Follow Me and Groups: Part 1 – Why Groups?

When I first noticed the behavior of SketchUp’s Follow Me tool with groups (and components), I thought it was a bug. And it actually probably was, back in SketchUp Version 4 or 5. Then this feature was written out of SketchUp, then later brought back in. (I don’t know why, in either case, but I’m glad it’s back!)

I’ll use this example to show what the issue is, and how using groups can solve the problem.

Here I have a “room” (two walls and a floor) which is made into a group so that nothing will stick to its faces. (You should always group geometry you want to protect.) I’ve added a box with a cutout, to make a fireplace.

Create the Profile

The fireplace needs a mantel along the top. I can make a really nice and decorative mantel with the Follow Me tool. First I need the 2D profile that will be extruded along the front and sides. I’m starting with a rectangle against the wall . . .

 

. . . and inside this rectangle I’ve drawn out my profile with lines and arcs. 

 

(You can find hundreds of nice profiles in the 3D Warehouse too. For example, you can search for crown moldings and change or resize as needed. If you use one from here, it’ll be imported as a component. So read on to see why you should keep it a component, or make it into a group.)

 

After trimming extra edges, here’s the profile that will become the mantel.

 

Follow Me Mantel

To set the path for Follow Me, I’m selecting these three edges: two side and front of the fireplace top.

 

 

I then choose Tools / Follow Me, and click the profile face. The resulting mantel looks nice, but . . .

 

If you look closely at either back corner, the mantel is broken – faces are missing.

 

So next, in Part 2, I’ll show how to fix this problem by making the profile into a group.

 

 

About Bonnie Roskes

Bonnie Roskes has been writing tutorial-style projects on 3D modeling software, primarily SketchUp, since 2001. Her website, www.3dvinci.net offers a wide variety of learning materials for all ages, from kids in grade school through design professionals. Her materials cover general 3D design, 3D printing, geometry, interior design, geo-modeling, and more, and future books are in the works. Read more about Bonnie.

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