Creating smooth organic shapes

I have for the first time been asked to design an organically shaped - free form - pool. I cannot, after lost of search figure out how to do this. I do have AutoCAD LT 2014…is there a way to import the design into Sketchup?

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Forget AutoCAD.

Please be a lot more specific about the shape of the pool so we can demonstrate how to model it.

Are you at a complete loss as to how to proceed, or are you hung up with a particular step or operation?


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Imagine a classical amoeba shape - the existing pool shape. I have to present a design that illustrates the existing shape and a proposed organic or free form shape. This shape is on plane…is if you were to create the shape with a garden hose.

The free hand drawing tool seems extremely imprecise and the two point arc is limited to geometric curves. I would love to use an AutoCAD type spline CV or spline Fit tool where I can adjust the segments to achieve the perfect curve.

Am I being helpful?

Sounds like you are underestimating the native Arc tool :wink: You can start out by drawing a coarse amoeba shape just by using connected arcs. After the profile is complete, switch to the Move tool and adjust the arc cardinal points to further fine-tune the outline. See:

As long as curves are recognized as Arc entities, moving the arc cardinal points is possible. So if the arc is manipulated by the Scale tool or exploded so you can move individual arc segments, the cardinal points disappear.

At the bottom of that linked cardinal point tutorial, there is an example created with a bezier curve plugin. The pool contour can be drawn with one of the bezier plugins - OR, if you have BezierSpline installed - you can just select the outline drawn with the Arc tool > r-click for the context menu and choose a bezier option under BZ - Convert to. The plugin will convert any polyline to one of its bezier curves.

Of course you also can just use the bezier plugin to draw the pool profile also. Use whatever turns you on.

I don’t need help. You need help. I should think it would be obvious that the quality of help I or anyone can provide is limited by the clarity and completeness of the question, and that therefore providing relevant detail without having to be coaxed for it is only acting in your own self-interest, not mine.

Don’t use the Freehand tool. Use the Arc tool. Trace or construct the outline of the pool using small arcs, each laid down tangent to the previous one using tangent (cyan) inferencing. Try to keep the length of line segments fairly uniform around the perimeter for the best, smoothest results. You can control number of arc segments either before or after the fact of drawing the arcs. If you are patient and careful, I would say there’s hardly any curve you can’t fit pretty closely. If necessary, you can skew an arc to fit with the Scale tool, but that’s probably not necessary.

Then construct the profile or cross-section through the pool wall and position it perpendicular to one of the curve segments. Then let the Follow Me tool do its thing. Here’s a picture.


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Gully_Foyle, Thank you for your help. My last question was sincere and without self interest…I was simply asking if I provided enough information, with my question, for you so that you could help me. In addition, my knowledge with this program may not, evidently, provide me with the knowledge to ask questions in a way that make sense to you…they only make sense to me based upon my limited knowledge. I do appreciate your help.

Between you and catamountain I think I understand how to proceed.

…I did look at the Bezier plug-in…I will give that a try as well. Thank you for the link and for your help.

Thank you both…the move tool is actually quite helpful if it is used to pull nearly along the curved line’s length, not perpendicular to it…as is the case with AutoCAD. I need to learn a different muscle technique…but the curves are now very close to reality.

Thanks again.

I want to create exactly that kind of shape that’s in the picture you send here. I have the same shape as you in step 2. Can you please provide somewhat more information on how to complete step three, remove the excess geometry? That would be very helpful! Thanks!

Did you try selecting the face on top and the surface on the inside and deleting them? Then select the inner top edges and delete them.

No, I’m trying it now. Thanks for replying!

And how do you fill the middle part, so that it becomes one shape?

Trace an edge segment with the Line tool.

Thank you :blush:!

For truly organic shapes, not just an arc extruded over another arc, I’d use ThomThom’s QuadFace Tools and SubD. It takes a little time though to get used to the thinking but probably still less time than it would in other programs.

Hey @catamountain , sorry for the thread bump, but I’m just trying to figure out how to use cardinal points as you describe above. The link to the ‘master the cardinal points’ post isn’t working for me & its not coming up in the search function (I assume because it was from back when Google owned Sketchup).
I’m wanting to create an organic line (to model the shape of a natural edge on a piece of timber) & I’m guessing this is my best bet…? A spline function like AutoCAD would’ve been so much easier, but I don’t have access to CAD anymore, sadly! Running SU Pro '15.