Use components to build a model
Components can save you lots of time when creating SketchUp models. Discover how to use them effectively with Mark Roosien
Components help save time when creating SketchUp models, says Mark Roosien.
Components are mini-models that can be used in SketchUp to build larger models. A component is a repetitive element, which only needs to be created once and can then be duplicated as necessary. As such, components are the greatest time-saving feature in SketchUp (the free version, SketchUp Make, is available from www.sketchup.com). For example, when designing a car, create one half, then duplicate it to produce the other half, or create one wheel and replicate it three times. When making a symmetrical model you may only need to produce only one quarter of the final object.
1 Create a component
I want to make a large container that can be used as a repetitive element on a spaceship. I design one quarter of the container by using the Line Tool and the Push/Pull Tool. Now I use the Select Tool to capture the quarter model in a selection box. All lines and surfaces will now change colour. I select the Make Component icon, then choose Create.
2 Make a container
The first component is ready, but I’ll need four to complete the container model. I select the Move Tool and click the component. Then I move the component while holding Ctrl (or Cmd) to create copies. Some of the components need to be mirrored to make them fit properly. To do this, I select the component, right-click, select Flip Along and choose the desired flip effect.
3 Construct a spaceship
I select all four components and select the Make Component tool again to make one big container component. I can now duplicate lots of containers for my spaceship with only a few mouse clicks. It’s possible to create components to produce all sorts of elements for the ship model. In this example, the containers, solar panels, antennae, support beams, radiators and crew modules are all duplicates.
Mark is a self-taught artist who jumped from traditional media to SketchUp seven years ago. He specialises painting nuts and bolts sci-fi art.