How to Add Photos to Flat Faces in Google SketchUp 8 - dummies

How to Add Photos to Flat Faces in Google SketchUp 8

By Aidan Chopra

Painting surfaces with pictures using 3D software like Google SketchUp is called mapping. Different software programs have different methods for mapping pictures to faces, and luckily, SketchUp’s are pretty straightforward.

Importing images: Use your own photos

Have at least one face in your model because you map your texture to a face.

  1. Choose File, Import.

  2. Select the image file you want to use as a texture.

    You can use JPEGs, TIFFs, and PNGs as textures in SketchUp; all these are common image-file formats.

  3. Select the Use as Texture option.


  4. Click the Open button.

    The Paint Bucket becomes your active tool, with the cursor loaded with the image you chose to import.

  5. Click once in the lower-left corner of the face you want to “paint.”

    Where you click tells SketchUp where to position the lower-left corner of the image you’re using as a texture. You can click anywhere on the face you’re trying to paint, but the lower-left corner keeps things simple.


  6. Click somewhere else on the face you’re painting.

    Image textures in SketchUp are made up of tiles. To make a large area of texture, such as a brick wall, SketchUp uses a bunch of tiles right next to each other. When you click to locate the upper-right corner of your image, you’re telling SketchUp how big to make the tile for your new photo texture.

Unless the proportions of your image perfectly match the face onto which it was mapped, you should see your image repeating. SketchUp automatically tiles your image to fill the whole face.

Get Photo Texture: Use online imagery

Google recently wired together Street View and SketchUp, making it possible to grab imagery from the former and use it in the latter. If your goal is to build photo-textured models of real-world buildings, you’re in luck.

To use this feature, you must meet two important prerequisites:

  • Your model must be geo-located. You have to have already told SketchUp precisely where it is by adding a geo-location snapshot to your file.

  • Street View data must exist for the thing you’re trying to texture.

Follow these steps to paint a flat face in your model with Google Street View imagery:

  1. Select the face you want to paint with Street View imagery.

  2. Choose Edit, Face, Get Photo Texture.

  3. Frame the imagery you want to use in the window:

    • Click and drag to swivel the “camera.”

    • Click the arrows superimposed on the photo to move up and down the street.

    • Zoom in and out using the + and – buttons.

  4. Click the Select Region button in the upper-right corner of the window.

  5. Drag the blue pins to define an area to paint on the face you selected in Step 1.

  6. Click the Grab button to paint the face you selected in Step 1 with the imagery you defined in Step 5.

  7. Close the Photo Textures window.