How to Make Freeform Hills and Valleys with SketchUp’s Smoove

By Aidan Chopra

Smoove is a tool for moving smoothly — get it? Smooth + Move = Smoove. Smoove is actually one of the coolest tools in SketchUp; it lets you shape terrain (or any horizontal surface that’s made up of smaller, triangular faces) by pushing and pulling (sort of) bumps and depressions of any size.

Smoove is fun to use and yields results that you’d be hard-pressed to produce with any other tool in SketchUp.

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Follow these steps to shape a surface with Smoove:

  1. Double-click the group containing your terrain to edit it.

  2. Choose Tools→Sandbox→Smoove from the menu bar to activate the Smoove tool.

  3. Type a radius and press Enter.

    Smoove creates lumps, bumps, and dimples that are circular. The radius you enter here determines how big those lumps, bumps, and dimples should be.

  4. Click somewhere on your terrain surface to start smooving.

  5. Move your mouse up or down (to create a bump or a depression, respectively), and then click again to stop smooving.

Fun, huh? Here are some more things to keep in mind when you use Smoove:

  • Use the From Scratch tool beforehand. You don’t have to, but creating a surface with the From Scratch tool is by far the easiest way to end up with terrain that you can smoove easily.

  • Try smooving to edit other terrain surfaces. You can also use Smoove after you create a terrain surface with the From Contours tool.

  • Double-click to repeat your previous smoove. As with Push/Pull, double-clicking tells SketchUp to carry out the same operation as you did the last time you used the tool.

  • Preselect to smoove shapes other than circles. Any faces and edges you select before you use the Smoove tool will move up (or down) by a constant amount. This means you can use Smoove to create things like ridges and ditches by selecting the right geometry beforehand.

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