Create Organic Forms, Simulate Tensile Surfaces, SmoothPatch Details, Model Terrain and more
  • sketchup, nz_surface, adaptable mesh, tensile structure, skin,

nz_Surface is an ideal tool which allows you to

  •  surface an area between specified points and resolve complex organic geometries whilst retaining complete control of the edge conditions.

  •  Organically plug a hole within your model.

  •  Pitch a tent or span a tensile fabric,

  •  locate survey points or model a terrain,

  •  prepare a model for subdivision or

  •  create a complex model with facetted details only where their needed…


We want to make creating forms easy so that we can focus on creating meaning and experience… here are some of the features.


4 point - Point Finder: Smooth out the Bumps

Closing a 4 point non-planar opening can result in diagonal edges which awkwardly bulge or indent rather than smoothly resolve by curving in both directions…. “4 point - Level Finder” will find for you the perfectly proportional solution folding to the centroid of the four points….


4 point - Point Finder: Create Terrain

When working with Surveys a single iteration of  ‘Point Finder’ solves the critical problem of locating a 5th point from 4 know points this allows you to realistically and intelligently surface terrain from a survey…


Preparing for a Global SubDivide?

You don’t necessarily want millions of faces so start by adding complexity only across the corners and details which are far removed from the forms you wish to achieve… when your model is as proportionally correct and organic as you like you can then run the global subdivide to finalise the finish…. use nz_Surface to correct details or create subdivided solutions only the the parts of your model that actually need curvilinear resolutions


Create Curvilinear Models with Key straight edge design lines

Create organic shapes and models from key points and definable straight edges.  The kind of details you find within industrial designs where key design lines are ‘matched and married’ with organic sculptural forms. 


Easily Produce Tensile Structures

nz_Surface can simulated tensile fabrics pinned at 4,5,6,8,10,12 points


Beyond ‘4 point - Point Finder’:

4 point - Point Finder is the key tool within this set, based on it we have developed the other variants… as a bonus we enabled some fun settings to play with and a series of hot-keys so that you can change your mind on the fly as well….


Hot Keys

Control:              Toggle Textures 'Smooth|Diamond|Crystal|Shell'

Command:         Toggle Centroid Placement: Natural(auto)|Manual

Spacebar:           Random Variations to surface finished when not using a 'Smooth' texture

Up | Down Keys: Control the four levels of Iteration 1|2|3|4 for a extra smooth finish or face-efficient solution





 A Touch of World Architecture

 nz_Surface allows you to achieve some of those forms you see architect’s produce that appear all so difficult to envision


 We believe in “Enabling Creativity” so here’s another tool which invites the imagination and with it enables the creation of some impressive designs… now that we’ve levelled the ‘playing field’ we can focus on creating meaning which is where the real game lies…


 Create something meaningful!









INFLATE / DEFLATE: The Surface can now be inflate or deflated beyond it's Neutral 'Tensile' profile



Please note in the interest of clarity I have separated the commands into two toolbars and/or collections


TOOLBAR 1 (The Original nz_Surface) provides a tensile structure simulation shall we say as described above. This is based on the mathematics that would determine a 5th point from four known points.  Consequently you achieve the flattest/smoothest resolution of the possible surface between clickpoints.... toolbar one differs from toolbar 2 because it has the technical capacity to model probable terrain and infer new points from survey data, it can also model tensile structures.  


TOOLBAR 2 (Version 2) provides quite a different service to toolbar1, you can now tease/force the neutral position of the skin into an inflated or deflated state this is very useful making this tool even more versatile than before.




Hello, this is a great plugin! However, I have some doubts about the use. What do "Random" and "Remember" mean in SmoothSettings? I didn't change when I chose "Yes" or "No".

Natale Zappia's picture

Hello Andrew,

Please note:
'random' with apply to the texture(offset) value when any "texture type' is selected other than 'smooth'.
'remember' will save your setting so that next time you open sketchup your current preferences will be conveniently remembered.
Further to this the hotkeys allow you to quickly change the 'SmoothSettings' for the current session on-the-fly without a permanent change to the default settings in the future.

I will also update to info under the drop-down menu (tools/nz_surface/about/info) to better express the above-mentioned

Thanks, I'm pleased it's a rewarding plugin.

Hello, thank you for your answer, I still have a few questions that are not clear. When I use "4 Control+", I don't know what the "profile" slider means, and the overdrive option is to make the surface more Exaggerated?

Natale Zappia's picture

The 'Profile Slider' operates as switch between the two shape profiles available...
profile: 'bulge' which produces a shape similar to the pinched distortion similar to sketchup's 'smooth' from the 'sandbox tools'
profile: 'spherical' on the other hand provides broader distortion at it's maximum effect it resemble more so a hemisphere.
from Version 2.0.0 this is variable for all the point-options.

As for 'Overdrive' you are correct it allows for a more exaggerated effect (a greater maximum) without the use of 'Overdrive' your more certain to have a well proportioned result... but instead of capping the maximum level at this threshold, I thought to also enable a greater range to suit a user's specific needs and affording them this extra possibility.

Hi Natale,

Thank you for creating such a wonderful plugin!

I have a question, when using the plugin the faces generated are pulled down/deflated.
How do I generate faces that looked inflated, similar to soap skin & bubble plugin?

Thank you.

Natale Zappia's picture

Hi Jordan,

Thank you, I much appreciate your feedback.

Currently the surface takes the form one would expect of a tensile fabric… It's a very particular algorithm base on the ability to derive a 5th Survey point from 4 known points (4-point function)... in this way you find the neutral position of say a tensile fabric...

You raise a very valid proposition and in response I have developed the capability to 'inflate|deflate' the skin. It's now available as of Version 2.0.0


42 users
1.88 MB
nz_Surface (2.0.3); August 5, 2018
Trial Period: 
2 days
Number of Views: 
SketchUp Compatibility: 
OS Compatibility: 
Extensions: 21
We are driven by our passion for the interpretive potential of architecture, and all that which can be designed. The relationship between people and their environment is fundamental to "Demonstrative Architecture" because architecture can be inscribed with meaning through the experience of form and function, and in this manner architecture/design can be an authentic manifestation of all that which we value and wish to be... When we are not designing buildings we are enabling creativity... I'm please to share some of our Sketchup Extensions. Design something worthwhile.....