What was Google thinking as far as the material editor on Mac?

I am sorry, but the design of the material editor for Sketchup is terrible. They had a great system on the PC version. Why change it?? I have been struggling to figure out how to adjust the colors in my model for the last 15 minutes and am getting no where. The design makes no sense, and this is on a Mac a brand that has the highest respect for usability. I am putting this here in case there is anyone at Google that is reading this. Please fix the material editor. This thing is borderline unusable for a creative professional.


Perhaps this will help…

Materials — SketchUp Help

Trimble acquired SketchUp from Google in 2012

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The materials editor on the Mac is supplied by Apple so you can thank them. And. It wasn’t Google or Trimble who designed it.


which doesn’t mean that they have to stick to it instead of using something own …as already implemented for the Windows platform.

I second this enhancement request.


The Mac SU materials editor was cobbled together as a patch to the OS X color chooser. I don’t know whether that was because they thought it would be familiar to Mac users or seemed like an easy way, but it was in any case a choice instead of programming one from scratch. Because it garbles together the concepts of color and material I think it was a poor design choice.


I haven’t used the mac version much but I think the problem with its Material inspector is how it mixes up the material concept with the concept of color. Maybe it would make sense to use the Apple color picker for actually picking color, as a part of material editing, but it doesn’t seem to make any sense at all for picking a material.

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It’s 2020 in the meantime, and they still haven’t done anything about it. Materials in Sketchup for mac remain completely unintuitive


I just want to reply to say how I completely agree. This tool should be simple to use, but it’s a real struggle ! For exemple if you only want to adjust rate lightness or saturation, it comes grey, or change to a different color. Why won’t the software just give me the right settings from the texture I choose to edit ? So I’m not starting from nowhere, to try to figure out for 20mn new settings.
Please Trimble, do something :slight_smile:


SketchUp was originally from @Last Software, and Google acquired it in 2006, and Trimble in 2012. SketchUp has used the Mac colour palette from the start (2000) so Google is not to blame for the design.

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Yes it is the worst about working with SU but not the fault of SketchUp or Google. We really need a list based color picker and more tools. Several plugins help make up the gap but not quite. It is SO slow, I wish I could choose colors any other way. Keep thinking a PC is in my future.

@ Sonny
Yes I found that problem with the color wheel adjustment --going to grayscale if you are not careful. I think it became that way a few versions ago. I don’t know if Trimble can fix this if it continues to work with the Apple system. There are so many things wrong with the paint window UI (on my Mac at least.)


I don’t get it and perhaps it’s not Trimble’s fault (as stated by other responders to this topic) but I’m so sick and tired of how the materials editor automatically jumps to grayscale as soon as you try to tweak ANYTHING. Basically makes it useless unless you intend to edit the material in photoshop every time. If it’s not Trimble’s fault, why have they not worked with Apple to fix the problem? Or redesign the way materials are edited altogether. I’ve continually upgraded Sketchup Pro every year (I’m using 2021 now) and there are barely any changes and this most aggravating of problems persists.


yes indeed, it’s a terrible tool in Sketchup, and very complicated to use unfortunately, especially if you want to organise your own materials, and asign plugin rendering options to them I find.

as well as checking simple things like the tones etc

A good material tool would have most of the features in “Material Tools” by ThomThom, plus “Material Replacer”.
When selecting a material in the model with the eyedropper, one should see its name immediately and find the listing, not have to search in full palette of materials for a dim blue outline --which most often is slow to appear IF AT ALL,
A good material tool would show where a material is used in the current view, upon query.
A good material tool has an alphabetical name listing not just thumbnails.
And in a good material tool the color adjustment is actually working.
Note: to use the color wheel adjustment I sometimes click in the small thumbnail at the extreme lower left–THOUGH I DON’T KNOW IF THIS GIVING THE CURRENT SETTING. It is usually OK for my needs and resets the wheel so it doesn’t go grayscale right off.

I use ThruPaint a lot but it doesn’t surmount these issues altogether. If I could use any other method for textures I would (such as texturing with a renderer --not Blender please).

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I’ve been experimenting with this bug to try to figure out the circumstances. So far I think I have this narrowed down to an initialization problem between materials and the Mac Color Wheel interface. Upon a Fresh startup of SketchUp the very first time I try to edit a color, the color wheel fails to read the base color of that texture and so It places the color picking crosshairs in the center of the wheel, on white. If one leaves the crosshairs there and begins to move the darkness slider under the wheel then the material becomes black and white, because the crosshairs are on center at white, so the slider is moving between white and black, effectively greyscale. This bug does not effect the Sliders interface (RGB or CMYK).

Workaround: So far this appears to occur only the very first time an edit is attempted with the Color wheel. Try this:

  1. Go to the Colors in Model list and right click on any swatch that is a texture, choose edit.

  2. Once in Edit mode choose the Color Wheel interface in the top left of the material picker. Notice that the crosshairs are on center, over pure white.

  3. Without adjusting anything, hit the space bar to drop out of edit mode and switch to the selection tool.

  4. Now repeat steps 1 and 2, Is the crosshair in the Color Wheel set actually on the base color of the material instead of on white?

I am finding so far that once I get the Color Wheel to read the base color of the material by starting to edit and abandoning it once while leaving the Color Wheel as the active adjuster, it then works correctly for the remaining session of SketchUp. If I restart the program I have to go through these steps again.

I’d be interested to know if these steps work of others or not.



Thanks for the suggestion, endlessfix, but I followed the steps you describe on an existing and new file and it didn’t fix the problem in either case. argh. I have not tried ThomThom’s “Material Tools” (as suggested by pbacot) but perhaps that will help.

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Material Tools goes beyond the color picker, it doesn’t really fix or replace it unfortunately.

Hmmmm… I got this to work 5 times in a row so I was feeling pretty good about it. But perhaps there are other factors that I’m not seeing yet. Thanks for the feedback, I’ll keep trying.