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background image map (jpg): how ?

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Hi all,


First let me introduce myself.

I am an architect, working in Montreal, Canada. I am a new member here.


At our office, we use BIM software REVIT since 4 years but still work with AutoCad (less and less popular).


In my case, I like to use SketchUp for modeling quickly and designing more freely.


I have have been using Accurender mainly, but now I am trying VRay plugin for SketchUp 6 Pro.


My question is:


Is it possible and how to place an image map (jpg) as a sky or environment background inside SketchUp model ?


Probably that this question has been answered in previous threads, but thanks for your help.

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Welcome to the forums, Joseph.


I don't use Sketchup, but a quick search found this:


...alrighty in putting together images for this i figured out the issue...i had only a color instead of a map for the sky (background)...apparently just having a color will not allow shadows/light to pass in combination with interior lighting, but having the "sky" map will allow that...




Are you also using vray in sketchup?

In that case you can make the model just like you want, and you can place 3 kinds of lights:

1) draw an object, and give it a vraylightmtl.

2) place a vray rectangle light (right click on it for properties, all the way down)

3) turn on shadows, and in your vray settings, in the environment rollout, make sure both GI and background have a map (large M, if you double click, you should see a dialogbox, with a skymap selected)

The date settings in the sketchup shadows dialog will influence the position of your daylight.


Hope this helps.




Found some Sketchup specific forums:



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Hi Joseph

You can import a background image and place it behind your model or wherever it suits best. You can place images outside windows too for certain shots. Or you can use a 'skydome' for creating the right environment, so when when you change position you still have a nice backgound from alll angles. You can get some free skydomes over at 3D warehouse, and there is some tuts there too, I think there is one by 'Sketchycat'. Just type in skydome and you will get a selection of examples.

Hope this helps..

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SketchUp for the Mac will let you save the SketchUp image with a transparent background as a .PNG image, then you can load the .PNG image into a paint program to apply the background.


Several of the add-on rendering packages - such as IRender nXt - let you apply background images and create a rendering.

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Thank you for replies. I prefer and need something that works within Sketchup itself. I will try a skydome thing. See if it works. But tell me James, how do you manage to place a background image behind the model as you suggest. I tryed to map an image on a infinite plar surface but it does'nt seem to work. It simply does not render. All I have is a black background!


Thank you guys and have a nice one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, thanks again. I am trying my way with Photoshop thing now. It seems that when you create an image background, it takes a hell of a time to render, I tried the dome, it works for skies, but when you need a flat image background, like an urban context begind a building, forget the dome, I tried the cylindre, not much better either, these guys at Vray should work on that feature, like the guys with Accurender did for example.


I will try to post later some graphic results of all the techniques that I am working on. Masybe it would help.



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