Emissive Materials in SketchUp: How they differ from Artificial Lighting

Adding emissive materials to your SketchUp projects is an excellent way to make something glow and create light. Both emissive materials and artificial lights can provide benefits and drawbacks; it is sometimes hard to decide when to use one. Adding realism to your image can be achieved by understanding when and how to use different types of lighting.

You can assign any shape and even add a texture to an emissive material, transforming it into a glowing light source. Thus, emissive materials enable a tremendous amount of creativity.

These lights are commonly used on LCD or computer screens, brake lights on a car, or exit signs, where they should appear to glow. It is also possible to use self-illuminating emissive materials when artificial lighting isn't feasible. For example, you can create recessed ceiling lighting with these materials.

Define Emissive Materials

Material emitting light across its surface defines as emissive. Depending on the amount of intensity you set, an emissive material can illuminate an area around its glow. When you use an emissive material in a scene, it renders as a visible light source. Emitting materials are useful for creating complex shapes, which is one of their principal advantages.

Emissive Materials Uses in SketchUp

The pickup tool allows you to select the texture on the screen. This feature is available in Enscape Materials Editor under the albedo section. The screen will glow once you enable Self Illumination.

It is probably not necessary to have the brightness so high that it reflects all the light from the room. Just make it bright enough to emit a visible glow. The emitted light can adjust to fit the situation based on the color.

Difference between Emissive & Artificial


Especially if it is bright and small, diffuse light can be extremely noisy. If possible, choose a point or an area of light whose artificial light is virtually noiseless in these situations.


Materials emit their light cast fuzzier, very blurry shadows. Consider using a spotlight instead if you want a sharp, clear distinction between light and dark.

Size & Shape

There is no limit to the dimensions or shapes of the geometry for the use of emissive materials. Your creativity has virtually no limits. The shapes and sizes of artificial lights differ, however.

Light Level Adjustments

In the Advanced tab of the Enscape Settings menu, you can adjust the Light Brightness slider to make your artificial lights collectively brighter or to make them all off. Emissive materials can't be dimmed or turned off from this setting: to do so, you must adjust the materials' settings individually.

Bounce Light

A luminous source that emits emissive material has one fewer bounce than an artificial light source. Light cannot bounce around many corners when it blocks by this barrier. As a result, artificial lights are brighter than natural ones.


A camera may seem to dim the light from emissive materials when the light source is not directly visible. In some situations, the light emitted from the light source disappears along with the light emitted from the camera. It is always possible to see the light cast by artificial lights.


To create a particular ambiance or effect, you can incorporate color into your artificial light. In addition to illuminating a color, an emissive material can also illuminate any surface so you can use your imagination freely.


Material that emits light and shows where the light is coming from is said to be emissive material. You can only see the light emitted by artificial lights, not its source in the form of an identifiable point or shape.


You may experience performance issues even if you have the best graphics card on the market. You can improve the performance of your project by using emissive materials instead of artificial light sources.

Final Thoughts

The use of reflective materials can add realism to your project and serve many purposes. The application process is easy, and it can customize. You can easily add eye-catching elements to your project with emissive materials and LED lighting that will make your screens glow and capture the imagination of your audience.

To learn more, watch the following video tutorial.

Video Source: ER Art

When you present to a client, you're not simply showing the project. You're creating an atmosphere in which they can imagine themselves. Emitting materials make creating this world faster and less time-consuming.

When you find the right balance between emissive materials and artificial light, you can generate the interest of your client and turn their project into a reality. To achieve the desired effect, you have to know when to use which type of light. Consider which type of light is best for you, and you'll blow them away.

Emissive Materials in SketchUp: How they differ from Artificial Lighting