Skill Level Intermediate
- [George] Hi, I'm George Maestri and today we're going to take a look at a simple way to get a background image or a photograph integrated with your model. So here I have a very simple model. And maybe we want to show this in its actual location to give a client an idea as to how this would look. So we can do this using background images. Now, background images really aren't a feature in SketchUp It's really something that we use called watermarking which is part of styles.
So the first thing I want to do is go ahead to my styles window. Now, in our styles window if you recall we can create all sorts of different styles that we want. And if we want, we can go into things that have say, sketchy edges or brushstrokes or whatever. But I'm going to go ahead into just the basic... styles in the model... and select the default style.
Now, whichever style you choose you add in the background image by editing it. Now, with every style we can go over to the edit menu so we can turn on things such as back edges. On the edges tab we can go over to a face settings tab and we can turn on x-ray for that or turn it off for that style. But the one we're looking for is not so much background settings which control weather or not there's a sky or a ground, but we actually want to take a look at the watermark settings.
Now, watermark is where you can actually bring an image in and overlay it onto your scene. Now, typically this is used to overlay a paper texture to make it look like your render is drawn on a piece of paper. But we can also use this to add in photographs. So, all I have to do is hit the plus sign to add in a watermark. We're going to go into our exercise files folder and I should have something out there called BGImage.jpeg And it's just a photograph of Colorado.
Now, in this, we can give this a name. So if we want to we can use watermark or we can say BG_Image. We can also make this either a background or an overlay and it's pretty obvious what we want to do here is we want to make this a background. So that way it's not semi-transparent. Now, the next thing it asks for is do we want to do a mask? No. We can also blend this so you're basically just fading this out but we really want this to be all the way to the right on image.
And that makes the image completely opaque. And the last screen here shows how this image is applied. By default this is stretched to fit the screen. We can also tile this across the screen or position it however we want. So we can actually scale this up to whatever size we want. Now, typically you want to just go stretch to fit the screen. And if your image has an aspect ratio you can either lock it or unlock it.
Now, my particular image is pretty close to my screens aspect so I don't need to worry about that. Now, once we've got this we can select finish. And now, this background image will always be behind our model. So I can use my standard navigation tools so I can orbit. I can also pan and move this so that it's exactly where I want. So I'm going to zoom this out a little bit. I'm going to position it using the hand and then get in a position that I like.
Now, if you want to further integrate this we can actually add in some shadows. So, if you want, you can go into the shadows window. Either in the default tray or by selecting it on the Mac. And under shadows we can control how the shadows work but first, we have to turn them on. So under view, I want to turn on shadows. And there's our shadows. Now, these are actually a little bit gray and they don't really look as realistic as we want but from the shadows window here we can just turn down the dark.
Make them pretty black and then turn up the light to give that a little bit more pop. And then we can also control how the shadows are working by basically adjusting the time and the date of this scene. Now, once we have this we can also turn off things such as axes and guides and now we have an image that looks pretty realistic. Obviously it's a stylized trailer but at least we can understand how it looks in the setting.
Now, this image will export when you export as a 2D graphic. So hopefully this gives you some ideas of how to use background reference in combination with your models to create more realistic looking scenes.