Trouble with Sketchup and heightmaps

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Trouble with Sketchup and heightmaps

Postby TylerMac119 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:42 am

Lately I've been trying to up my track making abilities and thought that making a real track would be something cool to do so I was going to make an attempt at the Tomac compound in CO. I got as far as getting the area in sketchup, but when it came to making it into a heightmap I just couldn't get the ruby file to work in sketchup. I watched Alex Effertz's vid on youtube but no luck. If anyone may know what I'm doing wrong please tell me and give me advice. Thankyou :D
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Jakob Hubbard
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Re: Trouble with Sketchup and heightmaps

Postby Jakob Hubbard » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:22 am

If I'm not mistaken, sketchup did something stupid with their most recent updates with the whole heightmap thing. I'm not completely sure what it was but I remember people having this issue a while ago with sketchup.

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Re: Trouble with Sketchup and heightmaps

Postby ColtonD719 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:44 am

Unfortunately, Jakob is correct that SketchUp has been "updated" so that you have to have the Pro version to get terrain data, and even worse, the data is way lower resolution than it used to be. Basically, SketchUp is worthless for this now, IMO. Which sucks because it used to be pretty easy/good quality.

The only way I know of to get good quality terrain data now, aside from going out there with a drone, is using DEMs. There is some helpful discussion on it here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=8845

Beware, it can be confusing AF. Definitely read down the thread, especially Haggvist's posts.

First you have to find the DEM (height data) and ortho (satellite imagery) that covers the area where your track is located. I don't know about international sources, but for the US, the National Map is very useful: (Search for "Elevation Products (3DEP)" and "Imagery (NAIP)" in the area of your track.)

Download the highest resolution DEM and ortho available and open them in a program such as Microdem or QGIS (I use QGIS since it is available for Mac). In these programs, you should be able to align your height data and satellite image based on the coordinates embedded in the metadata of the files. Then, zoom in to the part of the map that you want to use in game, and export the height data as 16 or 32-bit grayscale, and export the satellite image as color. You can then open the images in Photoshop/GIMP and convert the grayscale to 16-bit (if it's not already), and proceed to work on them as normal.

Once I get a better grasp of exporting things from QGIS I'd like to make a more detailed tutorial, but I haven't quite learned it 100% yet.

Hope that helps! Unfortunately since the new SketchUp it's a way more complicated process, but definitely still possible.

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