Tileable Textures

Tileable pattern created with SpaceDesign

Tileable Textures

SpaceDesign includes an algorithm borrowed from Paul Bourke's Article for making patterns tileable.

Any pattern can be converted into a Tileable Texture.


Original Pattern

Original pattern

The algorithm starts with a patterns. It does not need to be repeatable, or even kind of repeatable. The process works best with patterns which you would like to repeat, such as cloth or grass. However, it will make any image repeatable.

For this demonstration we have selected a swirl pattern which is originally not repeatable at all.

Diagonal Reversal

Original Pattern with the quadrants mirrored

A second image is created by mirroring each of the 4 quadrants of the original image.

By blending the original and the reversed image, you get an image which is reversible.

In this case the reversed pattern is discontinuous at the center. This is the same way the original pattern would have looked if you had used it as a texture in SketchUp without making it tileable.

Blending Mask

Radial mask.

Either a linear or a radial mask is applied to smooth and blend the two patterns.

Try both masks to see which has the best effect on your pattern.

Linear mask.

Blended Images

Blended image with radial mask.

Both blended images have imperfections. However, the original pattern was not very repeatable.

Blended image with linear mask.

Textures in SketchUp

Radial masked pattern being tiled in SketchUp

Although the original pattern was not very repeatable, the new patterns tile well in SketchUp.

Linear masked pattern being tiled in SketchUp

Make Tileable

Make Tileable

Make Tileable Wizard

Make Tileable is used to make a material sample repeat properly by either blending or mirroring.

How to use it

  1. Assign the material, as you normally do in SketchUp.
  2. Righ-Click on the face with the material, and select Make Tileable
  3. A dialog displays the material and tiling options. Select the appropriate option for the material.

Wood Grain Example

Here is an example of the new "Make Tileable" feature in IRender and SpaceDesign:

  1. You place the high-quality, but non tiled, material in SketchUp.
  2. You right click on a face with the material, and select "Make Tileable"
  3. We load a wizard which shows a tiled example of the material on the SketchUp face, and what it will look like using one of two tiling methods.

Original Texture and two Tiling mathods

  • The Current Tiled Preview shows what the "non-tileable" texture looks like when tiled.
  • The lower left one uses a special tiling algorithm. The image is modified to make it tileable by folding itself back in on itself. The texture itself is modified, but if it did not need to be precisely the same, this makes a nice tileable texture. The sample shows a 2 X 2 pattern so you can see the tiling in action.
  • The lower right frame shows a new texture made by "BookMatching" the original image. This is done by mirroring the texture in the X and Y direction. For many textures it works great, but for some it creates a pattern which is objectionable. The advantage of BookMatched is that the original texture remains intact, and is simply mirrored to make it tileable.

Here are renderings of a wood desk with the three tiling patterns:

Original Texture

Original Texture - tiling creates checkerboard effect.

Radiused Tiling Algorithm

Radiused - tiles nicely - but pattern is change somethat to make it tileable.

Bookmatched Tiling Algorithm

Bookmatched - swirl pattern is a result of the Book Matching.

Fabric Example

Here are two more examples created from HON fabric samples.

In this first example, the basic fabric does not tile well, and the Radiused Image does not help much. However, the BookMatched image works pretty well.


However, in this second example, the Radiused Image works best.


More Examples

Sketchy Textures

Wavy lines drawn in SketchUp with diagonal lines and a Sketchy Edge style

Here we took an image of lines with Sketchy Edges and turned it into a tileable pattern.

Not much change was needed because the lines were fairly regular. Some Sketchy Edges change position and width more and would need this technique more.

Wavy lines run through Tileable Patterns. There is not much change - just enough to make the pattern repeatable.
New pattern applied to surfaces in SketchUp.


The Paul Bourke Texture Site has a lot of nice textures, but they are not all tileable. Now with SpaceDesign, you can make them tileable.

Original image - not tileable - since the left and right edges do not match.
Tileable image. It is not exactly the same, but at least it is tileable.
Tileable version placed in SketchUp


Grass texture - not really tileable
Grass texture - after processing by Tileable Textures.
The edges and corners are processed to make them tileable.
Tileable grass used as pattern in SketchUp

See also