How to Model on Top of Photo Textures in Google SketchUp 8 - dummies

How to Model on Top of Photo Textures in Google SketchUp 8

By Aidan Chopra

If you place a photo texture on the right face and in the right place on that face in Google SketchUp, you can use the information in your photograph to help you add geometry to your model. Modeling with photo-textured faces isn’t hard, but you have to know one critical step before you can do it: You have to make sure that your texture is projected.

When the texture isn’t projected, the inside faces are painted with random parts of the texture, making your model look like a sticker-laden eye puzzle. On the right, when it is projected, note how the “inside” faces that are produced by the push/pull operation are a plain, easy-to-discern gray.


It’s a good idea to make sure that your face’s texture is projected before you start drawing on top of it. Happily, telling SketchUp to make a photo texture projected is just a matter of flipping a switch. Right-click the face with the photo texture and choose Texture, Projected from the context menu. If you see a check mark next to Projected, your texture is already projected; don’t choose anything.

Follow these steps to get the hang of working with projected textures:


  1. Make a basic rectangular box and then apply a photo texture to one of the side faces.

  2. Right-click the textured face and choose Texture, Projected from the context menu.

  3. Draw a rectangle on the textured face and push/pull it inward.

    Notice the “stretched pixels” effect?

  4. (Optional) Add other angles or features to your model.

  5. Switch to the Paint Bucket tool, hold down the Alt key (Command on a Mac), and click somewhere on the textured face to sample the texture. (Your cursor looks like an eyedropper when you do this.)

  6. Release the Alt (Command) key to switch back to the Paint Bucket cursor and then click the angled face once to paint it with the projected texture.

    You see the “stretched pixels” effect here, too.