Circle, Rotated rectangle and Polygon

circle rotated rectangle polygon

This part of SketchUp tutorial will show you how to draw three basic shapes in SketchUp: Circles, Rotated Rectangles and Polygons.

If you have been following our step-by-step tutorial, you know that SketchUp gives you many tools to draw basic shapes. We’ve learned how to draw with pencil tool and also with rectangle tool. Although rectangle tool is very easy to work with in order to created simple rectangles, SketchUp has another tool which gives you the ability to draw a rectangle tangent to a certain angle.

Rotated Rectangle

This tool is called Rotated Rectangle. A rotated rectangle is a rectangle that is tilted with any angle you define. This is useful when you want to a draw a sloped surface between two points. Once you click on the icon in the toolbar, SketchUp will give you a protractor on the screen.

In general, whenever you see the protractor, it’s a sign that SketchUp is asking you to choose an angle. Now with Rotated Rectangle, because you’re going to finally end up creating a rectangle, SketchUp first asks you to specify the properties of the first edge for your rectangle.

To draw a rotated rectangle, follow these steps:

  1. Click Rotated Rectagle tool rotated rectangle tool icon to activate it
  2. Click somewhere to put the first corner point
  3. Move your mouse until your see SketchUp locks your cursor to the Y (green) axes
  4. Click again to define the first edge of the rectangle (notice that SketchUp turns the protractor around to align it to your chosen axis)
  5. Move your mouse to define the slope of the rectangle and
draw rotated rectangle

The first click gives you the first corner of the edge and once you click again somewhere else, SketchUp creates the second corner point which defines the first edge of your rectangle. Notice that now SketchUp shows the protractor perpendicular to the axis you chose first. This is a sign that SketchUp needs you to define the final slope of your rectangle.

Notice that SketchUp is showing you a small tooltip beneath your cursor that contains the properties of the rectangle you’re drawing.

Measurements field

Now that you have some experience working with some of the basic drawing tools, you might have asked yourself: “what if I want to draw a rectangle or box with a specified length and width?”

Well I have good news for you. SketchUp has a field called “Measurements” which sits at the lower right corner of SketchUp interface. In case you don’t see it, right click over the empty space on the right side of your status bar and choose “Measurements label” and “Measurements value” from the context menu.

This field not only shows you the main properties of the object being drawn, but it also provides you with a place to enter the exact value for the properties of your shape. This field is a very interesting feature of SketchUp because you don’t even need to click on the field in order to enter a numeric value into it.
Once you are in the middle of drawing a shape, just start typing in the numeric value on your keyboard and SketchUp automatically assigns that value to the width, length or angle of your shape.

In the example above, after the first click, SketchUp asks you to specify the length of your edge. If you look carefully at the Measurements field, you’ll see that when you move your mouse, the numeric value of Measurements field is changing.
Now SketchUp is ready to get an exact numeric value for the length. Just enter a value close to the value the Measurements field is suggesting. If it says 75.8, just start typing 75 on your keyboard and press enter.
properties of rectangle sketchup measurement
SketchUp will accept your value as the length property of your rectangle. Now notice that the Measurements field is showing you two values, separated by a comma.
This is the way SketchUp asks you two separate values because the first one is the width of the rectangle and the second one is the angle of rectangle’s slope so you must enter a value for the width then a comma and then a value for the angle. Type 75 for the width and 45 for the angle.
Now you must have a tilted rectangle.

Draw a Circle

Another main geometry you’ll need to draw for building complex 3D structures is Circle. The circle tool circle tool sketchup is located right below the rectangle tool on the toolbar.

When you activate the circle tool, SketchUp first asks you to enter a value for “Sides” in the Measurements field. In SketchUp, a circle is build of many straight lines that act as the tiny edges for a rounded rectangle.

The higher the value for sides, the smoother your circle is going to be. The default value is 24 sides but if you need a smoother circle, enter a higher value and then press enter.

There’s a catch though. Although your circle looks smoother by entering a higher value, remember that your drawing will get heavier to be processed as your drawing gets more complex.

For now we’ll accept the default 24 sides which means your circle will be made of 24 edges. Click somewhere between X and Y axis. Drag your mouse and notice the Measurements field is showing you a changing value for the Radius of the circle as you move your mouse.
Either enter an exact value, for instance 50, or just move your mouse away until you’re satisfied with the Radius. Now click once more. Boom! now you’ve got a circle shape.
draw circle sketchup
Tip 50

Tip: The shortcut for activating the circle tool is “C” on your keyboard.

Drawing a Polygon

A polygon is very similar to circle because you need to tell SketchUp how many sides it has and also the radius for the circumference around it. Click on the Polygon tool polygon tool sketchup and look at the Measurements field which asks for the number of sides.
Default polygon in SketchUp has 6 sides but we’re going to enter 9 and then press enter.
draw polygon sketchup

Now drag your mouse to an extent and enter 100 for “inscribed radius” in Measurements field then press enter. Now you a polygon with 9 sides and a radius of 100.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.