How Do You Add an Environment in SketchUp?

Adding an environment to your SketchUp model can greatly enhance its visual appeal and realism. In this tutorial, we will explore the various methods you can use to add an environment in SketchUp, allowing you to create stunning 3D renders and presentations. Let’s dive in!

Using the SketchUp Default Background

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to add an environment to your model, you can simply use the default background settings provided by SketchUp. To do this:

  1. Open your SketchUp model.

  2. Go to the “Window” menu and select “Styles” to open the Styles panel.

  3. In the Styles panel, click on the “Edit” tab.

  4. Under the “Background” section, you’ll find various options for adjusting the background settings.

    • To change the background color, click on the color swatch and select a new color from the palette.

    • The “Sky” option allows you to choose between a plain color or a sky gradient for your background.

    • If you want to use an image as your background, click on the folder icon next to “Image”.

Importing HDR Images

If you’re looking for more realistic lighting and reflections in your model, importing High Dynamic Range (HDR) images is a great option. HDR images capture a wide range of lighting information and can be used as an environment map in SketchUp. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Find a suitable HDR image online or create your own using specialized software.

  2. In SketchUp, go to the “Window” menu and select “Styles” to open the Styles panel.

  3. Under the “Background” section, click on the folder icon next to “Image”.

  4. In the file explorer, locate and select your HDR image.

Using Plugins

If you’re looking for even more control over your environment settings, you can explore various plugins available for SketchUp. These plugins offer advanced features and options for creating realistic environments.

One popular plugin is V-Ray, which provides a wide range of lighting and environment settings. To use plugins:

  1. Install the desired plugin by following the instructions provided by the plugin developer.

  2. Once installed, you can access the plugin’s features through its dedicated menu or toolbar.

  3. Explore the plugin’s options to adjust your environment settings according to your preferences.


Adding an environment in SketchUp is a simple yet powerful way to elevate the visual quality of your models. Whether you choose to use SketchUp’s default background settings, import HDR images, or utilize plugins, experimenting with different environments can unlock new creative possibilities. So go ahead and start adding stunning environments to your SketchUp models today!