Once upon a time, I shared an image of a SketchUp model on Google+ which generated a question from a reader: “I like how you style your models; how do you do it?” My reply: “I simply look for realistic materials and apply them to components as best I can.”
Making good use of materials in SketchUp is an advanced skill. I have learned a thing or two about this from some of the best woodworking SketchUp users around – Dave Richards and Tim Killen who write at Fine Woodworking.com’s blog “Design. Click. Build”.
Recently, Dave added a video tutorial covering his method for adding realistic wood materials and I highly recommend that you bookmark this web page for future reference (see it here.).
In his video, Dave provides a simple and detailed approach for making this advanced technique much easier to accomplish. I recommend you play the video back a time or two, then open SketchUp and follow along with Dave. There are many steps in the video which I simply did not know to do.
Also, if you want to see how good SketchUp models can look, visit Dave’s Flickr account where he has many examples of what can be accomplished with SketchUp (several of these images use additional photo realistic software).