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I'm making a live action short film where the characters fly a magic carpet over a city. It's a fast paced scene with the characters weaving around buildings and plummeting to the ground, and using drone footage as a background plate for my green screen footage wont work.

I was thinking of going CG for the view of the city using Blender, but then my problem is getting the model/materials.

I know Google Earth has very good coverage of the city this takes place in, so is there any good way to export Google Earth terrain/building data into Blender so I can proceed to tidy up the models/materials and render it in Cycles?

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  • $\begingroup$ I think that Google Earths datas are just images (360° images for exemple) . You can't export it to a 3D model directly. But you can use the google's 360° images to set your World Background. $\endgroup$ – Alois Coissard Apr 26 '17 at 23:29
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    $\begingroup$ Google earth does have actual 3D data for many cities (not all though) but as far as I know there is no way to access this data outside of the web. As Yee mentions below openstreemap is probably your only option, though don't expect full fledged 3D models already textured from the start. $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Apr 27 '17 at 0:33
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    $\begingroup$ Google has copyrights for all their maps by the way. $\endgroup$ – LetTheWritersWrite Apr 27 '17 at 4:09
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As far as I know There is no way to do this from Google Earth. There is, however a site called openstreetmaps.org that lets you do what you are envisioning. A great tutorial i found is CG Geek's Realistic city tutorial

you probably dont need to watch the whole thing, but the first part will show you how to do this

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  • $\begingroup$ I guess then I could walk around the city taking photos for textures. But what about terrain data? $\endgroup$ – Sam54123 Apr 28 '17 at 1:08
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There is an addon to simplify the import from google earth : Maps Models Importer

Article and video on how this work: Article, Thread on BlenderArtists, YouTube tutorial.

There is also this addon to help import terrain, road, and flat building : Blender GIS

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