The How to on Sketchup Complex Curves – Q&A

sketchup complex geometry

Once you’ve mastered the basics of sketchup you’ll probably find yourself face-to-face with sketchup complex curves. I know this can be a daunting task. I’ve seen a lot of people throw in the towel VERY quickly on sketchup once they get to more complicated geometries. But I promise, if you take the time to increase your modelling IQ you’ll be able to create and edit complex geometries like the pros.

To illustrate the power of sketchup complex curves, I’ve highlighted a question from Wordplayyy of the design nation.

Obviously, your problem is going to be unique to your situation, but through solving this specific question, I hope to be able to unveil the secrets of modelling a complex object in sketchup.

Wordplayyy asked me how to create the complex curves  present at the Sakirin Mosque.


The Process for Sketchup Complex Curves

With any complex geometry I quickly study it to see what smaller geometries comprise the more complex shape.

It’s pretty clear that this particular geometry is made up of an arch at it’s core, so I start with 1/2 of the arch and then copy and mirror it.  I do this to ensure that my arch is equal on both sides.
sketchup arch
I delete my mirror line and since the arch looks more like a gothic arch, I want to squish it a little to round it out.  To do this, I hit M to move and select the point.  I then hold the up arrow on the keyboard to move along the blue axis.

I push/pull my face to move it into 3-dimensions.

This next tip is key.

I select the face and hit S for scale.  This lets me blend the from one face to the other.
Pro Tip: If you hold ctrl or cmd while scaling it will scale both sides uniformly.

sketchup complex curves

I then offset the face I just scaled, push it in, and scale the inner face as well.

To get rid of any extraneous lines that may have been created through the process, I double-click on faces with extra edges, right-click, and select Soften/Smooth Edges.Soften sketchup edges
Typically I try to select the smallest angle to soften edges between.  This helps me maintain the integrity of my model as much as possible.

Hope this helps!

Have your own tips or suggestions on how you create sketchup complex curves?  Leave a comment below!

If you’d like to download the 3d model of this click here.




  1. Matt123 January 14, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    You aced the exam because at no point in your life has your brain been deprived of oxygen for 10 plus minutes. Seriously. That’s about the only way to fail.
    I took mine last year and after all the reading online I was scared. I bought practice tests, books, did hours of reading and studying.

    All this mess about the questions have several answers is a lie. EVERY SINGLE ONE of my questions had 1 answer. I rocked through the test in less than 20 minutes. I do have building/construction experience, but I remember the quality of the questions. Anyone using basic common sense and process of elimination can figure them out. I thought myself surely I’m not the lucky one who got the easy test? Nope, that’s just how the test is. But the internet likes to scare you, because they know you will buy study material.

    LEED has gotten a bad rap, and the deeper I get into green and natural building the more the joke of LEED is seen. Don’t waste your money or time on their “Green Associate” garbage and certainly don’t waste MORE money to keep up this phony “credential”

  2. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  3. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  4. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #


    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.


  5. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  6. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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