THE BEST TENSILE STRUCTURE EXTENSION for SketchUp? Checking Out nz_Surface!



In today’s video, we’re going to check out an extension that allows you to create complex surfaces within SketchUp!

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Plugin Name: nz_Surface
Plugin Developer: Natale Zappia
Plugin Cost – $12
Where can you get it? You can download it from the SketchUp Extension Warehouse.
Tool Functions –
This extension is designed to help you create complex geometries using a series of points. Basically, the way it works is that you designate a number of points, and the extension can generate a face to fill in between those points.
This could be especially useful for filling holes in your models, modeling tensile structures, creates complex new organic geometry, and more.
Basically, it’s divided up into two different functions – the surface tool, and the surface inflatables tool.
The surface tool allows you to dictate a number of points, which will then generate a surface based on those points.
You can adjust the number of subdivision iterations within the settings, allowing the creation of more organic shapes, or less geometry intensive shapes.
The centroid sets the way that the center of the shape is handled – generally, the natural seems to center the shape around the middle of the point, while the manual option allows you to place the center point.
The texture options don’t actually refer to applying SketchUp textures, but instead refer to the finishing of the geometry, allowing you to create thickened shapes, roughened shapes, etc. The texture size will adjust the strength of the effect.
In addition, this extension also comes with a tool for creating inflated surfaces – much like soap skin and bubble, but with more control. It works generally the same way as the surface creation tool, but instead of creating a surface, it gives you an option for adjusting the belly and the profile of the shape, allowing you to adjust how far out the shape is inflated.
Overall, I think this is a very promising extension, especially in the field of tensile structure modeling. The ability to create faces based on points is one of the key things in working with these structures, and I think this extension contains an interesting set of tools for doing that.
It comes with a short trial (I believe 1 day), so give it a try and let me know what you think!

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