Panoramic backgrounds for SketchUp models



Panoramic backgrounds for SketchUp models

Continuing the discussion from Total Station / Point Cloud data import into SketchUp:

I searched for existing discussion threads, …
… but did not find a dedicated thread and I think the topic of panoramic backgrounds does deserve it’s own topic thread for discussion.

So, this is a thread on:

  • using extensions to make panoramic backgrounds inside SketchUp models
  • or in external renderers / animators, etc.
  • or perhaps what native functionality SketchUp needs to better support panoramic backgrounds


Some members and sages have in the past noted some extensions that help:

And some backgrounds for use with external renderers:


And sage Jim Hamilton has even written little plugins, just for this:

Edit a 360 photo using sketchup

Just for fun, I mapped a spherical view to the inside of a sphere. The outside is textured with 0% opacity creating an interesting effect.

Here’s a link to the plugin:


Hi all, I think I should clarify my original question/request.

Ideally I would like to see something like this (attached image)

The idea being that the background will rotate according to camera position (whereas Sketchup’s Background watermark is just static). This would avoid the need to create a cylinder or dome within the model and paint it with a texture. Multiple background images could be used in a model (as scenes) to achieve a series of linked photospheres.

One key benefit of this type of process is enabling accurate composition of scenes for rendering ( for example adjusting the backdrop so that a tree frames a view). Additonally, the function may enable accurate modelling of objects (eg furniture) within a 360-deg scene (eg a bedroom) which is currently not possible (afaik).

Further options required include:
-Light level adjustment setting
-Spherical cubic image formats
-Adjustable rotation angle, scale and image position (relative to horizon)
-Brightness/saturation adjustment
-Support for EXR and HDRI file formats (perhaps as a linked file).
-The ability to add a 2nd background/overlay image, for example the firsts is a ground/sky picture and a second picture is a PNG with a flock of birds and a cloud (they can move in a quasi-animated manner using a rotation function).

Rendering plugins would likely then enable export of the image as a backplate/environment map (reading its position and other settings if required)

I’m afraid I don’t have any real solutions to offer, just questions/ideas - I use environment maps when rendering but the process of aligning them to the model is trial & error, and very innaccurate. I also use 360-stiched panos (either from Trimble equipment or from smartphones using Googles Photosphere). While a rendered static image (1080x1920) is nice, a 360-deg render is does look very awesome, particular as 3d viewers/headsets are becoming more common!

I use Pano Studio viewer to load and view 360deg renders
(might be able to upload one if i can compress it below its current 30mb)



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