You can spend less time drawing and more time designing by downloading models that are already available. This is especially helpful for adding the kinds of set dressing and detail to your model that would otherwise be incredibly time consuming to create from scratch. The best single source is the Google 3D Warehouse, which, in addition to being the world's largest online repository of 3D content, is extremely well integrated into SketchUp. Use the Google 3D Warehouse to quickly search for models of just about anything you can think of—such as people, trees, cars, furniture, and so much more—and download models from the Web directly into SketchUp. In this chapter I'll help you find what you need quickly with targeted searches and explain your options for pulling models into an existing project.
Basic SketchUp File Importing
The basic method of importing SketchUp models is the foundation for everything else I'll discuss in this chapter. As you'll see, there are other methods you can use to import SketchUp files into a project, but this basic option is still the best for projects such as assembling larger site models.
To import one SketchUp model into another, choose File > Import.
Then select the file Format option for SketchUp. Locate the SketchUp model you'd like to import in the file browser and then click the Import button (Figure 4.1 on the next page).
Figure 4.1 The File Import dialog.
Once you click the Import button, SketchUp will automatically activate the Move tool . The imported model will appear in the drawing window and it will be attached to the cursor. There's a name for the point at which the cursor has a hold of the model being imported: It's called the insertion point.
The position of the insertion point of a model corresponds to the position of the axis origin within the model being imported (Figure 4.2).
Figure 4.2 Relationship between the axis origin and insertion point for an imported SketchUp model.
Figure 4.3 You can import files from a file folder simply by dragging them into the drawing window.
Once a file has been imported into SketchUp via the File > Import option, SketchUp will recognize the imported file as a component which brings us to our next option.