SketchUp Skill Builder: Reference Images

January 5, 2020 posted by

Hey guys, this is Aaron. I want to show you something that may come
in handy for you if you ever have to model from reference images. I have a model here of a jet I did, and as
much as I would like to say that I modeled this from scratch, that would be a lie. I did use reference images. So I actually have them on their own layer
over here, if I turn my reference layer on, you’ll see I have a series of images that
I used as references. I have scenes up here at the top so I can
jump to a top view, side view, front view real quick while modeling, and I can actually
see that projected reference so I can model real quickly. Jump between different views. We’re going to go ahead and create something
like this, sort of a reference image cage like this in a new drawing. So I’m going to go ahead and go File>New. I’m going to go ahead and blow that up nice
and big so you guys can see everything I’m doing. And I’m going to let Chris leave. He does not have to stick around for this. Going to now go to Import and import my reference
image. So I have a Vespa image, I’m going to go ahead
and import that and drop it on the ground. I’m not really concerned with the scale at
this point, we’ve done a lot of, we’ve talked about scaling before. At this point I just want to talk about setting
up the cage. So my reference image actually contains all
of the different sides that I want to reference on one image. I don’t have to do it this way, I could actually
import a series of images: Top, Side, Front. But what’s important is that I do have the
three reference images and that those three reference images are about the same scale. I mean, relatively if scaled to the same width,
they’re about the same height. That sort of thing, so that I don’t have issues
where I’m having to stretch the image or something like that in order to make everything line
up. Alright, so what I’m going to do is I’m going
to start by taking this and I’m actually going to set this up as the side. So I want this image, this side image, to
be here in the blue-green quadrant. So I’m going to start by using my Rotate tool. I’m going to hit the right arrow key to lock
onto the red axis, and click to the endpoint, and then click on the side and bring it straight
up. Until I click onto the blue axis. Now I’m going to flip it around the other
direction. So I’m going to click the bottom, click and
drag that around until it snaps to the green axis. Alright, now it’s where it needs to be. It’s on the right plane, but I got to move
where the actual image is. So what I’m going to do is use the Move command,
and I’m going to click on this ground plane and I’m going to hit the up arrow to lock
to moving vertically. And lock that right there. And I’m going to use Move again to kind of
slide it over. Again, this is not of dire importance where
exactly this is lined up, but what I generally want to do is have that geometry in the positive
space of this quadrant right here. Alright, once that’s done we can set up the
rest of the images. So what I want to do is I want to get this
piece right here turned around so it’s on this blue-red quadrant right here. I’m going to do that using the Rotate command. So I’m going to come to my origin, I’m going
to hit up to lock to the blue axis, and I’m going to click and drag this around. So I want to get it to right here, but I want
to keep the other one so I’m going to use my modifier key. This is option on the Mac or Control on Windows. And I’m just going to bring it around and
click right there. So you can see what I’m doing here I have
two of my images set up already. I’m going to go back to selecting the first
image, Rotate again. This time I’m going to use the green axis,
grab the bottom, and again modifier key to copy, and bring that up like that. So there I have those three images; I’m almost
set up as far as having those in the right spot to use as a reference. One thing I’m going to have an issue with
right now, of course, is that they don’t all line up. Specifically this bottom one does not seem
to be where it needs to be. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to draw
a couple lines referencing a reference point. For a reference point I’m going to use the
front of this fender right here. So I’m going to draw a line right there, click,
and I’m going to draw a line out. I want to stay on the red axis so I’m going
to go ahead and hit the right arrow on my keyboard and then come to this point right
here. I’m going to draw that back just to have that
reference. Draw this down. So basically, the front of the fender should
align to this point on all three images. So now I can come in and I can fine tune any
of my images. So if that’s not quite where I wanted I could
move it. This one’s a little bit off so I’m going to
come in here and use the Move command to kind of…right about there is good. This one’s way off. Oops. Select this and move it. Riiight.. there. Alright, once I have that done, I can actually
get rid of these lines I don’t need them, I just needed to reference them for placement. But I’m pretty good. So now it’s clean up time. So one of the things I want to do is go in
and crop these images real quick. I don’t need all these additional views of
the Vespa on the side view. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to go
in and cut this down to just what I need. I can’t actually cut down an image, but what
I can do is I can right click and Explode that image. When I explode it it becomes just a surface
with the image painted on as a texture. So what I can do now is use Move to just
move these lines back. There we go. Do the same thing to the side. Select. Move, and bring it dow-. Whoops. And bring it down. The bottom one up. And I can take this one all the way up to
the reference plane; I don’t need it to hang down there at all. And then, finally I can bring this one in
here like that. So that’s all I need out of that image. I’m going to go ahead and do that to the other
images, just Explode and Move their edges real quick. Okay! So at this point, I have my three images in
and cropped. And last couple things I’m going to do is just to set
it up so it’s easier to reference them. If i jump to my side view, and see that’s
a pretty good view, I like that. I can jump same thing, to the front view,
top view, but one of the issues you come up with here is I’m not actually looking at it
directly straight on, I’m actually looking at it in my perspective view. That’s going to add a little bit of distortion,
especially when we reference one image to the next. So one of the things I want to do before I
set up my reference scenes is go up to Camera and turn on Parallel Projection. There we go! Now I’m looking at just that one image. So the other images are still there, but when
I snap into that view, see I’m just seeing that image. So, these quick view buttons up at the top
are great but I’m going to go a step further and actually create scenes for each of these. So I’m going to create a scene for the side
view, and I’m going to go ahead and select it, make sure my additional information is
dropped down, and I’m just going to change the name to “Side.” That way, as I’m modeling around here if I
want to jump back to a side view all I have to do is just click on this, and I’ll jump
back over there. I’m going to do the same thing for the other
two views real quick. Okay, so I’ve got my views created. One thing I might want to change though is
that animation, so I’m going to go do just kind of one more thing right here. Go to View>Animation and change my settings
and actually just turn off Enable Transitions. What that’s going to do is allow me to just
real quickly hop from one to the next. Real quick and easy. Alright, last thing I may want to do here,
Select all these, go to Entity Info and add them to a new reference layer. That’s going to allow as I model to just flip
these all back on and off again. So there you go! A quick and easy way to make a set of reference
images for modeling. Thank you!


45 Replies to “SketchUp Skill Builder: Reference Images”

  1. BookofIsaiah (Matt B) says:

    Great video! Very helpful information. Will you be doing a video on HOW to model something like that jet or the vespa which have so many facets?

  2. MrREVERB777 says:

    Been subbed for ages but I've never actually watched a video. Seeing as how great this one was, I'll definitely be checking them out in the future.

  3. Kowboy USA says:


  4. Jakob Hovman says:

    Hello Sketchup… Hello Aron… Thank You, for all your effort and videos…!     It is great to see and learn from others, like being there…!    I noticed the "Rotate" tool (Q) could "Infere", with the arrow keys. This is not part of my S15, is that correct…?     Aron, when you want to "Move" (M) along an axis, you can also use the arrow keys, to lock direction.     PS: The arrow keys are toggle keys, they "lock/unlock" for each press.   Greetings from Denmark…Jakob.

  5. SoCalFreelance says:

    Imagine doing this in VR where the moped is modeled in 1:1 scale and you can walk around it making progressive tweaks. Seems like it would be a much more intuitive process. Perhaps create SketchUp VR for the HTC Vive which natively supports room scale creation.

  6. Sagar Srinivas says:

    can u share the modelling videos using reference images.

  7. Erwin Meulman says:

    Take a camera, make 50 photo's of a vespa, put it into catch123 and there you have it, or use a isense 3dscanner.





  10. 3d-modeli sketchup says:

    Продажа уникальных 3d-моделей жилых домов, транспорта, заводов,
    созданных в программе Sketchup. очень подойдут для создания целых
    3d-городов, игр. Акции!!! Цена на каждую модель договорная !!! заходите и

  11. RJLpt says:

    My references are transparent.

  12. Ian Simpson says:

    Thanks very much. Quick, direct, full of information, well presented and expertly delivered. rare on YooChube.

  13. Teresa GG says:

    an extra suggestion: at the end before you start modeling group the faces of the reference images together to prevent combining geometry and reducing the possibility of messing them up as you model

  14. David Douglas says:

    Can I do this in SketchUp Maker? or is this only in SketchUp Pro?

  15. TMCicuurd12b42 says:

    I have a problem that I have been struggling with doing planar UV mapping on every object/component (squares and cylinders) from a reference top down image. where I set an image as you do, but both as reference and texture. Placing my reference image on the ground and setting the texture image size to be the same size as my reference. I can draw facets and paint the facet with the texture brush and the facet will match my reference image. I move the facet and the UV follows, It's pretty cool. but the problem is with cylinders and other shapes, like extruded/pulled faces, their sides, anything that that pops out and creates side walls that I would eventually slant inward to make them visible…. The cylinder for example UV maps around AND badly to top it off. I don't want it to wrap around, I want it to look, as viewed from top down to have it's top painted like the reference image. any suggestion? I've been looking all over for some tutorial on how to do top down planner uv while editing and found nothing… it's not really conventional, but our setup requires it, the models are always viewed from the top with a little 3d (without perspective) to make it look more dynamic and interact with the 3d lights, we have no need for side/vertical walls or underneath geometry… Here is an image showing my issues

  16. Nathan Williams says:

    Can't import the image I want to model. Can you help with any tips??

  17. Story & Spice says:

    This reminds me of Maya

  18. Bussan Nhut says:

    hi friend

  19. Dunia Design 3D says:

    I like your work. it is very amazing and very useful
    How to Calculate 2D Building Area automatically with Autocad, Sketchup and Ms. Excel

  20. Dunia Design 3D says:

    I like your work. it is very amazing and very useful

  21. Pritesh Suthar says:

    Sar hindi me video banaye

  22. Рустам Кабиров says:

    Дохуя пиздит.

  23. clevelandmotley says:

    This is a great video for setting up the reference images, but I'm having a hard time finding anything for then continuing and using the images to create the model. What I've found generally pertains to architectural blue prints. Are there any additional skill builders for building off the reference images for a more complicated model like this vespa?

  24. paul tse says:

    How good is Sketchup for jewellery ? Thks.

  25. Terry D says:

    How do you go about doing the actual modelling bit in Sketchup (apart from closing it and loading up Blender instead)

  26. noneyerbidness says:

    wtf, how did model it?!

  27. Karle Olalde says:

    new point of wiew to do design..Thanks

  28. heck No says:

    No matter how many times I try, the red protractor won't appear.

  29. Ka Kei Yeung says:

    You sound a whole lot like Casper Andreas

  30. K T says:

    Hi Aaron, can you import (and explode) a pdf the same way as you can a jpg?

  31. Baird Middle School says:

    Great video! Do you have a video showing how you created the model?

  32. Julian Neale says:

    Absolutley brilliant video, exactly what I was looking for!

  33. IR INSPIRATION says:

    very user friendly tutorial

  34. Rahul Safi says:

    which app/software

  35. Brad Vandiviere says:

    Great videos, Aaron. Any chance you could walk us through creating a model (like your jet or vespa) using the reference images? Do you tend to create a 2d shape and extrude parts, or just start creating the general shape and and then use the images for a visual reference to get it "close?" I have a feeling some have done this a lot and could share some tips! Thanks!

  36. Ireidemar Fernandes Costa says:

    Excelente Trabalho.

    SketchUp é um software muito
    Organizado por isso ele é um dos melhores software de modelagem 3D mais seria
    melhor se ele tivesse cinco coisas básicas { 1º o material igual a do 3ds Max,
    ou seja aquele material com aquela aparência 
    brilhosa e suave }; { 2º aquelas opções de suavização dos objetos igual
    a do 3ds Max; { 3º aquelas opções de eliminar as linhas dos objetos deixando os
    mesmos bem limpos; { 4º aqueles estilos de linhas igual a do 3ds Max; { 5º
    aquela mesma opção de animação também igual a do 3ds Max, compartilhem essa
    ideia até chegar nos desenvolvedores do software.

    3Ds Max é um excelente software mais
    ele também tem os seus defeitos, e um dos seus grande defeito é a sua Interface
    que é desorganizada esse é um dos motivos porque as pessoas acham ele  um software 
    muito complexo as coisas complexa tem vários motivos e um deles é a

  37. Corey Burke, CEO says:

    Great video. I am beginning to see how powerful Sketchup is. I am learning to do just about everything I have seen in AutoCAD or SolidWorks. Keep up the great work. Awesome, Thank You! Corey Burke,

  38. catbird says:


  39. Alexander Pavlov says:

    My work in SkethUp @t

  40. Tim Murphy says:

    Thanks again. Awesome skill building potential…

  41. arisa kongsuy says:


  42. David mackie says:

    Great tutorial well explained which I found really useful. Thanks!

  43. Ed Murphy says:

    But, but how do you bring the model together? A part 2 of this video would be nice.

  44. 3D House says:


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