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Last updated: October 20, 2020

6 Excluding terrain from Sketchup models

Sketchup models on the 3D Warehouse site ( ) often have satellite imagery terrain as part of the models.  You may or may not want that part of the model when you import the model into Finale 3D (instructions: Importing models).  On the one hand, you may want to import the model without its terrain so you can use the editable terrain of Finale 3D, with reflective water and optional imported background image or satellite imagery.  On the other hand, if the model you are importing has exactly the terrain you want already, then why not import it as is?

By default, Finale 3D will automatically eliminate terrain in models that it recognizes are based on satellite imagery, since that is usually what people want.  If that’s not what you want, you can edit the model in Sketchup to prevent Finale 3D from recognizing its terrain.  This section shows you how.


Figure 1 – Example Sketchup file with satellite imagery terrain.



Figure 1 shows an example Sketchup file with satellite imagery terrain.   Sketchup has “layers” in its model format.  The layers are identified by tags, as shown in Figure 2.



Figure 2 – The “Tags” of the layers representing satellite imagery terrain.


When Finale 3D imports a model, it examines the tags of the objects, looking for tags that contain the words,
  • “google” and “earth”
  • “location” and “terrain”
  • “location” and “snapshot”

If any layer has these words in its tag, then Finale 3D categorizes that layer as satellite imagery terrain, and removes the geometry when importing the model.  Thus if you want to prevent Finale 3D from excluding the terrain, you can simply change the names of the tags, as shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3 – Changing the names of the tags to make Finale 3D not recognize parts of the model as satellite imagery terrain.


Once you change the names of the tags, Finale 3D will no longer recognize the satellite imagery based terrain, and will import it along with the rest of the model.