• In SketchUp, the Watermark feature can place a graphic in front of or behind your model. You can add a watermark for its traditional purpose: inserting a company name and logo into your model. However, watermarks have creative applications, too: inserting a background image to create a unique model setting or overlaying your model with a translucent or cutout image (such as binoculars). To add a watermark to your model, follow these steps:

  • In SketchUp, you can set a few preferences for how the software works overall and how files are saved. To access these preferences, select Window > Preferences (Windows) from the menu bar. Most of these preferences are on the General pane, which you click in the sidebar on the left. As shown in the following figure, your options include Saving preferences at the top and Software Updates preferences at the bottom.

  • Styles are shared in .style files that can be opened by any copy of SketchUp 6 or later. You must create a .style file to share a style with others. To share a style:

  • In SketchUp, collections help you organize styles and easily access the ones you use most often. SketchUp includes several default collections, but you can create your own and save collections to a favorites list. The In Model styles collection is particularly helpful, because it contains all the styles currently included with your model file. To see your In Model styles, follow these steps:

  • In SketchUp, you can create and edit styles so that you can apply your preferred style settings with a single click. Tip: If you want to develop a sketchy edges style, check out Style Builder. To create a new style, follow these steps:

  • Your model’s style contains background settings. To customize a model’s background, you can choose the background, sky, and ground colors or use a photo background. In the figure, the background colors make the space rover model appear to be somewhere Mars-like. You could also create a plain white background, if that’s what your model needs. To customize the background colors in your own model, follow these steps:

  • In the way clothes say something about the people wearing them, SketchUp styles convey information about your model. Like a paint-splattered pair of overalls, the sketchy edges style suggests that your model is still a work-in-progress. A hot pink geometric gown with a bubble-shaped hat from Junya Wantanabe’s Spring 2015 couture collection is something like a full-color mockup of a modern building with transparent window glass and limestone brick, custom paint colors, and a slanted metal roof.

  • In SketchUp, you see a tan and blue background that suggests the earth and sky. The default background might be great for buildings, but looks a little strange for a model of a rocking chair, as shown in the upper-left corner of the figure. No matter what you’re modeling, you may just want a plain background with sketchy edges to communicate that your model is a blueprint or prototype. Or you may want a polished and detailed background that simulates an interior or a street scene. Notice how the different backgrounds change the look of the model in the figure.

  • The Soften Edges feature may remind you of a stick of butter or a chocolate bar that got too warm in the sun. In SketchUp, however, the Soften Edges feature does nothing to compromise your model’s structural integrity. Tip: You can use the Soften Edges feature, along with the Smooth edge property, to change the visibility of your edges and make your model look more realistic with less geometry, which improves your computer’s performance.

  • Drawing a model in 3D is different from drawing an image in 2D. This introduction to drawing basics and concepts explains a few ways you can create edges and faces (the basic entities of any SketchUp model). You also discover how the SketchUp inference engine helps you place those lines and faces on your desired axis.