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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Google SketchUp Video Tutorial 3: Modify Tools

SketchUp New Users Series: Video 3 tutorial: Modify Tools

You've learned about the concepts of SketchUp and about drawing shapes. It's time to introduce you to the Push/Pull tool. This is what SketchUp is all about. Click on tool and simply click on shapes to pull them into 3d. When pulling on surfaces, here are some tips to remember. The Push/Pull tool will work on any flat shape. This is true in any direction. You can pull out on surfaces or push in on them. When pulling surfaces, the tool will always pull and push in direction perpendicular to the surface.

After playing around with some random shapes, the next question will be to ask how to pull up exactly 5 feet? Or push the surface in exactly 20 centimeters? To be accurate in SketchUp, you simply start an action, then type in a value for it. That's it.

1. Begin an action (such as push/pulling a shape)
2. Type in a value
3. Press the Enter key

Start pulling this shape up, then type 5 feet and hit the ENTER key. It snaps to exactly 5 feet. Start pushing this shape inward, and type 20cm for 20 centimeters. Hit the ENTER key and it's done. You can enter metric or imperial units. Here are some examples:

Type: 3' for 3 feet
Type: 10" for 10 inches
Type: 15cm for 15 centimeters
Type: 4.5m for 4.5 meters

A common misconception when entering accurate units in SketchUp is that you need to open a box or click to place your cursor somewhere. This is not true. You simply type the unit and hit ENTER. Anytime with any tool.

There is another way to be accurate with the PUSH/PULL tool. You can pull on one surface and infer to another. Watch this example to see how this works. We'll creat 4 boxes of random sizes and use inferring to align. Start pulling on one surface, but then move the cursor to another surface to finish. Click to start here, click to finish there. Click to start, click to finish. Inferring makes this task easy.

Consider that you can infer across and through other surfaces as well. You can infer on any edge or any surface that you can see on the screen.

Another unique feature that you can accomplish with the PUSH/PULL tool is the ability to cut openings in objects. Here is an example. Create a box and draw some other shapes on one side. If you push these surfaces to the other side of the box, it will be cut away entirely. The key to cutting an opening is to make sure both surfaces are parallel and clear of any other edges. You can see this here. This box is parallel on both sides. So pushing this surface to the other surface works well.

This object has a back side that is slanted. So these sides are not parallel and wouldn't properly cut an opening:
SketchUp surfaces not parallel cannot properly cut opening
These sides are parallel. But orbiting to the back side show an edge drawn across. This edge will prevent from cutting an opening.
SketchUp surface has interfering edge cannot cut opening
However, we can erase the problem edge and then cut and opening as expected.

Now that you have a good understanding of the PUSH/PULL tool, let's examine another very important tool. The move tool.

You can move:
Selected Entities
Grouped Objects

We will just focus on edges and selections. Use the select tool to select a single edge, then pick the move tool to move that edge. In this way you can slant surfaces.
SketchUp move tool move edge to create slant surface

To move an entire object, use the select tool and drag a selection window around the object that you want to move. Mow that the object is selected and highlighted, chose the move tool to move the object around your scene. Learning to move well in SketchUp takes some practice and we will cover more tips and techniques in other videos. So be sure to look at more videos or help documentation about the move tool to understand all about this versatile tool. Now that you understand the fundamental of SketchUp, you are ready to try working and building in 3d. In the next video, we will show you 3 different methods to create a simple chair to give you some ideas you can use for your own project.

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