Gentle Shaping

 Begin to shape your model after extruding a face with the Push/Pull tool, .  In this example, after a face was pulled up, the Scale tool, , was used to resize the face.  After Push/Pulling some more, the Move tool, , was chosen.  With nothing selected, hovering over an edge with the Move tool will cause the edge to be selected so it can be dragged it to a new position instead of using the Scale tool.

To begin 'bending' the extrusion, do something move the face out of a 2D plane before Push/Pulling. What can be done depends on face profile, but you cannot go wrong by selecting the face and change its position with the Rotate tool, .  After that, anytime you want to redirect the path of the extrusion, try the Scale tool, , on the face you want to extrude.  There will now be a 3D bounding box around the face, which will give you a lot more control on the path your extrusion will take.


SKP tutorials



Start with a box.  Draw different profiles on the sides of the box.  Use the Push/Pull tool to extrude the sides and follow-up by intersect the geometry and delete the excess geometry.


Pipe with V-Groove

Click on the image to see how to create a v-groove at the end of a pipe:

Pipe with V-Groove


Click on the image to see how to create a Push/Pull taco:


Curvy Box

Click on the image to see how to Push/Pull a curvy box.  Weld and Recurve are the two plugins mentioned in the tutorial.


It is possible to make all sorts of sculptures in SketchUp.  Working in concert with other native tools, the Push/Pull tool extrudes the faces while other tools shape the geometry as the push/pulling process progresses.
To view in high quality, select '480p' setting in the video status bar as play begins.   YouTube


Companion tool tips in conjunction with Push/Pull sculpting:

  • It can adjust edges and edge node without deforming the profile plane needed for Push/Pulling operations.
  • If some edges will not move as expected, try using Autofold, Move + Ctrl (PC).


  • If a model can be done as two mirrored components, make the initial model with the centerline on an axis.  That will keep a scale bounding box 2-dimensional along the seam and easy to control.  Otherwise use the script FreeScale.
  • Most faces will need to be triangulated.  Often it's useful to re-scale a face prior to each Push/Pulling operation even though the profile doesn't need to be changed in order to triangulate the sides.
  • If a bounding box doesn't form around an edge or face as expected, select adjoining geometry to re-scale instead.  Edges on one of the axes will have a bounding box.


  • Try coaxing out surface definition with the Flip Edge tool before using the Add Detail tool.  That will help keep the poly-count as low as possible.

General Tips

  • Use the minimum amount of geometry.  Each edge should be important to define the model.  Otherwise the model size can get out of hand.  Besides, manipulating less geometry is less work to do.
  • If the circle, polygon or arc tool is used to make geometry, usually the geometry should be exploded.  Otherwise the geometry may not move as expected during the sculpting process.
  • Softening the geometry softens the surface shading.  It helps to see modeling progress with minimal geometry.
  • Import images into SU as reference guides.
  • Consider upgrading your navigation devices.  Some mice have several extra buttons that allow you to map keyboard shortcuts to them.  A navigation device like those offered by 3Dconnexion allows the modeler to orbit around the model with the left hand while working with SU tools with the right hand.
  • SelectionMemory2  This script has an option to recall the last selection set.  So when you spend a lot of time selecting some geometry only to find you need do briefly do some work with another tool on something, this script will recall the previously selected geometry.  And the plugin HoverSelect enables a different way to select bits and pieces of geometry to make selecting stuff easier.

Other SKP examples using some of the same techniques

  • Growing a leg  catamountain - made like the tree in the video, except the model became a leg
  • SketchUp Character Building  monsterz3rO blog with some figurative SU work | YouTube tutorials
  • rockwork  Extruding a rocky face with Push/Pull - and a few other SketchUp friends.  The method is very similar to the tutorial on 'Growing a leg', growing a tree video, and even the tiki god construction on the Move Tool page - except the bumps are different.  After a Push/Pull operation, use the Move tool to reshape the perimeter.  Push/Pull, Move perimeter, repeat.   

With a little more manipulation using the tips shown on these Tweaking Tool Tips pages, mainly relying on the native tools, here's another progress shot of a different rock face:

Some relevant plugins

Note: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon (free). 
  • AutoSmooth  ThomThom - Automatically softens and smooths auto-folded edges created by the native tools.
  • Bitmap to Mesh  ThomThom - Generates a mesh from a given BMP image. - Free
  • Blend  kirill2008 - a lofting tool.
  • LSS Toolbar  kirill2008 - Adds control construction points to curves and groups with faces for 3D model manipulation.
  • Curviloft  Fredo6 - Loft and skin.
  • DrawMetal  Terry Ross - Creates spiral paths, tapered extrusions, and more.
  • Joint Push Pull  Fredo - Push/Pulls a curved surface
  • HoverSelect  Fredo - Alternative selection tool (join SketchUcation forum and logon to download.)
  • Nudge  Smustard - Nudges, moves, selected geometry with the keyboard arrow keys.  Fee
  • Point Merger Tools  BTM - Merges multiple edges.
  • RpTools  Suite of tools including a move wizard which nudges geometry. Fee - Windows
  • Sculpt Tools  -BTM - Suite of sculpting tools
  • Shape Bender  Chris Fullmer - bends a model to a curved path
  • Simple Loft  Chris Fullmer - A alpha version loft script
  • Sketchy FreeForm and Deformation - Chris Philips - Deforms a model
  • Subdivision modeling
    • Artisan   Whaat - Subdivision modeling with additional sculpting and soft transformation tools.  This is also very useful even if you only need to create a finer, subdivided surface after low-poly modeling in order to prep the surface for 3D printing.  Fee
    • Eneroth Fractal Terrain Eroder  Enerroth3 - Nice way to initially break up surface into a more organic form.  Free
    • QuadFace Tools  ThomThom - Adds a suite of tools for working with non-planar quads in SketchUp.  Free
    • SUbD  ThomThom - Parametric quad-based subdivisions for SketchUp. Fee
    • Subdivide And Smooth  Whaat - This plug-in can add excessive geometry, but many people find it useful.  It was the precursor plugin to Artisan.
    • Vertex Tools  ThomThom - Vertex editor.  Fee
  • Tools on Surface  Fredo6 - Suite of drawing tools for a curved surface.