James Stafford, better known at the Google Earth Community as “Barnabu”, has written a cool post on creating a 3D sky for Google Earth at the Barnabu blog. He calls it a “skydome”. He basically created a half-sphere (or hemisphere) using Google SketchUp, and then adds a properly projected sky full of clouds to the inside of the 3D model. He took one of his 3D models, the Turning Torso building, and created a video showing how it looks inside SketchUp. Watch it here:
I took this one step further. I loaded his Turning Torso building , and then loaded his example skydome in SketchUp. Then, I imported my current view from Google Earth (simply select “Tools->Google Earth->Get Current View“). Next I simply outputted the skydome back to Google Earth (by selecting “Tools->Google Earth->Place Model“). Note: there are also two icons in the tool bar of SketchUp which make this easy.
[UPDATE June 25: Check out the GE Sky Part II for an even better solution.]
You can see the results by loading this skydome model which will show the sky model and, if you already loaded it, the Turning Torso building inside Google Earth. Only now you have a sky around the building. You can edit the properties inside Google Earth of the skydome “Model” and drag and move your sky to a new location. You can even change the size as well. You can look up at the sky if you have a SpaceNavigator. The Barnabu’s story explains how you can add different sky images to the dome using SketchUp. Thanks Barnabu!
Other cool things by ‘barnabu':