry won't be. This is a pretty important concept, and one that makes using scenes so powerful.

A scene is just a set of view settings, which means that they're automatically updated to reflect your changes every time you edit your model. You can make some scenes and use them all the way through your process, from when you start modeling to when you present your design to the president. Or to your mother.

Creating scenes is a simple process. The basic idea is that you add a scene to your SketchUp file whenever you have a view you want to return to later. You can always delete scenes, so there's no downside to using lots of them. Follow these steps to make a new scene:

1. Choose Window --> Scenes to open the Scenes dialog box.

When it first opens, it doesn't look like there's much to the Scenes dialog box. Clicking the expansion toggle in the upper-right corner reveals more options.

2. Set up your view however you want.

Navigate around until you're happy with your point of view. If you want, use the Shadows and Styles dialog boxes to change the way your model looks.

3. Click the Add button to make a new scene with your current view settings.

At this point, a new scene is added to your SketchUp file. If this is the first scene you've created, it will be called Scene 1 and will appear in two places: As a list item in the Scenes dialog box, right underneath the Add button, and as a tab at the top of your modeling window, labeled Scene 1.

Nothing is generated outside of SketchUp when you add a scene; it's not like exporting a JPEG or a TIFF. Scenes are just little bits of programming code that "remember" the view settings in effect when they were created. Scenes also don't add much to your file size, so you don't have to worry about using too many of them.

You can activate a scene you added earlier by doing one of three things:

  • Double-clicking the name of the scene in the Scenes dialog box.
  • Single-clicking the tab for that scene at the top of the modeling window.
  • Right-clicking any scene tab and choosing Play Animation to make SketchUp automatically flip through your scenes. (Choose Play Animation again to make the animation stop.)

Notice how the transition from one scene to the next is animated? You don't have to do anything special to make this happen; it's something SketchUp automatically does to make things look better (and ultimately, to make you look better).

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