Terrain in SketchUp II


Continuing our discussion of how to work with terrain in Sketchup…

If you went to all the trouble of creating some terrain in Sketchup (see Part I), you either never want to hear the word “mesh” again, or you’re bound and determined to forge ahead. If it’s the latter, read on.

One big issue that comes up with terrain is how to merge different meshes. For instance, perhaps you’ve made some terrain from contour lines for a building site and want to knit it into some Google terrain to include the surrounding context. Or maybe you want to merge individual tiles of Google terrain.

If your views are fixed, you can try to hide the gaps between meshes without actually merging them using the Smoove tool. This will make them appear continuous from certain view points. But the only way to make the terrain look good from all angles is to roll up your sleeves and do some surgery. If the gaps are extreme (which they can be, especially when using low-res Google terrain), start by to bring things close together along the z-axis (again, Smoove comes in handy). Then delete the outside edges of either one or both pieces of terrain and start drawing triangles to connect the two. Triangles are your best friend.

Ady Leverette was a designer and a principal at Fat Pencil Studio between 2011 and 2018.