Use a path to create 3D shapes
SketchUp’s Follow Me tool is simple, straightforward and can be used to quickly create recognisable shapes,
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 www.sketchup.com). 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.