Watercolor textures in Sketchup and A Challenge I'm Having

I’m a custom furniture designer/fabricator. I have been trying to level up my client proposals, so I have been trying to add watercolor textures to some of the images in the proposals.

I have had a lot of success with my process, along with a few challenges.

Here is where I am at so far.

I created a watercolor texture in photoshop and imported it into SketchUp.
I painted the surfaces I wanted to have the effect,
Then made that texture unique.
Then right, click and choose the option to edit texture image, which opens it back in photoshop.

This is where my 1st challenge comes in.
I can do basic edits in photoshop and click save; it will then auto-update the Sketchup file. I think this is done because it is linked through the temp files on a PC. (I have no idea about Mac)

Unfortunately, if I want to do more advanced layers in photoshop, it prevents the file from being saved in the temp folder under the same name and breaks the link. I don’t have a way to tell what the original name of the temp file was, as there are a lot of files in that folder, and they are assigned crazy letters and numbers as file names which seem to change each time you save.

I wonder if anyone has any workaround in Sketchup or Photoshop to keep them linked when doing more advanced techniques.

To keep reimporting the texture after each edit in photoshop to see how it looks in the model is not an efficient workflow.

Another challenge I am having

To try to break the hardlines and edges so it is more like a watercolor painting, I started experimenting with some different styles created in Style Builder. They look great in Sketchup; however, when I sent them to Layout, they looked terrible as a raster.

When I switched from raster to hybrid, the desired line weight effect disappeared.
Layout still has the style selected as active, but none of the line effects show in the viewport.

I can somewhat overcome the jagged raster by exporting at maximum. However, it is still not as good looking as it is in the SketchUp file, and exporting at max exports all viewports in the Layout file at max, generating a huge file that I can not justify sending to a client’s email.

So if anyone has any tips or workarounds to create the effect in Layout, I would be grateful.

Just for fun, I have been designing a house even though I’m a furniture designer. I tried using the same watercolor technique for the grass and stucco on the house. I watercolored the windows with some transparency so you can see the furniture inside.

Woodgrain has proven to be a little tougher to look good as a sketch with watercolor texture. The wood floor is a texture that I painted over in photoshop to create shadows. I’m pretty dissatisfied with the woodgrain on the furniture, but I need a bit more practice for another day to see if I can get a closer look at what I envision.


Nice work!
I think @DaveR is the right person to help you with this…
He is the Master of woodgrain and also knows a lot about Layout and stacked viewports wich seems to me could be the solution…
I pinged him for you, so i’m sure he will chime in as soon as he’s available…

1 Like

First, thank you @tweenulzeven


One: when you have an image with multiple layers in Photoshop, a simple save results in a different file type. (If I remember correctly it’s .psd but my memory is hazy on the file extension.) Before saving, collapse the layers or use File>Save as… and make sure you are saving the image with the same file extension as you started with and in the same Temp folder. File>Save as… and select the original texture image in the folder. I run into the same thing with the image editor I use. Not a big problem. You just have to play the game.

No. It’s not. You might find it more efficient to do the texturing to an exported image of the entire model instead. You might also want to export several images that can be manipulated separately before being combined.

Sketchy line styles can be useful. You might also work with edges turned off. Might also make sense to utilze stacked viewports in LO with Hidden Line stacked over Shaded with Textures. Before totally rejecting the raster viewportsin LO try exporting a PDF at High res.

Another thing for the artsy views might be to create images that you can insert into LO. That might also be the simplest although you loose the dynamac nature that you get with viewports from SketchUp.

That should be expected. Hybrid rendering renders textures as raster and edges as vector. The Sketchy styles in SketchUp are actually raster images of the strokes.

Again, inserting images into the LO document instead of trying to use the sketchy styles in the viewports is probably your best option.


i had bookmarked these a while back when i was trying to get better renders. as Dave mentioned - exporting different styles then layering in PS (i use GIMP) and applying the coloring there can lead to interesting results (i’m also a fan of B&W photo coloring…) some of these may be a bit out of date and i’m sure there are more out there…


1 Like

Just some examples of what I was trying to describe. In all three cases the sketchy edges are exported separately from the textured images. The watercolor effect was created in post proessing before adding the sketchy edges.


Thank you, Glen. I’m going to dive deeper into this. I think these will help me remove some of the pain points I have been running into.

ahh YES, that stool drawing is very much along the lines of what I am looking to create.

So that was a simple Hidden Line export combined with a Shaded export that was run through FotoSketcher.