What are Dynamic Components?

Nishit Agarwal

We can now generate and draw new parts of an application on the fly, thanks to Dynamic Components. The way to do this is to utilise a template variable to refer to a container and then to inject freshly produced components into that container in response to user activity. Adding attributes to a static component and populating it with values makes it dynamic.

Using the default properties in SketchUp and being acquainted with the fundamental drawing tools and common functions in spreadsheet applications makes the procedure simpler than it first seems, particularly for small dynamic component types. You don't have to be a math whiz, computer whiz, or benign magician to accomplish it.

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So, how does that procedure really work? Following is a rundown of the procedures:

  1. Make a new part from existing parts (like groups) and use it as a building block. The steps for doing so are detailed in the tutorial Generating a Simple Component. Hierarchical grouping and component layering are covered in depth in the Model Organization guide.
  2. You may make your component interactive by adding properties that affect its behaviour (that is, tell the component to do something). Attributes may be created manually or selected from a present data list.
  3. You'll need to specify a value for each new characteristic you add that informs it what to do. Size constraints for components may be expressed as simple numbers, mathematical expressions, or functions that cycle through a set of possibilities that you provide in the formula's parameters.
  4. Verify the functionality of your dynamic element using testing. It's likely you'll need to repeat Steps 1 and 2 several times until the dynamic part of your application functions as expected, as was indicated before.
  5. Putting the part in its own file means you may use it in other models by importing it using the Components browser or sharing it with other people through the 3D Warehouse. To get the component to operate, right-click its root node and choose Save As from the context menu. The resulting’s file should be stored in the appropriate component library.

Befriending all the Axes

Component axes are like petty elves that sabotage your efforts in dynamic component creation unless you are aware of them and use them to your advantage. Review these helpful hints for keeping the axes on your side before you generate even a single attribute:

There is a separate starting point for each component and subcomponent. Attribute values for sizing, positioning, and relocating a dynamic component all take into account the component's axis origin. As soon as you arrange many parts, you'll see that their axes all start in various places. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the current location of the origin of each component's axes and to adjust them as necessary.

The axes' hues are interpreted as phonemes. You'll find references to the red, green, and blue axes just about everywhere in SketchUp, with the exception of the Component Attributes dialogue box. The X axis in this case is shown in red, Y in green, and Z in blue. The X, or red, axis length, for instance, is specified by the LenX property.

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Axis origins may be displaced by glueing and cutting planes. Planes for glueing and cutting may be specified at the time a part is made. The blue (Z) and green (Y) axes are switched when a part adheres to solely vertical surfaces: LenZ is the length of the green axis and LenY is the length of the blue axis. LenY, not LenZ, must be constrained in the formula if the height of a glueing component that adheres to vertical surfaces (such as a window) must be specified. If your component contains a cutting plane, recall that to construct that cutting plane on a vertical face, you have to change the axes, since the red/green plane defines the cutting plane.

Elaborating Characteristics

Attributes instruct SketchUp on what to do with a component, giving it life. You may choose and combine preexisting traits or make up your own:

Common dynamic behaviours, such limiting the size of a dynamic component or applying a material, may be set up in a flash with the help of predefined characteristics. The Component Attributes dialogue box and the Dynamic Component predefined characteristics reference both allow you to peruse available preset attributes. You may create your own qualities with the help of custom attributes.

Here's How to Implement Attribute Additions

  1. Determine whatever element you want to modify and click the "Make Dynamic" button.
  2. Click the Component Attributes tool () on the Dynamic Components toolbar, or go to Window > Component Attributes from the main menu. In either case, a dialogue box titled "Component Attributes," as seen in the accompanying picture, appears. The DynamicCylinder component is shown in the Component Attributes dialogue box.
  3. To view more choices, choose the + symbol next to Add Attribute.
  4. Choose a label from the drop-down menu, or provide a label of your own in the "Or Enter a Custom Name" field. Choose a specified attribute, and you'll be able to start entering values.
  5. Enter a name in lieu of the Enter Name prompt if you want to add a unique name.

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Nishit Agarwal
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