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Adding color to your Earth snapshots

With a little effort, you can substitute a higher-resolution, color image for the black and white snapshot that appears when you import context into SketchUp from Google Earth. It's a nice way to get started when you're building geolocated models. Here's a video that explains the process, and a step-by-step procedure, just in case you want to file it away for later.

  1. In Google Earth, frame the view you want to send to SketchUp. Be sure to hit the "R" key on your keyboard to orient your view to North, and to make sure you're "looking" straight down at the ground.
  2. Choose File > Save > Save Image to save a color JPEG of your view in Google Earth.
  3. In a new SketchUp file, choose Tools > Google Earth > Get Current View to import what you see in Google Earth into your SketchUp modeling window.
  4. Right-click on your black and white "snapshot" and choose Unlock from the context menu.
  5. Choose View > Hidden Geometry to make the edges of your snapshot visible as dotted lines.
  6. Double-click on your unlocked snapshot to begin editing it, then single-click on it to select it.
  7. Choose File > Import to open the Import dialog box.
  8. Find the color JPEG you saved in Step 2, make sure "Use As Texture" is selected, and click Import.
  9. Apply the color image from Google Earth to your black and white snapshot as a texture. To do this, click on the corner of the black and white snapshot that corresponds to the corner of the color image which is attached to your cursor, then click on the corner diagonally opposite the first.
  10. Right-click on the color image texture you just applied and choose Texture > Position from the context menu.
  11. If you see four yellow pins at the corners of the image, skip the rest of this step. If the pins are different colors, right-click on the image and deselect "Fixed Pins" in the context menu.
  12. Click and drag each yellow pin to the precise corner of the rectangle to which the image texture is applied. Most likely, the only two pins you need to move are the ones you didn't "place" in Step 9.
  13. Right-click on your image and choose "Done" from the context menu.
  14. Right-click on your image again, and choose "Projected" from the context menu.
  15. Double-click elsewhere in your modeling window to stop editing your image texture.
  16. Right-click on your snapshot and choose "Lock" from the context menu.
  17. Outline the roof of the structure you want to model, creating a face.
  18. With the Paint Bucket tool, Alt-Click (Command-click on a Mac) on the (now colored) snapshot to sample the texture, then click on the face you drew in the previous step to paint it.
  19. Push/pull the face you just created into a 3D form. At this point, you'll probably want to paint the sides of your form with a less distracting texture. (I suggest a lovely beige.)

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key said...

super!!! ;):)

Anonymous said...

This is awesome!

Carmelo Lisciotto

Anonymous said...

great video!

Anonymous said...

why doesnt google just figure a way to import in color? seems like a lot of work for a simple task. @last, where be thee??

Anonymous said...

I've also wondered why there isn't a color option for Earth image import. Seems a gross oversight...

Anonymous said...

There is one flaw in this, when you turn topography on with the toggle option the image converts back to black and white, does anyone know how to keep this from occuring

dwdinrolla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dwdinrolla said...

Searching for how to colorize the Terrain layer led me to an even easier way to colorize the Snapshot layer: replace the texture image on the "Google Earth Snapshot" material created by Get Current View.

Save a JPEG and import the current view as before. Then open the Materials Browser, and edit Google Earth Snapshot material. Click the Open button next to the texture image file name, and replace the texture image with your downloaded JPEG. Make sure the image size is set to 1" in both directions, unchaining the Dimensions if needed.

Done. Your downloaded image is now applied to both the Google Earth Snapshot layer and the Google Earth Terrain layer.

Martin said...

Good Job! :)

Rosie said...

This is a great site. Thank you for your information. I THANK YOU I SALUTE YOU IT,S A AMZING SITE.

Dick Stada said...

When I choose Place model, the colored terrain does not fit exactly on the GE surface. It is turned some 1.5 degrees. What can I do to fit it exactly?

This problem appears with my model of about 600 x 600 metres.

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