Using real world texture images and how to scale them for interior design models

Hi to my trusty SketchUp Crew,

I am working on a model in which I have begun to create my own textures by saving images of textures I find online in a material folder and importing them via the ‘create material’ tab in SketchUp. Just by playing around I have figured out how to rotate and scale the textures by visual estimation, using the context click once the texture has been applied to the surface. I added a few images as textures and scaled them to create posters on the walls which looks great.:smiley:

Building on this, what would be the standard/ best practice way to start using real world materials in my model? For example, I have saved an image of a wood plank floor which I would like to scale to the correct plank size for use in my model. I have just opened it up in photoshop as I am thinking this is probably the way to go, am I right? Unfortunately, I don’t actually know how to scale the image accurately using reference points within it in PS either so I’m still stuck, haha! To make it even harder, the image I am using shows the wood planks in a standard straight laying pattern, but I wondered if I could change it to a wishbone/ herringbone laying pattern?

I know that Formica and Tektura wall coverings both have high res image swatches of their materials so I assume that they are good to use for this. Any tips/ good tutorials/ guidelines on this topic welcome😊

Thanks in advance,

I’m muddling through and getting there slowly!

What do you want to achieve by scaling in Photoshop? Reduce the texture resolution and thus quality?

There is no direct mapping between pixels and real-world units used in the model. Because of this, a SketchUp material has metadata which are not given by the pixels of the image, like the width and the height (in model units). When you import an image file “as texture” (File → Import…) you get a Texture Placement tool which allows you to scale the texture to the appropriate size. If you want to change it or fine-tune it later (or if you create a material directly in the Materials browser and add the texture file there), you can go to the material’s details pane and set the width/height.


Check my simple screencast below, showing how you could get a fairly accurate plank size by using SketchUp’s “scale active group/component” feature. Use the measuring tape to “measure” the current width of the plank, then type whatever size you want the plank to be and hit enter. The material will scale with the group/component, and then you can sample the modified texture for use elsewhere in your model. (Sorry, couldn’t find my GIF recorder so I had to do MP4)

SketchUp materials/textures are basically shortcuts of an existing image, if I understand correctly, so whatever pattern your image shows is the pattern SketchUp will show. SketchUp cannot create a herringbone pattern from an image of straight planks.

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For a heringbone pattern you have two alternatives:

  • You could model the planks of the heringbone pattern with the Line tool and fill it with the woodgrain material, rotate the texture on each face to align it with the edges, then use the Sampling Tool (Paintbucket + Alt+Click) to transfer the texture orientation to the other faces and randomize/depatternize them.
    You can hide (or soften) the edges to make them less visible.
    Consider that this approach:

    • There are zero physical gaps between the planks, they will be hardly noticeable in renders (edges don’t render).
    • Keep the pattern in a group to avoid sticking and messing around with neighboring geometry like walls.
    • It is more effort to adjust the pattern to complex floor plans.
  • If you know how to use a 2D image editor, you could construct the same as above. Additionally you have the possibility to add border lines and slight shading/gradients to make the wood planks distinguishable in rendered images.
    This approach gives:

    • More effort to build in a 2D image editor (and you cannot swap the material easily to another wood)
    • Cleaner geometry in SketchUp

Sarah, I make my own wood grain texture images. For those I know the lengths of the “boards” so I draw a rectangle of the appropriate length and then use File>Import to import the image as a texture using the rectangle as a guide. This automatically scales the texture image correctly so I don’t need to do any further editing in the Materials window. Typically I will have anywhere from 3 to 8 “boards” from the same log so I import the images one at a time to apply to the rectangle. I do this in a new model so it’s only these textures involved. Then once I have the textures in the In Model collection, I either add them to an existing collection or Save collection as… if I don’t already have one for the species. That makes the textures available for future use.


Awesome, thanks for the tip, I have done this and it is a good quick edit I can use, thanks👍

Aha, Yes, I see where you mean and have played around with this…I am still playing around with a combination of everyone’s suggestions on the thread so will see how I get on;-)

As you can see from my images below, I have managed to create a herringbone floor using Adobe Photoshop to cut out copies of the individual planks and then I arranged them in a herringbone pattern which I saved as a JPEG. I imported this as a texture and applied it to a surface in my model, made it a group, then resized it using the method described by MobelDesign and sampled the texture for my flooring.

This worked well enough for now, but I’d like to get it more accurate. My planks were not exactly the same size which caused some issues with alignment when creating the texture in PS. Further alignment issues presented where the texture image repeats when applied in my model due to the herringbone ideally needing to slot together in a zig zag rather than a straight edge, as you get with the way I have done it here.

I’m pleased that I have created a fairly indicative model though.