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Grouping Concepts

SU Fundamentals 7-1 Grouping

0:03 One of the core concepts of SketchUp, is that any edges that touch or overlap automatically break and join together.

0:14 We sometimes refer to this as sticky geometry, and it is essential in how SketchUp works,

0:22 but sticky geometry can also create problems, such as this table and this wall:

0:29 They should be separate objects, but if I move the table so it touches the wall, those surfaces merge, which is not what we’d want.

0:40 The way to separate geometry, and ultimately to organize your model, is through groups.

0:48 In fact, you should be grouping everything that you create in SketchUp.

0:56 To group geometry together is quite simple.

0:59 Select the shapes or objects you want, and through the Edit menu, or a Rt-click menu, choose "Make Group".

1:08 This combines all the geometry into a container, so it can be moved as a single object, and it won’t merge with any geometry outside of the group.

1:21 Let’s examine a few groups, to understand how they work.

1:26 As you can see, all groups are shown with a rectangular bounding box.

1:32 If you select a group, you can move it with the move tool, and watch as you hover over the selected group.

1:39 See the red tick-marks that appear?

1:41 These allow you to easily rotate the group, which you can do from multiple sides, with the move tool.

1:48 Now, we’ll cover more on the move tool in another course but notice that although you can move or rotate the group as a whole,

1:57 you cannot push/ pull a surface inside the group, or select individual edges.

2:04 To edit the geometry inside a group, you can right-click on the group and choose ‘Edit Group’.

2:12 The more common method is to use the selection tool and double click on the group.

2:20 Watch the outline of the group change as you double-click to edit it.

2:26 It changes from the solid blue outline, to a dotted grey outline.

2:32 You can see the rest of the model is greyed out as well.

2:35 Still with the selection tool, click outside of the group to close it.

2:42 This idea of editing and closing groups is one that you’ll need to practice and get very familiar with.

2:50 Take a few moments and double click to edit a group and then click outside to close it.

2:56 Edit a different group, pull a surface up, and then click outside to close it.

3:03 One of the reasons you need to practice this is because it’s not always obvious when you are editing a group.

3:10 You may be zoomed in and not see the dotted outline, and you may also need to zoom away from the group to click on blank space and close it.

3:21 You will develop your own preferences for how you like to work in SketchUp, but we recommend that you start grouping objects as early as possible.

3:32 Start grouping immediately after creating a simple rectangle or box, then edit that group to add more detail.

3:45 You can also combine separate groups together, into larger groups. In SketchUp we refer to this as nesting.

3:56 These stairs are an example of a nested group.

3:59 If we double-click to edit this stair group, inside of it, the steps and supports are also groups,

4:07 so to edit one of these steps, we’d need to double-click again on this group, and then we could edit the actual geometry.

4:17 Remember, to close a group, we use the selection tool, and click outside of the group.

4:23 Here we’ll need to click once outside of the step group, and then again, outside of the larger stair group.

4:31 To create our own nested group, we could select the 4 pillars, and the platform, and group those together.

4:41 Nesting is a powerful way to organize and create hierarchy in your model.

4:48 Another good practice is to create groups aligned with the default Red, Green and Blue axis.

4:57 Later, you may rotate your groups off the axis, which is fine,

5:01 but here is a simple example of why it’s best to start aligned with the axis.

5:06 Let’s begin with two simple shapes, one aligned with the axis, and one at an angle.

5:13 We’ll pull both up and then group each.

5:18 You can see immediately that the group bounding box is aligned with the default Red, Green and Blue axis, not with the group geometry,

5:27 so in this first group, the bounding box and the group axis stay aligned with the geometry.

5:34 This makes it easier to edit this group and work with inferences.

5:39 In our 2nd group, the bounding box, and therefore the axis have no relation to the interior geometry.

5:46 It can make editing this group more difficult.

5:51 So, we suggest that you start your groups early and aligned with the axis at first, then rotate your groups as needed.

6:01 If you do have a group that you’d like to change the axis on, you can still do so.

6:07 Edit the group, then right-click on one of the axis lines, somewhere away from the geometry, and choose, "Place".

6:16 Now click 3 times.

6:19 The first click to establish the base of your new axis,

6:23 then click to establish the red direction,

6:26 then a final click to establish the blue and green directions at once.

6:32 So watch the axis carefully on your 3rd click.

6:36 Closing our group shows the new bounding box that is better aligned with our geometry.

6:44 The final concept with grouping is to introduce components.

6:50 To better understand this I’m going to make a copy of this playground wall and paste it back into the model so we have 2 copies.

6:59 Now if edit one group, and pull a surface higher, the other group is not affected,

7:05 every group in your model is completely unique from other geometry.

7:11 The idea of components however, is that if you make a copy, then all copies of a component are connected.

7:19 These 4 pillars in our model, are actually components.

7:23 So I’m going to edit the nested group we made earlier, then if I edit any one of these pillars, any changes I make happen to all copies of this component.

7:34 So, now that you understand the basics of grouping objects in SketchUp, we are going to explore more about components, in the next course.