Want to know how to make terrain in Sketchup, to visualize real-life with 3D terrain models? This tutorial will show you how, using Plex-Earth's Imagery and Contour data.
Plex-Earth offers worldwide elevation data, from providers like Cesium and AWS, as well as high-quality satellite and aerial Images from a great range of providers like Google Maps and Nearmap, which can be helpful for your SketchUp 3D models.
This can be achieved in a few simple steps:
Step 1. Georeference your drawing
Firstly, you will need to georeference your drawing. You can do so, by using one of the two available options provided by Plex-Earth. In case you have an already georeferenced drawing via AutoCAD, Plex-Earth automatically recognizes the coordinate system applied, so you can instantly move further and proceed with creating a mosaic image.
Step 2. Import a Satellite Mosaic Image
To Import an Imagery Mosaic, go to the respective button located in the Imagery panel of the Plex-Earth's ribbon, specify the preferred Imagery Provider & Image Quality, specify the Imagery cover area, and capture the images. Click this link for more info on how to Import Imagery.
Step 3. Insert Raster Image
The next step will be to create a local copy of the Imagery so that this can, later on, be imported into SketchUp. To do so, just use the "Insert" command of the Mosaic Editor, and your Raster Image will automatically be saved on your computer. Visit this link on how to insert a raster image.
Step 4. Import Terrain Model
Now, you can proceed to Terrain import. To do this, go to Plex-Earth's Terrain panel and select "Import Terrain". Click this link for detailed information, regarding the procedure of importing a terrain model.
Step 5. Insert Contour Data
After importing the terrain model, we will need to insert polyline contour lines from it, to use for the 3D Terrain model creation in Sketch-Up. Check in the link here on how to insert contours.
Step 6. Import Satellite Imagery and Contour data in SketchUp
And the time has come to import our previously saved drawing, which contains Plex-Earth's high-quality Imagery and Contour data. To proceed with this step you will need to Open SketchUp, on a new or an existing project, and from the menu bar select, "File", and then "Import", to insert your drawing.
Note: Κeep in mind that the maximum size of an image that can be imported into SketchUp has to be no larger than 1024 x 1024 pixels. If you use an image that exceeds the maximum, SketchUp automatically downsizes the file using a medium-quality sampling mechanism.
Step 7. Create a SketchUp surface from your contours
Since you have imported Plex-Earth's contour polylines, you will now need to create a surface by using these contours, in order to, later on, bring the realistic 3D terrain to life. The method to create your surface, after first selecting all the contour polylines, is by using SketchUp's command "Sandbox".
Step 8. Make a projection of Plex-Earth Imagery on SketchUp's surface
Finally, to create your 3D terrain model, you will need to use the imported Imagery created with Plex-Earth and make a projection of it on your previously created surface.
The first step will be to "Explode" your Imagery so that it can be recognized as material from SketchUp. Following, move your Imagery on top of your surface and make sure that on "Texture", the option "Projected" is ticked, by right-clicking on your Imagery. Then click on "Sample Paint" and select the Imagery. Lastly, double-click on your surface to select it and use the "Paint Bucket" to project the Imagery as material on it.
And here you have it, a 3D Terrain in SketchUp with the help of Plex-Earth's Imagery and Contour data.
So, now that you have your realistic 3D surface created, you can proceed in placing the 3D elements of your choice and visualize them on Plex-Earth's real-life Terrain, as in the example below.
Plex-Earth 5D is the go-to tool for the optimal visualization of your SketchUp 3D models, so that you have everything you need, with a few easy steps.
We hope that you have found this tutorial on how to create 3D Terrain in SketchUp using Plex-Earth Image and Contour data helpful. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions you may still have.
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