[Skill Builder] Painting and projecting textures on curved surfaces

As I was cruisin’ around the wine shop a few night’s ago, admiring a particular wine label, I thought it was about time for a Skill Builder on the topic of mapping images to curved surfaces in SketchUp.

Textures (aka materials) in SketchUp are really important because they perform the essential job of bringing your geometry to life. A well-textured SketchUp model is not unlike a well-crafted wine label, inviting you to explore its contents.

If you’ve already mastered the application of textures on flat faces, take a look at the two short videos below where I demonstrate the process of painting and projecting textures on more complex, curved surfaces.


Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the workflow in the video above:

  1. Use the Select tool to access the geometry where you want to apply a texture (double-click to enter Groups/Components if needed).
  2. Go to View > Hidden Geometry to reveal the polygon breakdown of the curved surface.
  3. Go to File > Import... and browse to your image file in the Import dialog box.
  4. Verify that “Use As Texture” is the selected format and click “Import”.
  5. Click once on the bottom edge of the face where you want to position the image.
  6. Click a second time on the top edge of that face to paint the image there. Note that your image will likely appear trimmed off – no worries!
  7. If needed, right-click on the image and go to Texture > Position to manipulate the texture.
  8. Use the Paint Bucket tool to sample that texture (hint: modifier key) and apply it to the remainder of the curved surface you wish to embellish.
  9. Go back to View > Hidden Geometry to turn that mode off.
  10. Admire your handiwork.

Now, let’s take a look at how to manage a slightly more complex workflow: projecting textures onto complex surfaces...

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the workflow in the video above:

  1. Begin by drawing a simple rectangular face (this is where you’ll import your image) that matches the size of the curved surface.
  2. Go to File > Import... and browse to your image file in the Import dialog box.
  3. Verify that “Use As Texture” is the selected format and click “Import”.
  4. Click once to choose the first anchor point, and a second time to finish the image placement.
  5. Right-click on the image and go to Texture > Position to manipulate the texture so it’s positioned as you want it to be shown on the curved surface.
  6. Right-click on the imported image and go to Texture > Projected (important!).
  7. Use the Paint Bucket tool to sample (hint: modifier key) that newly projected texture and apply it to the curved surface.
  8. Show your friends how great you are. Better yet; teach someone else this technique!

 

Thirsty for more information on textures in SketchUp? Browse these Help Center articles:

About the Author

Josh Reilly

Josh originally joined the team for a year with Google as a SketchUp Trainer in 2008 and later rejoined SketchUp with Trimble in 2013. He is a map nerd, enjoys long walks in the mountains, skiing, playing soccer, kickball, disc golf, and... any sport or backyard game out there!

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