How to Create Complex Curved Surfaces with Soap Skin & Bubble for SketchUp
SketchUp is a powerful tool for modeling all kinds of shapes and objects, but sometimes you may want to create more organic and smooth surfaces that are hard to achieve with the default tools. That's where the Soap Skin & Bubble plugin comes in handy. This plugin allows you to apply a skin over edges to create minimal surfaces that can be inflated or deflated to create stunning shapes.
In this article, we will show you how to use the Soap Skin & Bubble plugin for SketchUp to create complex curved surfaces with ease. You will need to download and install the plugin from the SketchUp Extension Warehouse[^1^] or from the developer's website[^2^]. Note that this plugin is a time-limited demo that will expire on April 10, 2023.
Step 1: Draw a closed loop of edges
The first step is to draw a closed loop of edges that will define the boundary of your surface. You can use any tool you like, such as the Line tool, the Arc tool, or the Freehand tool. Make sure that your loop is planar and does not have any gaps or overlaps. You can also group your edges for easier selection later.
Step 2: Activate the Soap Skin & Bubble plugin
Once you have your loop of edges ready, select them and go to Tools > Soap Skin & Bubble > Generate Soap Skin. Alternatively, you can right-click on your selection and choose Generate Soap Skin from the context menu. A dialog box will pop up asking you to enter the number of divisions for your surface. This will determine how many faces your surface will have. The higher the number, the smoother the surface, but also the heavier the model. You can experiment with different values until you find the optimal balance between quality and performance. Click OK to generate the surface.
Step 3: Inflate or deflate the surface
After generating the surface, you will see a small bubble icon attached to it. This is the control point for inflating or deflating your surface. You can click and drag it up or down to change the pressure of your surface. You can also enter a numerical value in the VCB (value control box) at the bottom right corner of your screen. Positive values will inflate your surface, while negative values will deflate it. You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to adjust the pressure incrementally.
Step 4: Enjoy your complex curved surface
Once you are happy with your surface, you can apply materials, textures, or other modifications to it as you wish. You can also use other tools or plugins to further refine your shape, such as FredoScale, SubD, or Vertex Tools. The possibilities are endless with Soap Skin & Bubble!
We hope this article helped you learn how to use Soap Skin & Bubble for SketchUp to create complex curved surfaces with ease. This plugin is a great addition to any SketchUp user's toolbox and can help you create stunning models with minimal effort. Have fun and happy modeling! 061ffe29dd