Learn to use the different options in the SketchUp Styles toolbar to create visual effects like X-Ray mode, hidden line styles, and more! All of the tools from the Styles toolbar are contained in this tutorial!
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One of the toolbars that comes with SketchUp allows you to quickly change the style settings of your SketchUp model, and it doesn’t really get talked about all that much. It’s called the styles toolbar.
Model Credit – Apartment Building by Paulwall
Note that this toolbar allows you to switch between preset styles. If you want to create a custom style that adjusts the way your model looks, I’ll link to a video about that below.
When you look at this toolbar, there’s basically two sections in it. First, there’s two boxes to the left of a little line. This affect your ability to see different edges through your faces. They can be turned on and off independently of the other options. The second section allows you to adjust your face settings, meaning the way your actual faces within SketchUp look.
Let’s start by looking at the first two options.
The option on the left allows you to turn on X-Ray mode. It creates a lot of confusion for newer users, because they’ll click on it without knowing what it does, then they can’t figure out how to change their models back to the way they were before.
You can see that when you click on this option, it turns your faces somewhat transparent, allowing you to see through your faces into your model. This can be great for looking into more complex models to see what’s inside. If you want to adjust your transparency of your model, you can do so by going into your styles section, in the faces tab, and changing your transparency quality to “nicer,” then dragging your slider.
In addition to using the X-Ray mode tool, you can also use the “Show back edges” function to add more of a light dotted line overlay wherever you have edges behind your shape. This function doesn’t really turn your faces transparent, so my assumption is that it’s just a lighter weight. One of the nice things about this is that you can use the edges to inference from even though they’re blocked by faces.
The other set of options are all about changing the way that your faces look within SketchUp. Unlike the X-Ray/Show Back Edges options that you can turn on or off, you have to have one of these options selected – you can’t turn them off by clicking once or twice.
The first option puts you in wireframe mode, where your faces in your model don’t show up at all, only your line work.
The second puts you in hidden line mode, where only your lines and faces show up, but there’s no coloring or shading on your faces. This mode is great for previewing shadows.
The third option is shaded mode, meaning that your model will show colors, but not textures, so any textured face will just be shaded – the image files for the textures won’t be loaded.
The fourth option is full-on textured mode – all your textures and texture image files will load with this setting.
Finally, the last option puts you in monochrome mode. This mode basically just shows your faces shaded by front and back face, so you can see which faces have the front side facing outward, and which ones have the back side facing outward.
This mode is very useful for checking face orientation in your model. Note that you can adjust the color of your front and back faces in the styles section of your tray.