Apple Color Picker / Panel is missing the "pallet" ICON

So I recently updated to MAC OS X 10.15.2, and on a new iMac PRO using SKP PRO 2018.

The Apple color picker/panel that SKP uses now is missing the “pallet” icon in the upper section of the window. This prevents me from creating and saving custom color schemes etc… However when i use another Apple App, say TextEdit…the color picker/panel has the aforementioned “pallet” icon option showing as per normal behavior.

So is this a Sketchup issue or a Apple OS issue within Sketchup use of the Apple picker???

Subsequently…it seems I am no longer able to arrange color swatches in any sequence or order that is beyond left-to-right. Before i could arrange swatches in rows in any direction in the swatch area and up and down as well, with blank rows or blank columns separating my color swatches.

Anyone else noticing this NEW phenomenon?

Or am I just missing some setting or trick?

Thank in advance…


Sheesh, don’t get me started on the the Mac materials interface, it really could use some improvement.

However, focusing on your question I see the same behavior as you but this is as it has been for some time now. I have 18pro and 16pro both running on Mojave (10.14.5) and the color “pallet” icon is not present in either of these versions. It is present if I open the color picker in another application as you indicated, but not in Sketchup. What was your previous Sketchup version? Like-wise the color swatches automatically stack up left to right in both 18 and 16 in Mojave, I cannot have “empty spaces”. I believe this part is Mac behavior as they are responsible for the shared color picker UI.

The intended workflow for making and saving custom collections of colors and materials is through the Materials icon which is a brick.

Once in the materials pane you have the option near at the bottom of the panel under List, to choose New. You will be prompted to give your list a name, choose your name carefully as there is not a function to rename a list from within Sketchup. You can navigate to the custom material folders on your hard drive under library-application support-sketchup18-sketchup-materilas to rename a folder on the hard drive which will be then be reflected in your list on the next startup of Sketchup as Sketchup only reads the list on startup, not actively. The materials collections list only sorts alphabetically with no organizing options, so I name all my custom material collection starting with “z” then a custom name so they get grouped together at the bottom of the list and are not lost among the standard collections.

Now, this is a tricky part, once you have a new List created, the name of the new list will be appear in the selection at the top of the panel indicating you are in that folder, however you are not. The swatches present in the panel are from whatever list you had previously up before making a new list. You must use the drop down menu to navigate away from the new list once to any other list then back to the new one it to actually get into the new folder. This is a bug.

Once in the new folder you can only add new materials / colors by dragging them up from the swatches below, or from the current selected material which is the larger one on the left. You can also drag in image files (png, jpg, and the like) from your desktop and drop them into the current folder space in the pallet to make a new texture using that image, or right click in the empty space of the pallet and select new texture which does the same thing. Unfortunately there is no “split screen” option for the pallet like in the Windows version of Skethup so there is not an easy way to quickly move materials from one saved list to another. There are kludgy work arounds I won’t go into here.

When importing a new texture… a couple of quirks.

You will be prompted to name your new texture, be careful with your name. There is no reliable way to change the name of a saved material once made. You can double click a material in the folder area and chose Edit, this will open a few options at the bottom, one of which will be the name of the color/material, you can type in a new name. However this exposes a bug in the Mac materials management, the new name you type will only persist for that session of sketchup. On restart of Sketchup, odd things happen. best case is that the name simply reverts to the old name, which it does in about 70% of case, sometimes however the material will be mysteriously duplicated in the folder, so you will have one of the old name and one of the new name. If you renamed 20 materials you have 20 duplicates. Your experience may vary but In general I have very little luck renaming saved materials.

When importing a new material you are prompted to set the dimensions of the material. Keep in mind that althought the height and width are set as linked by default in this window, they are not, changing one value does not actively change the other. If you type in a new number for the upper value of width, the bottom number which shoudl be linked as an aspect ratio does not change and the OK button remains highlighted. This means that if you change one value and press return on the keyboard, the new file instantly gets imported with only the change you made to one of the values. You end up with textures 20 feet wide by 3 inches tall because the linked value failed to update. This is a bug. You must mouse click once into the second linked value to get it to update before pressing return.

Finally be aware that there is not a functioning way to remove a list from within Sketchup. There is a Remove option under the List menu in the color picker, if chosen there is even a warning window that pops up to ask if you are sure you want to remove the list. This action does nothing. Any collection removed this way is only gone from the master list for that session of Sketchup and will be returned to the list of collections on the next restart of Sketchup. Removing a list from within Sketchup does not work, you must navigate to the folder location on the hard drive and trash it.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of the “quirks” of the Materils picker in the Mac version, there are others. It’s just something of a road map for navigating the basics of how to make it work. I have not seen this information presented anywhere else and much of it is the result of hours of experimenting on my part and helpful insights from others on the forum. Perhaps it might save others a bit of frustration.


that behaviour disappeared SU v6-7 for ‘most’ mac users…

for a couple of SU versions you could do a ‘hack’ to get it, and oddly, on some setups it never went away or would come and go…


John, So i’ve been using SketchUp since the very first beta release through AtLast Software and then the PRO version since it became so, all the way up to SKP Pro 2018. I haven’t upgraded to SKP Pro 2019, because I haven’t seen any real gain other than Dashed lines etc… Maybe there is a “fix” in the latest version. But here is the kicker…this only styarted happening to me when I installed a clean, new instance of SKP Pro 2018 on the new iMac Pro machine. Prior to that, and using SKP Pro 2018 on my old MAC PRO tower (mid 2011), this NEVER was the case. Mind you I was using MAC OS X 10.13 and all was fine. So the variables here are…Using SKP Pro 2018 on OS X 10.15.3, and the NEW iMac Pro machine.

Though as mentioned…the Apple color picker has the missing “pallet” icon when used in other OS X apps…thats why it seem “NEW” to my workflow.

I wonder if the colors palettes option is geared towards 2D or paper. I mean, it’s in LayOut.

Mr. Fix,

…so SKP Pro 2018 was running smoothly on my old MAC PRO tower, OS X Sierra, with the color pallet icon right where it should be. Then I installed a clean version of SKP Pro 2018 on the new iMac Pro 3GHz, 10-core, 64GB 2666 MHz DDR4, with a Radeon Pro Vega 64 16 GB card. Running OS X 10.15.3 Catalina.

The old install of SKP Pro 2018 didn’t have the issue on a MAC PRO tower (2011) and only now it has occurred on the new machine, and most recent up to date OS X. What is strange is the regular appearance of all the icons in the Apple color picker when used in other Apple system wide apps.

Thanks for the clarification on the preferred workflow for making and saving custom collections through the “brick” materials icon. And that all makes sense to me now.

What is a real pain, is the new naming of edited materials reverting back to their original names. I persevere with an older version of SKP Pro 2015 solely to use the incredible, and free Imagination Visualizer app for quick semi-photo-realistic renders. There the name of the material directly relates to the material appearance in the final render.

I have recently moved into Twinmotion mostly because I have a machine with enough horsepower on the GPU to handle the real-time renders, but I admit, I have a soft spot for the simplicity of Imagination Visualizer and the ease of use from within SKP.

Materials become even more critical in the overall convention and grouping scheme now that I’m playing around with Twinmotion. But onwards and upwards…right?

I really appreciate your detailed answer to my initial problem. Thank you.

Well so it is…hmmm that’s something i just see now myself. Scating my head as to why it is there in LO and not SU?

Anyone from Trimble care to elaborate…?

“scratching” my head…

Huh, I can’t explain the sudden loss then. As you said, a lot of variables, perhaps a fresh 18 install or the system update.

Oh Man I am right there with you, Visualizer was fantastic, I can still use it with pro16 and keep that old version so I can. And yes, the material name keyword function in visualizer is cool, being able to add “shiny” or “metal” to the material name for a desired effect in render.

I use twin motion too, although I find it crashes at an alarming frequency. It’s good although clearly biased toward outdoor scenes.

As for the Mac Materials, so much more to say but not here

I don’t think so. It’s just a way of gathering collections of colors that are in some sense related - much analogous to SketchUp’s materials collections. There are way too many possible colors available within the display gamut, so a “palette” provides a fixed, pre-defined suite that you can use repeatedly without having to tweak rgb values each time. As an example, the “web safe colors” have selected values that are generally supported by all browsers whereas if you choose an arbitrary color it might get mapped to something else in the browser.

The materials window for SketchUp was built as a customization of the OS X color chooser panel, whereas the one in LayOut appears to be the stock version. I think that because a SketchUp material is more than just a color, the designers had to add the “brick” icon to get at materials-related concepts, and in doing so they triggered what is either an intentional limitation or a quirk of the logic the color chooser uses to organize the icons. Note that the standard color chooser has just 5 icons, and that’s what the materials window also has after the palette icon disappears. I also think this quirk may be triggered by screen resolution, which could be why you have lost the palette icon on moving to a new iMac Pro and also why I have never seen it on my 15" MBP Retina.


Visualizer was the perfect solution for quick renders with rather simple GUI and transition from SKP to VIZ. I do a lot of concepts with metal and water in the model so being able to have a pretty decent “metal effect” just by naming the material “shiny”, “metal” and variants of color was a breeze.

Twinmotion has great promise and even faster renders, the water effects are almost photo-realistic out of the box…but the weather and daytime / evening settings are whats makes it worth the money (free right now if you hurry). I have not had too many crashes per se, none more than typical when asking the OS or the software to do some pretty intense calculations or renders…but as mentioned the material / color conventions TM wants the user to adopt means I can spend less time in SKP messing with materials and just let TM handle the effects.

The last (2) spa images are what I was getting after using TM for about 2hours…the others are all Visualizer…no post on any of the images…so there is room for improvement in PS.

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maybe so…I guess we’ll never know and one must just come to terms with the status quo, figure out a work-around and get back down to business. :slight_smile:

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Yeah, the developers have never shown any interest in making any changes to the Mac materials window, so learn to live with it and get back to modeling.