Exporting "Location Snapshot" as a large image file, editing it, then re-importing and applying to "Location Terrain"?

My ultimate goal here is to take a section of geo-located farm fields in SketchUp and retexture them from barren dirt to green grass, as well as add a gravel road, in order to use Twilight Render to create a more photorealistic view of a potential construction project. I think I want to do this by retexturing the ground, and hopefully to a higher resolution in certain areas.

I have used the Geo-location function and repeatedly used “Add More Imagery” to create a large area of terrain consisting of 20+ sections/textures. The file is nearly 500 mb and consist of a lot of sections; Unfortunately, the scale of the construction project requires both this scale (in terms of area covered) and resolution (in order to approximate terrain heights). I would like to export the satellite imagery (the full “Location Snapshot”) as one large image, edit it in Photoshop, then apply this edited texture onto the terrain mesh (the “Location Terrain”). Can anyone offer any assistance?

The closest solution I have found is to select the Location Snapshot, show hidden geometry, select each section individually, then context click Combine Textures. This creates a new material out of the combined textures, but this new material appears to be of significantly lower resolution than any of the sources, and I need to maintain or even increase the resolution.

Update with potential solution:

Remaining problem: Exported “Location Snapshot” is of significantly lower quality than desired, which effects the final edited terrain image.

I had limited success with the following steps (RESULT: Projects photoshop edited terrain texture onto existing Location Terrain, but source is of low quality)

  • Used this mostly: Projecting image over terrain - #7 by Geo
  • Took Location Snapshot texture, showed hidden geometry, selected each section individually, right clicked, Combine Texture. This output a single combined texture of the Location Snapshot (what I wanted!) that was of significantly lower quality than the source imagery (not what I wanted!).
  • Took this saved .jpg, scaled it up in GIMP/Photoshop, edited the texture as necessary, and saved a new .jpg.
  • In SketchUp, duplicated the Location Snapshot plane by ctrl+moving up above the existing Location Terrain. Right clicked, made texture unique. Edited this new texture/material, replaced it with the higher resolution edited texture I made.
  • Projected the image down onto the location terrain: Hid hidden geometry, double clicked Location Terrain to make it ‘editable’ and it grayed out the flat plane with the desired texture above it, used the paint tool to sample the gray texture and apply it to the mesh terrain anyway.

Your process sounds similar to what we posted this week on our YT channel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyNt1Flw_iU

Wow, I wish I had found your video earlier today, it would have saved me HOURS of work, lol. Of course, with it being so new, it did not show up in any of my searches! I learned a few things from this video, like setting my default image editor to Photoshop.

At 4:30, you click Combine Textures, and explicitly discuss the exact problem that I’ve having: Image quality loss.

I don’t think that this quality loss is acceptable under most conditions. If someone needs to edit the texture of the terrain, then they probably care about the fidelity of that image. This seems like a fundamental flaw in SketchUp to me. I’ve been at this for far too long today and need a mental break, but when I dive back in, I’m going to see if I can write some scripts that let me export the .dae and original quality textures, piece them together, edit that, then rotates it to match the “combine textures” rotation angle. I think that I’ll lose fidelity trying to load the high quality image back into SketchUp though, but I think I ran across an extension earlier today that will load in high quality images in chunks, and then THOSE can be projected down onto the terrain. Overall though, this is a painful process. I would love to hear any suggestions or workarounds you may have!

I understand your frustration in having to choose either a large area with lower quality image(s) or smaller area with higher quality. SketchUp has a default ‘maximum texture resolution’ so it’s not just this terrain example that it applies to.

The only work arounds I can suggest are:

  1. to decide if you need high resolution everywhere. If not, you can separate and ‘project’ a portion of the terrain where you need higher to show up. See example where I have two image imports - one high, one low…I Drape or intersect the boundary of the higher res image onto the lower res terrain…then sample and bucket the higher res image.

Here you can see that there is a different texture in just this area:

Compare the difference:

  1. I can’t speak to Twighlight render but V-Ray allows you to repath materials to external files - thus bypassing SketchUp’s native resolution limit. See example where I bring in a high res image from GE…and paint the terrain with that image. Note the large area at 4.5 miles long:

The path to the actual file is external:

When rendered…note the difference in quality. The image could be higher res from Google Earth if I took the time to zoom in, export multiple and then tile. But you get the idea:

To elaborate on Eric’s post. Yes you can swap textures in Twilight without having to actually apply it to your model. See my screenshot. Hope it makes sense. Only comment is I hope you have a lot of ram. Twilight can eat it up when processing really large texture images. It doesn’t change the texture in the SU model it just “looks” at the hi res texture for rendering.

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