Making 2d models

I want to use my photos to create 2d people to inhabit models. I can cut the people out of a photo in Photoshop and make a .png file with transparent background, but how to I get them to always face forward in a model

Once you import your image in sketchup, explode it and then select it and make a component and choose Always face camera and also uncheck Shadows face sun.
But if you are using shadows in your render you should trace the outline of your figures because the shadow will be a square.

You could also use TIG’s Image Trimmer to automatically trace around the imported PNG of the figure, delete the transparent pixels and create a component. Then edit the component in the In Model components library to always face the camera.


DUH. I have never edited a component inside the Components toolbar .
Just remembered about the image trimmer- good one.

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A question I’ve always had (and just a curiosity):
I know that if I do the outline of the figure, will get a better finish. OK.
But if I leave square or rectangular could leave the performance of the best object, since there are fewer curves?
I mean in a scenario with many objects.

Every edge segment will increase the file size for the component and you might see a little bit of degraded performance but I doubt it would be much of a problem. The images are more likely to cause performance problems than those edges. You need to weigh the options and make the choice that’s right for the application. If rectangular shadows are acceptable in your model or you aren’t going to use shadows anyway, don’t bother trimming them.

I fully understand your comment.
In general I do scenarios where there are many trees and grass (not the option of choice, are really necessary), and it is always necessary to pay much attention to these points, because they are part of the scenery. And so part of the ultimate goal.
And thank you for your answer. :slight_smile:

If you are doing a direct Sketchup export, at least the near camera trees and plants needs to have these trimmed images. In the external renderers I believe the shadow will not be cast by the transparent area.

I understand, but the my problem is that I do to create in SketchUp and after necessary to transform them so that the other program (which will be used), the accepted properly. If it were only a rendering, would be calmer. But the problem is that the next program for interaction with the environment and other objects.

Henrique, you have to find a balance between level of detail and performance for your projects. One thing you might consider is using simple proxies while you are modeling which get replaced before exporting the images or whatever it is you need from the SketchUp file.

You can also use layers to turn off the visibility of entities you don’t need to see while you’re working. You might put trees on a layer that gets turned off while you’re working on the building in the middle of them.

Consider where you should invest in details and where you can save. For example, if you are only going to show the exterior of a building, you probably don’t need to draw in the duct work for the heating system. Adding that would negatively impact performance with no return on the investment. That’s an obvious example, of course but you can find other ways to apply that same thought process.

Yes, I understand the issue of layers and details.
Already a member for a long time and learned some great optimization techniques.

The problem itself is not the display mode on the Sket,
but this is easily solved with the hidden and not hidden layers.

What I really need is to optimize the objects. A good way is as you mentioned, realize the priority level of that object and thus their level of detail. And this is also true when choosing the textures to be applied.

For example:
if the object is just there to complement the scenery, I use a 256x256 texture without any problems.

Now, if I go to the front of a building of 20 floors and precise detailing … I’ll get a texture with better resolution. But preferably do not turn the file into something the end user can not open because it was so heavy.

Many colleagues send me their work for me to do a final review.
And when I open never surprised me, because I know that there will be multiple duplicate faces, unnecessary lines and the like. I do a good cleanup and the final file size decreases a lot.

thanks for rply-- a real newbie here- how do I “explode it”??

Right click on the image after it’s been imported (with Use as image selected) and choose Explode.

Thanks Dave- I can now explode and get the figure facing forward, but I tried trimming it with the freehand tool and came unstuck- if I try to erase the line, the figure goes too. Shadow doesn’t follow figure as I pan- is this too much to expect?

Are you following that gif step by step ?

Don’t erase the line. Hide it. Either select it, right click and choose Hide or hold Shift while running the Eraser tool over them.

It depends upon the shadow setting you make when you create the Face Camera component.

Here is an old blog post about making Face Me components


Thanks Chris-Another skill learned!!

Here’s my old tutorial as a SketchUp file. Click on the scene tabs to follow the steps.
making_a_man.skp (164.6 KB)