Build A 3d Real Life City

A 3-D City Model

Computer graphics are an incredibly powerful tool in the modern architectural world. Graphics images and models are mainly used in order to provide accurate representations of buildings and details to give clients a greater understanding of architectural concepts. Architecture models can be used to show elements both on the small scale, highlighting details and specific functions of the building. Models can also be used to give an indication of the larger scale so that infrastructure and city planning issues can be resolved with a greater degree of understanding and sensitivity of specific locations.


1. Find a satellite image of the city you want to reproduce. This can be located in Google maps ( or for a higher-quality image at Google Earth ( The desired image must then be saved by clicking “File,” then “Save,” then “Save Image.”

2. Open Google Sketchup. Click “File” and “Import.” Locate and select the file which you have saved. If you cannot find the file, click on the “Files of Type” dropdown menu and select “All Supported Image Types.” Click to select. The image will now appear on the screen.

3. Click on the screen with the left mouse button in the base location you wish the image to be placed. This is usually best located in the center of the screen, where the axes meet.

4. Drag the mouse to change the size of the image. Click once more to confirm the size of the image. Scale the image by locating a distance on the image that is known. Use the “Tape Measure” tool to measure the known difference. The image can then be scaled using the “Scale” tool so that the image is appropriately scaled to the real life dimensions.

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5. Click the “Line” tool. On the face of the image, click on a corner of a building. Trace the outline of the individual building until the line joins back up with the start point and a face is produced within the shape.

6. Repeat for every building outline on the image.

7. Select all of the shapes and faces created. Ensure the original image and the four lines that border it are not selected.

8. Click the “Push/Pull” Button. Click on one of the faces of the shapes. Drag the mouse upward. Type in an appropriate height for the buildings. Click once more. For greater detail and differentiation in building height, alter the building heights individually.