I tend to use a lot of line work generated by Sketchup models as overlays for architectural illustrations. Because of this, it’s often crucial that the line work in my Sketchup models read clearly and appropriately. Before exporting the line work, there are a few techniques that I use to clean up the models to get rid of unwanted line work as well as add lines in areas that need it. While these techniques are somewhat basic, I still want to show these steps to help clarify an area of my workflow that I don’t talk about much.
This is something that I use on a daily basis. It is especially useful when importing geometry into Sketchup from other modeling programs. For the example below, I want to cleanup some geometry that was originally modeled in Rhino, then imported into Sketchup. You can see that the geometry is complex, and has been triangulated in many areas. The line work is confusing, distracting and not suitable for presentation.
1. This can be cleaned up in a matter of minutes. First, select the surfaces that need to be cleaned up, right-click on the selection, and choose “Soften/Smooth Edges”.
2. The “Soften Edges” dialogue box will appear. Check both the “Smooth normals” box and the “Soften Coplanar” box. Then adjust the “Angle between normals” slider until the geometry is cleaned up.
The form of the roofs read much clearer now and don’t have the appearance of being imported from another program.
There are certain situations, often with curved surfaces, where Sketchup doesn’t render a line at the edge of the object. For the example below, the round column is barely noticeable. There is an easy way around this by turning on profiles.
1. To begin, choose “View> Edge Style> Profiles”.
2. You will notice that the profile lines are much thicker than the rest of the line work, however, this can be adjusted. Choose “Window>Styles” at the top to bring up the Styles dialogue box. In the Styles dialogue box, first choose the “Edit” tab, then select the “Edges Settings” box (wireframe icon). Finally, change the profile number to “1” pixel. This will give the profile lines the same thickness as the rest of the line work.
Intersect Faces: The above technique solved part of the problem with the column, however, the bottom edge is still missing. This is due to the fact that every part of my Sketchup models are made up of groups. This leads to edges missing where planes intersect with one another such as the case with the column.
1. A temporary solution that I use a lot is the “Intersect with Model” option. I say that this is a temporary fix because I’m only doing this for representational purposes. In order to keep the model cleaner and more editable, I often don’t save any “intersect with model” changes.
Select the geometry that is missing the line work. Right-click and choose “Intersect Faces> With Model”.
The column is now clearly represented. In this case, it would have been easier just to extrude the bottom of the column up to the surface. However, there are many situations where the geometry is more complex, and the intersect faces options can save a lot of time.