Use a path to cre­ate 3D shapes

SketchUp’s Fol­low Me tool is sim­ple, straight­for­ward and can be used to quickly cre­ate recog­nis­able shapes,

ImagineFX - - Contents - as Mark Roosien ex­plains

Mark Roosien ex­plains SketchUp’s Fol­low Me tool.

he Fol­low Me tool is a great ad­di­tion to your SketchUp tool­box (the free ver­sion of the soft­ware, SketchUp Make, is avail­able from It en­ables you to ex­trude a twodi­men­sional shape along a path. This may sound sim­i­lar to the Push/Pull tool that we dis­cussed in a pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cle, but there’s more to it than that.

TCreate a twodi­men­sional shape

The Fol­low Me tool needs two things to work prop­erly: a two-di­men­sional shape and a path to guide this shape along. In this ex­am­ple I want to cre­ate a plant pot. So let’s set things up. Draw a square on the ground. Se­lect the Push/Pull tool and pull the square up­wards to cre­ate a three-di­men­sional col­umn. Use the Line and Arc tools to cre­ate a shape on the left side of the front face.

Se­lect a path to shape your pot

Pots are hol­low, so se­lect the top face of the col­umn, right-click and erase the face. When us­ing the Fol­low Me tool, the two-di­men­sional shape needs to be per­pen­dic­u­lar to the path that you have in mind. In this case, the twodi­men­sional shape will be ex­truded along the up­per edges of the col­umn. Use the Se­lect tool to se­lect all four up­per edges.

Gen­er­ate a pot

Activate the Fol­low Me tool by se­lect­ing the Fol­low Me icon in the SketchUp tool­bar at the top of the screen. Click the two-di­men­sional shape you’ve drawn and SketchUp in­stantly cre­ates the end re­sult, by fol­low­ing the selected path. This en­ables you to cre­ate a rea­son­ably com­plex model in only a few min­utes. By vary­ing the two-di­men­sional shapes and us­ing cir­cu­lar paths, you can eas­ily cre­ate a range of pots.

The key dif­fer­ence is that the Fol­low Me tool doesn’t only work in one di­rec­tion. You can use any line, or se­ries of lines, as a path to guide a two-di­men­sional shape along. By ex­trud­ing a small cir­cle along a curved line, for ex­am­ple, you can cre­ate ducts for a sci-fi in­dus­trial scene. Al­ter­na­tively, by ex­trud­ing a shape along the edges of a square, you can cre­ate a pot for your three-di­men­sional gar­den de­sign.

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