Friday, February 12, 2010

7.1 Move Tool

The Move Tool actually should be named the Move/Copy/Stretch Tool. You can move one or more objects, create one or more copies, either as an array, with each copy equally distant from the previous one, or at any location; and/or stretch vertices, edges, or faces on an object. The Move tool has a lot of uses, which I will show in this video.

So start up SketchUp 7 with the Simple - Feet and Inches template active. If the Instructor window is not active, go to the Window menu, and check Instructor. With the Select tool active (if not, press the space bar), click on Seng.

Let's start with the simple move operation. Press the M key, or click on the Move icon (the one with 4 red arrows), to make the Move tool active. Hold the left mouse button down. First, let's move Seng along the red, or X axis. Start dragging along the red line, the X axis. We know that Seng is moving along the X axis when the dashed line turns light red. If you release the left mouse button, is moved along that axis.

Note the Length indicator. It's telling us how far we have moved Seng in the red direction. The length indicator allows us to enter an exact measurement. Remember that SketchUp requries a template which indicates the unit of measure, feet and inchees, meters, millimeters, centimeters, and so on. Let's suppose we want to move Seng exactly 4 feet. Type 4' (with the apostrophe). Then press Enter. Seng is positioned exactly 4 feet from where he started.

Measurements can be in other units of measure. Even though our template is in feet and inches, we can enter metric units. Let's move Seng backwards along the red axis. Type 200 cm to move him 200 centimeters, or 2m for 2 meters (either would work). As long as you don't start moving Seng again, you can change the measure. Type 5' 6". We've moved Seng that distance.

We can also move Seng to a coordinate, either global, relative to 0,0,0 (use []), or relative to his original position (use <>), by specifying the value in the Measurement area. Suppose we want to move Seng 4' in the red X direction, 5' in the green Y direction, and 6' in the blue Z direction. In the Measurement area, type <4', 5', 6'>. If you want Seng to move to the global coordinate, the point (4', 5', 6'), enter [4', 5', 6']. You can also omit dimensions. For example, to move just 4' in the X direction, enter <4',,>.

Let's start moving Seng again, but in a circle. Left click and drag Seng in a circular motion, until the black dashed line turns green. Seng is now walking in the green direction. SketchUp is inferring that you want him to move parallel to the green line. You can "lock the inference" by holding the Shift key down. When you do that, the dashed line turns from light green to dark green. You cannot move Seng anywhere except along the green line. This makes it easy to make sure that Seng is moving parallel to the axis you want. You can also move Seng and have SketchUp infer that he is to move up and down parallel to the blue line by dragging away from Seng and moving Seng until the light dashed blue line appears. When it does, press the Shift key to constrain the move along the blue, up and down, axis.

Let's return Seng back to his original position. SketchUp remembers what you have done. Pressing Control-Z undoes the last operation. Press Control-Z until Seng returns to roughly where he started. There's another way to lock the inference. Before moving Seng, hold the left mouse button down and press the right arrow key. You'll see two eyes at the right of the Move icon. Start the move. Seng's movement is constrained along the red X axis. Now press the Up arrow key. Seng's movement is constrained along the blue Z axis. Press the left arrow key. Seng's movement is constrained along the green y axis. So as you move an object, you can constrain to any of the 3 axes when you want.

So that's move. Now, I'm now going to show you how to make copies of Seng.

First, we'll make one copy. To do that, press the Control key once. You don't have to keep pressing it, just press it once. The move icon now has an additional plus sign, which indicates that copy mode is active. When y ou move Seng, it turns out that you're moving a copy of him, while the original Seng stays exactly where he was. Move the copy some distance and press Enter. Now both Seng and his copy are in the scene.

We can make more than one copy right now. In the Measurements area, instead of typing a unit of measure representing how far to move Seng, type 5x. We just created 5 copies of Seng. This is called an external array because the copy extends outward. You can also create copies in between the original and the copy. Type 5/ or /5. This is great for making a lot of copies of an object, such as fenceposts on a fence.

The final use of the Move tool is to change geometry. To illustrate that, we'll create a new file, delete Sang, and create a rectangular solid. Press Alt-A. Then press the Delete key. Press the R key to create a rectangle. Then press the P key to invoke Push/Pull. Select a face and pull it out.

Now press the M key. Select a point. The solid stretches out, creating new geometry, with additional triangles. Press Control-Z to undo. Now select an Edge. Move it up by holding down the left mouse button and dragging. The roof is raised, so to speak. Press Control-Z to undo. Now select a face and move it. The solid is stretched out;

Here's an interesting tip, using autofold. Press the F key to invoke the Offset tool, or select its icon from the toolbar. The Offset tool creates an additional shape at a certain distance in or out from another shape. Offset the roof inward, creating a new face. Select the new face. Try to move it. The face can move along the original face. If you move the face upward, it moves by itself without creating any additional geometry. This can be useful, but in this case we want to make a steeple. To do that, hold the Alt key down as you move the face upward. This creates the steeple.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of the Move/Copy/Stretch tool. It's very useful. If you enjoyed this video, please hit the Subscribe button on Youtube. You can read the script for this video on my blog, as well as discuss it at

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

7.1 Select Tool

Precise selection of objects is one of the most important skills for using Google Sketchup. If you cannot select objects accurately, you could end up doing bad things to your scene, such as moving objects that you didn't want to move. Fortunately, SketchUp 7 has a number of ways for you to select the objects you want and not select the objects you don't want to be included. The purpose of this tutorial is to show the different ways you can select objects easily.

So let's start SketchUp 7, with the Simple - Feet and Inches template. Turn on the Instructor by checking the Insstructor item from the Window menu. The Instructor tells us that the Select tool, the one with the arrow icon, is active. By the way, any time you want to get back to the Select tool, if another tool is active, press the space bar. This is a handy to get out of a situation where, for example, you're creating more rectangles than you want.

When the Select tool is active, and you only want to select one item, you can left click on it. A solid blue rectangular outline shows the bounds of the object you have selected. Once an object has been selected, you can use another tool to do something to the object. For example, click on the Move tool, the one with the 4 red arrows, and drag Sang, our default Sketchup person, to move him. Press Enter to complete the move. When you press the Space bar, the Select tool is active again. Sang is still selected.

Suppose you want to deselect Sang. To do that, there are one of two ways to do it. From the Edit menu, choose Select None. Left click on Sang to select him again. This time press Control-T, the shortcut for Select None. Sang is deselected.

Let's add some more objects to the scene, to see how we select and deselect multiple objects. Sketchup 7 has a built in library of components, pre-built objects, that we can add. From the Window Menu, select Components. Click on Components Sampler. Let's add a bench and a picnic table to keep Sang company. Find the component, then click and drag onto the scene.

With the Select tool active, click on Sang. If we click on the bench, we select the bench. If we click on the picnic table, we just select it. What if we want to select both Sang and the picnic table? To do that, before selecting Sang, hold down the control key. The arrow icon changes to an arrow with the plus sign, meaning that we're adding to the selection. Click on Sang. Now both Sang and the picnic table are selected. Similarly, clicking on the control key while clicking on the bench adds the bench to the selection. We can move all of them at once by clicking on the Move tool, dragging the cursor, and pressing Enter. Press the Space bar to make the Select tool active.

OK, we can move all three. What if we don't want to move the picnic table, but only move Sang and the bench? To do that, instead of holding down just the Control key, hold down the Shift key and the Control key together. The icon now has a minus sign, indicating that the object will be removed from the selection. Then click on the picnic table to remove it from the selection. Now click on the Move tool and drag with the mouse. Only Sang and the bench move.

One gotcha. If you click with the Shift key too often, you end up editing a component. A component is composed of a number of objects associated together. If this happens, click outside the component and then nothing will be selected, but at least you won't be editing a component.

A good shortcut. To select all objects in the scene, press Control-A. If you want to deselect all objects, press Control-T,

Another way to select multiple objects is to use a selection box. A selection box is a rectangle that selects objects either totally within the rectangle, or partially within the rectangle. The difference depends on whether you started the clicking on the right side or on the left side.

If you start the rectangle from the right side, you will select all objects that are within it, even partially. Even though the bench and the picnic table aren't totally within the selection rectangle, they are selected because we started the selection box from the right. This type of selection is called a Crossing Selection, because any object that the rectangle crosses will be selected. Press Control-A to deselect everything.

However, if you start the rectangle from the left side, you will only select Sang, because only he is totally inside the selection rectangle. This type of selection is called a Window Selection. This is a handy way to control precisely what objects you want to be selected.

Suppose you always want to do the same thing to a group of objects. Here's a quick tip that will save you the effort of reselecting. Suppose we want to move only Sang and the bench. Select Sang and the bench. From the Edit menu, select Create Group. Now you select both objects as a unit. Click on the Move tool to move them together. Press Enter to confirm. Then press Space bar to make the Select tool active. If you want to make Sang and the bench individual objects, from the Edit menu, select Group, then Explode. Now Sang and the bench can be selected individually, as before.

To demonstrate yet another way to select, based on an object's geometry, we'll create a rectangular solid. First press Control-A to select all the objects in the scene. Press the delete key to make them all disappear. Choose the Rectangle tool. Create a rectangle by clicking in the scene, dragging the mouse diagonally, and clicking again. Select the Push/Pull tool while the top face is selected. Now we have a rectangular solid.

There are a number of options for selecting edges and faces. To start, select the front face. The front face is selected because it is grey with black dots. Right click and choose Select. Choose Bounding Edges. This selects, in addition to the face, the 4 edges around it. Right click again. Choose Select. This time, choose Connected Facees. This doesn't choose the entire cube, only the faces that are connected to that face. Select the Orbit tool to orbit around. The back face of the rectangular solid is not selected. Now press the Space bar. Select a face. Right click. Choose Select. Choose All Connected. This time the entire cube is selected, all the edges and faces.

Here's an interesting short cut using the mouse. Select a face. Double click. This selects the face and its bounding edges. Triple click. This selects All Connected.

You can also select an edge, with a slightly different result. Press Control-T to deselect all. Then select an edge. Double click. This time, the two faces connected to the edge are selected. If you right click and select Connected Faces, you get the same result. This is the mirror image of when you select a face and get the bounding edges selected.

That's it! I hope you enjoyed this tour of SketchUp 7 Selection tools. Unless you're a veteran SketchUp user, I bet you learned something you didn't know before. If you liked my video, subscribe to my Youtube channel so you won't miss any more. Also, you can discuss this video at

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

7.1 Push/Pull Tool

Discuss this video at my Forum.

The Push/Pull tool takes a 2 dimensional surface and extrudes it into the third dimension. The most common example is to create a rectangular solid or a cube out of a rectangle or a square. In this tutorial, we will start with a rectangle, create a rectangular solid using Push/Pull, and then explore the various options available with Push/Pull, such as creating voids, creating a starting face, pushing and pulling a curved face, and pushing and pulling precisely.

So start up Google Sketchup 7. SketchUp requires a startup template so that it can do precise measurements or to create models for specific tasks. Click the Choose Template button. You can measure in feet and inches, or in meters or millimieters. SketchUp has special templates designed for specific tasks, such as architectural models, creating models for Google Earth, Product Design and Woodworking, and Learning SketchUp. For our purposes, we'll select Simple Template - Feet and Inches.

Click the Start Using SketchUp button. You now see a little person, standing up, seemingly against a blue line. The blue line represents the Up direction. There are two other lines, colored red and green. The red line is the X direction, as if the guy is walking forward. The green line is the y direction, as if the guy is walking into the sunset or background. Remember these colors because they're important in Google SketchUp. Graphically, red is X, green is Y, and blue is Z.

SketchUp has a handy "Instructor" window, where you can learn about all the features of the highlighted tool. You can show or hide the Instructor window by checking the Instructor item on or off from the Window menu. This tutorial is based on the Push/Pull features shown in the Instructor window. It's basically a video version of Instructor. Right now, the Instructor is telling us that the Select tool, the arrow, is highlighted. You can also see this from the toolbar, which shows the arrow, the select icon, as depressed, i.e., the active tool.

The first thing we're going to do is delete the person from the scene. We're not interested in him. The important thing is the Push/Pull tool. To do that, click on the person.
Note the solid blue lines around the person. These show what is selected. To delete the person, press the Delete key.

Now we're going to create a rectangle. To do that, click the shaded Rectangle icon in the toolbar. The Instructor gives us the options for the Rectangle tool. To draw the rectangle, do the following:

1. Click to set first corner.
2. Move the cursor diagonally.
3. Click to set second corner.

Pressing Esc at any time cancels the operation, indeed most operations in SketchUp.

It's time to give the rectangle some volume. Click the Push/Pull tool, the one with a red arrow pointing up. The Instructor shows you that the Push/Pull tool is active. It's telling you to click on a face. In SketchUp, a surface consists of faces and edges. An edge is the boundary line or lines, the face is what's contained inside the lines. A rectangle has 1 face and 4 edges. When the tool icon is not over the rectangle, the face color is a smooth grey. However, when the tool is over the rectangle, the face color changes to grey with dots inside. Move the tool over the rectangle. When the rectangle's face changes color, left click to select. This locks the tool, so to speak, onto the face. Move the tool up. Now the rectangle has volume.

The amount of height is shown in the Distance area. As we move the tool up and down, the distance changes. Let's suppose we want the height to be exactly 10 inchees. To do that, just enter 10" in the Distance area. The rectangle's height is now 10 inches. Press Enter to confirm.

A nice feature is that SketchUp remembers the last distance that was used. This is handy because if you double click on the same face, the height is repeated. The total height of the rectangular solid is now 20 inches. Press Enter to confirm.

This remembering is also useful if you want to create another face as you push or pull. To do that, select a face. Press the Ctrl key. Now there's a little plus icon in addition to the push/pull icon. Pull the face outward. An additional face has been created. This is very useful in creating diagrams, for example, for offices where you need to lay out rooms.

You can also hollow out this rectangle, subtracting volume from it, with a process called creating voids. To do that, we'll create a rectangle inside one of the faces of our rectangular solid. To do that, select the Rectangle tool and create a rectangle, as we did earlier in the tutorial, on the front face. Press the space bar to select the Select Tool. If you don't do that, you may end up creating more rectangles than you want.

Select the Push/Pull tool and move it to the new rectangle you created. Drag the rectangle inside the cube. You are in effect hollowing out the solid, creating a sort of tunnel area. Press the Space bar to make the select tool active. Now click the Orbit icon and orbit to the front. We created a "void", a tunnel inside the solid.

Of course, you didn't have to push completely through the solid. You could have stopped and created a partial tunnel. You also could have specified an exact distance to push or pull. To do that, use negative numbers. -1", for example, would push 1" into the solid, just as if you were creating a tunnel into it.

You can extrude a curved surface as well. To do that, press the Space bar to exit from the Push/Pull tool. Select the Arc tool. On a face, do the following:

1. Click at starting point of arc.
2. Move cursor.
3. Click at ending point of arc.
4. Move cursor perpendicular to line.
5. Click to finish arc.

Press the Space bar to exit the Arc tool. Click the Line tool icon, the Pencil. Connect the end points of the arc with a line. Now you have a curved face. Press the Space bar. Click on the Push/Pull icon. You can extrude this new face inward or outward. If you click Hidden Geometry from the View menu, you will discover that the curve is actuallly a series of faces lined up, not an actual curve.

I hope you enjoyed this exploration of the Push/Pull tool in Google SketchUp 7. If you did, don't forget to hit the YouTube Subscribe button. You can also discuss this tutorial at my forum.