Pro 2019/MAC materials STILL A MESS....since least

This is unbelievable. I know I am not the only person experiencing this. The materials picker for MAC is a frustrating mess.
It’s impossible to know 1) what your current material is, & 2) what material is applied to the object.
To make matters worse, materials duplicate when applied to a new object, and when modified the applied material won’t update (although since I have duplicate materials all over the place and no way of knowing what friggin’ material it is, I can never be sure that I’m modifying the right one)

This issue has been around for years. It apparently has gone through at least two iterations without being addressed, other than a snarky indignant response from a team member about how we shouldn’t expect them to fix every single problem.

Well, this is a problem that literally makes it impossible to work. I can’t have consistent materials, or modify them once they are applied.

I’ve attached a screen shot, and I challenge anyone to tell me how on earth I am supposed to have any idea at all as to what is going on with these materials.


I won’t defend the material editor on Mac; I’ve loudly criticized it myself many times in the past. Like you, to no avail. It was cobbled atop the OS X color chooser despite the semantic differences between a system-defined color and a SketchUp material. Many strange and illogical things result in the SketchUp Mac UI from these differences.

However, there are answers to a few of your issues.

To reduce clutter, you should periodically purge unused, either via model info window statistics or you favorite purge extension. At least that will get rid of materials that aren’t actually applied to anything, which may be the case with the strange duplicates that sometimes crop up.

The tile for the material currently being used by the Paint Bucket gets a shadow outline surrounding it on the materials window. It can be hard to see the shadow when you have a lot of materials and the tiles get small (which is a weakness of the UI), but it is there.


If you hover the cursor over the tile, a tooltip with the material name will pop up. Unfortunately, if you didn’t name materials as you created them, the names can be really useful things like ‘Material’, ‘Material1’, ‘Material2’, etc.

Also, there’s a quirk that if you pick up a color from the palette at the bottom of the window, the sample to the left of the palette shows it but there is no tile for it until you apply it to something in the model.

This is shown in the Entity Info window when something is selected. And, if you click on the little preview tile in entity info, that material becomes selected in the Materials window, a quick way to select a material for application to additional entities. It is annoying, however, that if the material has a name you can’t find the name by hovering over the Entity Info tile. You have to do the two-step process of clicking the Entity Info tile to select the material and then hovering over the tile in the materials window.

This might be due to the duplicates leading you to edit a different material than you think. At least, I find that if I pick a material, right-click and choose edit, the changes take effect immediately on everything painted with that material.

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Thanks Steve -

I regularly purge, but since materials are duplicated with each application, they are being used so they won’t purge. If I apply “My Glass” to seven objects, I’ll have seven versions of “My Glass” - either called “Material1” “Material2”….etc… or “My Glass-1” “My Glass-2” etc…. And you’re right; I have confirmed that this is why the material “isn’t” updating; it is, it’s just that I can’t see it because I have no idea which object has that material.

And yes - I’m aware of the so-called “highlight” of the swatch…. It’s just incredibly difficult to see. Frankly, you should be able to hover over a face or right-click to get all the properties of that face. And right - the tile in the Entity Info box should DEFINITELY pop up the material name on hover.

The little OSx “current” swatch on the left is ridiculous. Super tiny, doesn’t show the name of the material on hover either. There are many times that I wanted to add a material to a custom list and dragged that swatch over to add it (another stupid maneuver) only to realize that it was the wrong material (one of the damned duplicates that was created, usually…)

I do have Twilight Render installed, and I’m wondering if there is some kind of interface issue between the two….

Best Regards,



895 Park Blvd. #120
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definitely, if you dig around for other threads on duplicate materials you’ll find a few where Twilight material data had corrupted .skm files on macs…

the data contains html which windows seems to cope with but mac’s don’t, I even posted a cleanup script for them [somewhere]…

when I first stated using SU I really liked the Color palette and it’s mac integration worked great…

any color or texture used in any other app was both available and would retain it’s name…

some functionality was lost when Apple switched to 64 bit, more when SU changed the graphics pipeline…

now days, I ‘never’ start SU with any of renderers turned on as they all interfere with modelling due to their observers and data collection…

I render a copy, in the previous version [with no other extensions] and model in the latest, with no render extensions…

I may be in the minority, but I prefer the mac version, with all it’s foibles, to the windows version…

I suspect both platforms will change to a common javascript materials browser as used in the web versions when it matured a bit more…

then at least we’ll all complain on a level playing field…


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I agree. And I know how to use the tool.The window is so slow and sometimes the indicator (such a subtle color blue) and the title never comes up at all. A plain text list (Sorry TIGs tool is not the answer) would be so much better. For rendering, I am moving toward doing all the texturing in another program. I believe there are shortcomings shared by both platforms.

I know that the developers are limited by Apple’s color system.

(Also use ThruPaint. Also slow and glitchy for all it’s achievments.)

Great head’s up on Twilight!

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@john_drivenupthewall - thanks; that’s a heavy workaround; I am constantly rendering while I’m working, especially when adding entourage. But I suppose as long as I’m able to manage the materials properly and keep them clean, editing them later in the Twilight version after they’ve all been applied might be doable.

Do you uninstall the plug-in all together, or can I just disable it?

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disable ‘should’ work, I haven’t got Twilight to test…

I’d be more inclined to use two Plugins folders, I have one called ‘Plugins_parked’, that I use for testing things…

If kept in the Finder sidebar it’s quick to do renaming to switch…

good luck…


It can be problematic to find materials when you have many in the In Model area.
One trick is to size your In Model window to only show one material at a time.
By sampling the texture in the model, the browser should locate and present the material in the window.


Also, if there are duplicates of the same material, the extension CleanUp may be able to de-dupe

I hope this helps


Thanks @ChrisDizon - those are good suggestions. I’ll try!

There’s a number of material plugins, none really solving the poor interface and performance.I like material consolidator for reducing materials and material replacer for completely changing specific materials throughout the model. Material replacer also is a handy way to find the name of a material in teh model. just mouse over it and you can see the name (should be standard function) (Don’t tell me how to do this with the material window–I know how and it sucks).