Novice Looking for Realistic Ribbon Textures

Heyo! So I’ve been using Sketchup for many years now and have successfully translated a few of my models into real-world items. Yet Sketchup has remained, for me, primarily a reference tool rather than a way to model purely for the sake of having a good-looking 3d image (if that makes sense).

I’ve always had a bit of an interest in militaria and the various orders/decorations of their states and fighting forces alike so I figured I’d take it upon myself to render a few of my favourite pieces in Sketchup. Since I’m fairly competent and familiar with the architecture of Sketchup (maybe that’s debatable), this has become my tool of choice.

I guess that’s a long-winded way of asking for a bit of advice when it comes to textures and specifically ribbons or just fabrics in a broader sense.

I found myself illustrating each strand of, let’s say, a medal’s suspension ribbon and I couldn’t help but wonder if there’s a faster, more efficient way of rendering realistic looking fabrics.

If anyone has ever undertaken something even remotely like this, what tools or extensions helped you out? Are there any techniques that you’ve used to make rendering a ribbon less mind-numbing?

Thank you!

Hi @brownsugar and welcome to the SU Community Forum,

I don’t recall any other person describing such a novel use of SketchUp ever before!

You may see more responses to your inquiry if you were to upload some images (or a skp file) of military awards you previously modeled.

To upload a file, click the upward pointing arrow at the top of the “Reply” box (7th icon from the left). If the file size exceeds 3mb, then use a file sharing service i.e. Google Drive or Dropbox to submit. Be sure to post the relevant url and provide necessary permissions.

Look for a Private Message officially welcoming you as a new member!

Examples! What a concept! I should’ve thought of that.

It is kind of novel I guess. I was looking into other tools like Blender but figured, since I was so familiar with SketchUp, that I’d give it a shot.

I’m including my current work in progress (still incomplete) as well as the inspiration for it.

I guess part of the realism that I’m looking for is in some of the warping of the fabric as well as some slight fraying on the edges.

Thanks again!


You could try Clothworks. Some info at this The Sketchup Essentials

Wow you made each little bump! That is some dedication!

How you get realistic textures depends on what your final output will be.

If you are outputting single rendered images, videos or interactive models then you need to use a rendering engine in which you can create realistic materials with bump mapping etc. Look at v-ray, enscape, thea, to name a few.

If you are not rendering and just showing the sketchup model than you can use high quality photos of the material to give the realistic look without having to create each individual bump.

In each case you would need to use your photo of the medal ribbon you have to create seamless textures in photoshop. This will give your ribbon the right look on a flat surface as it is often best to fake it rather than create so much unneeded geometry.

Also cloth works would definitely give your ribbon a more cloth like form, it is a really cool little plugin, but you will still need the material as outlined above.