Help with Terrain and landscaping

Hi Guys,

*Update - Add detail tool may be able to help but it is leaving areas where it refuses to add further detail what would cause this have tried turning on hidden geometry etc.

I am a track designer/builder in NZ over the space of a couple weeks I’ve taught myself the basics of Sketchup. Currently I am struggling with some of the shapes involved in what I do creating berms that look a bit nicer etc. Most of the issues I am facing have to do with the fact that I am either working with the land or excavating and it would seem Sketchup always wants there to be a flat surface to build on the way you would build a house.

I have created a small loop trail on top of Terrain that I have set a geo location to and then given volume. I have tried extruding the section through the terrain intersect edges and then delete but it doesn’t seem to work for what I am trying to achieve.

Essentially they are two curved surfaces that go below ground level and back up to ground level. I have also tried using the smooth tool to manipulate the area around them but it doesn’t seem to be accurate enough so I end up with a hollow around the shapes that I want exposed.

I also somehow keep managing to make the Pro app crash I’m running a surface pro 7 this should have enough grunt so I am wondering if I am doing something wrong with the way I am modelling things potentially?

Any help or useful tips appreciated I can see this is a very powerful tool to be using and that once I understand it better it will help me greatly with material quantities etc as well.

It would help if you showed us some images of what you are trying to do and attach an example model so we can see what you are working with.

By crash do you actually mean it shuts down and bug splats or do you just mean it seems to freeze and says ‘Not Responding’?
The Surface series are not all that capable when it comes to sketchup, some of them won’t run it at all. Your Iris will but it is limited, and if you are working with landscape that can be particularly troublesome.

Multiple Bug splats but there never seems to be a pattern to it just when it feels like it.

The model so far I’ve opened one area up to show the shaping from the model that I want but the other section clicking add detail does nothing like its a void in the mesh.

** I went and had lunch came back clicked add detail again just to see and for some reason it worked not exactly the way I wanted it to but close enough.

How can we define areas that we want to add shaping to that don’t
conform to exact triangles or is this not possible because of the way Sketchup creates terrain maps etc?

I’m still not getting what you are asking but,
You can intersect things with the terrain to create separate sections that you can manipulate in many ways.

You are using SketchUp 2021.1, and yesterday we released 2021.1.1. One of the things that it fixed was an issue with certain extensions, which did include LordOfTheToolbars. I see that one of your earlier bugsplats happened when installing that extension.

It would be worth trying the update, and see if any of the crashing issues that were fixed will help in your case.

Here is the Windows installer for the new version:

Windows SketchUp 2021.1.1

Here’s a list of the changes:

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I tried that technique but there are multiple layers because the land contours.

I have found that works quite well if the terrain is relatively flat but as soon as the geometry gets to complex or I’m dealing with a lot of different variations and changes then it doesn’t work so well.

Downloading the update now Colin will let you know how it goes if it makes the program a little more stable that alone would help a lot. Thanks for letting me know.

Ok so both sections are removed so the model fits in with the terrain.

It has left these ugly lines though which I can’t seem to remove and the the volume of the model is still not being subtracted from the terrain. Also before anyone says use stamp that left a hell of a mess last time I tried it. I know what they are separately so its fine but it would be good to know how to do this kind of shaping and get accurate differences in volume to know how much spoil to cart etc when doing larger projects involving a lot of excavation and shaping.

@Box @colin

You still need to give us more than some murky images to be able to really help you. We need a model so we can see what you have.

Having said that I don’t have any more time for now to continue with this but by supplying enough to go on someone else may be able to give you some instruction.
I think you need to get more familiar with the fundamentals before you can fully understand how you would work with complex terrains.
Have you spent any time at the Campus.

Tig has an Extension (not free but does have a trial) called CutNFill which I think will help with what you want.

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Final Draftv.5.skp (3.9 MB)

Thanks Box I have been trying to teach myself quickly so have been going back and fourth from Campus. I usually find doing things is the best way for me to learn.

First of all, it is useful that the shapes you create are made as correctly and simple as possible, with reference to that ‘3D loop’ and the terrain.
In order to use Solid Tools, you need to create your shapes as solid groups. Neither the terrain nor the 3D loop were solid groups in your model.


I redrawn the original shape of the terrain. It’s not necessary to use the whole terrain, you can only use an area of it, the one that interests you.
I split the shape of the 3D loop in two and draw it horizontally. Same with the path.
Then I used the ShapeBender plugin for the ‘3D loop’ to follow the path.

I joined the two parts and created the intermediate (horizontal) shape of the loop.

With that one, using the Flowify plugin, I ‘molded’ it on the terrain configuration.


With the 3D loop and the terrain, both solid groups, you can now use Solid Tools to intersect, subtract or whatever you want to get from them.

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@mihai.s How did you make it solid so quickly? I kept trying for a few hours and it would not form up due to double-ups or stray edges / faces, eventually I gave up :relaxed:

Also the two faces you covered with the half circle underneath they are actually dips to be excavated so it that just to help make it a solid and then remove that face after using Flowify?

Campus is great but are there any other online resources that I should be looking into to make my workflow better and improve my sketchup knowledge?

Hi Danniel,

I already showed you, I split the ‘3D loop’ shape in two and I drew it horizontally in a straight line, then I curved it using Shape Bender before using Flowify.

Take a look at the model* I drew to get an idea of how I made it -
3Dloop-v2(SU 2017).skp (6.1 MB)
*the model is only for this mini-tutorial, for your work it is necessary to create your 3D loop shape at the exact dimensions you have.

Learn about what a solid group is in SketchUp and how to use it with Solid Tools. Once you have created the solid groups you need, using Solid Tools (I used BoolTools2), you can find out information about the volume excavated or added.


You can find tutorials/informations about SketchUp by searching in the Forum, on Youtube or Google.

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