PolyLine Tool

How would such a tool differ from the normal line tool?

A 3D Polyline tool? One that creates 3D Polylines?

The Fredo Bezier Spline plugin has several polyline tools that may, or may not be of interest.

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Aren’t we drifting away from the 3D polylines?

From the plugin description page I linked:
“Bezier Spline draws a variety of Polylines, Bezier and Spline Curves, all in 3d”

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Correct. But I was hoping for information about the 3D Polyline (created by the ‘Freehand’ tool plus [Shift]. My bad.

I have yet to understand the use for those weird lines.


For those questioning … (I thought I explained it above,) …

SketchUp Polylines are not geometric edges. They are a collection of 1 to many actual line segments that do not intersect or interfere with real geometry (edges or faces, etc.)

@IanT … I’m not sure if Fredo’s extension or the Smustard extension (but I doubt it,) actually convert geometry to Sketchup Polyline objects. These objects are not exposed to the Ruby API, which means coders would have to use the old dimension hack by saving a component that contains a manually drawn unit length polyline and insert scaled & transformed instances in a temporary group and somehow stitch them together. (Still unsure how.)

Operationally, it would be very nice if it worked the same or similar to the Edge tool.
(This could mean the current tool might have a modifier other than SHIFT, [which I find weird for any tool,] since SHIFT is inference lock/toggle. CTRL would make more sense to me.)

At some time past you yourself (I think prior to dashed layers) had asked Trimble for a way to depict the overhang of kitchen cabinets (on a top view,) without intersecting geometry. To do this kind of thing, annotational (non-intersecting) lines and polylines would need to be implemented.

So, my challenge to coders is:
What kinds of nifty 3D features and plugins could you use such annotational lines for ?

Slope symbols ?
Ramp direction arrows ?
Complex section lines ?
Ordinate dimension lines ?
Piping schematics ?
Wiring diagrams ?
Camera animation paths ?
Object animation paths ?
Animation skeleton lines ?
Connections between objects (which plugins can use for behavioral features ) ?


Would grouping lines together and changing their line type in layers be similar enough to polylines? I think you could use TIG’s 2D Tools to change line thicknesses too.

If you are asking me, no. Again, you are speaking of edges which are geometry and intersect other geometry. Polylines do not and need not be grouped just to keep them separate. Further they need not be 2D. Piping schematics are often 3D and printed in isometric.

TIG’s plugin doesn’t really change thicknesses. It adds more “lines”. It’s just “smoke and mirrors”.

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Why would polylines be separate from edges?

EDIT: Now I realized SketchUp has a separate Polyline entity. I’m still not sure if this is what @durroy wants, or just continues straight lines which is what polyline usually refers to.

Yes, and to avoid confusion they are mentioned 3D Polylines in ‘Entity Info’ and can hardly be tamed. When doing so they can be useful as visual reference.

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Uh huh. And … if you select one and inspect it, it’ll say it’s a Sketchup::Drawingelement. So no exposed class for the Ruby API but likely a dedicated “typename” string. They’ve been partially exposed in the C API but Thomas says he’s not sure if the Dev Team wants to keep them.

I think they could have great uses. But coders would need access to their vertices, need to be able create them via a factory method passing in points, and need to be able to edit them by inserting vertices between existing, and merge with other polylines. Stipple or dashes would be great also.

This struck a chord with me because of its overlap with the dash feature recently added to layers. It always seemed to me that dashed is annotation rather than geometry, which is why it shouldn’t intersect with geometry. Being able to do it with a non-geometry polyline might be a more useful answer. Of course, I have no clue what issues surround the existing Polyline that led the developers to exclude it from the Ruby API or to be unsure they want to keep them.


Exactly why I was unimpressed with the dashes as they were implemented.

And more intuitive. Stipple is naturally a property of a line-like object.
But instead it’s implemented as a property of a display behavior (layer) attached to multiple objects.


Thanks for all the information.

Plines and Splines are often discussed together which can be confusing (thanks autocad).

So if I understand correctly:
Polyline in sketchup has a differing meaning to what most people understand them as (a collection of connected edges that can be created as a connected part). Polylines in SKP could be equivalent to annotative lines, which could be one line or many… Is that correct? If so, that would be useful for the annotations you described but it doesn’t solve the elusive “cabinet overhang problem”. To represent hidden or obscured edges correctly (without tracing things or drawing unique annotations…which sux) we need all edge styles (including dashes) on a per component-basis to be linked to scenes, not just tags or styles.
If polylines somehow make that possible, then great.


Yes, different in meaning from what a CAD user would think. (Ie, there may even be plugins that use the term “polyline” for a tool that collects edges into a curve object. This is a misuse of the term.)

In the SketchUp world, there is geometry made up of edges and faces.

There are also non-geometry objects like guidelines, guidepoints, dimensions, text callouts and polylines.

They ARE. (Ie they exist at this time and have for a long time. For as long as the FreehandTool has existed.) They are annotative, as they are not geometry, and do not intersect nor interact with edges or faces.

Restating my list of possible uses

The last on the list is the most powerful IMO. Polylines do not need to be vsisible. They could be associated with a hidden layer/tag. And used to connect components for the use of mechanical, plumbing or electrical connections. Perhaps structural or stress analysis.

And yes, they can be one segment or many, as said above:

But … the Freehand Tool really sucks for leveraging the full power and versatility of the Polyline object.

Because the Ruby API does not provide good exposure to work with the Polyline objects, even the extensions developers cannot provide a workaround for the deficiency of a native Polyline Tool. (Hence this feature request and discussion.)

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Yea, but that is an entirely different feature request. I thought JQL opened a topic on this?

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Thanks for the reply Dan that clears things up a lot for me.

Enhanced connections between things would be cool. I’ve always wanted to “glue” components together that don’t necessarily touch each other. A dynamic polyline may open up all sorts of interesting (parametric?) design options.

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