Choosing a Match Photo-Friendly Image in SketchUp

By Aidan Chopra, Rebecca Huehls

Photo-matching in SketchUp works only on photographs of objects with at least one pair of surfaces that are at right angles to each other. Luckily, this includes millions of things you may want to build. But still, if the thing you want to photo-match is entirely round, or wavy, or even triangular, this method won’t work.

Here are tips for choosing a photo for this process:

  • Watch out for lens distortion. When you take a picture with a wide-angle lens, some straight lines in the image bow a little bit, depending on where they are in the frame. Try to use photos taken with a normal or telephoto lens: 50mm to 100mm is a good bet.
  • Make sure that the edges of two perpendicular surfaces are visible in the shot. You need to see planes that are at right angles to each other in order to use photo-matching properly.
  • Shoot at a 45-degree angle if you can. Because of the way perspective works, your results are more accurate if you use a photograph in which you can see both perpendicular surfaces clearly; if one of them is sharply distorted, you have a harder time.

The following types of photos work especially well with SketchUp’s Match Photo feature:

  • An interior view of a room in which a corner meets at a right angle
  • An aerial shot
  • An exterior view taken from a human vantage point and in which a corner (or corners) meet at a right angle
sketchup match photo
Choose the style that best describes your photograph’s camera position.