You have probably seen the Section Plane tool in SketchUp. You may even have used it to take a look inside a model. Heck, maybe you have even used it to create a section drawing. Maybe you have models with dozens of sections. Whatever your experience with section planes in SketchUp, I am willing to bet that there are a few things that you do not know… let’s find out!
Thing #1: You can name your section planes
As of SketchUp Pro 2018, create a section plane and you’ll be prompted to enter both a Name and Symbol for every section plane you create. The Name identifies your section plane in the Outliner while the Symbol displays in the actual section plane in SketchUp.
Notice the symbol of the section plane in the back! You can also just let SketchUp create default names for you.
Thing #2: You can find your section planes in Outliner
Section Planes are in Outliner? Yes, in SketchUp Pro 2018, your section planes are listed in the Outliner. This means that you can activate section cuts, reverse the cut direction (yup, you can do that!), align the camera view to a section plane (that too!)... you can perform section plane interactions from the safety and comfort of the Outliner window!
Why tire out your wrist, moving your mouse all over the screen when you can get to everything in one place?
Thing #3: You can manage multiple section planes in multiple ways
In the View menu you can toggle section plane visibility, section cuts, and cut fills for the entire model. If you need to be a little more precise, you can right click on any section plane and choose to activate that one cut or hide that one plane.
But what do you do if you want to activate a cut when all section planes are hidden? Don't fret! Remember the Outliner in the last step? You can use it to toggle the properties of individual section planes even if they are hidden! This individual interaction with a hidden section plan is also super useful for setting up orthographic views. Just right click a hidden section plane in Outliner, and click Align View: you’re all set to churn out great drawings!
Options. We are all about options.
Thing #4: You can create and edit section fills
How a section cut looks in SketchUp and LayOut is a function of your style (well, not YOUR style, but the current style in SketchUp… your personal style has no direct impact on section planes). So, open the Modeling Setting in the Styles window: Style Window>Edit>Modeling Settings (that’s the little blue box). You’ll see options for the section fill color, line color, and line width. This allows you to turn the fill on or off as well as choose what the fill is actually going to look like. And since section fills are tied to Styles, you can save them and use them on different models, or toggle between different looks as you go!
Note that you can also set the default section plane, cut, and fill properties for the Style!
Thing #5: You can display multiple section cuts at once
Most people who have used Section Planes have seen that they can add more than one and then activate them separately. What a lot of people don't know is that you can actually display multiple cuts at once by grouping section planes with geometry! Since section planes will cut whatever geometry is being displayed, you can cut a model with a single plane, group the model with the section plane, then place another section plane outside the group to get multiple cuts in a single model.
Slice and dice! Now you can cut up your model any way you want!
Hopefully you learned something new. If you didn’t, maybe you know something about section planes we don’t! Show us something great you’ve done with section planes here in the SketchUp forum!