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

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