Aerial site view with Google earth image and SketchUp model


I want to place my SketchUp model of several new buildings on a city block. I got an aerial/bird’s eye view using Google earth of the real life City Block. (sort of an isometric view). Is it best to do this in SketchUp or Photoshop? I already used geo-locate in Sketchup to get the block sketched in fairly accurately. Can I import a Jpeg of the camera view into Photoshop, and then superimpose the SketchUp model at approx. the same location?

Or, is it better to bring the photoimage from google earth into SketchUp, and maybe use a texture map to locate it and stretch pins to corner of block? -I tried this and got totally lost


You want to do a composition of a rendered 3d model on a background image of the scene. To do that you need that the perspective of the 3d model matches the perspective of the 2d background image. This can be achieved by adjusting the camera perspective in SketchUp. Or – when the background image hasn’t been created yet – by adjusting the point of view from where you take the background photo.

The general way is to import the 2d image into SketchUp and use SketchUp’s photo match feature to set up the camera perspective in SketchUp (see on Youtube). You can then either directly export an image of the current view in SketchUp – with the model composed over the image – or render the model only and compose it later in post production (in an image editor like Photoshop).

In this case, the easiest way is to export the 3d model as .kmz file (using SketchUp’s File → Export) and open the model in Google Earth. The you can navigate around, choose your perspective and take a screenshot. A problem is that new cities in Google Earth don’t allow to hide individual buildings. Your model may intersect or be hidden by existing buildings.

Another way if you have saved the camera perspective as a scene in SketchUp is to export the scene’s camera into .kmz format using a plugin, open that in Google Earth and take a screenshot of that scene, then compose it with a rendering of the model.



So I just saw your response. I did not know about the .KMZ files, so I took an old SketchUp model of a house I had done, I exported it as a .KMZ and then tried to place it in Madison Wisconsin. Instead Google earth quickly flew to Boulder Colorado and placed the house in the middle of Pearl and 10th Streets. I hope I haven’t ruined everybodies image of that location!

What I actually need to do is import an oblique aerial view of a site from Google earth into SketchUp, using Photomatch. I can do this. Then I place my SketchUp building model on the site at the origin–which I can also do now. But what I want are more Google Earth images that show the adjacent buildings in 3D at the angle–not the strange miss-shaped SketchUp buildings and trees–just a real angled bird’s eye view as you would see it in a real aerial photo. I have seen renderings/SketchUp drawings where images like this are used. I tried looking in the “historical images” in google earth, and could not find this type of view.


Google search new York skyline 2018, and tell me if that’s what you’re looking for. The easiest solution is to build your model to real dimensions and properly Geo locate them and import into google earth. From there, you can export images or videos.