How to Export a Raster Image from Google SketchUp 8 - dummies

How to Export a Raster Image from Google SketchUp 8

By Aidan Chopra

The free version of Google SketchUp can only export 2D views of your model as raster images. Raster images are made up of dots. (Technically, these dots are pixels, just like the pixels that make up images you take with a digital camera.) Raster file formats consist of information about the location and color of each dot. When you export a raster, you decide how many dots (pixels) it should include, which directly affects how big it can be displayed.

The process of exporting a view of your SketchUp model is fairly straightforward. Depending on which format you choose, the export options are slightly different.

  1. Adjust your model view until you see exactly what you want to export as an image file.

    Basically, your entire modeling window view is exported as an image, so use the navigation tools or click a scene to set up your view. Use styles, shadows, and fog to make your model look exactly the way you want it to. To change the proportions of your image, resize your SketchUp window.


    You may be wondering whether everything in your modeling window shows up in an exported raster image. The red, green, and blue axes don’t, which is good, but guides do, which is usually bad. If you don’t want your guides to be visible in your exported image, deselect Guides in the View menu.

  2. Choose File, Export, 2D Graphic.

  3. Choose the file format you want to use from the Format drop-down list.

  4. Choose a name and a location on your computer for your exported image.

  5. Click the Options button.


  6. Adjust the settings in the Export Options dialog box.

    Here’s a description of what the settings do:

    • Use View Size: Selecting this check box tells SketchUp to export an image file that contains the same number of pixels as are currently being used to display your model onscreen. If you plan to print your exported image, don’t select this check box.

    • Width and Height: When you don’t select the Use View Size check box, you can manually enter the size of your exported image.

    • Anti-Alias: Anti-aliasing fills in the gaps around pixels with similar-colored pixels so that things look smooth. In general, you want to leave anti-aliasing on.

    • Resolution (Mac only): This is where you tell SketchUp how big each pixel should be, and therefore how big (in inches or centimeters) your exported image should be. Pixel size is expressed in terms of pixels per inch/centimeter.


    • Transparent Background (Mac only, not for JPEGs): Mac users can choose to export TIFFs and PNGs with transparent backgrounds, which can make it easier to “cut out” your model in another piece of software.

    • JPEG Compression (JPEG only): This slider lets you decide two things at the same time: the file size of your exported image and how good the image will look.

  7. Click OK to close the Export Options dialog box.

  8. Back in the File Export dialog box, click the Export button to export your raster image file.

    You can find your exported file in whatever location on your computer you specified in Step 4. What you do with it is entirely up to you; you can e-mail it, print it, or use it in another software program to create a presentation.

    Don’t be alarmed if the export process takes longer than you think it should. If you export a pretty big image (one with lots and lots of pixels), the export takes a while.