Drawing Freehand Shapes

With SketchUp’s Freehand tool (), you can create hand-drawn lines, such as the planter decorations shown in the figure. The Freehand tool is handy when you need to trace imported drawings, create a 2D sketch, or decorate your model.

You find the Freehand tool in the following places:

  • Getting Started toolbar (Click the drop-down arrow next to the Line tool.)
  • Drawing toolbar
  • Large Tool Set toolbar
  • Draw > Lines submenu

Under the hood, the lines that you draw with the Freehand tool become curve entities or polyline entities. Here’s what you need to know about each of these entity types:

  • A curve entity contains multiple line segments but can define and divide a face like a single line. Although you select all the segments in a curve entity at once, the SketchUp inference engine displays point and edge inferences for each segment in the entity.
  • A polyline entity doesn’t generate inference snaps, create faces, or affect geometry in any way. You create a polyline entity only if you hold down the Shift key as you draw with the Freehand tool. Polyline entities are thinner than curve entities.

Drawing freehand curves or polylines

You can draw freehand curves on existing faces or separate from existing geometry (but aligned to an axes plane). To draw a curve, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Freehand tool (). The cursor changes to a pencil with a curve.
  2. Click and hold to place the starting point of your curve.
  3. Drag the cursor to draw. As you draw, the color of your line corresponds to the axis perpendicular to your drawing plane. To create a polyline, hold down the Shift key as you draw.
  4. Release the mouse button to stop drawing. The line turns black.
  5. (Optional) End your curve at the point where you started drawing to create a closed shape. The figure shows an open curve (left) and a closed curve (right).

Note: If you push/pull a curve into a 3D shape, you create a polyface surface. See Softening, Smoothing, and Hiding Geometry for details about this type of surface.

Editing a freehand curve

You can change the length of a curve entity as long as it doesn’t bound a face. To edit a curve, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Move tool (). The cursor changes to a four-way arrow.
  2. Hover the cursor over the curve to locate an end point.
  3. Click and drag the end point to adjust the curve, as shown in the figure, and release the mouse when you’re done.