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Materials Sources

3.2_Materials Sources

0:00 In this lesson we’re going to cover a number of good sources for acquiring landscape and site-specific materials and textures.

0:08 We’ll also look at a few ways to load new or existing libraries into SketchUp’s materials library for easy access in the future.

0:17 We’ll also look at a few ways to load new or existing libraries into SketchUp’s materials library for easy access in the future.

0:17 Let’s start with the most obvious place to look for textures: online.

0:23 The only thing we need to do first is note whether we want seamless textures or not.

0:28 Assuming we do, let’s enter seamless in as a key word along with the type of texture we’re looking for…let’s try 'ground cover'.

0:38 The next thing to keep an eye out for is image size or resolution.

0:43 We need find a balance between high enough resolution to look good but small enough file size to keep our model from unnecessary bloating.

0:53 Let’s use one of SketchUp’s default materials as a reference...which looks pretty good when zoomed in close.


1:03 If we opened it in Photoshop, we can see that it’s only 256 px by 256 pixels at 72 dpi.

1:12 Let’s compare that with the large high-resolution texture import that you see here.

1:17 The same texture was resized in Photoshop, saved and imported 3 times to see how image size affects quality in SketchUp.

1:26 The first image is 1.3 mb in size.

1:30 The second, 3.5 (mb).

1:33 And the last was full resolution when downloaded at 4000 pixels and is 8.1 mb.

1:41 You can see that there is some difference in image quality noticeable between the three when you get in real close.

1:49 But once a person is added for scale, you can see that after zooming out a bit, it’s difficult if not impossible to tell the difference between the three.

1:57 Also keep in mind that 8.1 mb is pretty large but that's just one image.

2:02 We could easily end up having a hundred or more materials when we’re all done so we want to take care early on to avoid unnecessary added size by either choosing smaller images or resampling larger ones to reduce their size.

2:22 If you happen to import a high-res texture, or a component with oversized textures, then you can use the SketchUp team’s ‘Material Resizer’ extension to see the various texture resolutions in the model.

2:35 Then select the one or ones you want to resize and enter a new size to change it to without having to leave SketchUp.

2:49 Beyond searching for textures individually, there are also a bunch of great texture websites, like ''...

2:57 ...that have done an excellent job curating and organizing various texture categories and they're free to download and use commercially after creating an account and logging in.

3:13 Another quick resource for materials is from models that have been uploaded to the 3DWarehouse.

3:19 To see how this works from within SketchUp, open the 3D Warehouse window and enter a keyword for your search…

3:28 this case I’ll try ‘ruins’ to see if I can find any weathered and stone materials.

3:38 Here’s a model that looks pretty good.

3:42 To see the materials in this model, you can expand the ‘Model Info’ tab and click on ‘Materials’.

3:51 Which shows a thumbnail of each indicating that there is 1 non-seamless, 3 solid (colors), and 6 seamless textures in this model.

4:02 We then have the option to download them which loads them directly into our current model via the paint bucket tool and ready to apply to a surface or object.

4:14 And if we wanted additional materials we just go back to the 3DWarehouse window again and download another texture and repeat the process.

4:25 Now that method works pretty well for just one or two materials, but it can become time consuming to do a bunch of materials.

4:33 As an alternative method we can open 3DWarehouse from a web browser, instead of from within SketchUp, and search for and locate the same model.

4:48 We can then choose to save the materials from here to our drive in two formats.

4:55 Firstly, if we want to keep .jpg and .png formats instead of .skm, we need to download the entire model and then open it up.

5:06 Then export as Collada (.dae)...

5:16 ...checking to make sure that the texture maps a

5:27 Then save and browse to the saved location of the new model export and we can see a folder with all the materials in it.

5:36 The nice thing about this method is that with .jpg or .png, you can use the same textures in multiple programs.

5:45 The problem with this method is that, while we saved all the materials at once, they are stored outside of SketchUp and would need to be imported back in one by one.

5:57 To extract all the materials at once and have them ready to use in SketchUp without a lot of effort, we need to use an extension.

6:07 Luckily, there is a handy free extension called ‘Eneroth Materials Extractor’.

6:12 This extension is super easy to use and once you run it in the model you want to extract materials from...

6:19’re prompted to save a new SketchUp model file that contains only these materials and nothing else.

6:25 Then you can store that file in a directory for future use as needed or just add the ones you want to the materials browser.

6:35 Here you can see that we’ve imported the ruins materials and there they are ready to sample and apply.

6:44 On the other hand, if you want the same images to load directly into SketchUp’s materials browser as a new category folder that loads every time you launch SketchUp...

6:53 ...then you can download the materials you want from 3DWarehouse individually as .skm format – which is the format that SketchUp uses for referencing materials internally and through the (materials) browser.

7:07 Then open your ‘Preferences’...and then ‘Files’...and notice next to materials is a little folder icon.

7:17 Click on that and a finder winder should open.

7:20 You can then create any number of sub folders...and move your .skm files into here.

7:36 Then re-launch SketchUp...

7:42 ...and you should now see your new custom materials folder as one of the options in the dropdown in your ‘Materials’ browser.

7:56 Since we have a folder already set up for custom .SKM files, we can access that folder in SketchUp...

8:03 …and then drag one image file at a time from your drive into the Materials browser, which then gives you the ability to name it and scale it.

8:15 The file is stored temporarily while you’re working but when you quit SketchUp, it saves the material in .SKM format to your custom folder.