Brick Building Mural Application - texture?



I run a non profit (the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative) that owns a building that we are converting into a community resource center. The building is a part of our overall campus and is the visual centerpiece of our space. We are currently working on a very detailed 3D campus map that fits into a larger neighborhood 3D master plan - here’s a few screenshots to give you a sense of what’s on the campus and what we’re working on:

Here’s a photo of the building itself:

I’ve modeled all of the exterior bricks of the structure and the cornice(s) as you can see here:

Note that the screenshot of the model includes the brick wall of the basement, which is below grade and is not visible in the real world photo of the structure.

Given the importance of the mural on capturing the overall building aesthetic, I need to figure out a way to get that mural to be represented accurately(ish) and professionally. How do I do this?

Here’s a link to the model itself:

Please note that I haven’t included the mortar (the cement like stuff that keeps the bricks together) yet, which is 1/2 inch in from the outermost faces of the building. For a majority of the building, there is no paint on the mortar, so the actual mural is a series of several hundred brick sized faces with gaps between them. There is a part of the building (on the far right side in the photo) that has a different kind of brick, on which the mortar is flush w the exterior face of the brick that has paint on it.

I am ultimately hoping to load the building into SketchFab similar to how I was able to do for this house which is located right near our campus):

The goal being to create an interactive model that can potentially be used for people to take virtual tours of our conceptual rehabbed community center.

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated


I would suggest a photo match could do the job!
You can apply the textures (photo) on the faces
Are the bricks components?


While I’ver personally had trouble getting the photo match feature to work out perfectly, I don’t think photo match would work for full interactive 360 degree model, right? I just watched a few tutorials and it seems like it actually it possible, but I guess I’m worried that photo match won’t give me a clean/professional enough final product. I’m down to commit to figure it out using photo match, but wanted to get a sense from the SketchUp community on what the best strategy would be before I went down that rabbit hole lol.

Each of the bricks is a group. I could make them components pretty easily if I need to - would that be better?


You can import more photos of different angles and appy texture on the faces, I think your building would make a perfect example because it looks like you can get around pretty easily to get pictures. Make sure you get the right angles ( I think the one you posted is ok) to match the different (green and red) axes.

If you can select all the faces of all the bricks, you can apply texture to them at once.
Can you post the .skp file of the building?
If too large, upload to the 3Dwarehouse!


I’m trying to upload to the SketchUp warehouse now - never done it before, but it keeps freezing up as I try to do it? Could it be because I’ve got some stuff built using 3rd party plugins? Either way here’s a link to the SketchUp file in google drive:

For some reason, the photo match just like won’t like up for me? This is an old photo that I’m thinking might have been cropped or something? There’s a big poster on the front of the building now that covers one of the windows and part of the mural, so I was trying to use this older one… maybe I need to take the mural down? Here’s a photo from a few weeks ago:

I also live in view of the building, so grabbing photos is super easy to do


Okay, I just uploaded it to the SketchUp warehouse. I’m not quite sure how to share a link of the model to you, but it’s successfully uploaded and publicly available.


I will have a look! (Just walked the dog for the night…)


MatchPhoto is good… but only if you only want to view the model from camera point of view.
If you can, you should take individual photos of each side of the building. You can then apply these textures on your existing model.



I just went over the the building a took a bunch of photos of it and put them in a folder.

Do I need to crop each of the photos and import them as PNG or something to avoid having all the background and then select all the faces of the individual bricks and apply the texture to just them (since the bricks stick out .5 inches further than the mortar and the mural only exists for the most part on just the bricks themselves) as Mike Wayzovski was saying?


@ChrisDizon, @MikeWayzovski I took some better photos, which I also uploaded to the google drive folder here:

Trying out the front of the building first. I imported a straight on photo of the building into photoshop along with a “template” screenshot of the front of the sketchup model.

Using the lens correction feature, I got the building to stand up straight to line up with the SketchUp template screenshot.

Now I’m going through and recreating the mural in separate layers in photoshop on top of both.

Note: I’m doing basic backgrounds first, and then going to try and refine each of the images in the mural, so don’t pay too much attention to any colors blurring over or anything. Note 2: looking at the mural dead-on, some things look crooked - that’s because the mural is designed to be viewed on an angle. Everything lines up perfectly when you’re viewing the building from 50 feet diagonally away (across the street) from the Southwest corner of the structure.

When done, I guess I’m hoping that I can import the file into SketchUp and somehow apply it to only the faces of the bricks (leaving none of the image on the mortar) in such a way that I have no brick lines (or sagging cause this structure is 103 year old) from the real world photo showing up in the final model. Does that make sense? Is this an advisable course of action?

Here’s the most up to date version of the building including a draft sample of the imported jpeg from photoshop:


In this example, each brick face is textured with the image you proved. To do the texturing all at once…

  1. I had to explode the bricks into raw geometry.
  2. With the image aligned in front of the faced and sized to fit, I exploded the image to create a projected texture.
  3. I then selected all the brick faces constituting the front facade.
  4. I then sampled the image and applied the sampling to the selected faces.

Here is the front facade with the image aligned.


You’re a rockstar! This is exactly what I needed to know how to do. I SERIOUSLY appreciate it! One question - did you have any trouble with the model making SketchUp run slowly? It’s been lagging HARD for me - like waiting 5-10 seconds for every single click to load. Or is that just something wrong my hardware? I’m on a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014) w a thunderbolt display.


Great job that @ChrisDizon pulled of! He deserves his own scale figure for that alone! :grinning:
I got lots of spinning balls with the machine I was working on at the time…

Could you elaborate? How do these mural artists design these kind of drawings? In SketchUp?
I think it is very difficult to have a 50 feet perspective in mind when you are standing a few inches from the wall!


Yeah, Chris deserves an award FOR SURE lol.

I honestly have no idea how the artist did it. I know that he painted the mural by himself for free in 30 days. He spent a lot of time climbing down, walking across the street and a eyeballing things. The artist’s name is Ryan Herberholz and he is as prolific a painter as he is a talented one. The man is a machine. Knowing him personally, I don’t think he uses a lot of technology.

Here’s his website, which features mostly homes in our neighborhood:


So, maybe, he could use SketchUp and save some time climbing up and down!:grinning:


The model was a bit slow, yes but with profiles OFF, it helped a bit.
You used a ton of groups instead of components so I am currently exploring how to improve the performance through group to component conversion.



Profiles off? Is that a feature or a setting? Yeah, I generally only use components when I’m using the SDM Face Tool Floor Generator plugin, or if I’m doing something with identical spacing throughout. This building has so much sagging and inconsistencies, that I had to do it nearly layer by layer to make sure that certain portions lined up with certain checkpoints in my measurements. I moved too fast in the beginning and managed to miss this like extra .1" in the mortar and over a few rows, it led to me having an entirely extra set of bricks. I’m definitely learning to be more efficient as I go though. I’ve had some great successes with components, but I’ve also made some really stupid mistakes and cost myself hours of redoing stuff, so groups “feel safer” for some reason.

I’m just about done redoing the front mural (removing all of the brick lines/shadows/weirdness/the poster/etc.) and am super hyped to apply it via the process you identified above. I’m shocked at how long it’s taking me, but it’s probably just because I’m newer to photoshop.

I imported the face you did into Sketchfab and applied my standard settings/filters to it and it’s pretty promising already! :

Shortcut for Drawing Outline/Perimeter of Complex Model - Control Geometry for Projecting Photo Texture

View> Edge Styles > uncheck profiles


Just wanted to provide an update - re-creating this mural by hand is taking for-ev-er, but I haven’t stopped working on it. I finally caved and got a friend to loan me a wacom tablet/stylus, which seems to be helping this process go faster. Nearly done with the front facade:


I really am so so so grateful for all the help on figuring this process out, so I’ll be sure to update this topic with all progress made. Hoping to having something to show by the end of the day today


I’m doing a test run on the new image following the process you outlined above, but running into trouble between step 2 and 3.

Since the full model file is running slow for me, I just took the file you created w the brick faces, made a copy, selected all, and painted them all white, to recreate the setting of the faces in the full model

Then I imported the 2D graphic (jpg), placed it on the group of brick faces and sized it:

Then I exploded the brick faces groups, which showed no noticeable changes from the images above. Then I exploded the 2D graphic:

At this point, the brick faces all have the graphic on it, but none of the bumped out features do (window sills and the cornice assembly). I can select the image outside of the brick faces and delete it, without removing the texture from the brick faces, so that’s good at least.

I assume I did something wrong here… but not sure what - did I place the graphic in the wrong location?

Also, just to clarify in advance, when you say you “sampled the image and applied the sampling to the selected faces”, does that mean you used the eyedropper tool on the image? I guess I’m having a little trouble understanding how you sampled the image.

May have answered my own question here via this tutorial: