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Some useful sketchup tips on sketchup sandbox tools

Rajib Dey : Editor-in-chief

SketchUp sandbox conception denotes a surface that is created and controlled through sandbox tools. A sandbox in SketchUp as well as other 3D modeling tools can be termed as a triangulated irregular network or TIN in terrain modeling jargon.

TIN is similar to a sandbox as it contains a boundary along with a sculpted surface (sand). Sandbox tools are available inside SketchUp which can be applied for generating and maneuvering TINs.

In TIN, there are various connected triangular faces which appear to be one continuous smooth surface if they are smoothed.

Besides producing terrain with the sandbox tools, one will be able to generate other organic shapes (the shapes like crafted manually) with these tools.

The sandbox tools are also compatible with polygon mesh which is another type of TIN-like surface. A polygon mesh is identical to a TIN, but having faces over three vertices.

SketchUp's Sandbox from Scratch tool and Sandbox from Contours tool only generate TINs, but one can import a polygon mesh as well as make a polygon mesh (by hand) applying other SketchUp tools.

Triangulation: Triangles in a TIN are adjustable in diverse directions. The orientation of triangles is denoted as triangulation. In a TIN some triangles can be adjusted vertically and at the same time others can be adjusted horizontally. It is vital as some sandbox tools facilitate the users to modify the direction of the triangles in order to further smooth TINs.

Some useful sketchup tips on sketchup sandbox tools
Image Courtesy: geovisualization.wordpress.com

How to generate a TIN: The following methods can help a user to get a starting TIN as the basis of their model:-

  • Produce or import contour lines and apply the Sandbox From Contours tool for generating a TIN.
  • Import an image of a site plan or contour map and use the freehand tool to get its contours. Subsequently, fine-tune the contours to their exact elevation and apply the Sandbox From Contours tool to make a TIN.
  • Import a TIN applying the SketchUp ArcGIS Plug-in accessible on the SketchUp Plugins index. ArcGIS is Geographic Information System for performing with geographical information like the location of buildings inside a world-wide global coordinate system.
  • Import a digital terraIn Model (DTM) file.
  • Make sandbox (TIN) with the Sandbox From Scratch tool.

How to alter a TIN: There are several tools inside sketchup which are useful for altering TINs. These tools range from Sandbox From Scratch, Sandbox From Contours, Smoove, Drape, Add Detail, Flip Edge etc. These sandbox tools are applied to produce organic geometry or geometry that looks like hand-crafted.

Functional terrain: The phrase functional terrain can describe a terrain having no portion bending back upon itself generating overhangs, underhangs, or caves. While sketching a vertical line through the terrain at any point as well as the line only touches the terrain at one point, the terrain will be in operation.

It is vital as some specific tools like the Smoove tool, can produce unanticipated results at the time of performing with nonfunctional terrain (the neighboring points incorporated in the sculpting operation by the Smoove tool are frequently unwanted)..

Some useful sketchup tips on sketchup sandbox tools

Ref : www.help.sketchup.com

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