How to Create a Transparent Sketchup PNG

Featured Image_Sketchup PNG

Use this simple hack to save yourself an extra step and export transparent PNGs directly from Sketchup! You may use Sketchup PNGs to add your image onto different backgrounds, experiment with paint colors, or to create a fun collage.

My default, if you export your current model as a 2D PNG image you will notice that the ground plane is be transparent, but the sky is not. You can delete the unwanted background in Photoshop, but why give yourself an extra step? Follow these steps and you can have a transparent Sketchup PNG right from the start!

Exporting a Sketchup PNG

Open a model in Sketchup that you want to save with a transparent background. You can use a model you already have or download one from the 3D Warehouse. We chose a simple living room set up with some picture frames above the sofa. I like this one because it has objects hanging on the wall. This will make it easy to visualize where planes will meet if you want to experiment with different wall or floor planes in Photoshop.

Sketchup PNG model

Export Settings. Once you have a model open in Sketchup, open the 2D graphic window. Do this by navigating to File > Export > 2D graphic. Click on the “options” button in the lower right corner next to “export.” The “extended export image options” window will appear. Under the rendering options, make sure you have “transparent background” and “anti-alias” selected. Close the window.

Sketchup PNG 2D Graphic Window

Showing the default tray. If you do not already have the default tray open, you can open it by navigating to window > default tray and selecting “show tray.” Once the tray is open, click on the “styles” tab and then select “edit.” Under background, you will notice that “sky” is probably selected. This is why the sky will show up if you were to export your current file as a 2D graphic. To avoid this, simply uncheck the “sky” and “ground” boxes and you will have a transparent background.

Sketchup PNG Default Tray

Exporting the PNG. To export your image with a transparent background, navigate to file > export and select 2D graphic. Rename the file if you choose and then select “export.” If you open the Sketchup PNG in Photoshop, you will see that there is now a transparent background and you can add whatever color or background you want without having to take the time to delete an existing background.

Sketchup PNG Export Window

With this simple hack you won’t have to worry about spending extra time in Photoshop to delete backgrounds. Just a few clicks in Sketchup and you have a transparent Sketchup PNG ready to go! Looking for more Sketchup tips and tricks? Check out our favorites here!

Sketchup PNG in Photoshop

What kind of projects do you use transparent PNGs for? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Hacking!


  1. karlmistos May 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely share this with my classmates at de la salle zobel.

  2. classboat01 October 17, 2018 at 7:37 am #

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  3. mikemoreno September 5, 2018 at 3:48 am #

    thank you very much, verry helpfull…

  4. jogesh12345 August 14, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    Very effective and informative article.Thanks for sharing such an important tutorial.

  5. FLMIMA August 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Really helpful website

  6. Rumi July 15, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.

  7. RJennings April 28, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you for this website. The practice questions are helpful.

  8. Scott March 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Taking this test on Saturday. Last 4.0 exam to complete for the trio, then on to 5.0. This site is my go-to place when organizing what materials I’ll be studying

  9. shozab January 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi , very good article.

    thanks for sharing, keep up the good work

  10. dyba January 27, 2018 at 1:08 am #

    Good advice. Best of luck to all!

  11. KendraShirley January 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    This is my favorite site for practicing for my tests! Great advise and super helpful.

  12. reximagetrim January 16, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Nice post to read. A complete guide that can help all of us.

  13. tylerstockholm December 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Nice one… very helpful! Thanks!!!

  14. Aartiwalvekar November 21, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Nice post

  15. Aartiwalvekar October 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Great post!

  16. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  17. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  18. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  19. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  20. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  21. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  22. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  23. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #


    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.


  24. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  25. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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