Importing images from Google Earth into form•Z

It is sometimes convenient to save an aerial image from the Google Earth application and to map it onto a flat polygon in form•Z. Here is how the complete process works:

• Run Google Earth and select the desired view. Press the U key shortcut to make sure that it is a top view (and the camera is vertical).


• Choose Save: Save Image from the File menu and save the file.


• From the Tools menu, select Ruler and measure the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the screen.


Edit Texture.jpgGoogle Earth Ruler.

• In form•Z, draw a rectangle that matches this size by clicking anywhere to start drawing and entering the dimensions in the Input palette at the top of the screen. Press enter or return to complete the rectangle.


• Edit the current Material, set the Color to Texture, and load the image you saved from Google Earth.


• Get the Edit Texture tool (from the Attributes suite of tools), click on the rectangle, uncheck the Lock Size option, move the corner of the texture map to the bottom left corner of the rectangle, and move the diagonal arrow to the upper right corner of the rectangle.

Edit Texture.jpg
Edit Texture Map.


• Double-check your work by measuring a known (large) part of the site. If necessary, scale the rectangle by the appropriate factor (known size / measured size).

With the desired image loaded, the 2D flat surface it is mapped onto can be manipulated just like any other piece of geometry. You are able to create objects right on top of it, as well as cut and carve the image.