Hiding Edges: Part 1- Eraser Tool

You’ve taken the time to create an elaborate SketchUp model, and have the perfect view you want to share. And what sticks out – muddy line work and blurred objects, like those circled here. Distracting, in what’s otherwise a compelling view.

What’s needed is to get rid of all those visible edges within the various entourage objects.You could turn off ALL edges (View / Edge Style menu), but that’s an entirely different look. In a view like this, we’d want some edges to be visible, just not THIS many.

Here’s a close-up of a tree with all its edges. The edges along the trunk look pretty weird, and when zoomed out, the edges bunch closer together, darkening the trunk.

Same situation with the bench and lamp.

Luckily, this is easy to fix, especially if you use components for repeating objects.

The easiest fix is with the Eraser tool. Used on its own, clicking the eraser on an edge deletes that edge, along with any face bordered by the edge. But modifier keys enable you to use the Eraser for other edge tricks.

As an example, take this curved wall, with edges showing along its segments.


Erase any edge, and here’s what disappears: the edge plus the two faces that use that edge.


But if you hold the Shift key while using the Eraser, you can sweep your cursor across all of the lines you want to hide. All “swept” edges turn blue, so you’ll know which ones you have to go back for.


When you release the mouse button, the edges are hidden. If you look closely, you can still see the segmentation where the edges used to be showing. But in a zoomed-out view, nobody will notice.

If you use the Ctrl (PC) or Option (Mac) key, rather than Shift, you’ll get a different result. This is called softening, rather than hiding, edges. The difference is that with softening, you won’t see the segmentation – the curved wall will look seamless.

What about the trees, benches, lamps? Hiding edges here is a bit trickier. These objects have dozens of tiny edges to hide. Selecting or clicking all of these edges is tedious work. So in Part 2 of this series, I’ll show how to use the Selection Tools extension to make this easier.


About Daniel Tal

Daniel Tal, ASLA, is a professional speaker and a registered landscape architect with over 17 years of experience. He is a 3D modeling and visualization expert, has authored two books with Wiley and Sons: SketchUp for Site Design and Rendering in SketchUp and is the tech-editor at large for Landscape Architecture Magazine. Tal runs a 3D modeling and visualization studio for Stanley Consultants, a 1,000 person multi-disciplinary engineering firm. Read more about Daniel.