Tips on Zooming
In teaching SketchUp, I often find students trying to edit and work on a model that is zoomed-out to a fly speck.
As you probably know, this can make SketchUp a very frustrating exercise. Making and connecting components requires precise placements and movements, and these things cannot be done from faraway. This is why experienced SketchUp users are continually scrolling – that is, rotating the scroll wheel on the mouse. As discussed in a previous blog entry, the scroll wheel is very good at zooming in and out. It seems like a simple thing to do, but for a new user of SketchUp, even zooming in and out can be a challenge at first.
Importance of Mouse Cursor Position: Here’s the issue with zoom – you need to pay attention where you place your mouse cursor. SketchUp will zoom toward the point where you place the mouse cursor. If you have the cursor on the model or a part of the model, the zooming will go right to the model, and indeed, if you continue to zoom in, you will go right through the model. So to bring that table into a close-in view, set the mouse cursor on the table and begin to rotate the scroll wheel. As the table gets closer, focus your mouse cursor on the exact part of the model of interest and continue zooming.
However, if you place the cursor out in space away from the fly speck model, and then begin scrolling (zooming), you can find yourself with no model in view and wondering where it went. If you place the cursor above the model, the model will move out of view away and toward the bottom of the screen. Placing the cursor in the left side of the screen will cause the model to move away and toward the right edge of the screen. And so on….. To center your model in the screen, move your mouse where the scrolling nudges your model in the desired direction. In this way, you achieve a panning action while also scrolling.
Here’s what happens when you place your mouse cursor in the upper left hand corner. The model disappears in the lower right hand corner.
Whenever you’ve “lost” your model, there is help with one click of the mouse. SketchUp includes a Zoom Extents Tool and its position in the Toolbar is shown in the following image. When you click this tool, SketchUp gathers up all the modeling you’ve got and fits it within the screen.
Here is the result of clicking the Zoom Extents Tool. So if you get lost, hit Zoom Extents.
One more thing about scrolling. If you have the mouse cursor away from the model, the zooming action may not be as efficient as when the mouse cursor is stationed over a model. That is, you spin the scroll wheel and nothing seems to happen. Just shift your mouse to be over some graphics and the speed of zooming will change dramatically.