SketchUp as a hobby

I’ve been looking at ways to import raw terrain data into SketchUp. My first attempt at a 1-deg x 1-deg GridFloat import using 90,000 c-points as a point cloud:


Boulder area:

Looking west toward the foothills of the Rockies:


I have an acquaintance that likes to run (a lot). They have an app on their phone which tracks their run using GPS co-ordinates and then they upload it to their fitness site. Using this data and the NED dataset for the mountains in which they like to run, I created a 3D model of their trail. The model covers about 8.5 km x 5.5 km terrain and has been scaled down to 5.8" x 4.4" for printing.

Google Earth view:

SketchUp model:

Ready for printing in full-color sandstone:

[added] Crown King 50K Run


Tracing would be difficult, yes. Would it be easier to use the eraser and erase the internal lines?

Scenes in Sketchup?.. now you’ve gone and done it… I have to go do research…

I had this printed in what Shapeways calls Full Color Sandstone (it’s 5.000" x 2.913" x 0.511"):

The colors are lightened by the white gypsum “bleeding through” (I’ve tried to compensate for this in the past, but the colors are not consistent from order to order so I don’t usually worry about it anymore).

The model is in the 3D Warehouse:

[The actual terrain is about 45 kilometers by 25 kilometers]


I’ve been wondering about making stereo images for Google Cardboard and other phone-based VR viewers. I made a couple of images that are 1920 x 1080 which contain a left and right view side-by-side. When I shrink them down on the screen so that the centers are about 50mm or so, I’m able to stare at them and “merge” them into a 3D view (albeit a very tiny one). I was wondering if anyone has a viewer that they can test how these look in one of them?

25 degree field of view:

30 degree field of view:

1 Like

By stareing at them i found that the 25 degree FOV was easier (for me at least) to see in 3D. Around 65mm inbetween makes it easier for the naked eye, I guess. I don’t have a viewer, sorry to say.

I looked up the range of human interocular distances and used 50mm as a low number. However, it looks like Google Cardboard uses 63.9mm, which is closer to what you found. I created the images based on eyes that were 2" apart … I think I’ll go back and redo them using 63.9mm instead.

I’ve used around 65mm in the passed when taking 3D pictures, even for objects not that close by. Later I noticed/read that to get better depth i.e. 3D for say landscapes or things further away (mountains or clouds) one needs to increase the distance between points of view.

P.s. for viewing though around 65mm, or as you say 63.9mm, is necessary when not using special viewers.

For traditional stereo images for viewing with those red/blue glasses see
The page has a link to that has an old but still handy 3D image maker for download.

Random use of the Follow Me tool …


Starting with some free clip-art I found on the web (4496 x 5200):

I used BMP Tracer to import the outlines into SketchUp:

Deleting un-needed faces:

Extruding and intersecting with an oval cylinder:


cat.skp (559.6 KB)


At the risk of re-inventing the wheel, I came up with a simple plugin that allows you to wrap any supported image type around a cylinder. For example, using this copyrighted image from the web to make a beer can:

The plugin is here if you want to play with it.


An excellent little plugin, thanks.

I created a panorama on the inside of a cylinder and set the opacity of the outside to 0%:

I then added a 360 animation and captured the central portion of it here:

panorama.skp (1.2 MB)


I’ve modified the plugin to create cones as well. Originally I had used the four-point rectangles for the image mapping, but they resulted in a perspective distortion; i.e., I want this:

But I get this instead:

This is documented (hence known) behavior. By triangulating everything and mapping the image to the triangles, I get something closer to what I want. By subdividing the cone into multiple levels, it approaches the acceptable:

I’ve updated the plugin here … the model is attached here: cones.skp (873.7 KB)

[added] Since a disk is simply a flattened cylinder, text can be easily wrapped around a circle by mapping to a disk using this image (for example):

and these settings:


[more added]

By mapping to the opposite side you can reverse the wrapping direction:


You’re hiding your wares under a bushel, you make great plugins and I’d suggest you post them as separate threads, people tend to stop reading familiar threads.
I’d also say post them at sketchucation and become part of their plugin store.

1 Like

Moi aussi!

Thanks for the kind words, @Box … as I’ve indicated before in this thread, puttering with code is one of my hobbies, especially where math and geometry are involved. I like mixing and matching the nuts and bolts that makes things go, but I’ve never been very good at making things user-friendly. Functional, yes. Pretty, no.

On another note (as you may have already expected), I also wrote a plugin to map an image to a sphere (once again, I’m probably re-inventing the wheel). Here’s a video where I mapped to both front and back with an alpha channel image:

The new plugin is here.

[added] Something I’ve wanted to make for a long time …