How do you take a real life picture like a live edge slab and make it 3-D



I want to be able to use google sketchup to make mock renderings of live edge slabs. Would anyone be able to figure out how to outline a image with a transparent background and trace around it and then make it 3-d.

I’ll put a example of what i mean in the post

something like a 2d version of this to this as the final product

greatly appreciated john


You might take a look at this article:


see i tried the image trimmer plugin and it did not work


Another approach … I modified your photo to have a frame and saved it as a color BMP file:

Importing it into SketchUp with BMP Tracer:

Deleting the white border:

Importing the original image:

And then exploding it and applying it as a texture:

This leaves the image a little ragged along the edges so an offset is used to remove a little of the perimeter:

Add a little thickness:

The model: slab.skp (692.3 KB)

The plugin can be downloaded from here:


hey jimhami thanks for taking the time for figuring this out

i tried your method and used the picture you made turned it into a BMP file in photoshop. I then imported it in sketchup i then used the bmp tracer like you did and it did nothing exept generate a triangle shape. I ll keep trying but maybe youll be able to figure it out why its not working for me


The algorithm for the tracer requires that the image you want to trace cannot touch the edges of the image. Hence the black border around the outside. By using a paint fill, you can then fill the area between the black border and the slab with white. When the tracer is told to look for only white pixels (255,255,255), it creates a profile around the outside and another one around the inside. The inside profile is the one you want. Also, the import uses pixels as units. If you are using inches, this may be 2,000 by 2,000 inches as a result. You may need to zoom extents to see the complete results.

As @DaveR noted, regardless of how you trim the image, you will get a much more realistic result if you start with an image that is square on to the face. Having some sample edge images help add to the realism.


well i have tried using the same picture as the one u used but it generated nothing. here is a 2d version ive tried with the image trimmer

but still it doesn’t work either for me.


I cleaned up the image a little in MS Paint … then I used the same process:

Here’s a quick render:

BTW, I also used the Follow-Me tool to add a radius to the edges:


first off thank you very much jimhami42 for all the effort you put into this endevor

I finally got bmp tracer working it had something to do with java extension.

the only thing i am having trouble with is puting the original image back on as a texture whan you did yours it followed the grain and everthing how exactly did you do that.

also what type of program are you using to render the final sketchup


There are a number of ways to deal with textures. In this case, I used an image that was 792 x 2162 pixels. Using an inch model, this creates the geometry at the same pixel:inch ratio. If you import the photo as an image and locate it at the origin, you can stretch it using the Scale tool and specify the inches for X and Y. Then you can explode the image and use the eyedropper to make it a material and apply it:

I used KerkyThea (it’s free).


An unintended side-effect of your woodgrain question:

(The letters are textured with your second photo)


thanks jim you are awsome you went out of your way and above and beyond to help me thank you and merry christmas to you