Home > 3D Models > Making Google Earth Models Glow

Making Google Earth Models Glow

Left = Original Sky dome. Right = Edited versionGoogle Earth adds shading to all SketchUp models to make them look more realistic.  For something like my  sky-dome model this is problematical because it means the texture is unevenly lit and too dark.

With some very minor editing of the Google Earth (Collada)model file in a text editor, it’s possible to turn this shading completely off for individual textures.  This was exactly what I did for the Skydome Google Earth file posted a couple of days ago.  The split-screen picture shows the before and after. The original is on the left. 

This is the procedure I used:

  • Export the model from SketchUp as a Google Earth 4 kmz file.   (File -> Export -> 3D model).
  • Unzip the kmz to extract the component files and folders.  Using something like WinZip.
  • With a text editor, open the Collada (.dae) file located in the ‘models’ folder.
  • Search for the <emission> tag.  (Collada’s <emission> element determines the amount of light emitted from a material.)
  • Alter the first three <emission> <color> values from 0.000000 to 1.   
  • <emission>
    <color>1 1 1 1</color>
  • Save the Collada file.
  • Zip all the files and folders back together as a .kmz file.

The same method could be used with any Collada model file.  The only difference being that models with more than one texture or colour, have more than one <emission> element.  One for each material.

For detailled information on the Collada specification see the documentation here: http://www.khronos.org/collada/

  1. JD
    May 11th, 2009 at 18:28 | #1

    I attempted to import your sketchup skydome model into one of my models and found the image became very dark. I read your post on Making Google Earth Models Glow and editing the collad files. How does this fix the problem in Sketchup? I don’t use Google Earth so I don’t understand the correlation here if there is one? Is there some more information on making realistic sky for Sketchup models?

  1. No trackbacks yet.