Understanding Solid Objects in Google SketchUp 8

Solid Tools provide a completely new way for Google SketchUp modelers to work. Solid modeling operations give you the ability create the shapes you need by adding or subtracting other shapes to or from each other. This type of modeling is actually pretty common in other 3D apps; now SketchUp can do it, too.

Before you can use the new Solid Tools, you need solids. Here are six things you need to know about solids; you can think of them as the Solid Rules:

  • A solid is nothing more than an object that’s completely enclosed. It has no holes or other gaps; if you filled it with water, none would leak out. For this reason, solids are sometimes referred to as being watertight. Here’s another way to think about it: Every edge in a solid must be bordered by two faces.

  • No extra edges or faces allowed. You wouldn’t think that one or two edges or faces would make much of a difference, but it does; solids can’t contain any extra geometry, period. Extra geometry can disqualify otherwise completely enclosed shapes from being solids.

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  • Only groups and components can be solids. For SketchUp to realize an object is a solid, you have to make it into either a group or a component first.

  • Making a solid doesn’t require any special tools. You don’t have to pick from a special list of objects to create solids; you make them with the same SketchUp tools you use all the time. Case in point: Every time you’ve push/pulled a rectangle into a box, you’ve created a solid.

  • Solids have volumes. The easiest way to tell whether a group or component is a solid is to select it and choose Window, Entity Info. If the dialog box includes a value for Volume, you have a solid on your hands.

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  • Solids can be multiple objects. As long as each individual cluster of geometry within a group or component is completely enclosed, SketchUp considers that group or component to be a solid. It doesn’t matter that they’re not connected or touching in any way; what’s important is that an area of space is fully surrounded by faces.

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