The phrase "Solid"

PS Perhaps SU should refer to “boxes” rather than solids as that would surely be more accurate.

SketchUp solids (aka closed surfaces) can have any shape, not just a box.

In my experience even the solid inspector struggles with separate surfaces representing holes within a solid.

Boxes come in all sorts of shapes. Here’s a Toblerone box:


Here’s a box in the shape of a pyramid:


An here’s a box with the fewest faces possible:


Even an empty sphere could be called a box in my book.

Boxes are boxes. Those are not boxes.

If it isn’t it on subject, it must be closely related. The discussion about boxes related to finding a better term to replace solids. An SU “solid” is very much not like a solid in the real world. It is much more like a box, ie something that has outer planes and a void enclosed by them.

I am not sure why @eneroth3 says my examples are not boxes. What would the cardboard enclosure to a Toblerone bar be called I wonder? A triangular tube, perhaps! Coffins are often referred to as boxes. The important point is that a box (a species of container) is a closer real world equivalent than solid, and this topic is about SU solids and how SU users perceive them. No?

A right triangular prism. :slight_smile:

Because “box” and “boxes” is much too general and subject to personal and regional interpretation(s).

(But I generally agree with you, that in the U.S. a box is an enclosure that can be many different shapes.)

The more correct term that some of the SketchUp documentation uses is "manifold surface", also called a "closed surface" or "manifold volume".

SketchUp uses OpenGL, and this question has also been posed in the OpenGL forums …

If you do a web search you’ll find similar discussion threads in the forums for all major 3D modelers.

I love it! Darling, could you see if the is any choccy left in the Toblerone right triangular prism? I’m just looking at the undertaker’s catalogue. What do you think of a walnut irregular octahedron for your Dad? Whaddya mean, speak English??

Box can refer to any container, but in a geometric context it strictly means rectangular cuboid. Referring to other shapes by the word box in a 3d modeler is just plain confusing.

I resemble that remark.


The term you’\re looking for is “Shells”

(Not solids)
(Not boxes)

(You could also call them Meshes but that’s a bit weird.)

I guess shells could do. An eggshell is a watertight container, after all.

Nothing is going to be perfect here if we use words describing real world things for virtual world things. @eneroth3 says that a box in this context can only be a “rectangular cuboid”. Presumably, she would also argue that a solid in this context can only be a faceted void.

Humpty Dumpty famously said that “words mean what I want them to mean”. It actually doesn’t matter so long as everyone in the community agrees on their meaning in their context. The word “solid” does seem to confuse a lot of people, though admittedly mostly newbies.

I don’t know what that thing is that @Box uses for his avatar (it looks like the thing that gave Woody Allen such pleasure in Sleeper). Is that a kind of box?? Strike that - shell?

Shell in 3d modeling often refers to a mesh/surface that has been extruded to have a thickness. The technical term that applies to SketchUp would be “closed mesh” because SketchUp is a mesh modeler (not to confuse with whatever mesh means in a non 3D modeling context). I think solid is a quite good choice of a phrase, lying somewhere between every day talk and very technical talk. with little ambiguity.

When are new users confused by this phrase? The other day someone thought it means a special entity type (something other than group and component) rather than a characteristic of a group or component. Other than that I haven’t seen much confusion around the phrase.

I’m moving this to a new thread as it was going off topic from Wo3Dan’s thread.

Regarding the triangular prism posted by simoncbevans it would be a Toblerone box if it had the Toblerone brand on it and/or contained Toblerone chocolate. Without it the image just shows a triangular prism.


Thanks for moving this here, I think that does make sense given the lightheartedness of the subject matter!

So is this a box then if mine wasn’t?


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That is a Toblerone box.

I think I’m getting this now. So:

Box (of Toblerone)

Box (of Toblerone)

Not a box.

Defo Wonderland territory now!

Thank you for moving these posts to this new thread.
Discussing the name itself wasn’t my intention in the other thread. It was / is geared more to discussing / finding a way to have SketchUp make better decisions for calling grouped geometry a Solid (or whatever name).
Solid to me sounds quite good. Especially when faces of its skin are all oriented correctly: front faces towards “air” vs. back faces towards material. Mixed face orientation should never result in a manifold volume, a Solid or Box or whatever.
The word Solid will get more meaning when the geometry is correct AND with a new feature, material, assigned to the Solid component.
I’m in favor of naming these components Solids, provided that they follow SketchUp’s (extended!) rules. Otherwise no special meaning to the component should be given.


I guess “a rose by any other name” and all that.

The actual word matters little providing everyone understands it. If you get what you want (and I hope you do), you could say that the end result would provide an even better illusion of a solid. Only the uninitiated would be confused. For them, the rest of us would have to continue explaining that in Sketchupworld, a solid ain’t a solid. It’s more of a, well, more of a void really!

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If this is a new feature suggestion, I can see some uses for it. Since it appears to have come from @Wo3Dan, I leave it to him to start a new thread in one of the feature request categories.