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How to Combine Scale and Follow Me in Google SketchUp 8

One way to create organic forms in Google SketchUp is to use Follow Me. This technique is ideally suited to making long, curvy, tapered things like tentacles and antlers; it’s a little time-consuming but works like a charm.

Modeling a simplified bull’s horn is a good, straightforward illustration of how the Follow Me variation of this method works.

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  1. Draw a circle.

    This is the extrusion profile for Follow Me. Strongly consider reducing the number of sides in your circle from the standard 24 to something more like 10 or 12.

  2. Draw a 10-sided arc that starts perpendicular to the center of the circle you drew in Step 1.

    Type 10s and press Enter right after you click to finish drawing your arc.

    This tells SketchUp to make sure your arc has 10 sides (instead of the default 12). Why 10 sides? It makes the math easier a few steps from now.

    The easiest way to create a halfway-accurate arc in 3D space is to start by drawing a rectangle. When you’re sure this rectangle is properly situated, use the Arc tool to draw on top of it and then delete everything but the arc.

  3. Select the arc you just drew.

  4. Activate the Follow Me tool by choosing Tools, Follow Me from the menu bar.

  5. Click the circle you drew in Step 1 to extrude it along the path you drew in Step 2.

  6. Choose View, Hidden Geometry from the menu bar.

  7. Scale the face at the end of your new extrusion by a factor of 0.1.

  8. Select the edges that define the next-to-last profile in your extruded form.

    Choose View, Face Style, X-Ray from the menu bar to make it easier to see what you’ve selected.

  9. Scale the edges you selected in the preceding step by a factor of 0.2.

  10. Repeat Steps 8 and 9 for each of the remaining profiles in your form, increasing the scaling factor by 0.1 each time.

    Of course, you can absolutely choose to sculpt your form however you like, but this method (counting up by tenths) yields a smooth taper.

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