Wireframe in KMZ imports

I use Sketchup to plan solar installations, we have modeled our ground mounts and solar panels in Sketchup and use drones to acquire accurate images of the buildings. Now, we have advanced to using photogrammetry to produce 3D models of the buildings, which we export as KMZ files into Sketchup.
The imported models have a mesh of black wireframes. How can I hide those?


first go to view > edge style and uncheck profiles

then, enter your landscape group / component select all, right click and pick smooth. in the smooth panel check smooth coplanar and adjust smoothness

Well, that certainly made a huge difference!


What other files types can you export from your drone software?

OBJ to Sketchfab is working very well, but I don’t know what to do with the end result.

Which software are you using? Do you have an option to export Point Clouds?

Looks like I have that option

  • Textured 3D Model OBJ, MTL and JPG texture files. Dimensions in meters. (Opt In Only)
  • Textured 3D Model (small) 100k face version of the OBJ, MTL and JPG texture files. Point cloud information is in the OBJ file. Dimensions in meters.
  • Point Cloud XYZ RGB and LAS outputs for compatiblity with CAD and GIS software. (Opt In Only)
  • 3D KMZ 250k face Google Earth and SketchUp compatible 3D model.

I don’t use the meshes as much because they aren’t as accurate - but they do have a little better color. KMZ files can also be opened in Google Earth Pro but they don’t have as much utility for what I do.

Point clouds are more accurate, so if you want terrain or to copy buildings (draw them) they work better IMO. I usually bring PCs into SU. I just process for the meshes (either OBJ or FBX) for fun. They are like a non-buildable reference.

So, if you’re using meshes you could put something like a solar panels on the mesh to show a home owner what the project might look like. If you want to use the models to build from, the point clouds do a better job.


Point Cloud:



Point Cloud:


Point Cloud:



It’s more than just showing the client, we want to calculate how many panels fit on a roof.

You could get somewhat close with meshes and that may be all you need. Or, if no model is necessary, just photos with something(s) of a known length (8ft level) to scale to.

PCs are closer (excuse the poor modelling practices - this is older but is from the first example).

I started with drone photos, kmz output to sketch up is a huge improvement. The only issue is when there is a Bush where I want a ground mount, removing it opens a hole in the model. Other than that, it’s fantastic.

I usually fly ‘free flight’ oblique to get more details of the sides of (and beneath) structures. Sometimes that just doesn’t work out though.

Pix4D can create more outputs than those you mentioned. If you simultaneously generate an orthomosaic (or topology) you might be able to tuck that in/under a mesh or PC.

Lot’s of fun. I like getting As-Built models. I started bringing them into SU before I learned SU very well :^)

If you free fly the elevation shots, how do you set the camera angle? I think Mapsmadeeasy likes 45 degree camera angles to enhance 3D images, is there a way to set that?

I’ll do a free flight ‘grid’ or ‘grids’. As an example, I might start at 25ft. Aim camera. Fly sideways, rightward for 20ft while manually taking snapshots. Drop to 20ft, adjust camera angle, fly leftward 20ft back while taking photos. Drop, adjust camera, fly across while taking photos.

The elevations and distances are based on the size of what I’m trying to capture -could be way more than 25ft.

The camera angle is determined by what I need to see. 45 degrees is better than 90 degrees for getting the sides of structures (90 might get you holes under trees). But if you are lower because you want to get clearer shots under structures your camera angle could be a lot less. I don’t pay attention to the angle - I watch the camera viewer.

Left and right is determined by the ‘edge’ of what I’m trying to capture.

I’ll do flat grids, up or down, without turning. If I want more ‘surround’ I’ll turn/rotate the drone, then do another up/down grid. It’s way too tough to try to turn/rotate on any elevation. You’ll have a hard time trying to recreate the return flight path if you rotate. That’s why I do flat grids up/down, back and forth across.

I use DJI Fly or Pix4D Capture. If I recall, when setting up a flight pattern or grid, they both set the camera to nadir / 90 degrees / straight down. I do use that sometimes - usually for large area grabs. There may be a setting to change that to other camera angles - not sure. You could probably create flight plans/paths that would do vertically or with turns somewhat automatically. That’s not been useful for me.

Here are some examples of meshes I made (I just make them but don’t bring into SU):

JFD Corp (@JFDCorp) - Sketchfab

The models look very good, nice technique.
So then the question for me is, I do a model like your “The Big One”, and I want to show what a solar cap parking structure would look like, so I build it in SU. How do I combine the two in an accurate photo realistic way?

I called it “The Big One” because I used 1,000 images. Because, why not?

Not sure about, “Photo realistic”. Mesh models don’t look realistic to me. Point clouds look more realistic… but in a pointallism / transparent way.

If you want photorealism, maybe you could just take a photo and use it as a back drop?

Also, the number of triangles in meshes needed to make terrain look good is really high. Undet can extract terrain mesh… but it’ll crush your computer if you get lot of detail. But if you did extract a terrain, you might be able to paint it. Same with extracting building planes.

hmmm. Will you send an example project?

For me, all the models from photogrammetry are photorealistic, they are not drawings.
Here’s the project I started working on. I wanted to show the client what it would be like to have solar panels in her front yard. Everything is to scale so it works. I’m not saying its good, but it’s accurate.

What I mean about ‘accurate’ is that the triangles of the meshes usually aren’t aligned to and contained within flat surfaces. If these are working for you, good.

Will you share the SKP and OBJ (and whatever else) files?


Oops - I had Skimp… no longer. SKP with OBJ imported?