Sketchup material editor?


In the past I have used a material editor that was created by vRay and was completely free. This worked very well with imagination visualiser, however it doesn’t seem to be available anymore.

Can anyone suggest a free material editor that will allow me to use bump maps, created advanced materials that works with rendering software such as imagination visualiser?

Not sure what you are asking here? From memory, Visualiser doesn’t (didn’t) work with material files - the look was derived from the Sketchup material definition i.e. ‘Shiny_bumpy_plastic’ and would use the Sketchup material colour or texture.
Any image editor will allow you to create maps - free ones like GIMP are fine. At the other end is Substance Designer, which is a procedural material designer but you still need a rendering extension that supports materials - KerkyThea is a free renderer but has a learning curve and is not a one button renderer like Visualiser was. Ambient Occlusion Pro is decent but costs money and is a one button renderer (ish) but will just use the Sketchup material and doesn’t support reflections etc (its just rendering an ambient occlusion pass) but you can get some nice results. Pretty much all other renderers on the market have a built in material editor.

Hope this helps

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Visualiser worked very good with thevRay material editor, not really sure why because the two aren’t technically ‘linked’. Put this way, if a image was applied using standard SU material editor and rendered with visualiser it would look fairly poor. If the same image was put into vRay editor along with a bump map, the results were incredibly different and much nicer. Things like glass water and reflections also worked very good in vRay and visualiser.

Ambient Occulusion is perhaps the next best thing, but for me nothing beats visualiser, until it’s broke which it sort of it but it costs money.

In the default sketchup material editor, am I right in saying there is no way to add bump maps to the actual image that you see? (for example a brick wall texture with ‘layers’ of black and white images that are the bump maps.)

I’ve installed a few other rendering programs and have used a file that I made the textures in (vray editor and visualiser). The results are very, very poor so I guess this is why a complete package would be needed if I want it to work properly.

EDIT: This is the vRay editor I used in combination with Visualiser:

Correct, its a straight forward flat image with no layering. SU materials do not natively support ‘shaders’

Do you know of a free plugin that allow for shaders? Very annoyed that vRay don’t have it available for Mac or windows anymore because it worked perfectly!

…also looking at the video - that is just VRAY - albeit a very old version. It is still available, I’m using it today - you just gotta pay for it.

Probably KerkyThea might be a good place to start - its free.
Also Twilight render Hobby version may also suit your needs

The editor in the video I posted was a standalone thing, no trial or license needed (at leat for Mac).

It looks like they have removed this and now only supply the new version with trial period only? a great place to get materials with bump maps. You can download 15 royalty-free textures per day.

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If you need something that is free, Gimp will suit all your needs.

The textures (and maps) themselves aren’t the hurdle to overcome. It more about finding a plugin that will allow me to use said maps inside sketchup.

I’m currently trialing Twilight which has a similar material editor as vRay did. I will see how it works with Visualiser, but for ‘future proof’ I may just go with Twilight hobby. I think it’s a learning curve though to get good results, compared to Visualiser which worked very, very well with almost no setting to mess around with.

Ahh I see, ok good luck, there are so many to choose from I guess but I can’t help between the free versions. I am using Keyshot at the moment and loving it but it’s not free.

Is there a resource anywhere that can teach the fundamental operation of Sketchup materials editor? It’s VERY confusing, not knowing why, for example, right now, every time I draw ANY new face, it fills in with a material, while yes I’ve used it semi recently, I do not want it as the default fill for every new face I create. Gets pretty old having to correct this behavior with EVERY new face drawn. I’m finding pretty much nothing on YouTube tutorials teaching at this low fundamental level for this particular Sketchup subject. Nor in these forums, nor in fundamentals course, which I thoroughly enjoyed by the way, even though good portions of it I had already surpassed. I learned new (and proper) techniques for several basic drawing functions. I enjoyed being properly taught each subject and functionality. I tend to want to understand things I’m working with from the atomic level on up. Based on the fact I can’t find any teaching on the subject, it seems I should automatically know what the materials editor is all about. This isn’t the case. I’m asking for some help, at the proper level, to cease and desist with the frustration.

Intermediate level user, Pro 2018 (PC)
Currently modeling my home. About 25% done.
Eating this up (3D modeling), want to get into a career doing this.

The front/back face colours will be assigned to the face as per the current in model style you have selected. Material is applied later. Maybe you need to adjust the front and back face colours?

What is this “material” you describe? Can you share a sample SKP file?

Is the keyword here “Style”? Because although I’ve heard the word Style, and presume it’s some feature in Sketchup, I don’t know what it is, or means, nor have I ever altered it, at least not knowingly. The material I’m griping about and don’t necessarily want, is the formica texture for countertops. Now that I’m building the cabinets I repeatedly keep having to undo the formica in favor of the wood texture I want. Even though I’ve repeatedly selected the wood texture for the bucket tool, and it shows as the current “color”, it keeps using formica for every new face created. So I need to figure out what “Styles” are now?

Seen as though it is a texture that is being applied to the new faces, it sounds like something different to the face colours of styles I mentioned. You can set default face colours of styles, but textures aren’t a part of that. From what I know anyway.

You need to show something that does this in the way of a SKP, with an explanation of which parts are giving you the issue and what you expect, that will stop the guesswork.

kitchen.skp (2.9 MB)

So you’re saying you now don’t think it’s a function of Styles as in [X-ray, Wireframe, Hidden Line, Shaded, Shaded with Textures, Monochrome], but something else? Ok, although I really never thought of those as styles, but just different ways to view things, or through them, and that’s my bad because I never took the time to study the nomenclature of the menu level directly up from those choices, namely “Face Style”, and never really use menus beyond figuring out what to assign keyboard shortcuts for, for the features I use most. And that’s my lack of familiarity with the menu(s). But on to the issue.

I’ve saved and attached a copy of my file with only the kitchen. I drew several rectangles using (what I’m calling) the cabinet foundation for start/stop reference lines, and noticed that, depending on what container (group) I’m clicked into, a different texture may be applied to a new face. For me that’s as clear as mud. Still at the starting point as far as knowing how to control this. It would be nice if the texture of my choice would be used, or even the last texture selected, but I’d settle for the default, if there is such a thing. Seems like there used to be. Now, not so much. I have apparently changed a setting somehow, without being aware of it. And that IS a source of frustration to be sure. I know several times I have been typing in a rename for a newly created group, only to realize that F2 doesn’t have the same effect on renaming things that it does universally throughout the rest of Windows, and that I was typing into empty space. Who knows what I’ve done? At any rate, your time is appreciated and any advice or insight into what my problem is as well.

Be careful about what items you select when creating groups.
Use layers.
Use components when certain items are identical and repeat.


It is better to create your own post.

Took a look at your model. I was curious because I’d never run into the texture issue you were having. I’m no sage so I had to poke about a little. It appears that the objects were you see this behavior had the texture painted on them without opening the group/component for editing. Example is the countertop. To fix it I exploded it , painted it with the default white and regrouped it. Then I reapplied the formica texture. I use the plugin ThruPaint most of the time, it speeds up the process because you don’t have to open individual groups/components to texture them.

Posting a screenshot of one counter after the fix. Proof of solution is the rectangle I drew next to it inside the group. You’ll see it has the default color face.

I think one of the problems is how deep your burying things inside of groups. An example is to get down to the doors on the cabinet above the refrigerator I think I had to open something like six groups. I actually lost count. This can lead to you thinking you have something open for editing when you really don’t.


Well, I’m very cautious, after much pain caused by screwing things up, to know exactly where I’m at before applying any command. Isn’t that the way we all must become to become proficient at this tool ? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: It’s either that or have a blowout from frustration and give up. The structure is logical to me, like a tree hierarchy in a file system, is it not? I double check my position as to my depth within my heirarchy constantly, using the Outliner, which is the one thing that is ALWAYS open in my workspace. Boards make cabinet doors and panels, doors and panels make cabinets, cabinets make pairs of cabinets (probably unnecessary group), a pair of cabinets belong in a group ‘kitchen cabinets’, which then belong in the main group called kitchen. Should I try to minimize that structuring? I’ll do what I can. But I’m the one it has to make sense to. And I don’t think excessively organizing objects is causing the problem I’m asking about. My context WITHIN that organization possibly is though. But if I’m within a context where every face within that context (on both sides I might add) has been purposefully made by me to show a particular color or texture, then shouldn’t every new face created within that context follow that color/texture? The context I speak of is the cabinets foundation, which is a woodgrain. If I’m open within that context, shouldn’t new faces created show the existing texture already applied to every element within it? Or at least revert back to the default color for new faces, which I’d be completely happy with. But to apply a texture from a group a few levels up from the current context makes no sense to me, and is very distracting (upon closer inspection, only one level up). And isn’t it more efficient to apply a texture to a group as a whole rather than drilling into it and applying the color/texture to every individual face? That raises further questions. I’ve noticed several methods of applying a color/texture to objects, none of which are clear to me, as there is no clear instruction anywhere I’ve found, of how this operates. That is, perhaps, the clarification I’m looking for.

Methods I can think of:

Individual face
All selected faces (raw geometry)
Grouped objects (context open)
Grouped objects (context not open(as tuna1957 is pointing out))

It’s all very blurry to me, as I tend to be very frustrated when I’m forced to guess, particularly about the complex workings of a thing, where my blunder can have undesired outcomes. Keep in mind I come from a military background, where I once had considerable power at my fingertips. (talking weapons systems) And not understanding what I had control of was not an option. This isn’t that, for sure. Still, I’d rather proceed, in this endeavor of learning Sketchup, with a working understanding of this whole bucket color texture thing as it relates to faces, objects, groups, containers, etc, as opposed to twisting in the wind, continually screwing it up till perhaps one day, I run across someone articulate enough to explain it properly. I know these people exist, I just don’t have their phone number.

My question is, What, EXACTLY, determines the color/texture of my next face? Is it some function of the bucket tool / materials editor that I don’t understand, or is it related to the context I’m in? (the latter is seeming much more likely)

a color is a ‘coded’ descriptor of a single pixel which can be stored as for example RBGA [Red, Blue,Green.Alpha]…

if you 'painted a 6" tile ‘black’, SU only needs to store one pixel + the coloured faces dimensions…

a texture is an image file that stores all the pixels for it’s given size in a particular image format…

if you take a photo of a 6" black tile and save it as a JPG, PNG or TIF, SU needs to store all of the individual pixels generated by the format and where each of those pixels fit on each face of your 3D tile…

a 3D model of a six inch tile, could vary in size from a few kilobits to many megabits, depending on use of a color or a detailed image material…

to help speed up the modelling process, SU has a few viewing ‘Styles’ which reduce the impact of large materials…

‘Shaded’ shows a single ‘average colour’ pixel for an entire material image…

‘Monochrome’ shows no chosen colour and show faces as front or back…

‘Colour by Layer’ uses single colours for each assigned layer…