Model Terrain With Roads

hey guys i would like to know how is your workflow to create a environment model, with terrain and roads, i would like to make a model detailed but i have a complex topography

Hmm, complexity is a harsh mistress in the realm of SketchUp. Style over substance goes hand-in-hand with hiding crimes. If you’re serious about your topography, I can only direct you to the magical realm of VRay and Lumion. That’s where you get your detailed terrains and environments. I haven’t used either of them myself, but the results are nothing shy of breathtaking in the right hands.

As for the home court advantage, my method is extremely crude, time-consuming, and probably not worth the effort unless you’re also willing to go full Pro and brave the untamed wilderness of the Extensions market. Here’s a recent example I’ve been working on for a project: BrutalBenchone
As you can see, nothing special, and when I show you the “X-Ray” perspective, you may want to rethink your life choices, as I know I do far too often.

The breakdown in a nutshell.

  1. Make a grid (squares, hexes, triangles, etc.).
  2. Start grabbing points or edges.
  3. Give ‘em the ole’ heave-ho with the Move tool.
  4. Smooth or hide as necessary with the Eraser tool.

Like I said, there are better ways to do this, most involving Extensions. This is just my workflow, used very sparingly, and typically in conjunction with another program (like a 2D painting program, taking advantage of the PNG’s alpha channels and the perspective lines). Your best bet may be a divide-and-conquer strategy, one program for the vehicle, and another for the terrain.

Vali architects extensions are a godsend for roads on terrains

Well worth the investment if you are doing large site developments

40 hectare steep site with public and resort roads, colours map to Twinmotion for auto generation of soft landscaping types… eg grass

, pine forest, road verges etc

Twinmotion 2018 render, current TM is much more capable


Some good info guys, but the original poster hasn’t been around for a year.


ohhh :slight_smile:

How do you smooth out the Lumps, Bumps, Curves here and there when using the squares triangle and so on ? Using Erase leaves a Hole in things !
An can I pick out the spots to make taller or shorter ?

@lynne You can move points. With nothing selected, choose the move tool, click on a vertex and move it. Usually helpful to press the up arrow key to control or move to another snap point if that is the goal. “Vertex tools” is a help in this and many other functions involved in making terrain.

Also the Sandbox tools, and Artisan plugin can be good for smooth movement of multiple vertices.

i generally make terrains for building sites, so there are specific requirements and I use large simple forms at first to keep it clean and simple, and triangulate to be able do smoother manipulations. I often end up by using Artisan: “Flatten” or (to a lesser extent) "Smooth"settings in the sculpt tool to round down bumps This is OK for the smaller grading operations I do around buildings and I place them in a larger context created from suveys and Fredo’s Toposhaper. If you need to grade larger projects you may need some other “big guns” plugins.

Working point by point is slow but after a lot of practice not so bad especially for combining points and “stitching” new triangles.

The use of the eraser tool to soften edges is a standard SU function. I usually start with edges softened and using soften/smooth dialog box for this, but the eraser tool is fine for catching the odd hard line. Choose the tool and look at the tool tips at the bottom of the window. On Mac one presses the option key to soften edges.

I found Daneil Tal’s videos helpful to start with (he has some from Base Camp sessions)>

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Not unless you use the modifier keys like Ctrl, Alt, or Option depending on your platform of choice. That’s how you get the smooth and hide options.

An can I pick out the spots to make taller or shorter ?

I recommend hiding your lines and points first, then going in to smooth things out when you’re happy with the terrain. If you’ve got other objects in the scene with hidden parts, make your terrain into a group so that toggling the hide option on whatever else is in your scene leaves the terrain alone.