Geometry from shadows and 2D cutting paths?

Ok, I’ll own from the start I don’t think is possible, not without going outside of SketchUp, but hey, the forum knows best.

Today in our live stream I was talking about some methods to take SketchUp geometry out to 2D cutting paths for laser cutting. I didn’t explore extensions, but after the stream ended, I was playing around with Fredo’s Portrait, which will create a 2D component from the view of a 3D model. This is really useful for creating 2D cutting paths, definitely worth highlighting in a future live stream.

If you haven’t tried it, you can create 2D edges/ component, from your view of the 3D model. Like this:

2 questions:

When you create the 2D component, it matches the current view, so if you saved the view to a scene, you can take that scene to LayOut, retain the same view, and take another view of the 2D component to LayOut, overlay them and with some manual scaling, get them to align.

But it is a manual process of scaling, moving, scaling, moving, tweaking the 2 views to get them aligned… This makes sense, to get them aligned in SketchUp would require knowing the camera perspective and placing the 2D component in exactly the right distance from the camera to align with the 3D view…

But that’s my question. Can anyone think of a way to get the 2 views/ models aligned in SketchUp or LayOut so they are perfectly overlapping? I can’t think of an automated way,…

Then… to push your brain further… is there a way to capture the shadows and generate geometry from the view? The way shadows are rendered makes me think not, but worth asking. Could we create edges from something like this view?

In this old discussion about working with svg files, Fredo suggested he was working on an extension that would create geometry from an image. I haven’t seen if that extension ever was made available, but it makes me wonder about the possibility of creating an image from SU, then geometry from that image, or if there is any other ideas around this topic.

Thanks all, have a great weekend!

Can’t find my glass so haven’t read all this properly, but Tig has Shadow Projector that creates geometry from shadows.

Thanks Box, I haven’t been able to figure out Shadow Projector, but I’ll keep trying. It is possible to take an image outside SU, convert it to something like dxf and bring that back in as geometry, and that’s fairly quick.

Yes, that is very possible. But it depends on what software you personally have available. I have a commercial software that will trace an image and turn it into .svg I then use an extension that imports .svg and it’s done.

But something like inkscape or gimp, or possibly photoshop (very little experience with that) should be enough to get some vectors to import.

There seems to be some issues with it, works with simple geometry but misses on anything slightly complex.




And for vectorial shadows




Ya, even TIG suggests that complex geometry would take quite a long time to compute. So, just running an image file through a 60-second round trip to other sofware seems pretty viable in comparison. Thanks Box!

Whew! You did break my brain there, how awesome is that?! I’m watching your gif a few times to understand what you are doing, a bit wizardry indeed! Will have to try a few of these extensions. Many thanks!

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Guy’s cool idea but,it’s making my brain hurt. :+1: