How to trace a curved surface in sketchup

Written by carol adams
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How to trace a curved surface in sketchup
Create complex curves using the "Bezier" plug-in for SketchUp. (3d cars row image by Tottem Torro from Fotolia.com)

SketchUp is a 3-D modelling program offered by Google. It comes in both freeware and commercial versions. For most people's purposes, it can be a very useful and effective program. However, it does have some limitations. One of these is that it does not have an effective way of creating or tracing out complex curves. Fortunately, Google makes a number of plug-ins available that address problems with the program or extend its capabilities. One of these is the "Bezier" plug-in, which allows users to create bezier curves. Bezier curves are curves created from points and lines, the angle of which are adjustable.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Load an image of an object whose curve you would like to trace onto your computer by transferring it or scanning it in.

  2. 2

    Go to the Google plug-ins site and download the "Bezier" plug-in (see Resources). Extract it to the SketchUp program's "Plugins" folder.

  3. 3

    Start Google SketchUp. Select the 2D human figure in the scene and delete it.

  4. 4

    Select "Camera" from the menu and choose "Standard Views." From the options, select "Top."

  5. 5

    Select "File" from the menu and choose "Import." In the dialogue that appears, browse to the image you loaded in step 1 and open it. Place the image on the "Origin Point" and expand it to the size you want.

  6. 6

    Select "Draw" from the menus and choose "Bezier Curve." Use the tool to click where you want to place one end of the curve. Then click where you want the other end of the curve to be. Click and drag to adjust the curve. You will then get a chance to make a second adjustment to create a hump in the curve. Click again.

  7. 7

    Extend your curve by clicking on the end points, or create a new separate line. Save your work.

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