C4D Quick Tip – Importing Models From Google Earth

C4D Quick Tip – Importing Models From Google Earth

For this quick tip we show you how to import Collada files into Cinema 4D – That itself would make a pretty short and boring tutorial so also show you where you can find a lot of Collada files, Google’s 3d Warehouse.  What you’ll find by clicking the 3D warehouse link is pretty much every model that you can find on Google Earth plus many other things that people have made and uploaded to the site.  These models are free and most are saved in two ways, as a google sketchup file (which is what most of these were made in) and also as a Collada (.dae) file – that’s what we’re after.

Most of the models that you will find are pretty low resolution – a lot are just simple cubes with satellite images mapped onto them, but if you look hard enough you can find some very incredible models. If you do download and use a model please remember to credit whoever made it.

One problem that you will find on a lot on the Google Earth models are transparency issues.  On some objects (for example, a steel girders on a bridge) when you import them into Cinema 4D do not show transparency through the girders like you would expect them to.  Most of these materials are saved as .png files with an alpha, so a solution is to just drag the color .png into the alpha channel in the material editor.  Doing this can take some time, especially on objects that have many different textures – But this is a pretty small price to pay on a free model.

If you have any unexpected problems, something that wasn’t made quite clear enough, or you just want to show off a cool model that you ran across in the 3d Warehouse – Just leave a comment below!

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  • Matt Kraft

    Thanks for the tip! I decided to give it a go, and as I download a file, I am only presented two options, which is a sketchup file or a kzm file for google earth. I’ve clicked on tons of models and can’t see the collada option anywhere. I feel like I’m missing something. Any thoughts?

    • http://www.digitalsandwich.net GFaught

      Hey Matt. Thanks!!

      I’ve had that problem recently as well, I’m not sure if 3dWarehouse doesn’t upload .dae files anymore or what. I’ve been lucky to have a copy of sketchup pro at work that I’ve been using to convert the files I need.

      I ran across this cool trick awhile ago that might be able to help you out though, I’ve never tried it myself, but people on the forum are saying it works. Basically you can download the .kmz file, change the extension to .zip and unzip a .dae file! Here is a link to the forum post on C4DCafe: http://www.c4dcafe.com/ipb/topic/51157-easy-sketchup-to-cinema4d-conversion/

      • Matt Kraft

        I gave it a go, and seems to work perfectly on the two models I’ve tested. Total life saver. Thanks again for the tip!

        • http://www.digitalsandwich.net GFaught

          Awesome! I’m glad that trick worked out for you. Some of those 3dwarehouse models are life-savers!