How to Modify Face Settings in Google SketchUp 8 - dummies

How to Modify Face Settings in Google SketchUp 8

By Aidan Chopra

The Face section of the Edit tab in the Styles dialog box in Google SketchUp controls the appearance of faces in your model, including their default colors, their visibility, and their transparency. You can open it by choosing Window, Styles, selecting the Edit tab, and clicking the box icon that’s second from the left.


Front color/Back color

In SketchUp, every face you create has a back and a front. To choose the default colors for all new faces you create, click the Front and Back color wells and then pick a color.

Sometimes when you model in SketchUp, a face is turned inside out. Follow these steps to flip a face so that the right side shows:

  1. Select the face you want to flip.

  2. Right-click and choose Reverse Faces.


Face styles may as well be called Face modes because that’s what they are: different modes for viewing the faces in your model. You can flip among them as much as you like without affecting your geometry. Each Face style has its purpose:


  • Wireframe: In Wireframe mode, your faces are invisible. Because you can’t see them, you can’t affect them. Only your edges are visible, which makes this mode handy for doing two things:

    • When you select edges, switch to Wireframe mode to make sure that you’ve selected what you meant to select. Because no faces block your view, this is the best way to make sure that you select only what you want. The new Back Edges setting is handy for this, too.

    • After you use Intersect Faces, you usually have stray edges lying around. Wireframe is the quickest way to erase them because you can see what you’re doing.

  • Hidden Line: Hidden Line mode displays all your faces using whatever color you’re using for the background.

  • Shaded: This Face style displays colors on your faces. Faces painted with a solid color appear that color. Faces to which you’ve added textures are shown with a color that best approximates their overall color. If your texture has a lot of brown in it, SketchUp picks a brown and uses that. For models with a lot of these textures, switching to Shaded mode can really speed up orbiting, zooming, and otherwise navigating around.

  • Shaded with Textures: Use Shaded with Textures when you want to see your model with textures visible. Because this mode puts a lot of strain on your computer, it can also be the slowest mode to work in.

  • Display Shaded Using All Same: When you want to quickly give your model a simplified color scheme, use this Face style; it uses your default front and back face colors to paint your model.

  • X-Ray: Unlike using translucent materials on only some of your faces (such as glass and water), flipping on X-Ray lets you see through all your faces. If you’re in a plan (overhead) view, it’s a great way to demonstrate how a floor level relates to the one below it.


Displaying transparency (as in translucent materials) is an especially taxing operation for SketchUp and your computer to handle, so you can decide how to display translucent materials:

  • Enable transparency: Deselect this check box to display translucent materials as opaque. Turn off transparency to speed SketchUp’s performance if you find that it’s slowed down.

  • Transparency quality: If you decide to display transparency, you can further fine-tune your system’s performance by telling SketchUp how to render that transparency: You have the choice of better performance, nicer graphics, or an average of the two.