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AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #19 (June 14, 2007)

Using Images for Interior Presentation in Google SketchUp

Bonnie Roskes
Independent Writer and Consultant

In this tutorial, we will use images to "paint" the faces of cabinets, and to paint a floor.

We'll start with the cabinets. The first step is to find images of the cabinets you want to use. The images below were taken from—one for the base cabinet and one for the wall cabinet. (Right-click on a web image to access its download options.)

In Google SketchUp, you can easily create two boxes for these cabinets, or use cabinets provided as components. You can get free components here: Cabinets are found in the Architecture group. Create or import a set of cabinets. This example uses the Cabinet 2' 6" component, which is found in the Cabinetry subfolder of Architecture.

If you are using a component, explode it (right-click and select Explode), and draw lines to create the side faces. If there are lines on the front faces, Erase them.

Let's start with the base cabinet. To import the corresponding cabinet image, select File > Import. Make sure Files of Type is searching for images, and select Use as Texture.

Click any two corners on the front face to place the picture.

The image becomes tiled, but we're going to fix it to look right.

Right-click on the painted face and select Texture > Position. There should be four pins at the corners of one of the tiled images. If the pins aren't all yellow, right-click and de-select the Fixed Pins option. This is a toggle function—we want to turn off Fixed Pins and use Free Pins, in which pins can be moved around (if necessary) and dragged into place.

Click and drag each corner pin to its corresponding location on the cabinet face. This example is a wide cabinet, which has two doors, so place two corners at midpoints.

When finished, right-click on the face and select Done. Repeat the same procedure for the wall cabinet.

Save this file, so that it can be used as a component in a kitchen model.

Here are some other things you can do with this component:

  • Add a material, or a downloaded tiled image, for the counter.
  • To make glass cabinet doors, create another rectangle within the front face. Then assign this rectangle a transparent material.
  • Erase the base cabinet and extend the wall cabinet down to the floor, creating a pantry or broom closet.
  • Create components for handles (if you're very detail-oriented!).

The next example starts with a partial kitchen model, using a few cabinets similar to the ones above. You can add appliance components from the Architecture folder, or create simple boxes and paint them with manufacturer's images, like you did with the cabinets.

The floor is to be painted with this checkerboard pattern. The image was created using a graphics editor, piecing together the tile images found on

If you import the image as a texture, you can only place it with this orientation, and you'd have to estimate the scale by eye.

But suppose you want the tiles to measure 16" x 16" each, and be laid out in a diamond pattern. The easiest way is to create reference lines. Draw a 16 x 16" square on the floor using the Rectangle tool. (You would type 16,16 to size it, assuming Architectural units.)

Select the square and Rotate it by 45 degrees. Then erase one of its edges, so that a separate face is not cut into the floor.

Import the image and Position it. This time, we want the multi-colored pins, so right-click on the floor and turn on the Fixed Pins option.

Drag the red pin to move a tile corner to a corner of the reference square. Then use the green pin to both rotate and scale the image so that one tile fits the square.

Right-click and select Done—here's your floor!

About the Author

Bonnie Roskes is the author of Google SketchUp 6: Basic and Advanced Exercises, which is her fifth release on SketchUp. Books on Version 7 will be released soon, including one for O’Reilly Media. She has also released a series of SketchUp design project books and geometry project books for kids in K-12, along with some free resources for teachers and parents. Info on these can be found at

Bonnie has also authored books on Piranesi and OneCNC, as well as reference manuals, user guides, and tutorials for other CAD applications. She has a BS and MS in structural engineering, and worked for several years in bridge design and analysis before moving to tech writing.

Contact for info on any of her books.



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