How do I sample color from on-screen and apply it as texture in a model?

For some frustrating reason I’m not able to use the eyedropper tool to select an on-screen color (Windows 10, SketchUp Make 2017, PC) and then apply it to faces in a model. I got it to work somehow once but not sure what tiny thing I must be missing to get it to work at will. I’ve searched forum archives which provide a number of closely related answers but not close enough to answer this newbie question… I’d surely appreciate ‘baby steps’ instructions.
Thanks in advance!

You may be speaking of the Sample Paint feature, (this only works within SketchUp.)
This feature is the eyedropper button on the Materials inspector panel.

SketchUp User Guide

Tip: To sample a material that’s already in your model, hold down the Alt key to change from the Paint Bucket tool to a Sample tool. With the sample tool’s eyedropper cursor, click the face whose material you want to sample. Release the Alt key to return to the Paint Bucket tool.

But there are also two special eyedropper tools available during the Edit of “In Model” materials.

SketchUp User Guide

In the Materials inspector panel, with a material from the “In Model” materials collection selected,
switch to the Edit tab, and note the two eyedropper buttons to the right of the Picker drop-down list.

From the User Guide, “Editing Materials”:

  • Match Color of Object In Model button: Click this button to turn the cursor into an eyedropper. With the eyedropper cursor, click an entity to sample its color and apply that color to the material that you’re editing.

Tip: If you sample a textured material, the texture variations can disguise the material’s color a bit. To sample a specific color from a texture, use the Match Color on Screen button for better results.

  • Match Color on Screen button: Click this button and then click anywhere on the screen with the eyedropper cursor to sample a pixel color. SketchUp then applies that color to the currently selected material.

I think that Dan was answering the question of how to pick up a screen color from anywhere within the SketchUp window. That is, it wouldn’t have to be a color used in a model. But, I wondered if you were asking how to pick up a color from anywhere on your Windows screen, not just within SketchUp.

The difficulty is of course that when you click on some other application window, you go to that application.

I looked around for answers, and found a good one that someone had posted in a Photoshop forum, and it works for SketchUp too. Use the Edit - Match color on screen eyedropper Dan mentioned, only to pick up a color from somewhere outside of SketchUp, first click and hold within the SketchUp window, then mouse over to the part of the screen you really want to grab. When you release the mouse button it will pick up the color under the cursor.

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Partly True. The first two work only in the modeling client area of SketchUp.

The third one I gave, called “Match Color on Screen button” (in edit mode,) will work anywhere within the SketchUp application window or any of it’s child windows. Meaning you can sample anything, a button, a scroll bar, whatever. [And Colin’s drag trick, of course.]

I just grabbed an brilliant orange from someone’s model thumbnail of a sofa on the 3D Warehouse landing page. But to do it [without Colin’s drag trick,] you must open the 3DW using SketchUp’s internal browser window. (Ie, Window > 3D Warehouse)
You could also do this from 3rd party plugin webdialogs, most likely.

When I was saying “within the SketchUp window”, I should have said “windows”. The drag method I mentioned works for anywhere on screen, including the SketchUp windows.

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… but the hard part is remembering the trick.

Actually you don’t need to drag, the eyedropper changes to a normal cursor when you move out of SU but it still selects whatever you click on.

This is unexpected.

Why unexpected, the dropper is labelled, Match color on screen.
Would that not suggest that it would Match color on screen?

Yes, it seems the color is picked up. But, if the thing you clicked on is another app’s window, you’re switched to the other app. If it’s an icon in the task bar, that application gets launched.

Thanks to all for the in-depth answers to this question and for covering all the bases! (and to Dan for moving it to the right forum :slight_smile: I am now good to go because of your patient responses!

In hindsight I could have asked the question a bit differently…
The reason I need to use this feature is that I frequently use PhotoMatch to design casework for existing spaces. When I get to the part where I ‘texture’ the model I like to use colors from the photo to ‘paint’ faces in the model and for some reason failed to remember that the ‘match color on screen’ icon is hiding in plain sight in the Materials>Edit window just to the left of the eyedropper tool… talk about D’uoh!

It is unexpected as the cursor changes to the system cursor, which implies a normal OS arrow cursor and behavior. (I’m coming from a programmer’s perspective here.)

… or if the other app is a browser, and the thing clicked on is a button or link, it is activated and off you go to another webpage, etc. It is nice you get the button’s color back in SketchUp.

It’s just a weird implementation. But better weird than nothing.

Is Match Color on Screen only available with SU pro? I have SU Make 16 and can’t find such a button under Edit or Materials/Edit. I would like to be able to sample a color with the eyedropper from something on my screen that is outside of SU. If I’m understanding you right, I should be able to do this with Match Color. A detailed explanation of how to find this would be greatly appreciated.

I have SU Make 2016 on one computer and SU Make 2017 installed on a second computer and find the Match Color on Screen button in both versions. Going through the motions just now I noticed that the button is ‘greyed out’ until you have a face drawn and select one of the Materials and THEN go into edit mode. Like it says elsewhere in this discussion when you mouse over something outside of the SU window the cursor changes from the eyedropper to a regular cursor arrow but it stills samples the selected color. If this still doesn’t work for you I’d guess that it’s a subtle keystroke issue because you should see the ‘button’ just left of the eyedropper in the Materials>Edit screen like shown in the screenshot I included above.
Hope this helps you as it did me.

Got it! Thank you so much.

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