Building and Modifying Objects
Close any demo or practice models you have open and create a new file by clicking on the “new” button in the menu bar. In the Views toolbar, click on the top view so you are looking at the model space in plan view.
Let’s start by importing a basemap. Loose sketches (or plans imported from CAD) can be an easy way to begin modeling. Go to file > import and navigate to the sketchup_demo folder and open the basemap.jpg file
Click once on your screen at the origin to place the image.
Hold down the control key and note that this will allow you to center the image over the origin if you want to. Now move your mouse to the right. Notice that there are instructions explaining how to use the tool in the lower left corner of the window, and a box in the lower right corner, the Value Box, with numbers that change as you move your mouse. Since you are drawing at actual scale, the Value Box tells you the size of the image (or object) you are working with along a specific axis, displayed in the units you have set for the model (probably feet and inches). At any time while you are using a tool in SketchUp you can type on the keyboard and the values automatically appear in the box to set the size of the object or the distance to move, stretch or rotate an object. Notice also that if you hover over an axis a handy box pops up to tell you that you are moving along that axis. For now, type 600’ in the value box or drag the mouse to the right until the value in the box reads 600’. Our basemap is now 600’ wide (along the X axis).
Open the Model Info window and go to Location. Set the location as Washington DC, and check the show in model button so North is displayed. Try changing the angle by typing in values in the North angle box so you can see how North moves relative to the base plan. You can also use the Select button to specifically set the North angle. Click Select, click once on the origin and move the mouse around until the compass is aligned along your North-South axis:
When you are done experimenting, set the solar angle back to 0 and uncheck the “show in model” button.
Select the square tool from the Drawing toolbar,
click once on the corner of a building in the plan and click a second time somewhere else on the plan to create a 2D square. Now select the push/pull tool from the Edit toolbar,
click once on the square and move your mouse up. Click once more when the box is as tall as you want it to be. You now have a cube. If you want to make it taller, shorter or wider, just click once on the appropriate face of the box and push or pull the face to the location you prefer.
If you would like to create a shape of a specific size, follow the same procedure but before clicking a second time, type the size of the desired box by entering values for X, Y. For example, typing the values 10.5’, 20’ and hitting enter would produce a box 10.5’ in the X dimension by 20’ in the Y dimension.
Now spend a little time playing around with Draw and Edit tools to modify your shapes.
You can use the pencil and arc tools to cut faces, then push/pull the separate pieces.
Similarly, you can draw a small box on one of the faces and use that to create more complex geometries by pushing/pulling the new shape or the surrounding shape.
Using the other Edit tools you can move specific points (vertices), lines, faces or entire objects, rotate them, change their scale, duplicate or offset them. In the below example, the blue line is being moved up aong the Z (or blue) axis using the Move/Copy tool.
Note: SketchUp’s hints can be very useful. Learning to use the text boxes to help you locate midpoints, endpoints, edges and faces as well as move along specific axes can save you loads of time and prevent much frustration.
To select more than one element you can click multiple times in rapid section to select increasing numbers of related objects. For example, on your box, click once on a face to select a single face, click twice to select the face and its bounding lines and points, click 3 times to select all of the related faces, lines and points. At any time you can hold down the Shift key to add or subtract elements from your selection.
One quick click,
2 quick clicks,
2 quick clicks.
Now we should spend some time looking at components. Learning to model effectively and efficiently with components will make your modeling and editing process much less painful as your models increase in complexity.