Sketch Up Workflow-Curved Elements


I have been using Sketch Up on a daily basis at my new job but I am having a hard time improving my efficiency for how fast I am supposed to churn out models at a landscape architecture firm. Most of what I do is ground plane modeling and topo. I typically use the Weld and Make Face extensions, as I typically start with linework from Cad. Although these are helpful, they still do not always create faces for sinuous curves, or else create converging planes that stretch across the model.My first instinct is always to triangulate the curves which drives my coworkers nuts and takes a long time. When confronted with situations like the shared image, what should be my “go-to” and most efficient workflow when modeling large sites with complicated ground planes? This is an oversimplified example but it goes to show that even the simplest of curves are easily overcomplicated in this program!


Hello Ashley,

It’s often difficult to diagnose model issues from only a screenshot.
If you’re at liberty to share the model, please do.

One problem that is easy to see is the misuse of SketchUp’s layers.

See this video tutorial

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Sometimes I import a .dwg that should be in one plane only to find very small elevation changes which can lead to this kind of triangulation when you try to skin them. A trick I sometimes use is after cleaning up the import I select all the imported lines and use Fredo-scale to set the vertical scale to 0 (there are othe plugins that flatten selections too) This flattens the lines and makes for easier skinning.

Face maker is great, but sometimes it’s just easier to dump raw line geometry onto a big plane in the same context, then erase the surfaces you don’t want.

And yes, making raw geometry off of layer 0 is opening the front door and inviting the devil inside, it can lead to all sorts of complications and is really best avoided.

As a landscape architecture-trained SU user myself, I struggled for years with this issue. I’ve since learned, as soon as I import my CAD linework into SU and make faces, to color by material type (paving, planting, etc) and make components of each. This allows me to pull any section that gives me trouble off to the side and work on it independently of the rest of the model. It makes quick work of isolating the problem, for example (as mentioned above) if things are not sitting flat for some reason.

See attached screen shots. If any of these methods work for you please report back and let us know :slight_smile:

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