SketchUp question

I periodically have to go back and forth between Rhino and SketchUp (I have not convinced all of the people I deal with to make the change - patience) and one thing that I find frustrating is that the Rhino / SketchUp file, when opened in SketchUp has different default colors. For those of you who don’t work in SketchUp - SketchUp has a default front face color of white and a default back face color of blue. When I export a file out of Rhino as a sk the default front color is beige. I’m not sure what controls that variable or how to change it but it would be a big help if I could figure it out. I will ask on the SketchUp forum also.

Thanks in advance.

i don’t know about .skp out of rhino because the mac version doesn’t have .skp export… i use .3DS to transfer (which is less than ok… there’s a 65k entity limit on .3DS so i’ll sometimes have to break up the model into smaller pieces in order to get meshes with surfaces in sketchup…

anyway… the way i do it when getting .skp files from other people (and this should apply in this instance as well) is to open a new sketchup window which has my template/unit/colors/edges/etc then just drag&drop the other .skp into the window… the geometry will come in with all my standard settings applied.

i know this isn’t answering your question about getting the right face colors out of rhino itself but it’s a pretty easy way to deal with files which have weird settings

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That did exactly what I needed. I don’t care much about knowing how to reset the default colors in SketchUp - as long as I end up with white front faces one drag and drop or copy and paste to get there is a fine price to pay.

Now, how SketchUp mangles the beautiful geometry coming out of Rhino - that’s a whole 'other issue.

Hi Arail and Jeff,
which are the main advantages of SketchUp that in Rhino should be improved/implemented?

I am not experienced enough in Rhino to answer that question.
As far as modeling - nothing that I can see. Rhino can do everything SketchUp can times 5 (or times 10, or whatever).
SketchUp’s Layout can output vector, raster and a hybrid of the two - that’s one thing SketchUp has over Rhino. Rhino’s vector output is limited to 2D views, perspective can only output raster.

that’s sort of a tough question to answer.

i can draw many things in sketchup a lot faster than in rhino… but that’s with simple things like an average house for example. once you start leaving the straight line/square volume realm though, things can become much faster (and obviously or maybe not so obviously) and much more accurate in rhino.

so that’s pretty much my tradeoff right now between sketchup and rhino… a lot of my setup geometry is faster for me to do in sketchup but then the more complex bits become easier/faster in rhino… (i.e.- rhino has actual commands for things such as creating/blending surfaces which pay attention to the adjacent surfaces for tangency etc… sketchup has no such thing and is unaware of adjacent surfaces… the only way to create tangent surfaces is to manually create either a lot of setup geometry or draw the actual wireframe itself… it can be a very long and drawn out process to get it ok for construction (for archviz though, it’s fine and you can quickly fake a lot of stuff in sketchup)… where as with rhino, you can do these things in a matter of clicks and then as a bonus, there simple means to check the blends (which provides more confidence during the build)…

i’d also consider myself an advanced sketchup user and maybe just moving into intermediate rhino territory… so in that regard, i’m obviously going to be faster a sketchup but if i were equal at both, i still think sketchup would be faster in some ways… this is due to it’s simple toolset… there’s one way to draw an arc… one way to draw a line… one way to extrude a surface etc…the keyboard shortcuts are usually all single keys with no modifiers…

with rhino, even the simple drawing tools have many options… which is good and bad… if i want to draw a simple straight line in sketchup, it’s faster because i don’t have to deal with command options… there are none… but, if i want to do something crazy like draw a line from a centerpoint, this becomes a lot easier/faster in rhino.

so after using cad in my work for over 10 years now, my designs have become more complex to the point where using rhino is cumulatively becoming much faster than sketchup… (not to mention the fact that some of the tools in rhino are actually driving some of the design… as in, there are things in rhino which are simply impossible in sketchup)

anyway-- that’s not really even answering the question… it’s just meant to point out that while there are some things on the surface as to where rhino could see some improvements compared to sketchup regarding user tool speed, it’s hard to think of ways to speed up rhino without losing it’s advantages

i guess what i’ll call the main advantage of sketchup which i’d like to see more of in rhino is the ability to stay in the 3D viewport more often… a quickie example (and i have lots more of these :wink: ) would be using the arc:center/start/angle… if i have a vertical square, i should be able to use that tool to draw a vertical arc in there but it’s confined to the cplane so it wont do it… i basically have to go to another viewport or figure out a way to use another arc tool in this situation when it seems the main arc tool should do it.

one other beef i have with drawing in 3D is it’s often times an unnecessary amount of work to go vertical… i wish there was a key i could press (and maybe there is?) which tells, say a polyline, to go vertical… the whole cmmd-clicking again at the exact point etc in order to elevator just doesn’t flow so well…

but yeah, it’s all really small things like that which sketchup has (i.e.- in sketchup, if you want to draw a vertical line, you just move the cursor up (as in, it sort of can tell what the user is seeing/thinking in terms of what up means as opposed to relying strictly on where the cursor is in relation to the cplane.))… but a bunch of tiny things can add up into what equates to better flow throughout a session… but at this point, for me at least, the really big differences far outweigh this tiny stuff…

lol… yeah… but fwiw, that’s not sketchup doing the mangling - it’s rhino… it’s mesher doesn’t know what clean geometry in sketchup should look like (and further, possibly impossible to program properly because what i view as a clean sketchup mesh may not be the same things as what someone else may view as clean)

I mostly work in one maximized Perspective viewport, my solution is to use CPlanes to force drawing planes. I have buttons for setting the standard planes with one click, plus if I am working often on an off-axis plane, I will name/store it for easy recall.


Firstly, thank you immensely Jeff and Arail, for a detailed description and comparison.
My knowledge about the program is limited and therefore I ask.
I wanted to learn it more deeply, but when I looked for a mirror command I could not believe that there is not one.
After I saw that there is a plugin, but again …
I was attracted by the simplicity, speed of construction of simple forms, real world scale materials applied to faces and objects, photo match with texture projection, warehouse, maps.
Thanks again.

yeah mitch, don’t get me wrong… i’m saying all that while knowing i’m far from maximizing my workflow in rhino… i have to let things like macros and shortcuts trickle in so i’ll actually ingrain them in my mind… i’m still on the tool side of things regarding this and only use the most basic cplane and whatnot mods at this time… when i mess around with all rhino has to offer, i see the potential but i’m not at the stage where i’m utilizing a lot of it to speed up my drawings…

so i was saying that stuff as to where i am right now with rhino… hopefully in another year or two, i’ll look back at the post and give it a ‘pffft’ :wink:

There may be adequate substitutions in Rhino but the way that geometry itself is what determines your ‘c plane’ in SketchUp seems to me to be a preferable workflow. If I put my rotate icon on a plane in SketchUp, no matter what orientation that plane is, that’s the plane the tool orients to. And circles, arcs, lines, etc.

And to amplify your point about going vertical, clicking once, then twice to tell polyline that you want to go vertical isn’t as useful as the 3 colored axis in SketchUp, at least so it seems to me. The Gumball in Rhino provides some help in moving, rotating and scaling but I think it should be integrated into all tools.

The Gumball works the same way with pretty much any planar object in Rhino - if you have it set “to object”.


Thanks Mitch.
I’m trying to see why that wouldn’t be my preferred default setting for Gumball. It seems to improve everything with no loss to geometry that is aligned with the axis.
Live and learn.

Well, there may be times when you want to move off-axis geometry along one of he principal axes, so in that case maybe you will want “World”. However, you can also combine Gumball with the normal Ortho setting which will allow you to drag objects along the World ortho planes (ctrl for vertical) even if the Gumball isn’t set to that.

“To Object” is also unfortunately not intelligent enough to recognize something like a parallel-sided but off-axis box, it only reacts to planar objects. But it will recognize the axis of a face of the box if you use sub-object selection.

I still find Gumball something of an add-on rather than a deeply integrated Rhino UI element, and I most often leave it turned off. But I’m a Rhinosaur… :neckbeard:


I hope that too, move face, extrude face, move edge, UDT transformations…

All these are already possible with sub-object selection, the idea is to make MoveFace obsolete.

I do find the key combination necessary to extrude a face with Gumball to a precise distance to be painful, though, so I never use it. Therein lies a huge limitation of Rhino with its limited key possibilities. That seems to be the price to pay for having a command line.


Thanks Mitch,
Good to know this:) Ctrl+Shift+LMB

It would be good if after the initial drag/click releasing LMB there will be space to insert a distance and not terminate command on release. In the meantime, it can be useful to turn on under Modeling Aids> Cursor ToolTips>Distance.
Thanks again.

see, all of those things other than the first two are things that were developed as i was a user… but every time they came out with something like maps, i was always “well, that’s cool and all but let’s get some more powerful drawing tools in there”… but the tools never came… i think one single time in 10 years they added a new tool/drawing function to the application and it was some basic solid tools… you can get some other functions out of ruby plugins but the user interaction varies wildly from different authors and there’s limited access to sketchup via ruby which leads to slower processing compare to the native tools as well as introduces a lot of bugginess (fwiw, i’ll crash sketchup 5 or 6 times in a day. their autosave is weak and generally better to turn it off… lots of manual saves though.)

don’t get me wrong… it’s absolutely great for many many things… you can do complex drawing with it… you can do quick mock ups and/or visuals with it (as well as construction docs)… it’s highly accurate in most regards… just stay away from curves.

Actually there is, when dragging before releasing LMB you can type a distance, but not so easy left hand operation for me, but it works.