How Do I Add Materials to SketchUp?


Adding materials to your 3D-modeling software can dramatically increase your design palette. SketchUp comes with a set of default materials you can apply to your models and designs, but you are not limited to these materials alone. Take advantage of the Materials Browser in SketchUp to create new materials from image files.

  • Click "Window" on the main menu in SketchUp to load the Window menu, and then select "Materials" to launch the Materials Browser.

  • Create a new collection group for the materials you're adding -- because you can't add materials to existing collections, you must create a new collection before you can add materials to it. On Windows, click the "Select" tab, "Collection" and then click "New." On a Mac, click the "Materials" picker in the Materials Browser, click the "List" drop-down menu and select "New" to create a collection group for your new materials.

  • Enter an identifying name for the new collection of materials and click "OK." You need to give the collection an identifying name only if you plan to maintain several collections of imported materials. Otherwise, you can call it something as simple as New or Imported.

  • Click the "Color" drop-down menu, "New Texture" and browse to the image file you want to use for your new material.

  • Double-click the file or single-click it and click "Open" to import the material to your new collection. Once SketchUp has imported the material, it becomes available for regular use via the Materials Browser.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although it is compatible with other formats, SketchUp works best with JPG files.
  • You can also edit materials in SketchUp, including those you've imported to a collection. To do this, click the "Collections" drop-down menu on the Materials browser and select the collection in which the material resides. Select the material and then click "Add to Model" on the Context menu. Click the "Collections" drop-down menu again and select "In-Model." Click the material you want to edit and click the "Edit" tab. Modify the available settings and then save your changes.
  • When you edit a material as outlined above, that change is applied to all models on which the material is currently being used.

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  • Photo Credit Piotr Krześlak/iStock/Getty Images
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