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In this tutorial, we’ll see how to create your own profiles, and use them to build profile members.
A profile can either be a 2D face, which is the most common usage for Profile Builder, or a profile can be a series of connected lines or curves. We’ll first look at how to create a profile from a 2D face.
Use the Line and 2 Point Arc tools to create a closed shape like this one. In this example, the face is created in Top view, though a profile face can be created in any orientation. It’s good practice when dealing with profiles to always have the front material showing. If your back face material is showing, right-click on the face and choose Reverse Faces. In this example, the front material is yellow.
Open the Profile Dialog, and select the face. To create a profile from the selected face, click the New Profile icon.
You could accept the default name, but the best practice is to assign each profile a unique and descriptive name, such as Trench 1.
The selected face now appears in the preview window, and its overall width and height are listed here as well.
Among the many features that sets Profile Builder apart from SketchUp’s native Follow Me tool is that it’s parametric. This means, among other things, that various aspects of the profile member properties can be controlled and edited, even after the profile member has been created. This will be shown in detail in later tutorials, but for now, just change the width to 10’ and press Tab to accept. Because the aspect ratio is locked, the height updates as well. Note that this doesn’t update the shape in the model, but it will affect the profile members created from this profile.
Also note the red dot in the center of the profile face. This is the default placement point, or the point that will follow the profile path. Change this to Bottom Left, and the dot moves to that corner.
To use this profile, click the Build tool. Orbiting into a 3D view, click to start the profile member. If you’re “standing” at the start of the path, facing along the path, the placement point is at your lower left.
Continue clicking along points of the path. You can use the arrows or the Shift key to lock directions, just like when using other SketchUp drawing tools, and also enter lengths.
While clicking path points, there are a few modifier keys you can use. The one you’ll want to get to know well is Undo, which is the Delete or Backspace key. Tapping either key will undo the profile member one path point at a time. If you use Ctrl or Cmd Z instead, you’ll undo the entire profile member.
Before the profile member is completed, you can press the Home button to cycle through placement points, or use the End button to change the rotation.
When finished, tap the Enter or Return or Esc key. Or you can finish by right-clicking. The Finish option works like pressing Esc or Enter, or you can choose Close the Path for a closed loop.
Note that the size of these profile is different than your original 2D face. The profile member width should measure 10’ with the Tape Measure tool.
Also note that each profile member is created as a group, which you can verify in the Entity info window.
Now we’ll see how to create a profile from a polyline - a connected chain of lines or curves. Start a new file, and your previous profile is still the current one. Because you haven’t saved this profile, it wouldn’t appear if you had closed and restarted SketchUp, or if you create a new profile. Saving and locating profiles will be discussed later in this tutorial.
Draw two lines and an arc.
To select these for creating a profile, click the Smart Path Selection tool, which provides control over how the profile members will be created.
With Smart Path selection, you can define the start and end of a set of lines or curves. This is relevant for a non-face profile like this one, and smart path selection can also be used to define the start and end of a profile path, which we’ll see a bit later.
If you move your mouse to the lower line segment, closer to the free endpoint, the green indicates that the profile starts here.
You can move to the end of the arc to define the profile end, or double-click to let Profile builder complete the chain automatically. The profile end is red.
In the Profile Dialog, click the plus sign to add the selected objects as a new profile called Metal1. Set the width at 1’ and placement point at the bottom left.
You can now erase the profile edges.
Click Build and draw out some profile member segments. Because of the way this profile is defined, you are oriented in the same direction as the profile - in this case, standing right side up. And while standing at the start of the profile member, facing toward the direction of the profile member, front faces are to your right.
If you had defined this profile with its start at the opposite end, front faces would be to your left.
In addition to using Build to define segments by clicking points, there are three ways to define the profile path in advance.
First, you can draw a face, select the face, and click the Build Along Path tool.
The profile goes around the face, with its bottom left corner following the edges of the face.
Undo, and erase one edge to change the path. Then add another set of connected edges.
Select all of the path edges, click Build Along Path, and again the profile follows each path. But selecting the path this way provides control over how profile members are oriented.
Not only can Smart Path Selection define a profile’s orientation, it can also define the path’s orientation. Draw some rectangles, lines, and arcs from which the path will be selected.
Click Smart Path Selection. If you double-click to start the path, Profile Builder will look for the most logical path which would be this:
But say you want two separate paths. Press Esc to clear the selection.
Define the first path like this:
To add a second path, press Ctrl and select these edges:
Click Build Along Path, which results in these front and back profile member faces.
For the first profile member, if you’re standing at the start and facing toward the path direction, front faces are to your right.
The same applies for the second profile member, when standing at the other end.
For a more practical example, we’ll create and save a cornice profile. In a new SketchUp model, in Top view, create a profile from a 6” x 6” square, and reverse faces so that the front face is showing. From this face, create a new profile called Cornice.
To save this profile, let’s first see where profiles are stored. Open Extensions / Profile Builder / Preferences. By default, profiles will go in your Documents folder, but you can change this to a folder you’ve already set up.
In the Profile Dialog, click Save Profile.
Browse to Documents, or to the folder you set up, keeping the name Cornice. Save the profile.
Now close and reopen SketchUp with a house or room model.
When you open the Profile Dialog, Cornice appears because it was saved, and it’s the last profile you used. If you activate any other profile, such as one from the Samples folder, you can still find Cornice. Click Profile Browser again, click your Home folder, and Cornice is here.
Let’s say we want the top of the cornice to meet the top of the first floor wall, and this measurement is 11’. So set the vertical offset to 11’. And move the placement point to the top left corner.
For the path, use Smart Path Selection, starting from a lower corner on the left and processing to the right.
Click Build Along Path, and here is the cornice.