Animated Virtual Neighborhood?

Hi, I’m making a virtual neighborhood for a school project and want it to be animated so I can include icons over it that signal a need for community service/urban planning and was wondering what the best way to go about with it since I am still a beginner with this.

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If I were doing this, I’d start with a site plan of the neighborhood and use this as a basis for push pulling the various buildings into 3d. Then adjust the building heights and model the roof configurations as needed. Add detail to the vertical faces by additional modeling or by adding photo textures. Provide desired entourage elements such as roadways, trees and shrubbery, vehicles, people, signage, etc.
Remember to model all raw geometric elements on Layer 0.
Assign groups (and components) to specific layers created to control visibility so you can turn layers off or leave them on.
Create scenes to illustrate your virtual neighborhood and develop your animation.

You can get more pointed instruction if the skp file is uploaded with your request.


Thank you so much. If you don’t mind, could you be more specific about the whole layer concept? It seems really important to getting this done, but I’m just not grasping it.

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It is useful to understand how to use layers. In SU, layers are used primarily to control what is seen and what is not seen (visibility). This is unlike the concept of layers as used in AutoCad and other cadd programs. The videos I am referencing provide more information than I can offer in words here.
Here is the link to the definitive SU video on layers:

and here is the link to the SU video on scenes including how to set them up and how to use them efficiently:

I highly recommend that you take the time to review all of the SketchUp
tutorials for beginners which can be found here:

It may be a good idea to copy these videos and save them (if you have the drive storage space available) for reference so they can be viewed whenever the need occurs.

Happy SketchUpping,

I totally agree with jvleearchitects,

I actually created just uploaded a video on a concept not too far off a virtual neighbourhood. I basically, used simple modelling techniques, textures and animation tool to compose everything.
I hope it helps in what ever way. :smile:

I will definitely watch those tutorials.Thank you so much for your help.

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If you are a begginer you have to start at the beginning. What you want to do took me 3 years to learn. Explode your head with tutorials they are great. Most of them are very old but still apply.

Yikes. I have to get this done in about three weeks and it’s very frustrating-- but thanks for the advice.

As I pointed out to you earlier, you will get better advice simply by posting your model here. Even if the model is not finished or has flaws, it will generate more salient comments than a simple verbal inquiry.

Because your project is due in a relatively short time, you should have already started a preliminary layout and if so, you can submit that for constructive critique.

I tried to upload it just now and it’s only a map and some lines, but the file is apparently too big(?).

I’m kind of stuck at this point because every time I try to make a rectangle I realize it’s aligned with the red guidelines. Very frustrating. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have begun it this way.

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OK. You’re stuck. You should explain what you are"stuck" on.

You have already imported an image of your site (I presume). So that’s a positive beginning. You can easily align the image with your red-green axis and overlay rectangles to conform with the structures that are shown. The push pull operation is simple. When you have enough (maybe not all) of the buildings overlaid, start working in 3D and move through the rest of the process. The work is basically intuitive so you can find your way. Don’t be concerned about mistakes at this point, The software is pretty forgiving. Just remember to save your work frequently.

Although uploading an image is fine, it is better to post your actual model because someone here may be able to resolve your issue directly in the file you submit. The file size should not be all that large if the only elements involve the image.

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The issue I was having was when I tried to begin forming the houses, and the rectangle tool seems to be angled differently than the actual direction of the houses. I don’t know if that makes sense, but the map overlay doesn’t align with the rectangles I try to form.
I really appreciate the advice by the way!

You could start with one rectangle as big at the housing estate, make it be a component, then rotate it until it lines up with the streets. Now you can double-click into the component and any boxes you make should line up with the streets.

I will do that now and tell you how it turns out! Thank you!

Okay I tried that but realized that all the rectangles are aligned with the red and green lines, but the map I have is centered around the origin and the houses are angled at about 125 degrees relative to the red and green which are at 90.

either rotate the map, or use the rotated rectangle tool

if it’s all a grid the first option is probably quickest…

if it’s London, the seconds much easier…


I think that the rectangle tool is the best option here. Thank you!

I’m basically done with my model, but every time I try exporting to .dae so I can put it on a website, SketchUp crashes. How do I get it on the site if it won’t let me change from.skp?

Unfortunately, I’m at a loss as to why you are unable to successfully export your file. Perhaps it will help if the actual skp file is posted here. If the file is too large to upload to this forum, upload it to a cloud based storage service such as Dropbox - CLICK HERE FOR THAT SITE and then post the link to the file in this thread.

Maybe one of us can examine the file and suss out what and why. It could be that something as common as reducing the file size may solve your export problem, but it won’t be known without evaluating the source skp file.

First thing to do is to Purge the model to remove anything you have deleted, or are no longer using.
Go Window/Model info/Statistics
Select Entire Model from the drop down and tick the box Show nested components.
Then click the button Purge Unused.
Now save the file and check its size.