How to Insert a Background Into Sketchup

Written by carol adams
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How to Insert a Background Into Sketchup
(Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

SketchUp is a 3D modelling program provided by Google. It comes in two versions, Pro and freeware. It is often used to create models of housing or buildings, either for use within the program or for export to other programs. When the models are used directly in SketchUp, it is useful to create realistic scenery for the structure to be placed in. One way this is done is to use the “Sandbox” tools to create a terrain for the structure, while another is to place an image in the background. This is fairly easy to do.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Load an image that you want to use as your background onto your computer. It should be perfectly square.

  2. 2

    Open SketchUp. Select the default figure standing in the scene and delete it.

  3. 3

    Select the “Rectangular” tool from the toolbar and use it to draw a square on the ground in the view port. You will know that it is perfectly square when you see a dotted line labelled “square” running from corner to corner.

  4. 4

    Select the “Paint Bucket” tool from the toolbar. Click on the square you drew. The “Materials” dialogue will open.

  5. 5

    Select the plain white colour from the options, then click on the “Create Material” button. In the “Edit” dialogue, click on the “Use Texture Map” checkbox.

  6. 6

    Click on the “Browse" button and locate the file you loaded onto your computer. Open it and you will see in the preview that it is applied to the square. Adjust the “Width” and “Height” entries until the image fits the square perfectly. Click “OK.”

  7. 7

    Use the “Rotate” and “Move” tools to place the new background image where you want it in the scene. Save your work.

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