Sketchup controls similar to Google Earth

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David Phillips
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Sketchup controls similar to Google Earth

Post by David Phillips » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:07 am

Is there any way to make the 3D controller behave the same way in SketchUp as it does in Google Earth?

What I mean is this:

In SketchUp, the user can select either the "Pan Up/Down" or "Zoom" control to affect the distance between the user and his work. However, whichever you choose, the alternate control acts as a pan control (similar to "Pan Right/Left"), without restricting movement along the Z-axis.

In Google Earth, the "Pan Up/Down" control affects only the Z-axis, no matter what your viewing angle, while the "Pan Right/Left" and "Zoom" controls affect only the user's position in the X/Y plane. ("Tilt" and "Spin" are the same in both applications. Likewise, "Roll" is disabled in both.) This seems to be a much more intuitive arrangement.

I've tried Camera mode: it does not accomplish what I'm after. Instead, it fixes the user's position, and the controls then become the means whereby the user "looks around" the 3D environment, similar to "Look Around" in Sketchup.

I've also enabled "Dominant," which is handy as a kind of training mode. It doesn't really give me what I want though.

And yes I realize that SketchUp and Earth are different applications with different teams of designers and engineers and developers, etc. etc. But can't we all just get along?

I've seen this query before, and I'll go ahead and submit this post on the SketchUp forum as well.

David Phillips
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SketchUp forum link

Post by David Phillips » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:10 am

Here's the link to this post on the SketchUp Pro forum:

http://groups.google.com/group/Sketchup ... fdc15c423f#

ngomes
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Re: Sketchup controls similar to Google Earth

Post by ngomes » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:07 am

Hi David Phillips,
I've tried Camera mode: it does not accomplish what I'm after. Instead, it fixes the user's position, and the controls then become the means whereby the user "looks around" the 3D environment,
In camera mode, you can "look around" and "move around". The position is not fixed.

In Google Earth, if you're close to the ground and at an angle (the horizon is in view), the movement is similar as in SketchUp.

Can you "move around" in SketchUp when in "camera mode"? In other words, can you get closer to and away from objects?
Nuno Gomes

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Post by TheJoker » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:54 am

Thanks David. The more the merrier. I just can't get along with the SketchUp configuration, whilst I find the Google Earth configuration extremely intuitive (I can even give the "knob" to someone that's not very computer savvy and they get on with it straight away.

David Phillips
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Re: Sketchup controls similar to Google Earth

Post by David Phillips » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:09 am

In camera mode, you can "look around" and "move around". The position is not fixed.

In Google Earth, if you're close to the ground and at an angle (the horizon is in view), the movement is similar as in SketchUp.
True on both counts. I think the main difference between SU and Earth - the piece that makes the "intuitive difference" - is that in Earth, the "Pan Up/Down" control restricts its affect to the Z-axis, while the "Zoom" and "Pan Left/Right" controls affect movement in the X/Y plane. That's it. If the SketchUp developers could implement just those teensy changes, I think The Joker and I would be happy campers.
Can you "move around" in SketchUp when in "camera mode"? In other words, can you get closer to and away from objects?
Yes, I can move around, but the Z-axis control is not restricted to the "Pan Up/Down" control.

I think the main reason the Google Earth control config makes sense to me is due to the fact that I'm in Architecture, and most of my work is rooted by gravity. Thus, having the "gravitational control" restricted to a single controller seems to make more sense to me. I realize this sounds silly, but it's very different from, say, industrial design, where there may not be a definite "Up/Down" orientation with regard to one's work.[/quote]

For the record, the 3D Connexion control "Zoom" in SketchUp (and Google Earth for that matter) does not actually zoom. Zooming implies that the viewer stands in place and the angle of view narrows or widens. Rather, the control might better be labeled "Track" or "Dolly" which implies that the viewer is actually moving forward and backward, similar to the "Pan Left/Right" effect.

ngomes
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Re: Sketchup controls similar to Google Earth

Post by ngomes » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:49 am

For the record, the 3D Connexion control "Zoom" in SketchUp (and Google Earth for that matter) does not actually zoom. Zooming implies that the viewer stands in place and the angle of view narrows or widens. Rather, the control might better be labeled "Track" or "Dolly" which implies that the viewer is actually moving forward and backward, similar to the "Pan Left/Right" effect.
It depends on the actual projection that you have selected. If the view is "paralell" (or "orthogonal"), then what you wrote is correct: we can only change the viewing angle of the camera. If the projection is perspective, then we can move the camera around.

Regarding the view control, I believe you'd like to have what we call "helicopter" mode. In this mode, the 3D mouse controls a "camera" but moving it forward or sideways does not change the distance to the ground plane (or "altitude").

That would be a new feature in our SketchUp extension and would need approval for implementation.
Nuno Gomes

David Phillips
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Re: Sketchup controls similar to Google Earth

Post by David Phillips » Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:34 am

It depends on the actual projection that you have selected. If the view is "paralell" (or "orthogonal"), then what you wrote is correct: we can only change the viewing angle of the camera. If the projection is perspective, then we can move the camera around.
Thanks for the clarification. Makes sense. I spend most of my time in perspective mode, and haven't played with the controller in projection mode.
Regarding the view control, I believe you'd like to have what we call "helicopter" mode. In this mode, the 3D mouse controls a "camera" but moving it forward or sideways does not change the distance to the ground plane (or "altitude").

That would be a new feature in our SketchUp extension and would need approval for implementation.
Sounds like a plan. Is anyone out there working on this???

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Re: Sketchup controls similar to Google Earth

Post by ngomes » Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:40 pm

David Phillips wrote:Is anyone out there working on this???
Sorry, no. This has been flag as a possible enhancement. There's a process to follow after that and we do not normally pre-announce features.

David Phillips
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Re: Sketchup controls similar to Google Earth

Post by David Phillips » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:55 pm

Sorry, no. This has been flag as a possible enhancement. There's a process to follow after that and we do not normally pre-announce features.
Are you (assuming you represent 3D Connexion) responsible for developing the drivers, or are the folks at SketchUp involved?

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Post by ngomes » Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:12 am

3Dconnexion developed and maintains a solution for SketchUp. This is implemented as an extension to the application (similar to a plug-in).

Navigation in SketchUp and the "3DxSketchUp" menu and toolbar are features of that extension.

David Phillips
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Post by David Phillips » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:12 am

ngomes wrote:3Dconnexion developed and maintains a solution for SketchUp. This is implemented as an extension to the application (similar to a plug-in).

Navigation in SketchUp and the "3DxSketchUp" menu and toolbar are features of that extension.
Looking forward to the new features.

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Post by ngomes » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:44 am

Hi David Phillips,
Looking forward to the new features.
Do note that no decision has been made to implement the feature described above ("helicopter mode") in the 3Dconnexion extension for SketchUp.

David Phillips
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Post by David Phillips » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:51 am

ngomes wrote:Hi David Phillips,
Looking forward to the new features.
Do note that no decision has been made to implement the feature described above ("helicopter mode") in the 3Dconnexion extension for SketchUp.
So noted. But if you did, it'd make me really really happy. :D

David Phillips
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Post by David Phillips » Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:53 am

There's been some discussion on the Google SketchUp side of this conversation. Check it out at

http://groups.google.com/group/Sketchup ... fc5639a16b

David.P
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Other way round: Navigate Earth similiar to a Sketchup model

Post by David.P » Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:01 am

Hi Forum,

I appreciate the feature request of the OP -- however, I'd additionally like to see another improvement in Google Earth navigation.

Since Google Earth navigation seems to be based on the "Tour" settings of Google Earth at the moment, I find it rather clumsy at times, using the SpaceNavigator.

This is due to the fact that at present, the 3DX Google Earth Plugin uses the camera position as current center of rotation. Therefore, if you want to rotate the current view in Google Earth, you always have to rotate and pan sideways at the same time in order to not lose your current view target.

Rotating, on the other hand, using the middle mouse button in Google Earth is still much better than with the 3DX Google Earth Plugin, since it uses the cursor position as center of rotation.

Therefore, I'd very much like to see something like "manual/auto center of rotation" also in Google Earth, similar as it already exists in Google Sketchup.

Thanks already for considering,
David.P

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