Photo Texture Positioning Question



Just thought for a presentation that I was creating to make a word that would be the image on a TShirt. Not so hard so far, I got the word created, I chose the word “AMERICA”. I thought “Well, how hard would it be to put some color in there?” Not too hard to color those letters, even though the 3D text feature makes your text as a component. I much prefer groups. So I take the word as created by the 3dText feature and select edit component. Then inside this edit function, I select all the letters, copy them, and cut them. Then I close the component and of course it disappears because it now contains nothing. Then I paste in place all the letters I just copied and cut. Then I select them all and choose to make group. Effect, a) the component is gone, b) the letters are present, but now are a group.
OK, well the word is AMERICA, so why not let the words have the colors of the US flag on them.
Whew… not easy. ON Wikipedia is the formal US definition of an official US flag, so I created one with Sketchup and then exported it as a png. Now I have an image, and it is a US Flag image.
So back to the letters, I made a new color by choosing an existing color and choosing to add, then I renamed it, then I told it to add a phototexture. So far so good, and the phototexture I chose was the US Flag png image that I had just exported. Again, so far so good.
But…good grief…getting that phototexture onto those word letters…wow, what a headache.
What I finally did was individually add the phototexture to each letter one by one, then using the position feature, I moved the phototextures around on each letter so they sort of line up and it looks
at last…!!!
Like the word AMERICA has the coloration effects of the US Flag.
Of course, who is ever satisfied…? nobody
Allright, I said, "Well…its a flag motif, it ought to be waving…"
Not too hard to do, I made a wavy line with the freehand line tool, then using Chris Fullmers shape bender extension, I added the word AMERICA to the wavy line and…as they say
Voilla (or whatever that word is)
I should add that one needs to make the wavy line so you like how it looks, then you need to go ahead and use the shape bender extension to bend the set of letters around the contours of the line. What I discovered is that you will need to do this many times to get it where it looks OK. Basically you need to do the shape bender and if the letters are all on top of each other, or distorted, or just twisted around too much, then you need to not accept the shape bending, go to the wavy line, select it, then use the scale tool to add lengthening and/or height adjustments to bring the line to a new shape, then re-do the shape bender action and eventually you’ll get the letters where they are in fact bent around, but the distortion is not sufficient that the letters look weird or ugly… just trial and error, no big deal really.

The waving US Flag word AMERICA
But I simply cannot figure out how to get the phototexture added to those letters in their wavy format.
I actually did it for the A, but I can’t remember how, and I can’t get it to work on any of the other letters…

Here’s the flag

Here’s AMERICA as a properly shaped word and its color overlay

Here’s wavy AMERICA with the Flag colors texture “sort of” applied

Here’s wavy AMERICA all the letters red

Here’s wavy AMERICA all the letters red on the back of a TShirt

Here’s the Sketchup file (I hope)
The Word America with flag colors v16.skp (840.7 KB)

enjoy… I hope someone knows what I am not seeing here. pg


When you want the same texture positioning on more than one face you can use the eye dropper tp pick up it up from one face and simply paint it onto the others.


Thanks for your help. I did try that. I never had any problem with getting the texture to the letters. If you look at the word AMERICA where it is in the form that you get with the 3D text tool (that is to say straight, properly spaced, with the letters exactly as they are specified by the font), then you can put the texture on the face of each of the individual letters, providing you convert the letters from being in a component, and instead make them a group as I mentioned. But, just from a visual viewpoint, I wanted the word to be sort of like a flag, this would mean that, for example, if one wanted blue background with white stars in the upper left corner of the shape (like blue background-white stars is placed on the flag), then (since the letter A makes up the left side of the word), then a lot of the letter A would be blue background-white stars, and this blue-white would also be on some (but not all) of the letter M. In addition, there would be a few red and white stripes on the lower part of the letter A. In order for the whole word to sort of be like a flag, then the red and white stripes on the letter A should serve as the guideline of what should be the width and location of the red and white stripes on all the other letters. And the only way I could figure to do that was to use the texture positioning tool or option. That is one can use this texture tool to grab the phototexture of (for example) the letter E and adjust this texture on the Letter E so that the red and white stripes on the letter E are aligned with and very much the same size as the red and white stripes on the letter M and the letter A. Here’s where it just got a little strange, I never had any problem adding the texture to the wavy letters, but the texture positioning option never showed. I think when the letters are made wavy by the Chris Fullmer shape bender, that the bender extension actually alters the 3D “solid” that was the original letter, and then, having made a new “bent” 3D solid the shape bender tool then adds some softening to this new 3D form of the “bent” letters. And I have the guess that somehow the texture positioning capability of Sketchup is not allowed to work on surfaces that have been softened. So I never could get the red and white stripes to line up and be the same width on all the “bent” letters. It is all very frustrating, and my real opinion is that most likely I just don’t understand phototextures very well. sigh pg


It does pop into my head that if the problem is that the “bent” letters are no longer 3D objects made of exclusively planar surfaces, but instead have had their planes “bent” and then softened. Well, one could apply the section tool to the collection of wavy letters to “force” a completely planar surface to exist on the letters. It could be that once one had created a planar area of the letter, then one could put a phototexture on that now planar area and Sketchup would then allow the texture positioning tool to be functional. The problem with this approach is that: a) a requirement for a planar surface might not be the problem, and b) (sigh again) I have never been able to get the section tool to work in any way. It is (at least for me) a very confusing tool. Nothing that I try with the section tool works, but again, I feel this is surely my fault. pg


You said this way back in your original post, and I’m curious as to why you say it.

As DaveR has said elsewhere, I almost never use groups, as I can only find one small advantage which I find of little or no value to me, and several drawbacks compared with components.

The one advantage is that a Group doesn’t show in the Component Browser, and if you have only one instance of the Group, that may result in a less cluttered compoennt browser window.

But a Group is only a special and rather limited version of a component.

Advantages of components are that
1 if you have copies, edit one and you edit them all at once.
2 if you want to make one or several different from the original, select it or them, and Make Unique.
3 if you delete a Group from your model, it is lost altogether. If you delete all copies of a component, and don’t purge the model, you can always get it back from the Component Browser.

So I’m curious why you prefer Groups.

I’ve never had any problem putting a texture on a face in a component, and don’t understand why it would make any difference. If you want (for example) two identical letters to have different parts of the texture, you can make them Unique.

They are all now ‘loose geometry’ in a group. I don’t see why is that an advantage over having them separately contained in individual components?


John, I appreciate your comments. I think (and this is my opinion only, I am not even remotely a SketchUp expert) that the group vs component discussion has to include what type of mistakes one tends to make. I originally started out to create a Robot. I don’t have funding to make a real robot, but I can make one in Sketchup, and I felt it was critically important that this would be a robot that looked human, that moved like a human and had joints and articulations like a human. As I looked at real robots on the internet, as a group, they just seemed to me to be not very appealing. I had the opinion that this is related to that their method of creation involved using products and solutions that already existed (basically motors and fully rotary motions that are converted into robot motions). I knew that an objection I would see was the remark, well, of course your robot is more appealing to people, but it is not real and it is a type of “not playing by the rules” for you to compare your non-real robot to our actually existing robot. So, I wanted to be absolutely sure that the parts and motions and articulations of my robot were absolutely feasible and could easily be done with real parts. If you add that requirement to the demands of giving the robot joints the ranges of motion that humans have in their various joints, then the effect was that the robot gets really complicated really quickly. The only way to reassure oneself that the robot is feasible is to draw it, study it, move it, change the view, notice a problem, fix the problem, draw it again, iteration after iteration. On the 3D site I have some of my robot drawings. Look at the 22 Robots numbered feet v412. It has 1,004,743 polygons, its 12 mb, had 45 materials. I build the robots part by part and there is also (again, as seen in humans) the need for there to be mirror symmetry of right vs left. This means many parts of the right side have to be subtly but definitely different from parts of the left side. Anyway, you make a robot with all these parts, something isn’t correct, you’re desperately working to fix it, you’ve made all these modifications and forgot that your parts are components so that your work has basically wrecked all your other drawings and all the other parts of your robot because they all got changed. And the only way to stop this is to be so meticulous to make every component unique. In addition, my computer loads and works with Sketchup a whole lot faster if there’s no components. So I converted everything to groups. I save frequently and well and Sketchup lets you go to a previous version copy a part (or group) and bring it into your current version, so if you delete some group or part by mistake, its not that hard to go get a copy of it. Anyway, that’s why I switched to groups and not components. Finally, all my phototexture work, and phototexture stuff is all through the Pistonrobots, all of that phototexure work just seems more predictable and more controllable with groups instead of components. pg


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