Skatter Library

Great plug-in - still learning. How do I create library objects for skatterring? II thought it would be easy and fairly intuitive and perhaps it is, but I am struggling. For an initial attempt I wanted to add some ferns. The manual says first create a setup but does not define what exactly is a setup? So what ever I have tried nothing seems to become available in the library dialogue. As a landscape architect I will use Skatter frequently but I bought it initially for a project which is nearly complete except for the wildflower and woodland meadows. In my thinking I imagined I would simply add: ferns, tree ferns, sedges, foxgloves and harebells, primulas etc in minutes and then be able to use them in Skatter. The fact that there are only two objects in the Skatter library and that Thomas is working on the library updates perhaps suggests to me this is a much more involved task than I first imagined. Either way any guidance appreciated.


Hi Graham,

I agree that the library as a whole should be better. And it will be! Besides new content that I am working on right now, the browser itself is getting completely re-written.

Now, to you issue : Could you give me more details where/when you are struggling when saving a new preset in the library? Maybe record a small video with something like JING :
You’re saying that you see only two presets in the library, there should be nine. So there might be an issue when it displays the setups.

By the way, a “setup” is simply a set of values and options you put in the Skatter dialog, that you can generate.

Hi Thomas

I wasn’t crtiting the library per se and there are indeed 9 presets I was just counting long grass and daisy. I will try and do a vid and knowing Murphy it will probably work this time :slight_smile: My procedure was to select a ground fern from the Sketchup Warehouse which I have already used to a limited extent in my model via the conventional means. I save the object and then go to the library dialogue but its not there. Let me try again and do a vid

Hi Thomas

I tried the library thing again. This time I could get objects into the library and they show in the library dialogue but when I load them they do not appear in the Skatter Dialogue. Have tried a few times to no avail - so am lost now. I used Jing to make a vid as you suggested so how do I get that vid to you?

Hi Thomas

I still can’t see the libry entries I have created in the main Skatter Dialogue after loading them from the library. They appear in the Library Dialogue fine. I have been storing them to a location of my choice but trying to resolve this I did a search for all *.sklib files. I found that the original Skatter library stores to C:\ProgramData\Skatter. It was in my head to move my created library entries there in the hope the main Skatter Dialogue would then see them but I can’t see that directory (folder) at all on my system??

Is the “Render only” checkbox ticked when you load your preset from the library?

I used Jing to make a vid as you suggested so how do I get that vid to you?
There's a "Share to" button after you've stopped recording.

Yes it is - should I untick it?

It depends if you want this setup to be rendered only, or generated in the model :
If it is ticked, you won’t see anything generated in the viewport.

Hi Thomas

I tried checking and unchecking this but neither works - nothing is rendered by VRay except the grouped base because although I have my new library entries showing in the library dialogue when I load them they do do not appear in the Skatter dialogue. I noticed this time however that when I press load there is not the same information available in the load dialogue as there is with the native library entries, See the screen shots below - this is the native library load dialogue showing the proxies and full geometry check buttons…

Now here is what shows when I try to load one of my library entries…

Here is the problem - nothing shows in the Main Skatter dialogue under Skattered objects AFTER I have apparently loaded one of my library components, see below…

Other people have this working so clearly I am doing something wrong or not doing something I should do at the time of creating the library entry. My procedure for CREATING A NEW SKATTER LIBRARY ENTITY is as follows…

  1. Open a blank new Sketchup work space;
  2. Import a Sketchup component from my component collection;
  3. I always purge at this point to ensure I have nothing but the component in the work space;
  4. I click on the component and save this under Skatter giving it a name ie HERBACEOUS -Holyhock;
  5. I save this to my Sketchup components folder…

G:/PRIVATE/Google Sketchup Local Components/My Skatter Library

and I have to name it again at this point.

Then to ATTEMPT TO USE THAT NEW LIBRARY ENTITY this has been my test procedure…

  1. Open a new Sketchup work space;
  2. Create a surface plane to receive the test skatter: I create a rectangle and group it;
  3. I open the main Skatter dialogue;
  4. I open the Skatter library dialogue;
  5. I select and load the new library entry ie HERBACEOUS-Holyhock NB: NOTHING APPEARS IN THE MAIN SKATTER DIALOGUE UNDER SKATTERED OBJECTS after I have pressed load - and I am sure that is the root of the problem;
  6. Anyway I still try and test it and thus select my grouped surface plane but there is nothing to skatter, however sometimes the previous skatter element appears IF THE PREVIOUS WAS ONE OF THE NATIVE LIBRARY ENTRIES ie long grass, or daisy.

Thomas can you see anything fundamentally wrong with my procedures above? Am I not doing something I should the new library creation time?

Sorry for pesting you with this but I have everything else pretty much worked out and this is all that is preventing me from moving past the test phase and into a real skatter production on my model.

The model I first want to use Skatter on is very large and complicated for Sketchup and so I MUST KNOW EXACTLY WHERE I AM GOING AND HOW TO GET THERE BEFORE I COMMIT TO A REAL ATTEMPT otherwise I waste a huge amount of time waiting for Sketchup to respond for what wold be no reason. The objective is the creation of a large open wildflower meadow matrix of about 3 or 4 flower species in long grass with meandering or straight paths leading to large sculpture elements as focal points: plus a large woodland meadow with wildflowers and ferns on a mossy carpet also with meandering paths leading to sculpture elements. FYI here are a couple views of the finished renders MINUS the Skatter meadows that I cannot create until I crack the new Skatter library entries thing…

In the image above the long grass and wildflowers will lead off the paved terrace to the sculpture and then meander around into the woodland which is not viable in this scene. In the image below long grass and wildflowers will line the avenue path beneath the avenue trees all the way to the Tree Fern Circle and bronze sculpture…

In the image below ground ferns and mosses will cover the banks around the sculpture and the woodland floor . I also want to use Skatter to replace all those useless face-me trees in the woodland that look so pants, replacing them with better 3D trees for a totally real effect which would otherwise not be possible without Skatter…

Anyway I hope you enjoyed seeing what I am trying to do. I can foresee in my mind the finished renders with Skatter meadows and woodland, but I need to understand how to create my own library entries that are available in the main Skatter dialogue



When you say :
“4. I click on the component […]”
Do you mean that you pick it from the “Scattered objects” rollout? Or that you simply selected it in the viewport with Sketchup’s defaut black cursor?

Just to be sure, here is a short video of the whole process :

As a side note, the library is meant to store whole Skatter setups where you already spent time fine-tuning the values and options (density, randomness, etc), rather than setups with default values and just one scattered object picked.
You can use it like that, for sure, but in this case (where you only want to store the components and not particular Skatter values/options) you’re probably better off storing your objects as simple skp files and import them in your model when you need them, and pick them in Skatter. It will be easier to organize, as you can use your usual file/folder browser.
For example, if you import a bush from the 3D Warehouse and want to use it later in Skatter, store it as a skp file like any other component.
But if you already created a complex meadow, with multiple objects, for which you spent time setting options and values, then save this in the Skatter Library.

Ah I see said the blind man. Thank you Thomas I now understand and am getting results. I was thinking about this the wrong way.