We will walk through the majority of steps necessary to complete our work within SketchUp together - however, much of the work will require creativity and imagination as well as trial and error in order to obtain the required design/shape. In order to help everyone throughout this process - I have posted some scripts and will post videos that will assist you in using SketchUp and it's many tools.
Line Tool Fundamentals
3D Drawing with the Line Tool
Use the Rectangle Tool
Create Rotated Rectangles
Push and Pull Faces in 3D
Use the Eraser Tool
Create Outlines with Offset
Draw Curved and Freehand Shapes
Create Circles and Polygons
Soften and Smooth Edges
Use the Follow-Me Tool
Create 3D Text
How to Draw In Sketchup
Line Tool Fundamentals
3D drawing with the line tool
Use the rectangle tool
Create rotated rectangles
Push and Pull faces in 3D
Use the eraser Tool
Create outlines with Offset
Draw curved and freehand shapes
Create Circles and Polygons
Soften and Smooth Edges
Use the Follow Me Tool
Create 3D Text
Line Tool Fundamentals
- As we move into modeling, there'll be many times when you need to select faces or edges, or multiple faces or edges. Now can just do this by using the standard selection tool, so I can left-click on an edge and shift-select a face and maybe another edge and another edge, but if you have a large model, you may need to select things a little bit more efficiently. Now one thing that SketchUp has is right-click menus.
- I'm going to go ahead and click off of this, and then I'm going to select this edge here. Now if I right-click over this, notice how a menu comes up and we have a number of different options here for this edge, but the one I'm looking for here is Select so we have a couple of options here. We have Select Connected Faces, All Connected, and All on the Same Layer. Now what this does is select any face that is connected to that edge, so if I were to select this edge here, right-click, go Select/Connected Faces, it selects these two.
- Now if I have multiple edges selected, the tool will still work, so I'm going to go ahead andselect this one and this one and, again, right-click, Select/Connected Faces, and there we go.Now the other option for this is Select/All Connected. Now what that does is it selects anything that is actually connected to that edge, even remotely, so when I select this option, it selects everything in the house but the windows and this little door here.
- Now that's because these are actually separate objects in the model, they're not connected to that roof, so what All Connected does is basically just walk through the model, and anything that's connected will be selected. Now we've been working with edges, but we can also take a look at faces. So, if I were to select this face here and right-click over it, you'll see that we have under Select a number of options. In fact, we'll have a few more options. We do have Select/Connected Faces, and if I select that, it will select any face that is connected to that face, so if I have this face selected, go Select/Connected Faces, it'll select these two.
- Now with faces we do have some more options, so if I go Select/Bounding Edges, it will select the edges that bound that face. So if I were to have, say, this face selected, I could right-click over it, go Select/Bounding Edges, it'll select this triangle and this face here will select bounding edges of four sides. Now again, just as with edges, we can do an All Connectedand that will, again, select anything remotely connected to that face, but it will not select separate objects such as the windows.
- Now another option that we have with faces is that we can select by material. So I do have some materials on this object, but we're not showing them at the moment, but if we want to, we can go into our View menu and under Face Style I'm going to go ahead and turn on Shaded With Textures, and that will show the materials that I have on this object, and notice how we have different colors for the roof and the walls and some of the other parts of this building.
- So again, I can select part of the roof, and if I right-click over this and do Select/All with the Same Material, notice how it selects anything with a shingled roof, and that's because they all contain that particular material. If I select this blue wall, right-click, All with the Same Material,notice how it selects anything that has that material on it. I could do the same here, I have this concrete here on this patio, and I can Select/All with the Same Material and notice how it selects the staircase as well.
- So as you can see, there's a number of great tools that allow you to select faces or edges by how they're connected or by what material they have, so go ahead and get used to these tools because we'll be using these a lot as we model.
3D drawing with the line tool
- Now, in addition to creating 2-D shapes, we can also create 3-D objects using the line tool. So let's take a look at how to do that. So I'm going to go into my line tool. And let's just go ahead and draw out a simple box shape here. So I'm going to go ahead and snap to the red axis, snap to the green. And then I want to go ahead along the red until I get this snap here that tells me I'm across from that point. And, again, left click. And I really just made a simple square.
- Now, if I want to, I can start drawing in the vertical direction, as well. I'm not limited to just red and green. I can also include blue in my drawing. So if I snap to one of these points here, left click, drag, you can see that I can go along the blue axis. And when I hold down the shift key,you can see how that gets bold. And then I can basically just do the same sort of technique,but just along a different plane.
- So if I want to, I can snap over here, left click. And now, you can see, I've got this right angle.And all I'm doing is using the line tool, and I can draw in 3-D. And, again, if I want to, I can start to snap to these points and use my inferences to create a 3-D object. And, as you can see, this is coming together fairly well. And, again, if I touch this, you can see how I get that inference.
- And so, again, I'm getting green and blue here and then snapping that. And, as you can see, we have almost a box. All I have to do is snap to this corner and draw a line along the red axis to this corner. And now I've created an entire shape using just the line tool. So we can use the line tool to create 3-D objects. We can also use the line tool to draw on 3-D objects. So if I go back to my line tool, you'll see that I have this box.
- But I also have some additional snapping now that comes up. I can snap to this end point or this end point, but I also can snap to the midpoint. And if I do that, I can go down here, and I can divide this in half and then maybe draw along some other axes here. So I can draw along red and, again, start to extend this box if I want to. And, again, I'm just using my inferences and my snapping.
- And sometimes you'll have to position your camera, so that you can see what you're doing.And there we go. So, as you can see, we can use our line tool to not only draw along planes,but we can also draw up into 3-D. So you can actually create almost any object you want with just the line tool. But there are a lot of tools that are a lot more sophisticated than this, and we'll get to those next.
Use the rectangle tool
- In addition to the Line tool, we can also draw shapes in SketchUp. Now we can find these under the Draw menu. We have Lines, Arcs, and Shapes. So under Shapes we have Rectangle, Rotated Rectangle, Circle, and Polygon. Now we're going to focus only on the Rectangle tool right now. And the hotkey for that is R. Now we can also find this on the toolbar right here and if we pull this down you'll see we have Rectangle, Rotated Rectangle, Circle, and Polygon.
- Now again, we're going to focus on the Rectangle tool. So I'm going to go ahead and select that, and notice how the cursor changes to the Line tool, but it also has a little rectangle underneath it, and that tells us we're drawing rectangles. So once I have this tool active all I have to do is just left-click and drag and I can start dragging out a rectangle. Now there's two types of inferences that occur with this. If you notice if we get it right about here you notice this dotted line comes up and it tells us that this particular rectangle is Square, so all sides are equal.
- We also have another inference right about here, and that's called Golden Section, and that's the classic eight to five ratio. So regardless of that I can go ahead and just draw out whatever size I want, and also notice how the Dimensions are showing up in the bottom right hand corner, and those change as I move my tool. So if I let go of this it creates a shape. Now if I want a specific size I can type in the Dimensions.
- So in this case I'm going to want 12 feet, 10 feet, or if you're working in metric you can type in metric dimensions, and I'm just going to hit Enter. And that will go ahead and size this to that precise dimension. Now once I've done that the Rectangle tool will still remain active, and if I want I can continue to draw rectangles. Or I can add to this to start drawing a 3D shape. So if I snap two Endpoints here this will allow me to draw vertically, so if I left-click here, drag over here, and then start dragging up notice how it snaps to the green axis.
- If I hold down the Shift key that will lock into place. Now this is green because it's perpendicular to the green axis. Now once I let go of that you'll see that now I have kind of the start of a box and I can now continue to snap. So instead of snapping and pulling up I can just draw diagonally, Endpoint to Endpoint here, and snap along the red axis. And notice how this particular rectangle is now colored red, and again, that's because it's perpendicular to that red axis.
- So now I have most of a box created here, and let's go ahead and do this side. And if I wanted to I could draw this side as well, or I could switch tools to the Line tool here and just go ahead and draw all the way across and that will finish my box. Now just like with the Line tool, we can also draw on faces in our 3D scene. So if I go back to my Rectangle tool I can draw on this face here and just draw whatever size rectangle I want, and that is now on the face of that 3D object.
- And again, I can use this as the basis for creating more detail. So again, I can go back to my Rectangle tool and left-click and drag, and then again, pull up along green, maybe hold down the Shift key, and again, start drawing my diagonals. Diagonal here, diagonal here, and I can also use my Rectangle tool to close this off. So as you can see, I'm starting to draw a more complex shape just using the Rectangle tool. So as you can see, this is a really fast way to draw detail into an object.
- It's very similar to the Line tool and the two complement each other quite well.
Create rotated rectangles
- Now, there are times when you'll need to draw rectangles that are not aligned to the axes in the scene, and for that, we can use the Rotated Rectangle tool. Now, we can find this under Draw, Shapes, and you'll see we have Rotated Rectangle. We also have it here on the toolbar, and it's just part of this pull-down menu, it's Rotated Rectangle. Now, when I activate this tool, notice how we get the Angle Measurement tool. And this will tell us along which angle we will draw the first part of the rectangle.
- Now, by default, it can snap to red, green, or blue, and let me show you a little trick here. If we use the arrow keys, we can actually lock it to a specific axis. So the left arrow key locks it to green. Right arrow locks it to red. Up arrow locks it to blue. So I'm going to go ahead and lock it to the blue axis, and then, when we left click, we get to create two values at once.
- The first one is the angle. The second one is the length. So we can create an angle and a length for the base of that rectangle. Now, I'm going to go ahead and snap this to green here. And then also notice how we can get, the second angle can come up or down. So, again, we can get a length as well as an angle. So if we want to, we can type in specific values to get a specific effect.
- So, if I left click on this, I could, say, type 45 degrees, comma, 10 feet, and that will make that last segment 10 feet long and 45 degrees. So, as you can see, we've got that effect. Now, if we want, we can also use the Rotated Rectangle tool on this to create another angle. And as you can see, now we're getting kind of an interesting shape here. And if we wanted to, we could even close this by using the Line tool.
- So I'm going to select the Line tool here, and just draw corner to corner here, and corner to corner here, and you can see now, we have kind of a triangular box. Now, the Rotated Rectangle tool doesn't have to initially snap to one of the major axes. So if I want to, I can go back to this, and we can draw it at basically any angle we want. And here we've drawn something that's, again, completely off of either axis.
- And, again, we can use this as the basis for another rotated rectangle, if we want. So, as you can see, the Rotated Rectangle tool is a great way to draw shapes that are not aligned to the major axes of the scene.
Push and Pull faces in 3D
- One of the more important tools that you'll use in SketchUp is called the push pull tool. Now this allows you to take any shape and push it and pull it in to 3D. So let's go ahead and just start off with a simple rectangle, I'm going to select my rectangle tool and then just left click and drag and just draw out an arbitrary rectangle. Now we can use the push pull tool to pullthis up in to a box so we have our push pull tool here in our tool box, and under tools we also have push pull, and the hot key for this is the letter p.
- Now when I select the push pull tool notice how the cursor changes and when I hover over a face that face will highlight. If I left click and drag while I'm hovered over that face notice how I can pull up that face in to 3D. So this function's a lot like an extrude in a 3D program. Now if I hover over a face and push pull again notice how it will just resize the box, so if I select on the top I can make the top smaller or bigger or I can make it narrower or wider.
- Now another way to use the push pull tool is to actually add additional detail, so if I were to hold down the control key notice how a little plus sign comes up on the push pull tool. Now this allows me to add additional detail so if I left click and drag notice how I'm actually creating more detail to my object. Now also notice in the bottom right hand corner how the distance value is changing so we can actually type in a specific number for our push pull, so if I were to type in say four feet that would make that exactly four feet, or if I go over here and push pull I can pull this up and again we can give this a number, let's say we give that a number of three feet and again that will make this section three feet tall.
- Now once we start to have geometry the push pull tool will take on two separate characteristics, one is to resize things or re-position faces, the other is to add detail, so if I were to go on the outside of this I can left click and drag and just re-position this face or this face, but if I go here where this face is connected to another and left click and drag I will actually pull that face out and create some additional detail, and again here I can push in and so on so I'm actually re-shaping this object just with the push pull tool, and I can combine this tool with other tools so if I were to select the line tool and maybe cut this face across I can go back to my push pull tool and push that down.
- Now the push pull tool can also be used to create cavities in an object so if I were to say take a rectangle here and draw on this face here I can again use my push pull tool to hover over that new rectangle or that new face and I can push that in so I can actually create a cavity. So as you can see this tool is very, very versatile, it will allow me to re-size objects, to add detail to objects as well as turn shapes in to 3D objects.
Use the eraser Tool
- Now we've spent some time drawing things, but we also sometimes will need to get rid of things, or erase them. So, for that, Sketch-up has an eraser tool. We can find it here on the tool bar, it looks like an eraser, or under tools we also have an eraser function, and the hotkey for that is the letter E. When I bring this up, it comes up and looks like a pink pearl eraser, and all I have to do is hover over an edge and left-click. So if I hover over this edgeand left-click, it erases it.
- If I hover over this edge, again I can erase the edge. Now you can also get rid of edges using the Delete key, so if I were to go into Select mode by hitting the space bar, highlight this, and hit the Delete key, that would also get rid of that edge. But that's not exactly the same function as using the eraser, so this could cause problems later, particularly if you were to export this model into another 3D app.
- I'm going to go ahead and undo that, and let's go ahead and just use the eraser tool. So just get in the habit of using the eraser when you want to get rid of edges. Now the eraser tool can be used to get rid of lines that kind of just show up when you're modeling, but you can also use lines as building blocks for other objects, or guidelines, for example. So, if I were to take a line tool, and say draw along the top edge here of this object, I can use this line as kind of like the top sill of a door or a window.
- So, I could, for example, take my rectangle tool and draw a door or I can draw a couple of windows here. Now as you can see, these lines that I drew make sure that they're all thesame height, and then we can just take our eraser tool and erase those lines, just leaving the door and the window. So as you can see, the eraser tool is really very simple, it just gets rid of things, but it can be used in a lot of different contexts and it's a very important tool in Sketch-Up
Create outlines with Offset
- Another way to add detail to models is to use the offset tool. Now, what this does is it takes a space or a shape and then offsets it to create basically an outline. So here I have a simple house, and I've drawn just a basic rectangle for the door and the windows. So let's use the offset tool to add some edges to this to create something a little more realistic. Now before I get started, I'm actually going to go ahead and cut this window in half.
- So I'm going to go ahead and go to my line tool, and I'm just going to snap to midpoint along the top part of this window, and then left-click and drag down to basically create a line that cuts that in half. So now that I have this, let's go ahead and use the offset tool. So we can find this under Tools, Offset, the hot key is the letter F, and here it is on the toolbar. You'll notice that when I activate this tool, it starts to highlight spaces.
- So all I want to do is basically just highlight a space, left-click, and drag and you can see that it's basically creating an outline that matches that shape. Also notice that on the bottom right-hand corner how we have a distance value, which is basically how much this is being offset by. So when I let go of that, I can actually type in a number for that offset. And I'm going to type in the number four, for four inches, and that will make that exactly four inches.
- Now here's a little hint for a lot of SketchUp tools. If you use a tool, you can double-click to use that tool in the exact same way that you did before. So if I want to create that exact same offset for this other window, all I have to do is highlight this space and duoble-click, and that creates another offset of exactly four inches. Now once I have this, I can actually extrude this edge or pull it into an actual piece of geometry.
- So I'm going to go to my push/pull tool, hover over this, and pull it out. Let's go ahead and just pull it out by one inch, and you can see that it creates some additional detail. Now I can do the exact same thing with this tool by double-clicking on it. It creates another one-inch offset here and pulls that out by one inch. So now I have some window frames that are four inches wide and one inch deep. Let's go ahead and create that same sort of trim for the door.
- So again, I'm going to go to my offset tool and go over that space that is the door, but in this case, instead of going on the inside, I'm going to go on the outside. So I'm going to go outside of the door. And this is just to show you that the offset tool works on both sides of the space. So if I go on the outside, I can again type four for four inches, and we've got a nice outline to the door, except we've got a little problem here, it's pretty obvious, at the bottom.
- We offset the door below the ground level here, but that can be cleaned up very simply using our eraser tool, so all I have to do is select a rate, and just get rid of each one of these edges.So now, once I have this, all I have to do is just push/pull, hover over it, and actually all I have to do is double-click 'cause it remembers what I did before. And now I have a nice edge to my door. So as you can see, the offset tool works really nicely to give you outlines of spaces that can be used for additional detail in your mode
Draw curved and freehand shapes
- Up until this point, we've been using straight lines to create our objects. We've been using the Line tool as well as the Rectangle tool and let's go ahead and take a look athow to create curved objects in Sketchup. Now there are two types of tools here. There is a Freehand Drawing tool as well as an Arc tool. So let's go ahead and just take a quick look atthe Freehand tool and then we'll get into arcs and circles. So the Freehand tool is found under Draw, Lines, and we have a Freehand tool here.
- We can also find it on the toolbar. It's right under the pencil, so there's a pulldown menu here.Now when we get the Freehand tool, it just basically allows us to draw any shape we can imagine. But let's go ahead and left-click and drag and just draw a shape. And as you can see, that shape is drawn along a plane. Now one of the things you need to know is that when you draw curved shapes in Sketchup, it will always resolve those to straight lines.
- So if I were to say, take the Line tool here and just kind of move it along here, you'll see that it snaps to endpoints here. And each one of those endpoints is actually just a line segment. So I actually have a bunch of straight lines here, that it created by drawing that curve. So again, it resolves the curve to individual straight lines. And we'll get to this a little bit more as we go through the course. Now if I want, I can go back to my Freehand tool and snap to the endpoints of this and draw another shape and if I snap to the other endpoint, it will fill in that shape, so I have this highly irregular shape, but it is a closed shape and I can pull that into 3D geometry if I want.
- So that's one way to create curved shapes. Now this is a very imprecise method. If you want to be more precise, you'll have to start using Arcs. So we can find Arcs, again, under the Draw menu, we have Arcs and we have three types of Arcs as well as a Pie shape, which is actual geometry. And we can find them here on the toolbar here. We have an Arc, a 2 Point, 3 Point Arc, as well as a Pie shape. So I'm going to start off with the Arc. Now, the Arc tool allows you to draw out a base and then sweep that base along an angle to create an arc.
- So it starts off with this little protractor tool like we have in the Rotate tool, and we can lock this to a specific axis by using the Arrow key. So if we do a Left arrow, it's green, Right arrow, it's red, Up arrow is blue. So we're going to lock this to the blue plane here and just go ahead and left-click and drag out. So as I drag out, you can see how I'm creating a specific length for this.
- So all I have to do is just left-click again to lock in that length and then I can sweep this along an angle to create my arc. And there's my arc. Now if you'll notice, again, we can just use our line tool here to do some snapping and you can see that we've got a number of straight line segments. In fact, if you zoom in, you can kind of see those straight line segments. Now we can set the number of segments before we actually use the tool. So if I click off of the Arc tool,by clicking another tool, and then click back onto this, notice how the first thing that comes up, before we use the tool, is the number of sides.
- So this this how many straight lines segments it will use to create this arc. And again, I can use my Arc tool. So, if I were to left-click here and drag, I could type in a number for the length of the base, so if I typed in say, 10 feet, it would lock it at 10 feet and then I could sweep through the angle and I could type in a specific angle, let's say 60 degrees. And once I do that, it has that arc, and again, the number of sides will be dependent upon the number that we typed in at the very beginning.
- So let's go ahead and take a look at the other two Arc tools. So we have also the 2 Point and 3 Point Arc. So let's take a look at the 2 Point Arc and this icon actually kind of gives us a hintas to how this is going to be drawn. We're going to draw out this base and then we're going to pull out what's called a bulge. So I'm going to left-click on this and again, notice how it gives me the number of sides, and I'm going to go ahead and left-click and drag and this will give me the length. So this is the base of this shape, and then left-click again and drag and you can see how I can bring this bulge out, so I can make this shallow or deep, however I want.
- And there we go. Now if we want, just like before, we can type in numbers so if I were to left-click and drag, I could make this say, exactly 12 feet, and then if I wanted to, I could also use my arrows to pull this up vertically. So if I wanted too, I could hit the Up arrow to align it to the blue axis and there we go, so now I have this arc along this axis.
- And if I wanted to, I could use my Line tool to close this shape. So now let's take a look at the 3 Point Arc. Now, the 3 Point Arc is kind of more for shapes that go around an angle and you can kind of create a shape that looks a lot like a PAC-MAN and you could see that here. So all you have to do is basically draw two angles and then it will sweep out the arc. So I'm going to go ahead and select one point, left-click and drag, say, along the green axis, and then as you can see, I can create this shape here.
- You can see how this shape works. It's pretty straightforward. Now once I have this, again, I can use my Line tool to add to this and if I wanted to, I could fill this in and actually create a PAC-MAN. And now the final one is the Pie shape. Now this is actually a piece of geometryand it actually works very similar to the Arc tool except it fills in the details. So I'm going to go ahead and select this, and again, just like with the Arc tool, we get the protractor.
- So I'm going to go ahead and drag this out, sweep out an angle, and when I left-click the second time, it not only creates the arc, but it also creates additional lines to fill that in, into a pie shape and we can again, just like with any shape, select the Push/Pull tool and pull that into 3D. So as you can see, there are a number of different ways to create curved and irregular shapes, if you just want to freehand things, you can always use the Freehand tool,but if you want to be more precise, you can use the Arc tools.
Create Circles and Polygons
- Now let's take a look at how to draw circles and polygons in SketchUp. Now we can find circles and polygons here under the Draw menu. Now these are closed shapes so we'll find them under the Shapes menu. We've looked at Rectangle and Rotated Rectangle,but now let's take a look at Circle and Polygon. Now these two are kind of related because they work in the same way. Now the circle tool has the hot key of "c." And we can also find the tools here on the tool bar, So again we have Circle and Polygon.
- So I'm going to go ahead and select the Circle tool. Now once you select the tool notice how in the bottom right-hand corner we get a number of sides. Now remember, all curved surfaces in SketchUp resolve to straight lines. So this number of sides is telling SketchUp how many straight lines are going to exist around the circumference of this circle. So once I have all that understood I can actually draw the circle. And it's actually pretty simple, it's just click and drag.
- So I can left-click and drag out a circle. And if I want to, I can give it a specific radius or just freehand it. And once I do that, notice how this is actually a shape. So I actually have a complete shape with a face. Now the circle tool can be aligned to any axis you want. So if I re-select this, you can use your arrow keys to align it to any axis. So the left arrow aligns it to the green axis, right arrow aligns it to the red axis, and the blue axis is the up arrow.
- So I'm going to go ahead and line this one to the green axis. And before we actually do this,I'm actually going to type in a new number of sides for this. In this case, I'm just going to type in, say 12, and hit Enter. And then just go ahead and left-click and drag, and as you do that, you can see the number of sides on this. And if we want to we can give it a specific radius. So I'm going to give this a radius of say six feet. And when I do that notice you can actually seethe number of sides.
- So I specifically reduced the number of sides so that you could see it. Now typically when you draw a circle, you want to have a higher number of sides. But these are shapes and we can pull them out into 3D. So if I select my push-pull tool, I can hover over either of these facesand pull that out into geometry. Now when we pull this into geometry, notice how this face here is smooth. And that's one of the hallmarks of the circle tool, is that it will create geometry that will smooth as you do push and pull it.
- So now that I've created that, let's go ahead and move on to the polygon tool. So I'm going to select the polygon tool. Now notice in the bottom how we have a number of sides. And in this case it's six. So we're going to be drawing a hexagon. But this is exactly the same as the circle tool. The circle tool had more sides but it's basically the same technique. So I'm going to go ahead and left-click and drag. And again, we can have a radius, and if we want to we can rotate this tool to align the polygon to whatever axis we want.
- So I'm going to go ahead and just let go of this, and as you can see, we have a hexagon. Now just like with a circle tool, we can align this to any axis we want. And if we want to change the number of sides we can also do that. Now for the polygon tool, this is actually important. So if I select this polygon tool again, you'll notice the number of sides comes up, and we can change this. So if I change it to say three, and hit Enter.
- Notice how this changes to a triangle, so now I'm drawing triangles instead of hexagons. And if I want to draw something else, I can. So again, process is you select another tool and re-select the tool, and that allows you to type in the number of sides. Well this time I'm going to type in 12, just like I did with the circle. And I'm going to align this to the green axis by hitting the left arrow.
- And again I'm going to just hold this out and as you can see we're getting a very similar effect.But this time when I pull out the geometry you can see that I'm getting lines here. So I'm getting actual faces on each one of these, which I'm not getting here on the circle. So that's the main difference between the polygon tool and the circle tool, is that the circle tool creates smooth-sided objects while the polygon tool creates objects that have facets.
- So each one of these faces are actually faces that we can work with. So I could actually push and pull that into geometry if I wanted to, but I can't do that on the circle derived geometry. So as you can see, the polygon and the circle tool function almost identically. The main difference is that one creates smooth objects the other creates faceted objects.
Soften and Smooth Edges
- Now let's take a closer look at the difference between circles and polygons, and how to smooth faces in SketchUp. So I've got basically two tools here, the Circle and the Polygon, and they work very much the same except they have a little bit of a difference. So let's go through this one more time. So I'm going to go ahead and select a Circle tool and then for a number of sides instead of 24, I'm going to type in 12. And then I'm just going to go ahead and drag out a circle, and then I'm going to pull it into a 3D shape.
- And notice how the sides are smooth. So let's do the same with a polygon. I'm going to go ahead and select a Polygon, and again the number of sides we're going to type in 12. Let's go ahead and just drag that out, and again use my Push/Pull tool to pull that into 3D. Now these objects actually have pretty much the same geometry, except one is smooth and one isn't.Now if we go into our View menu, we can turn on what's called Hidden Geometry.
- And when we do that, notice how the one that was derived from a circle has dotted lines, whereas the one that was derived from the polygon has straight lines. So I've got these edges here are all straight lines or solid lines, and these are all dotted lines. Now the dotted lines tell us that that particular edge is smooth, and when an edge is smooth it will basically not appear, and the object itself will appear to be smooth.
- So if I want to, I can change this. All I have to do is select one of these hidden edges, right click above it, and just find the Unsoften option. When I click on that, notice what happens. All of a sudden it is no longer soft. It has basically become an edge. So if I did this to this one here, I can right click again and do Unsoften. And if I go into View and turn off Hidden Geometry, you'll see that I have what looks like a cylinder except for this one face, so I have basically this smooth face here, and then this one here which isn't.
- And that one face that's not smooth is actually a flat face and I can actually use my Push/Pull tool to actually extrude that if I want to. I'm going to go ahead and Undo that. So we can do the opposite on this object here. So I can select one of these edges, and if I right click over it, you'll see I have an option to Soften that edge. And when I do, the edge disappears. And I can do that to multiple edges. So again I can Soften this edge, and I can Soften this edge.
- And notice how now I've got more of a soft look and then around here I actually have harder edges. So as you can see, we can switch between soft and smooth edges in SketchUp. And circles and polygons are basically equivalent except one has soft edges and the other one has hard edges.
Use the Follow Me Tool
- One more way to create geometry is to use the Follow Me tool. I like to think of it as a push-pull tool with a path. So you can actually pull a shape along a predefined path. So let's go ahead and use that tool to create some railings for this scene. So here I have a staircase, and that staircase basically has some outlines that are going to be the railings of the stair. Now, I've created these outlines just by drawing a straight line and a couple of arcs.
- So these are basically just basic shapes that I've snapped together. Now to create the railing, we need an outline for the shape of the rail which we're going to use as a circle. And then we're going to use Follow Me to move it along that path. So let's go ahead and go into the circle tool. And I'm going to go ahead and snap that to the endpoint of this. And then just go ahead and left-click and drag, and we're going to give it a size of one inch.
- In fact, I'm going to go ahead and type that in. So I'm just going to type the number one in and hit Enter. And that creates a circle. Now I'm going to use the Follow Me tool. So we find that under Tools, Follow Me. And you'll notice that as soon as we activate the tool, it highlights faces. So we want to highlight the face inside the circle. I don't want to highlight the step but what's inside the circle. And then you left-click and drag and make sure you hold down your left-click.
- So when I left-click and drag, notice how it's following along this path and it goes all the way down. And when I let go, it's created exactly what I want. Now we do have one little problem here, and that's this edge here. So this edge basically, and if you click on it you'll see that it's actually 12 separate edges because that's how many sides I had to this circle. But what we want to do is go ahead and soften that.
- So, we already showed you how to soften using right-click. I'm going to show you another way here. So I'm going to go ahead and select those. And just go ahead and Shift deselect these faces so that only these edges are selected. And then right-click and go into Entity Info.Now this will show up in your tray on Windows, and it will show up in a window on the Mac.And then all we have to do is basically select Soft for those edges and click off of it.
- And now those edges disappear. So let's go ahead and do this one more time so we can get the hang of it. Again, I'm going to use my circle tool. And remember, I have 12 sides to that.And go ahead and left-click and drag, and we're going to make that a radius of one inch.Zoom out so I can see everything. This is kind of important. And then, go to Follow Me. And let's go ahead and find just the face that's on the inside of that circle.
- Left-click and drag and make sure you hold down left-click for the entire operation. And there we go. So now we've got one more little thing to do. We've got to clean this up. So I'm going to go ahead, again, select this. Deselect the faces, right-click, Entity Info, and Soften. And there we go. So, as you can see, the push-pull tool is a great way to make shapes out of curves and arcs, and it's a really handy tool to use.
Create 3D Text
- There are times when you'll need to have text in your drawings in SketchUp, either as notes or as objects in the scene for things such as signs. So let's take a look at how to create 3D text which creates text as geometry in a SketchUp scene. Now we can find this under Tools. Now in SketchUp we have two basic types of text. We have text for annotation and text for geometry. So for annotation we have things such as Dimensions, which allows you to add dimensions to your scene.
- We have the Text tool which allows you to add text for things such as notes and labels. But what we're looking at now is 3D Text which is for creating actual geometry in the scene. So let's go ahead and select 3D Text. Now when we do that, it brings up this little box here. We can enter any text we want. We can change the Font, we change it to Bold or Italic. We can also adjust things such as the size of the text, the alignment of the text, as well as whether the text is Filled or Extruded.
- So if we leave this pretty much at the defaults, we can just select Place and you can see that it creates a piece of text in the scene. Now I'm going to delete that. Let's go ahead and do something a little more specific to this scene. So again I'm going to go into 3D Text. So let's go ahead and create a label for this trailer. I'm going to go ahead and type in some text here,and then let's go ahead and change the Font, and maybe we can make this a little bit bigger.
- I'm going to make this 12 inches high, and let's go ahead and hit Enter. Now when I do that, the text comes up in the scene and notice how it kind of snaps to whatever surface I have. So if I go on a surface that's going this way, it'll snap this way, it'll go along the ground, but we actually want to place it onto the actual trailer itself. So I'm going to go ahead and just place it here and left click. Now once it's there, it's actually a 3D object and we can continue to move it.
- If we wanted to, we could move it some more, or we could rotate it, or scale it, or really do whatever we want with it. So as you can see, 3D text is just one more way to create geometry in your scene in SketchUp.