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Subdivide and Smooth


The 'Subdivide and Smooth' tool is probably the most powerful feature inside Artisan. It allows you to model a rough low-poly approximation to the final 3D model and then by applying the tool, the model will be transformed into the smoothed shape that you are trying to achieve.

By keeping the proxy (low-poly version) of the model as simple as possible, the modeling process will become the most efficient.

The tool works by first subdividing all of the selected faces and then smoothing the resulting mesh. This process can be repeated several times (up to 4 iterations). Each iteration will result in a smoother model with more polygons.

Launching the Tool

Select faces, a group, or a component and then click the icon on the Artisan toolbar. The tool can also be launched using the menu item Tools->Artisan->Subdivide and Smooth.

Operation on a Selection of Faces

Select the faces and then launch the tool.

Operation on a Selection of Faces

After launching the tool, you will see a preview of the sub-smoothed mesh.

Changing the Number of Iterations

When in preview mode, enter a number between 1-4 to change the number of iterations. Here, two iterations have been chosen by typing '2 <enter>'. You can keep changing the number of iterations by entering a different value between 1-4 until you are satisfied.

Creating the Geometry

Press the <Enter> or <Return> key to create the geometry. For large models, this might take several seconds. If you want to exit the preview mode without creating the geometry, click anywhere in the viewport or press the <Escape> key.

Operation on a Component

To use the tool on a SketchUp component, first select the component and then launch the tool.

Note: Only the faces directly inside the component will be affected by using the tool. If there are nested groups or components within the selected component, they will be deleted.

Operation on a Group

By using the tool on a group, 'Proxy Mode' will become activated.

Proxy Mode

Double-click the transparent proxy to begin editing the proxy. The Proxy Settings window will open. In Proxy Mode, you can see both the proxy and the sub-smoothed model at the same time. As you make changes to the proxy, the changes will be propogated to the sub-smoothed model.

Un-check the auto-update box to turn off automatic updates.

Manual updates may be performed by clicking the 'Update Subsurface' button.

Note: If the current SketchUp face style mode is set to 'Monochrome' the proxy will not be transparent and you will be unable to see the sub-smoothed model.

Proxy Mode Materials

By using proxy mode, two new materials will be added to your SKP file. These materials may be edited if you wish to change the color and transparency settings.

Proxy Mode Layers

By using proxy mode, two new layers will be added to your SKP file. These layers may be used to control the visibility of the proxy and the sub-smoothed model.

You may notice another layer called 'SDS_hidden'. This layer is used to temporarily hide the selected geometry when in preview mode.

Committing the Sub-Smoothed Model

If you have finished modeling in proxy mode and you wish to start directly editing the sub-smoothed model, you can commit the model by doing the following:

  1. Select the Proxy group
  2. Explode the group (right click context menu -> Explode)
  3. Press the <delete> key to delete the proxy faces. Note: Since the proxy faces are located on the 'Proxy' layer, you may wish to simply hide this layer in case you need the proxy later.
  4. Select the sub-smoothed model
  5. Unlock the component (right click context menu ->Unlock)

Notes Regarding Proxy Mode

Proxy mode is a great learning tool to learn how to visualize what the sub-smoothed model will look like. However, this mode can be a bit unstable at times. Keep in mind the following tips:

  • Do not use other SketchUp plugins to edit a proxy while in proxy mode. This may cause a crash or bugsplat. However, other Artisan tools can be used to edit a proxy in this mode.
  • You cannot duplicate a proxy by using the move/copy tool or the copy/paste command. The copied proxy will not behave correctly.
  • You can disable group proxy mode by using the 'Settings' dialog (Tools->Artisan->Settings) and changing 'Create Proxy from Group' to 'Off'

Adding Detail to a Mesh

The Subdivide and Smooth tool can be used to add refinements to your model only where you need them. Select the faces that you wish to refine and then launch the tool. Notice that the adjacent unselected faces are also divided so that the mesh remains clean.

Additional Settings

In the 'Settings' dialog:

  • Subsurface Materials
  • Soften Edges
  • Create Proxy from Group