General Advice Request

Hello all,

I created a chessboard concept a while back when the free version of sketchup was a software that you download instead of the free web version. Back then, it seemed fairly intuitive to do what I wanted then a year or 3 passed and I wanted to make changes and learned that the free sketchup is now web based. So I went there and tweaked my design then forgot about it again. Well, now I want to tweak my design in a different way. I can’t figure out how and I’m not even sure if it’s possible through the free web version. I looked at some other free 3d modeling software and got close with tinkercad but again it seemed like it isn’t capable of what I want. I tried finding a forum there to ask someone because it seems more intuitive to me than sketchup web but it doesn’t seem to have a forum or a way to contact anyone at all.

So, I’m back to sketchup which thankfully has a forum and I am hoping that someone here can point me in the right direction. I’ve included a screenshot of my current sketchup design. The forum won’t let me post two images so hopefully I can include a picture of the chessboard I made based on the model in a reply. Can someone please tell me if it’s possible to make the sketchup look like the board I made (each space flowing into the height of each surrounding space rather than the steps you see in the sketchup) using the free web version? If it is possible can you please point me to the appropriate resource or maybe just provide some tips yourself? If it isn’t possible, could you maybe reference a free 3d modeler that also has a forum so that I can get started with that and bug the appropriate forum people if I’m unable to figure it out on my own?

Here is the chessboard I referenced above.

Interesting chessboard you’ve made there. As to your question, it would be possible to model that in SketchUp Free although I would say it would be rather tedious work. If you choose to limit the amount of detail in the undulating surface it would be easier. Much, much easier in SketchUp Pro with with higher resolution using some available extensions, though.

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As @DaveR mentioned, you can do that in SketchUp Free, but it is impractical. However, here’s a starting model I made for you that might be of use:

chess_board_jrh.skp (6.7 MB)

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@DaveR Thanks! I don’t mind tedious work so much. I’m too cheap to make life easier on myself haha. Especially when it comes to something like this that I’m just using to help myself visualize something.

@jimhami42 WOW! Thanks. That’s awesome. I’m wanting to tweak whatever model I use to design different terrains though. I opened this in my browser and I can’t really seem to make many changes on it. I’m guessing that because you grouped everything together so any change I make will affect the entire board.

Any chance either of you could point me toward a resource I would need to figure out how to make the adjustments or maybe the tool(s) within the free version that I should be using? It seems like using the move tool on endpoints is sort of working for me but sometimes I can only use it to adjust side to side instead of up and down.

You’re on the right track with the Move tool. Subdivide the squares into a bunch of small squares or triangles. Then move the vertices vertically as needed. Soften the edges after you’re done modeling the surface.

Thanks! That sounds like it makes perfect sense so I’ll keep playing with it for a while. I really appreciate the help.

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I kept fiddling and managed to make the new design fairly close to what I was going for. I still wasn’t able to get the spaces to really arch like @jimhami42 did and I’m guessing that’s because I’m not sure how to intentionally further subdivide the spaces and then soften the edges.

My main concern though is that there are some corners that I simply can’t get to move the way I want. Some will only move left/right and others will cause a triangle(s) to disappear once I get it where I want it. I think it has something to do with edges that are under the surface but I just can’t seem to figure it out.

I’ve attached the file for this new design. I would appreciate input on correcting those few corners but really, this is close enough that it achieves my main goal.
Center Hill - high rooks (1).skp (170.8 KB)

Click in sequence on the scenes tabs of this SU file for ideas.

Undulating chessboard.skp (343.6 KB)

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@jean_lemire_1 Wow! Thank you so much. I don’t know how obvious it was but this is drastically different than what I did. I had made 64 boxes then used the push tool to raise them all to different heights prior to toying with the moving endpoints tool. Your method is so much more elegant and the steps are broken down/explained perfectly for me.

I will definitely be utilizing this method to make my different designs. Thanks again, I really appreciate the help.


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I could have optimized the curves a little more like using 8 segments for the second arc to get more precise snap points for the moves and 8 segments per curves for the fist one for a total of 24. Since 24 is a multiple of 8 that would have given me more precise snap points for the moves.

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