Here's a way to make videos with SketchUp drawings



I am working on an engine for the Pistonrobot. I describe this robot at my website Home Page for Pistonrobot. The interesting thing with complex mechanical models is that you can advance the parts of the model a little bit and save the new configuration as a new layer. Then you can cycle through these layers and export 2D images without ever changing the camera view. These images can be stitched together to make videos. I advanced the crankshaft of this engine in 10 degree increments, so that for a full 360 deg rotation, there would be 36 images. WIth each increment of the crankshaft, one needs to move the connecting rod to where it should be on the crankshaft, then rotate the rod to its proper angle, then move the pistonhead so it is again properly connected to the rod. If you do this for all 4 cylinders for all 36 increments, then you’ve got a video. I made a YouTube of this Pistonrobot The Engine of the Heart with closeups. Also, another fun topic. This engine drawing includes a gas control valve and this valve demonstrates some pretty cool stuff one can do in Sketchup with adding and subtracting solids, altering opacity, and using colors to highlight stuff.
I sent the Sketchup drawing of the Engine to the Trimble 3D website, so if you want to download it, you can make some videos of your own.
Here’s the webaddress for this: Engine of the Heart at the Warehouse

Follows is an image of it rendered out via Sketchup, then another rendering via KeyShot.


impressive, this sure looks very complicated to make. How long did it take you to finish this?


Awesome model, @patrickgray! Did you intend to post this in Tutorials, though? Generally, this section of the forum is reserved for posts on how to do something, step by step, within SketchUp. Seems like this would be a wonderful post for our Gallery!


Thanks for your kind replies. I usually post to tutorials because my work is really not buildings or architecture. I think Sketchup is great for making mechanical drawings too. I didn’t include a lot of details because I figured once everyone saw that saving drawings in layers so you can make them visible one at a time without changing your camera view was the secret and the rest is easy. One does need a program to make sets of images into a video. I don’t think that’s hard to find. I use Camtasia


Like I said, looks great! I am going to move it into the Gallery, as it will get recognition as a great model there!


This is drawing #506 of the engine. The steps were: 6 mo analysis of robot to get the proper engine output specs, then 6 mo thermodynamics analysis to work out the size and number of the cylinders of the engine that should (predicted) maximize efficiency and minimize noise output of the engine, then 5 mo to figure out how to make the gas control valve (there’s a trick to adding complex solids and it took me forever to understand how to do it), then 5 mo to create an engine that shows all this in a manner where people could “see it”. The high quality KeyShot renders take 5 min per image and there are 36 images per camera view. It takes about an hour to put the images together and get it uploaded to YouTube (per video) unless I add voice over, which takes me forever because I’m not that good at voice over.


Thanks again. I plan a YouTube voice over movie that discusses the engine if I can get the time. I appreciate your interest. And I do have arms planned for the Robot. My design group is getting very insistent that it’s time for that poor robot to have some arms. Sigh arms that could actually be real and would work are not an easy set of drawings


Thank you for the reply! Very informative. It’d be great to have a tutorial on this, if you find the time to do one someday.


thanks I appreciate your kind thoughts. I am working on an explanatory
YouTube video. there’s actually 2 videos that can be considered. one to
explain the design of the engine of the heart of the Robot and the other to
explain how to make videos with Sketchup renders or using renders from
rendering software. my design team is pushing pushing pushing me to create
arms for the Robot. that includes a shoulder elbow wrist 3 fingers and a
thumb. Whew. that’s 8 months work minimum but the design team keeps saying
the image symmetry and dynamism of arms and hands on a robot is just too
compelling to not do it. I did some instructional youtube videos about how
to make the pistonrobot. .my brother told me they’re the most boring videos
he’s ever seen. Sigh. So we’ll see. It’s probably arms. pg


The thing is, it all comes down to taste in the end. Even if your brother told you the videos are ‘boring’ (which I can’t imagine why), the same videos can be helpful and interesting for others. I, for example, am highly interested in watching tutorials, since I am a beginner and want to learn more about rendering with Sketchup and I always appreciate it when people create tutorials.


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