Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sketchup: Follow Me to Easy Crowns

One of the great things about Sketchup is the way it simplifies adding detail to a kitchen model. Many details I would avoid in a hand drawing are very simple to create using some very basic Sketchup tools. Here's a very simple technique I use for adding crown moulding to my models:

This is a close-up of a run of upper cabinets as they terminate into a wall.  I've drawn my crown profile on the wall and positioned it how I want it installed on the cabinets; with the front edge of the crown lined up with the face of the cabinets.  The actual profile of the crown in this instance is is very simple ... the curve on the face has been reduced to 3 segments.  This reduces the number of faces that will be created on the finished crown and help us keep the file size down.

The next step involves drawing the path that we want the crown to follow.  You can see it indicated in blue, but essentially we're just following the front edge of the cabinets.  This drawing is very simple, but this technique works really well for more complicate designs that involve columns, pilasters etc.
Now it's time to introduce the Follow Me tool, one of my favourite tools in Sketchup.  It works by taking a shape and allowing you to drag that shape along a predetermined path.  Think of it as the Play-Doh Fun Factory for Sketchup.

To make our crown moulding, select the Follow Me tool and hover it over the crown profile shape you've made.  When the shape is selected it will shade blue.  Click inside the shaded area and then drag the Follow Me tool along the path you made.  In the picture above you can see how the shape we created is following the line along the face of the cabinets.

Here's the finished crown.  In addition to crown moulding you can use this technique for under cabinet valances, furniture-style kicks and even door casings. Play around with it and see what other uses you can come up with, and let us know about them in the comments section.


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