Free SketchUp Pro Tutorial: How to Import Materials

I absolutely love SketchUp Pro for its versatility with materials. It is one of the biggest benefits of using SketchUp to show 3D views of a project because it is so easy to upload and place materials and textures. It is also simple to change out the materials on a 3D geometry as well. In this free tutorial, I demonstrate how to add materials or textures to your SketchUp model. This video is ideal for SketchUp Pro beginners.

How to Choose your Material Texture:

SketchUp Pro materials are automatically available through the software; however, you may find that the materials are limited and not quite what you need. To add new materials, you will need a Jpeg of the material or texture you want. I suggest looking at the manufacturer website first for images, and then if that doesn’t work, search on Google.

For some materials, such as stacked stone, I can easily find that on Google. If I am using a specific tile pattern, I would want the exact image.

Ideally, you will want a large image file. Stay away from images stamped with a watermark. (A watermark is a product or manufacturer name that is stamped through the middle of the image to prevent people from using the image without permission).

When searching for materials, add the words “seamless” and “texture” in your search box along with your descriptive words. Ideally, seamless images do not have a border around it, so when you add it to your SketchUp model, you will not see the edges of the image. Sometimes by adding seamless, you will get a better image quality, but not always.  “Texture” is the term that SketchUp uses for materials.

Next, be sure to change your search tools to “large images.” Once you have found the material image, save it in a folder.

Pro Tip:

I have created a library of SketchUp Textures and Materials. This library makes it easy for me to find the materials I have used in the past and may want to reuse. For additional organization, add folders such as “Wallcoverings,” “Brick and Stone,” or “Tile Patterns.” After a while of saving materials, you may find you have a laundry list of different types of textures. I have mistakenly used fabric material for a wallcovering. Luckily, I caught it right away. The organized folders help prevent this from happening.

How to Import Your Material to Your SketchUp Model

In preparation for bringing in my material, I will create a 2D square face in the SketchUp Model, off to the side of the actual work area. I do not group this square. I will use this square over and over as I bring in more materials and textures to the model.

Next, you will select the face you created. Then go to the “File” tab and scroll down to “Import.” In the pop-up box, you will select your material. Before you hit the import button, be sure you have selected the radio button next to “Texture,” then click “Import.”

Helpful Hint:

If you don’t see your texture, be sure you have selected “All Supported Types” in the drop-down to the right of the file name.

The texture is now on my cursor. Go to the square you created, click the lower-left corner one time, then drag your cursor to the upper right corner and click one more time again. Do not hold the mouse button down.

You should see your material appear in the square. Don’t worry if the scale or proportion is off. We can fix that later.

Now, before you click anything else, go to the materials section of your default tray and click the eyedropper. Move your cursor to the imported material on the 2D square and click one time with the eyedropper. Your material should now show in your material box in the default tray.

Be sure to hit the space bar to get out of the command when done.

How to Place your Material on 3D Geometry

I always have my geometry either grouped or as a component. If you are not sure how to do either, see my free SketchUp video tutorial on “How to Group and Use Components.” Since my geometry is grouped, I will double click on it to get into edit mode before applying a material. By getting into edit mode, it allows me to control the faces the material is applied. In some situations, I may not need the material on all geometry surfaces.

In edit mode, I will select the face, then grab my material by either click “B” on the keyboard or selecting the material image in the Default tray. (B is the shortcut for materials, as in materials bucket.) Next, you click on the face you want to add the material. It is that easy.

How to Adjust My Material Once Imported to SketchUp 2020

Unfortunately, not all images are the same. That would make this so much easier if they were. Depending on the image you imported, the size isn’t apples to apples. Therefore, your materials may need adjusting.

In the materials section of the default tray, you will see the image of your material. Right under the image, you will see two tabs – “Select” and “Edit.” Click the “Edit” tab, and you will find that you can adjust the size, color, and opacity of the material. The changes are immediate in the model, so you can watch the geometry to see how it looks. Once you have made your adjustments, be sure to click the “Select” tab before moving on to the next tool.

Helpful Hint:

If you can not activate the materials tool, be sure you have the “Select” tab clicked in the materials section of the default tray. If you are still in the edit mode of the material, you will not be able to add textures to other geometry.

How to Get More Free Video Tutorials

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