In my previous post (SketchUp – A Beginner’s Guide), I introduced some basic concepts of the 3D modelling software. How to make and move basic objects.
Now we move on to slightly more advanced (don’t worry, not very advanced! We’re taking baby-steps here!) techniques.
Once you have an object, it is a simple matter to duplicate it. Actually,. it is several simple matters, depending upon your preference.
Select your object. You may notice that only part of the object is selected! We need to cover this first!
Using the Select Tool, you can select a single line or face. Or you can drag a box around an area, selecting everything withing this box. WARNING: This may accidentally select hidden sections! To avoid this, we can try several options:
First, extra-clicks. A single click will select a single item, such as a Face or a Line. Double-Clicking will select a Face and surrounding Lines. A Treble-Click will select ALL connected items! This is very useful fro a free-standing object, but care must be taken when you have interconnected objects!
A way to avoid interconnected objects is, as mentioned before, to make your objects into Components. This will stop them from interacting with other objects, and make them easier to select individually.
A third way is to drag a box around your object, but this has the danger of selecting unseen items, such as the rear faces and lines.
I recommend Components.
Back to Copying
Now we have selected an Object, we can use controls that are very familiar to some people, as they are the standard Windows Copy/Paste functions. On the Edit Menu, choose Copy. Simple as that. This stores a copy of the object in the computer’s “buffer”, ready to insert into the scene. To do this insert, back to the Edit Menu, and choose Paste. (For those unfamiliar with the terms “Cut”, “Copy” and “Paste”, they refer back to when work was done on pieces of paper, and literally Cut with scissors or a knife, and then stuck into place with a glue or paste.)
The more eagle-eyed of you will have noticed the Control Keys noted at the side of the Menu Functions. These are keyboard shortcuts that you can press, instead of moving the mouse to the Menu, clicking on the Menu, moving the mouse to the correct option and clicking on that option! E.g. instead of choosing Copy from the menu, you can hold the CTRL key, and press the “C” key.
Now we have a copy in the buffer, either use the Edit Menu -> Paste, or press CTRL-V to Paste the Item into the scene. To begin, it will be “floating”, and you can move it to the required position, before clicking to actually place it.
You may create an object, and then want to make it a different size, or have a copy of an object as a different size. This requires the Scale Tool. Select the object you wish to Scale, and then click the Scale Tool. You will see lots of yellow “handles” appear over the object. These can be use to drag/stretch the object.
Some handles will only stretch in certain directions, while the corners will stretch all dimensions. Try some, and see how it works!
As with other functions, the Dimensions box in the very lower right of the screen will keep a track of how much you are scaling the object. And, as an added extra, you can type a Dimension to set it exactly! Start pulling a handle, and then type 2 <Enter>, and your object will be Twice the size! type 0.5 and it will be half as big as it started! Useful for when exact ratios are required. And an extra bonus feature, you can scale it to an exact distance! Try stretching and then typing 6″<enter> or 3m<enter>. You should see the object become the size you indicate!
It is quite rare that all you will want in a scene is a plain cube, or even several cubes of different sizes. So we need Details. There are so many different ways we can alter an object that I can only discuss a few in this article.
We shall start with the
A very useful feature, this allows you to move a face, or part of.
To Push/Pull a complete face, simply select the Tool, and hover over the Face you wish to move. You should see the familiar blue spots, showing the selected face. Holding the left mouse button down, you can Push/Pull the face. Notice how the Snap Effect can be used to line up the face with other Objects in the scene.
To move just part of a face, you must section it off using the Pencil tool. Draw a line splitting the face, and then proceed as before.
The examples (right) show (l-r) a cube with the whole face pushed back, one with a line splitting the front face in half, and the right pushed back, and one with a design Drawn on, and then Pulled forwards!
NOTE: If you are working on a Component, you must first double-click the component to make sure you are working within it, rather than on the main scene. Also, be aware that alterations made to One component will affect all copies of that component!
This tool can be used to create many effects, including removing a section from an object by Pushing it until it is level with the opposing face (Snap Effect!).
We’ll leave it there for today.
Practice with these tools, and experiment with creating your own Objects.
Let me know how you get on, and the best examples I receive might get featured in my next post!