Materials Thumbnails view within the Tray

Hi All,

Does anyone know how to make a Thumbnail appear square in the Materials Tray?

The only way I know is to change the rectangular .jpeg to an equal height and width. This is fine, however, to produce a consistent material (consistent I mean if for example I used this on a Kitchen Panel 2400H x 1200W) I would need to make the .jpeg 2400H x 2400W by merging two together in Photoshop correct?

As if I made the .jpeg 2400H x 1200W I’m still back to the rectangular image thumbnail.

Attached are:

  • Prime Nordic Ash Velvet V.jpeg
  • Prime Nordic Ash Velvet V.skm

I’m happy with this workaround, I just thought some materials experts out there might have a more professional solution.

Cheers from New Zealand.



I am an affinity photo user, it is similar with photoshop.
First of all, you open the photoshop, and click (Ctr+N) or hit (file-new) then a text box appear. You change the dimension in text box (page width 2400 and height 2400). In this way you will get a square one. Then you click (file-place), click the (1200Wx2400H image), click open. Now we get half of panel. you click copy and paste, move the copied one next to the half of the panel. After that you can export the image. Before export you check the size 2400x2400 so that it is a square shape.

Hi Su_Myat,

Thank you for the reply and the tutorial on this.

Yes this is what I have been doing already to create square material images. I thought perhaps there was another method that was used which wouldn’t require this process, however, its seems to be the only way so far.

Thanks again!

Wolfgang from New Zealand.

I’ve never been too worried about the thumbnails for the materials. My wood grain materials range between 7 and 14 feet depending on the species but because they also tend to run between 4 and 14 inches wide, I would expect the thumbnails to show long, skinny images, not squares like these in one of my cherry collections.
Screenshot - 9_13_2020 , 4_44_55 PM

Yeah I understand Dave and its not really an issue, its just I am considering to create a library of materials for our customers to use, and if I do develop one, I would like the thumbnails to be square so they match the native material thumbnails; no other reason than that really.

Dave on this note, I thought to ask you do you know of a good global plugin that would allow a material to be changed within an entire model? Rather than having to click on each individual Kitchen Cabinet and manually change it in the DC dialogue? Its just something I have thought about to make changing materials in one click…

Regards Wolf

Understood. Are your customers knowledgeable enough about using SketchUp to be able to take advantage of the long textures?

As for an extension, maybe Material Replacer from the EWH?

Yeah that’s one of the considerations, some of them are skilled in SU and other are not.

There are several factors to creating a material library both for our customers who are using our library in SketchUp Pro, but also for their customers who will receive their final drawing/s, which I have to consider a lot more, its why I am only currently exploring and researching the idea of creating materials.

Thanks, I will check out that plugin and see how it functions.

1 Like

This may answer your original question…

A SKM is just a ZIP file, and you can look inside it to see what is there. One file is named doc_thumbnail.png, and another is named after the texture name, Brick_Tumbled_1.jpg for example.

The doc_thumbnail.png image in the built in material is square, that is, it’s an anamorphic (squished horizontally) version of what the texture should look like. When you apply the material and look at the In Model version, it will then look correct.

So, make the doc_thumbnail.png files in your materials be a resized version of the reference image.

Hi Colin,

You must be talking at a deeper level than I understand :wink:… See the attached image of the 2 x wood grains I have recently created. The folder named “squares” has only 1 x .skm file in it of the Nordic Ash 2400 x 2400.

Just so you know where I’m at with this I started off by downloading the Prime Nordic Ash Velvet.jpeg file that was rectangular when I downloaded it, it was 2400H x 1200W.

I then created the material in SU, then saved it as a .skm material (I saved it as a rectangular .skm shape initially, but didn’t like the rectangular thumbnail that showed in SU so did some PS work and saved it again as a square (under the “squares folder”) just like Su_Myat also explained).

So now I have a .skm file called Prime Nordic Ash Velvet.skm at 2400 x 2400. Where from this is the .zip you mention? as I haven’t created a .zip.



What you missed is that a skm is just a renamed zip file.

I ran into some trouble, because any material that is In Model will have the right aspect ratio icon, and so doubling up the texture is a way around that.

I was talking about changing the icon in the material in the collection. You could give someone a collection where in your collection list the icon is square, even though when they use the material, the In Model icon will not be square.

I did a test with your image: (288.5 KB)

Expand that somewhere, and open it as a collection.

Ah I understand, I just unpacked, saved and then opened the “NewWood.skm” within SU and I see what you mean; it shows in the “square” thumbnail within the folders location, however shows a rectangular thumbnail on the “In Model”.

Thats a pretty interesting workaround, and it saves having to to the PS work. I probably could work like that, however I think I would probs do the PS method for our Customers so both tray thumbnails are in-keeping with the native SU material libraries.

Hi Steve, I understand that a zip file is just a container file that contains large files… renaming a .skm makes it void of being a material file doesn’t it… just like if you re-name a .skp file it voids it from opening in SU… unless you mean different? Wolf

If you renamed a skm to zip, expanded that and messed with the files in it, you then would zip compress it again and rename it back to skm.

In the end I didn’t do that. I used 7zip to get into the skm, and then edited the icon image to be square. That updated the skm without having to go through the rename, expand, compress, rename steps.

Thats also interesting, I just tried that now and didn’t realize you could rename and access the information of a file in that way.

I think this answers all (and more) of my question above, so thanks again for the help and tips. Hope this helps others out there wanting to know the same.