“I can not seem to print or export my drawings and get crisp clear lines. I tried changing the line weights (only profiles) but it was not helpful. The lines look blue.”
This is just one of the comments I get from readers and students. Perhaps we as instructors are not paying attention to this topic which seems obvious but it is not so. SketchUp has some simple tricks to print images with sharp and clear lines. The problem is that given the simplicity of SketchUp often print tips are given by other people that not necessary have the best knowledge of the different alternatives that the program offers to print. Many times they end up exporting an image and then printing in any photo editing program.
There are many printing options offered in Sketchup. The first thing you should decide is the output quality. By default, the quality of the Print dialog box is set to Draft. Besides the output quality you may decide to make the printing based on vectors or as a raster image.
To print directly from SketchUp and get defined lines check the option "Use High Accuracy HLR" in the Print dialog box. Using this feature will send the information to the printer to print as vectors instead of pixels. If you use this option please note that it is possible that the start of the printing takes several minutes depending on the complexity of your model. Do not use imported images “as images” because they will not be recognized, use only objects with textures. The option HLR also will not recognize shadows.
Print your model as a raster image but in order to get sharp lines select "High Definition" in the drop down menu of the Print Quality.
If your intention is to print or use an image of your model in any photo editor you will need to export an image selecting the adequate resolution for your printing purpose. In this case choose File > Export > 2D Graphic > Options. Remember that a good resolution fro printing is 300 dpi meaning that for every inch that you want to print you have to multiply it by 300. For example, a 8” wide image will have a resolution of 2400 pixels
If you have the Pro version you can use Layout to insert your drawing. In the SketchUp model tab choose instead of Vector the option Hybrid. In that way you can have the advantages of printing as well as raster and vector. The lines will be crispy while you will be able to print shadows and images.
A second option in Layout would be to export your file in PDF with an output in High Quality. This alternative allows you to print anywhere or share your file with somebody else.
Printing in Scale
Finally, if you want to print in scale in Sketchup you have to set things properly. Perspectives views can not be printed to scale, so you will need to switch to Parallel Projection and choose any standard view. The scale field in the Print menu is used to scale your model for printing. The first measurement “In the printout” is the measurement of the exported geometry. The second measurement “In Sketchup”, is the actual measurement of the object in real scale. If you want to print in ¼”=1’ you have to enter 1 Inches in the printout field and 4 Feet into Sketchup box. Do not pay attention to the numbers that appear on the Page size option when you are printing in scale.
Printing a perspective
Before printing use Zoom Extents to center your drawing in your window and avoid that your drawing is coming out on several pages. In the Print Size section choose Fit to Page. This option will size the model to fit on a single sheet of paper. It will also tell Sketchup to make your printed page look like your modeling window. Check the Model Extents option to instruct the program to zoom in to make your model fit the printed page.