Superellipsoid in Sketchup


What is it?

A superellipsoid varies between a round shape like an ellipsoid, and a shape with sharp corners like a rectangular box. If all three axes are equal, the shape varies between a sphere and a cube.

If you slice a superellipsoid horizontally or vertically, the cross-section is a superellipse. So, the superellipsoid has two measures of squareness: one for the horizontal superellipse cross-section, and one for the vertical superellipse cross-section.

The superellipsoids below have been arranged to that the horizontal cross-section gets more square-like as you move along the red axis. And the vertical cross-section gets more square-like as you move along the green axis.

Negative squareness values add more variety. For the superellipsoids pictured below, the horizontal squareness values vary along the red axis from -90 to +90, and the vertical squareness values vary along the green axis from -90 to +90.

What's the tutorial?

Superellipsoid plugin
  1. Download the superellipsoid plugin from regularpolygon.org and install the plugin:
    On a Windows PC. If you have installed SketchUp on the C: drive then this folder will be at C:\program files\google\google sketchup [VERSION]\plugins.

    On Mac OSX. The sketchup plugins folder is /Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp [VERSION]/SketchUp/Plugins

  2. Open SketchUp and you should now have an extra menu option (superellipsoid) in the SketchUp Draw menu.

  3. Click on Draw>Superellipsoid You will see a dialog box:

  4. There are two Squareness values (Horz and Vert). Each value is an integer between -99 and +99.

    The latitude and longitude lines allow you to control how much geometry is created. The more lines, the higher the resolution.

    When you click OK, the superellipsoid is created as a component, and the component placement tool is activated to position the superellipsoid in the model.

  5. The previous dialog box values are used for the default values, so the they will appear the next time you draw a superellipsoid and the values are remembered between SketchUp sessions.

Now what?

  1. Create a model with superellipsoid shapes
  2. Come back tomorrow for more information and inspiration!