How to Add Colors & Materials in Sketchup

Updated April 17, 2017

Understanding how to add colours and materials to the objects you create with the design program SketchUp is essential for creating realistic-looking scenes. For example, leaving a candelabra object you've created with its default colour wouldn't have nearly the visual impact of a coloured and textured candelabra. SketchUp's "Materials" window has the tools for applying textures and colours. Adding a colour or texture to your scene involves choosing a swatch from a gallery, and then selecting the model to which you want to apply the swatch's colour or texture.

Open an existing scene file in SketchUp, and then click the "Window" menu.

Click the "Materials" command to open the window for editing materials. You'll see a gallery of materials you can apply to models.

Click the button with the "+" label near the top right of the window. This control is for creating new materials.

Click the "Use texture" checkbox to indicate you want to add a material from a graphic file on your PC. You'll see a file navigation box appear.

Navigate to any folder on your PC containing a graphic file in a common format, such as JPEG or PNG. For example, click the "Pictures" folder in the navigation box's left pane.

Double-click an image file to load it into SketchUp.

Type in the text box at the top right of the dialogue box a term describing the image in the file you just loaded. For example, if the file shows a stucco wall, write "stucco_wall" in the text box.

Drag the "Opacity" slider toward "0" if you want to make the image you loaded somewhat transparent.

Click "OK" to complete the addition of the new material to the material gallery. You'll see the image you loaded in that gallery.

Click the image to select it, and then click any object in the scene you loaded in step 1. SketchUp will apply the texture to the object.

Click the "File" menu inside SketchUp, and then click the "Open" command.

Double-click a scene file to load it into SketchUp. You'll add a colour to one of the objects in this scene.

Click the "Window" menu,and then click that menu's "Materials" command to open the window for editing materials.

Click the "Color" item in the drop-down box. The gallery of materials will change to display an array of colour swatches.

Click the swatch of a colour you like to select that colour to apply to a model in the scene.

Click a model to turn it the colour you selected in the previous step.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Darrin Koltow wrote about computer software until graphics programs reawakened his lifelong passion of becoming a master designer and draftsman. He has now committed to acquiring the training for a position designing characters, creatures and environments for video games, movies and other entertainment media.