Animation Round-Up
 Collection Scene, flyby, web, audio-visual animation methods...

Scene Animation Set-Up

You can create the illusion of an object moving by creating multiple copies of the object positioned incrementally along the intended path of movement, saving each copy to a different Layer and saving each change on a different Scene.  In many ways the method is akin to Flip Book animation.

  • Each instance of the object is assigned to a unique Layer.
  • The visibility of each Layer is controlled by the Saved Properties of each Scene you create.
  • Camera Location remains static from Scene to Scene.

Below are some noteable tutorial showing how to set up Scene animations.In order to thoroughly examine the SKP files, open the Layers browser (and/or Entity Info and the other control panels like Shadows and Outliner) while reviewing the scene animation tutorials below in order to study the changing visibility of different elements in the model. 

Slideshow animation settings are located at Window > Model Info > Animation.  Right-click on a Scene tab and select Play Animation to run the slideshow.  

  • How to Animate an Object  Alan Fraser presents a comprehensive overview of several Scene-changing techniques and other people add additional examples.
  • Animate the rotor blade  A 'fluttering' effect with rotor blades - and Olle Bergman's fluttering leaves are really cool.
  • Animation tutorial  Changing layer visibility slideshow animation.
  • Animated Fountain  Look for Yasser Malaika's Animated Fountain.  xxx [dead link]
  • Chord Trammel  George Knowles 3D Warehouse tutorial.
  • Creating Animated Movies with SketchUp  Joel Metzger  SUWiki tutorial.
  • Exploding Table Animation  Look for Bryce's table.  It relies on Hidden properties. xxx [dead link]
  • Sqirlz Water Reflection  Add animated water reflection to spiffy-up a model image export. - Free
  • TV Mount  George Knowles - 3D Warehouse tutorial on the use of Groups, Layers and Scenes to articulate parts.
  • Fabric roof  Look for the tent_bb3.skp file.  Create a slideshow animation by placing geometry on different layers and changing layer visibility on each Scenes, animation shown below.  (Quite a few of the models shown in animated GIFs on this website - and the Scene set-up to create the animation itself - used a variation of this method.)

The take-away from studying tent_bb3.skp

Below are a few examples, heading several pages on this site, which owe their creation to the knowledge derived from the Layer/Scene set-up done in tent_bb3.skp example - a little file shared by someone in a forum thread a few years ago....
Problems & Issues

Graphics Card Issues
Google Earth
Mac issues

Tips: Anyone who may want to set up a scene animation will end up loving the plugin Add Hidden Layer by Jim Foltz.  The plugin lets you add content to a new layer which will be invisible by default on existing Scenes - a big time-saver on files with many scenes as you will not have to update Scene layer visibility every time a new layer is added.

For any camera position tweaking that needs to be done - and saved - between Scenes, Camera > Previous is quite useful.  The option cycles through the last few camera positions.  It's worthy of adding as a custom keyboard shortcut through Window > Preferences > Shortcuts.

 Edit > Paste In Place
Edit > Paste In Place is quite useful for people want to scene animate grouped (or componentized) bits and pieces of geometry.  Copy a group/component then use Paste In Place.  Move that copy into a new, secondary position.  Then adjust the visibility of each copy on different Scenes by putting the copies on different Layers (and changing Layer visibility) or simply hiding the groups you don't want to see on specific Scenes.  Be sure to refresh the Scene each time a Scene change is made.  Note the custom keyboard shortcut created for Paste In Place in the image, Ctrl+Shift+V in the image.

Don't forget to save (or refresh) Scenes with each change, like changes in Layer visibility or camera position.

Section Cut Animation

  • Buildings! grow!  old Pro thread xxx [dead link]

  • Door Animation  old Pro thread
  • Section Cut animation tips  SKP tutorial featuring the lovely cubes shown in the animated GIF to the right.  (Click the Scene tabs in the file)
  • Section Cut Plugins
    • Animate Sections  CMD - This plugin automates the process of applying animating sections to groups. 
    • DoorsSK  Сергей К. - Create and manipulate doors opening and closing.
    • Eneroth Cut Surface Organizer  Eneroth - Places cut geometry on its own layer so it can be hidden when the model as a whole is shown.
    • Create Section Drawing  tak2hata - Export Sections as drawings in SKP and DXF format with Entity Info annotated to drawings.
    • Section By Camera  pgarmyn - Creates realistic internal shadows when section cuts are active from a plan or section view.
    • SectionCutFace.rb  The script makes a face at the section cut.  Alternatively, paint the backface an unobtrusive color to 'disguise' the backface.
    • Super Section  Clark B - Places an existing section cut on its own layer and it's own scene, and aligns the view.

Flyby Animation

  • Vedon Animation System  Shows how to set-up posing rig 'trees' to help control the 3D placement of bezier curves in 3D space.

Post-processing in an animation program (Camtasia Studio, for example) can adjust animation speeds of select scenes or try some of the plugins listed below.

Audio-Video Animation & Web Animation


Plugins and Programs

Presentation  sub-section on the Resources page
Renderers  As time goes on, renderers have been adding real-time animation. 

NOTE: To download plugins from SketchUcation, join the forum and logon.
  • Add Hidden Layers  Jim Foltz - Very useful plugin to set newly added Layers as invisible in all Scenes.
  • Animated textures
  • Bezier Spline  Fredo6 -
  • BZ_Animation  Fredo6 - Customize the segment intervals on a polyline flightpath.
  • Camera Recorder  Chris Fullmer - Records navigation movements in SketchUp and export them as a series of images.
  • CameraKeyMaker  macgile
  • Create image  sahi - Save a series of images of selected rotating parts to assemble into an animation.  Upload the image series into a Picasa web album to make a swiveling image, like the preview image in the 3D Warehouse. 
  • FlightPath2  RickW - Fee - version 1 of FlightPath is Free
  • Keyframe animation
    • Keyframe Animation  regular polygon - Add movement to any number of objects in your model. - Fee - Windows, Mac
    • Podium Walker  A stand alone walk thru/ fly thru animation program for SketchUp models either photo-realistically or non-photo-realistically. Fee -  Windows, Mac
    • proper_animation  Moris Papasmadov - Free
    • SimFonIA  Animation, numerical simulation plugin for virtual prototyping, etc., include transformation processor, keyframe editor, exportation options, and bullet (physics engine.) - Fee - Windows, Mac
    • SU Animate  Keyframe animation.  Fee - Windows, Mac
  • PresenationBundle  RickW - Plugin Suite to control scene transition speed and camera location.  Plugins can be obtained individually.  Fee - version 1 of FlightPath is Free
  • SketchUp Animation using mover.rb  cmd
  • SketchyPhysics  Chris Phillips - Physics simulation tool.  A video capture program is needed to record the animation.  Window 32-bit
  • MSPhysics  Anton Synytsia - Physics simulation tool similar to SketchyPhysics.  Windows
  • Smoothstep Animation  Smooths out jerky Scene transition in exported animations.
  • Spread3D   Create interactive 3D experiences (viewers, virtual walkthrough) embedded in a webpage.  Free, Fee
  • Soap Skin & Bubble  Reverse some SSB mesh skin faces and run the plugin animation for 'water' effect, rotor blade and more.  Hunt through attachments by PavAks (Juri), catamountain and others in this Pro forum thread.  xxx [dead link} (For the time being, the old info is stored somewhere inaccessible.  But the animated fire effect at the top of the Model Mastery page is a painted Soap Skin & Bubble circle, created as shown in the GIF to the right.  The plugin ReverseFaces is used to quickly flip faces with left-mouse button clicking in the animated GIF tutorial above.)

Modeling Mastery

The "flame" is an Soap Skin & Bubble circle painted with a transparent PNG flame image.