1. Introduction to tools and windows

We start then with an overview of the way you interact and create dynamic components (DCs)

(Remember that you must have the Pro version of SketchUp to create DCs although you can interact with existing ones with the free version).

There are four tools/windows used with DCs, three specifically and one, the scale tool, which can work differently with some DCs. These are shown below. (The dynamic component toolbar is opened from the View > Toolbars > Dynamic Components menu).

Windows and tools
The menu and toolbar to access DC tools/windows

The only specifically-DC tool is the Interact tool (the pointing hand) which (depending on the component) will do certain things when clicked on the DC (such as open and close doors). The next button in the toolbar opens the "Component Options" windows which, again depending on the component, allows you to choose or enter various things (such as the width of a door). The third button opens the "Component Attributes" window which is what you use to actually turn a plain component into a dynamic one. The fourth button shown is the familiar Scale tool which can operate differently with some DCs.

As seen above, the "Component Options" and "Component Attributes" can also be opened from the Window menu and the right-click context menu.

Using the tools and windows

To see how the tools and windows work, go to the 3D Warehouse and download the simple DC figure called "Sang" (Direct link). Do not open directly (or it won't work) but create a new, empty SketchUp document and import it.

Now click on the Interact tool (the pointing hand) and hover it around the figure. You should see the cursor change over different areas as shown below. If you click on any active area, you should see the figure's colours change.

Interact tool cursors

Now open the Component Options window while the Sang figure is selected. You should see something like this:

Component Options window

As you can see, this component gives you the option of changing the colours by entering the choice in the Component Options window (and clicking Apply). Some DCs can be changed via the Interact tool, some by the Options window, and some by both.

Finally open the Component Attributes window and you should see this:

Component Attributes window

This is where the formulas that define the "dynamic" part of the dynamic component are entered and we actually create the DC. This is also where it can get complicated so it is an area that needs to be taken slowly. For now, you should download a few more dynamic components and play around with them.

A sample of DCs is installed with SketchUp (in the Dynamic Components library in the Components window). You can see they are DCs by the little green icon beside the thumbnail (see below).

How to tell a dynamic component

If you go to the 3D Warehouse, click on the little cogs in the search box at the top of the page. This takes you to the advanced search where there is a checkbox for "Show only dynamic models".