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Architecture, design, and media professionals all over the world are using Google SketchUp to create detailed 3D models efficiently and quickly. In Google SketchUp 6 Essential Training, design expert George Maestri teaches the foundations of SketchUp's drawing, design, and rendering tools. He covers the fundamentals of the application, the interface, and the Sandbox extension, which is used to create realistic organic shapes and terrain. George also discusses how to model and texture objects from existing photographs and export models to Google Earth to visualize how buildings fit in a real landscape. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now let's talk about smoothing or softening the edges of objects within SketchUp. We are going to create two objects; we are going to create a circle and a polygon. So I am going to create the circle and I am going to type in 12 sides. So I am going to make a 12- sided circle and then I am going to hit the Pull button and pull that up into a cylinder. Then I am going to do the exact same thing with the polygon. So I am going to take a polygon, make sure it's 12 sides, create the polygon, hit the P key and pull it up. So we have two very similar objects. Now the only difference between these is how it's displaying these edges here. So if you click on this cylinder, you will see that it's all -- or at least SketchUp tells us it's all one face. But if we look at it from the top, you can see that even though this is listed as a circle, you still have straight-line edges, because we only have 12 sides to this circle and we have 12 sides to this as well.
Now the only difference between these two objects is how the edges are smooth. So let me show you a little trick here. If we go to View and we turn on Hidden Geometry, what we will see here is that we can actually see the hidden edges. Now these edges are actually there in the cylinder, but they are just hidden and they are essentially smoothed out, so that it looks like a curved surface. But in reality, it's exactly the same geometry as the 12-sided polygonal cylinder.
We can actually move between these two just by using the Soften Edges tool. So let me show you how that works. Let's go ahead and I am actually going to turn off this Hidden Geometry, so you can see this as a smooth object. This works on edges, not faces. But I can rubberband select everything and this will work on just the edges here. If I right-click here or Ctrl+click on the Mac, you will see we have an option here called Soften/Smooth Edges. So let's go ahead and select this, and it brings up a little window here.
What this does is it tells us when the angle between these faces essentially, is greater than a certain amount, smooth them out. So let's go ahead and start dialing this up and you can see once you get to a certain point, it's about 30 degrees or so, all those edges disappear. Essentially, what happens is that it becomes a smooth object. So if I click Smooth normals, look what happens. If I turn Smooth normals off, you can see the individual faces, but the edges are hidden. If I turn it on, it smoothes out and blurs those edges as well.
So all you have to do is do that Soften Edges and now I have got two cylinders. Now I can do the exact opposite thing with this, and I can actually view my Hidden Geometry, I can select those hidden edges, and again, I can just do a Soften/Smooth Edges and I can unsmooth it. So all I have to do is just bring that back and unsmooth those normals there, and now my cylinder or my round cylinder is actually a polygon and my polygon is a cylinder. So you can use that very effectively in terms of modeling. Now this is the work and progress that we have. When we created this, we actually created this front round part using a polygonal object. So what I can do here is, if I want to make this actually look round and smoothed out, all I have to do is just select these edges -- in fact, I can just do this. Select those edges, right-click over them, Soften/Smooth Edges, and just smooth those out. There we go, smooth, and mow I have got a smooth round, more of a deco modern pop there. Now I can do the exact same thing for the bottom here. Let's go ahead and select those.
Now what I am doing is I am actually selecting more edges than I need, but you get away with them, when you only smooth them to a certain point than the ones that are actually 90 degrees don't get smoothed anyways. So there we go. So now I have taken an 8-sided half polygon shape here and I have made it into basically a half cylinder. So you can use that a lot when modeling, especially when modeling curved surfaces such as this front wall. So those were some of the basics of softening edges and let's go ahead and move on from here.
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