Set default opacity for paint bucket on a Mac

I have seen other discussions about this issue but nothing that seems to resolve it.

I want to know how to pre-set my front/back face colors as well as opacity so that when I use the paint bucket, the faces are painted that way. So I go into “Styles,” select the “Edit” header, select the “Face” box, and I get an option to set my front color and back color. I click the box next to front color, pick a color, and move the opacity slider to where I want. Then I do the same with the back color. Then I use the paint bucket to color an edge.

What happens is that the front and back colors are as I selected, but the opacity is always at 100%, forcing me to later go in and change the opacity by editing “Entity Info.” This adds a lot of time and tedium to my process.

How do I get Sketchup to obey my default opacity settings?

You can do that by creating your own set of transparent colors and use them instead of the native colors.

In addition to @DaveR says, you can use your own colors ( and save them as a collection or list) to make your own Styles (which can be saved) and your own templates !
The default opacity for a new material is always 100, but if you make a new material by duplicating your own material, which you have set to a opacity level that suits your purpose, it will be that level of opacity…

So if I pick a native color, and change its opacity, and save that as my default face color, that does not count as defining my own semi-transparent color? I don’t get why my opacity change would be ignored in that case, or what I should be doing differently.

The color you’ve selected is in a library. It’s attributes are fixed. When you apply and then edit the material, you are making a new one and it is in the Colors in Model collection, not the original collection. If you want to keep that new one for later use, make a new collection containing it.

If you want to make a set of transparent materials for later use, open a new SketchUp file and draw a rectangle. Apply the color and edit it as needed. Again, this will be in the Colors in Model collection. Repeat that for any other colors you might want. You can just paint that face repeatedly because the colors remain in the Colors in Model collection. Once you have made the transparent materials you want to keep, click on the List menu and choose Duplicate. Give it a name and you will have a new collection for future use.

It would seem reasonable to edit the colors in the original file but if you did and you ever had reason to reinstall SketchUp, you would lose the collection and have to start over. Also, if you are creating your own custom collections of materials, you can make them available when you switch to SketchUp 2018 and then to 2019 and…

@DaveR Thanks for explaining but I’m still not getting it.

I can follow your instructions up to where you say “click on the New menu and choose Duplicate.” The only places where I see the word “New” are under the “File” menu, to create a new document, and “Match new photo” under the “Camera” menu. I don’t think either of those is what you mean, and neither leads to an opportunity to “choose Duplicate.”

More generally, I am not understanding the meaning of the opacity that gets saved as my front and back colors in the “Styles” window. The box displaying those colors does indicate my choice of opacity. I can click on them and see the color and opacity that I have set, in the “Colors” window. Yet the opacity setting seems to have no effect on anything. Why is it there? Are you sure this is not a glitch?

Hang on. I’ll make some screen shots when I get my Mac fired up.

You can’t change the opacity of the default front and back face colors, nor should you want to. That would make your model very very difficult to work with. If you want to see what that’s like, set the face style to X-ray and do an entire model with that setting.

I have been referring to setting the opacity of materials colors, not the default face colors.

There is no glitch. The editor for the default colors and other colors/materials is the same window. That’s all.

@DaveR Okay, let me be more specific about what I want to do.

I want to set the colors and opacity setting for the front face and back face, so that when Sketchup automatically fills in a face as I connect lines, it has those colors and opacities. I also want to be able to change my choice of colors and opacities for front/back faces as I go.

Ultimately, the model that I am creating has partial transparency on every single face, and that is what I want it to have. Being able to do the above would prevent me from having to, after creating the faces, go in and select groups of faces to edit their colors and opacities via “Entity Info.”

OK. Flat out: You can adjust the front and back face colors. You CANNOT adjust the front and backface opacity. You can apply materials or colors with less than 100% opacity to the faces you’ve drawn. That’s all there is to it.

Okay, thanks for clearing that up.

Let me just add as a final comment that I find it dumb that one cannot do that. If a user might want to edit opacity of a face after its creation, then obviously a user might want the opacity as desired upon creating the face. This obstacle costs me hours of time on every one of these models I make.

Yours is the first request for this that I’ve ever seen in over 14 years of using SketchUp and working with others using it.

Why don’t you build your next model with the face style set to X-ray and see how it goes.

I’m thinking a change in workflow might be in order.

@DaveR Okay, yes, doing it with face style set to X-ray does what I want, thanks!

Also, that is the answer to my question no? Rather than saying “You CANNOT adjust the front and backface opacity,” I feel it would be more appropriate to say, “you can adjust the default front and back face opacity by using X-ray mode.”

But to be fair, I am using the program for unconventional things so I’ll take the blame for any confusion that caused. All in all, you just saved me a lot of hours! So thanks!

Actually, upon implementation, X-ray setting does not do exactly what I want. It allows me to change opacity universally on the entire model. It still fails to recognize opacity that I set for my front and back faces. It may suffice to give a close-enough effect, but it seems that the appropriate workflow for exactly what I am doing does not exist in Sketchup.

If you could change the opacity of the front and back face colors, those changes would also be universal on the entire model. The front and back face colors are a style setting which afects the display of the entire model. It isn’t a localized thing. You need to use materials or colors applied with the Paint Bucket tool to have control over the appearance of individual faces.

Okay, I think I see what you mean though something still does not quite add up (thanks for your patience here).

If I select front/back face colors (in the Style window under the Edit heading), the boxes reflect the colors that I chose. They also reflect the opacity that I chose. Then if I make some faces, they have the color indicated in the boxes (the ones I chose), but their opacity is 100% no matter what. I’d like them to be filled in with BOTH the color and the opacity that I picked.

If I then change the front/back colors in the Styles window all the faces I drew change color (as you explained). I’d rather they didn’t. I’m okay with defining a new color, or whatever is entailed, to get faces to fill as desired as I make them.

Let me give a hypothetical situation. What I’m actually doing is making a mathematical model to use at some conference talks, which is probably why my requests are weird, (since this program is more for architecture and stuff) so let me make up a different example that may relate my point.

Let’s say I’m making a 100 story building where everything in it, even the floors and ceilings are made of glass, and the color and opacity of the glass varies. Let’s say I want to represent each plane of glass with a flat face (with no thickness). For simplicity’s sake, let’s say I want each side of the building a constant color but different from the other sides (BUT each side made up of many many faces with edges in between). And let’s say I want everything inside the building to be white at 50% opacity on both sides.

This would give a cool effect where objects in the building have ghostly looks and fade off into the distance as you look through a wall. (This is similar to the kind of effect I want in my math models.)

So far, the only way I have of doing this is to make my structure, then manually select each group of faces that will have common color/opacity settings, and adjust them using Entity Info. That means I have to pick every single little face on the side manually. And doing the interior is a nightmare.

Clearly it would be way better to set the color/opacity first, make all the faces with that setting, then change it and make the next group, etc. Would you be kind enough to walk me through some way of doing that? Or, just let me know for sure if that is definitely impossible in Sketchup?

You need to understand how materials work and how they can be used with groups.
Here is a quick gif showing how I can paint just a face, or a group or a group of groups. Painting a face overrides the group paint, so you can have some fixed colours and change the ones around etc
To follow your building analogy, you would group each wall and paint them in one go with your transparent colour.
Group Color

Ah okay, you are showing me a much more efficient way of selecting regions to edit attributes of. The one thing I don’t get about that is that when I try to select a group of faces, it also selects the edges around them. And when edges are selected in a group, I don’t get options to change the color of the faces.

So how do I tell the program to only select faces?

But it continues to seem to be the case that there is no way to make Sketchup create faces the way I want them from the start, that I indeed have to select them and change them afterwards. (I maintain that I think that is very inefficient, seems it should be a simple thing to do!)

If you create a group and colour it (even with a transparent material), everything you subsequently draw within that group will take on the groups colour until such time as you change it.

Okay great, I’m going to mess around with that and probably look at some tutorials so as not to get too annoying. Thanks! I may post again if I get stuck though.

I should mention I am using the trial version of the software, so may not have access to everything people mention. I’m considering using it more long-term but not sure, it is really really expensive. But I think there is great potential for mathematical uses of the program, which would mean a lot of money for the developers because we’re talking about institutional license purchases, like universities and whatnot.

Yes, learning how the program works before redesigning it is a good idea.

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