How to Classify Objects, Organise Models and Place Moving Cameras in SketchUp

Classifying Objects

The SketchUp Classifier lets you add detail to components and groups to create an object that you can then manage.

Objects have various details that you can use to count, measure, dimension and tag as well as generate reports, analyse a model and export the objects too.

You’ll need to be a SketchUp Pro user to do this.

How to classify objects

Before you start, check the following:

  • Make sure that the object that you’d like to classify begins as a component
  • Check that the classification system is loaded into the template
  • Make the Classifier tool visible on the toolbar

Now you can select the component and choose the classifier tool. Click on the arrow next to your classification system and choose the object type. You can then go ahead and classify the object by inputting any of the necessary info.

Generating a report

Using SketchUp’s generate report service, you can report all of the listed attributes in the form of a .csv file.


These reports are particularly useful for getting a snapshot of how many of each component is needed when it comes to the construction stage. This helps with planning and costing the final project.


Go to File > Generate Report and create a new template. You can now choose which components to include in the report. 


When you’re happy that you have everything you need, go ahead and click on Run Report.

Organising Models

Using the array of organisational tools lets you keep your model tidy. Not only does it help for finding everything when you come to use them, but also for generating reports as well.


Organising geometry into groups and components. This allows you to separate smaller parts of your model and work on specific areas individually.


Nesting groups and components. Giving hierarchy to these items allows you to easily select what you need in a logical way. When creating reports, you can choose components that fall within a certain level of the hierarchy. And this allows you to report on the specific objects with matching data.


Changing group and component visibility. You don’t need to see everything all of the time. In fact, when working on your SketchUp model, it’s always advisable to only have the screen present relevant groups and components to keep you focused on the task at hand.

Viewing a Model

Viewing a model from every aspect is essential to ensure that your design continues to meet your spec.


It is possible to orbit, zoom and pan to check out your model from various angles.


Orbit. You can move around above and below your model to get a general idea of how it looks from every side. Select the Orbit tool and click on the drawing area. You can now move the cursor to orbit around the central point of that area.


Zoom. Zooming in lets you focus on a specific element when you don’t want to be distracted by the rest of your model. And zooming out offers you a snapshot of your vision to include everything together in your design. Select the Zoom tool. Then click and drag up or down to zoom in or out.


Pan. Panning simply sends the camera angle to the left or right to get a better idea of how things are looking on both sides. Go to Camera > Pan. Click and hold the scroll wheel and the left mouse button to pan left or right. 


It’s possible to switch each of the views on and off as you wish. 


You will find that using a three-button scroll wheel mouse makes this job, and modelling in general, a whole lot easier.

How to preview a model in Google earth


After preparing your model, you can go ahead and export it as a .KMZ file. This is the format that Google Earth will recognise. You can open the file with Google Earth and the map will appear with your model in place.


You can zoom in and move around the site to see how the design feels in its chosen surroundings.


How to place models in the ocean


Sometimes you’ll need to see how a structure fits into ocean surroundings. And this can be done through Google Earth thanks to its ocean layer addition.


In SketchUp, go to Window > Extension Warehouse and select the Ocean Modelling extension. After installing the extension, you can now preview your model in the ocean by following the above steps.


How to save a model in Google earth


Google Earth loads into Temporary Places by default. But you may wish to save the preview for future reference. To do this, context-click on the model name in the Temporary Place folder and choose to Save to MY Places instead. 

Camera menu

The Camera menu includes standard views of your model. These are Top, Bottom, Front, Back, Left, Right and Iso.


In addition, there are also 3 perspective options.


Parallel projection. This allows lines to appear parallel in 3D and 2D.


Perspective. Here, lines disappear to the Horizon point to give perspective to the items on your model.


Two-point perspective. This is often used for creating 3D buildings. This gives a linear perspective along the width and depth of the objects as they meet at two individual points on the horizon.

Placing Movie Cameras in a Model of a Production Set

If you are designing sets for a film, then SketchUp Pro will let you access all areas using the Advanced Camera Tools (ACT). You can access this by going to Tools > Advanced Camera Tools.


It’s possible to place cameras anywhere in the model of a production set to show you a preview of real camera angles.


Once you have placed your cameras on the set, you can then view the previews from each of them in separate frames. It gives you a different perspective of the same scene and this can help when deciding where to utilise the cameras during the filming of the movie.


You may need to install the ACT extension from the Extensions Warehouse before you begin. 


To add a camera using ACT, choose Select Camera Type from the toolbar and go to Categories and then Camera. The camera view will now appear and the area within any shaded bars to the top, bottom or sides will be your visible area through the camera.


To choose that camera view and add it to your design, click on the Create Camera button. You will now see a dialog box where you can add the name of the camera. Click done.


The crosshair will now show you the central point where the camera is aiming and you can see the properties of that camera in the bottom-left corner. You can edit these properties as needed.


You can also use the Orbit, Pan and Zoom tools to change the position of your camera. And the arrow keys will also come in useful for making any fine adjustments to your camera view.


Click Lock Camera when you are happy with the view to make sure that it doesn’t move around. 


Now, you can contact-click and choose Done.

Delete an ACT camera

If you decide that you no longer require a certain camera angle, then you can go ahead and remove it permanently. Make sure that you are no longer in the camera view mode and zoom out to make the camera visible on the screen. You can then delete the camera. Beware that this will remove any corresponding scenes and tabs as well.

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