Hippy Man Goes Jogging In SketchUp

Hey all, here’s what I’m working on at the moment.

The hippy commune campground was created in SketchUp. The jogging guy is a MakeHuman character who was animated in Mixamo, and then added to the scene in Hitfilm. (all free software)

This project started when I modeled a hippy house that I built in real life back in the 70’s. I’m expanding on that now by creating a larger environment for hippy man to explore. The hippy house looks like this:

I have no photos of the hippy house (we weren’t in to cameras at all back then, very unlike today) so thanks to SketchUp for helping me revisit this part of my now distant past. It’s on the schedule to upload these models to the 3D Warehouse for the supposed benefit of geezer hippies everywhere. :slight_smile:

And now, to perhaps stir the pot of a conversation, here’s a question or two.

I’m not an architect or anything like that so my interest is more in creating environments which can be inhabited by animated characters, like the first video. I’m a huge nature nut, so often I’ll be trying to create nature scenes.

I LOVE SketchUp Make and am very happy to have found it. I’m wondering if I should also be expanding my horizons by digging in to Unreal Engine or Unity, neither of which I know hardly anything about. If you have experience with either of those programs and would like to comment on how they compare to what I’ve shared above, please do.

Personally, I’m not really that interested in creating games, just environments which can be explored by animated characters, preferably hippies. :slight_smile:

Hey, all the hippies will be dead soon and then you’ll be darn glad to have these videos! Or maybe not. Ok, so probably not. Alright, alright so there’s no chance at all. Hippy? Hippy? What’s a hippy??? :slight_smile:

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Will they will become the grateful dead?

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Only if their SketchUp models don’t get the dread “unexpected file format” error when they pass :wink:

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So you got your plants into Hitfilm after all. Did the film take long to render? Those 3D plants, used in these quantities result in quite heavy models, at least in the SketchUp point of view.
Looks promising. Maybe the runner and the background should look equally “cartoon-like”?

I’m sorry, but I’m just a newbie and don’t know how to create a religious philosophical on tour with LSD SketchUp project just yet.

I had to change my workflow. I can’t really manage large SketchUp models in Hitfilm on a 9 year old Mac. Technically it works, but is too slow to be realistic. And, while Hitfilm accepts 3D files, it’s not really a 3D app but a video editor.

So what I’ve been doing instead is animating the camera in SketchUp, recording the animation to a video file, and bringing the video file in to Hitfilm. Then I can add a smaller 3D model such as hippy man to the scene. That works ok.

When I’m content with a character who isn’t animated, then I don’t need Hitfilm and can work entirely in SketchUp. (like in the Hippy House video) When I learn more about animating in SketchUp maybe someday I won’t need the Hitfilm step?

Yes, rendering out of SketchUp does take a good bit of time, but I just work on something else while it’s happening, no big deal. Rendering out of Hitfilm goes much faster as that’s just 2D.

The latest version of my SketchUp file is up to 52MB. I don’t notice performance lags until up around 75MB or so, something like that.

As to your last point…

I’m enjoying this workflow at the moment, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m using the right tools for projects like this. Should I be in Unreal Engine or Unity instead? Would that make the characters better match the landscape? Dunno. Just starting to look in that direction.

Just today I’ve begun to explore two new (to me) features of SketchUp which should help, rendering in Twilight and the Sandbox. I was very happy to discover Sandbox, as that dramatically expands the kind of landscapes I can create.

As you know, I’ve only been using SketchUp a month, and so I’m still impressed that I can create landscape scenes that have nothing to do with buildings. In coming videos you’ll see the campground is bigger than shown here. The jogging trail goes around a lake with a gator, there are woods and 4 campsites etc.

Thanks for your interest, and ongoing advice.

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Which tool did you use to draw and animate the runner?

I believe he said Mixamo.

Good question.

The character is from MakeHuman, free 3D character modeling software for Windows and Mac. Easy to use. http://www.makehumancommunity.org/forum/ You can of course find tutorials on YouTube.

MakeHuman allows you to create characters in various poses, but it doesn’t animate the characters. You can animate them in Blender, but that looks pretty complicated, above my skill level. So what I do is bring the characters in to Mixamo https://www.mixamo.com and apply pre-made animations to the MakeHuman character, such as the running animation shown above.

You can bring static characters in to SketchUp, and animated characters in to a video editor such as Hitfilm. Sadly, in either case this typically requires washing the files in Blender, easy, but yet another step.

This is just an overview. If you want more detail I’ll try to link to the YouTube tutorials that helped me, and will answer questions to the degree I can. I’m definitely not expert at any of this, but may be able to aim you at folks who are.

Also, and this is important, never smoke a big joint before trying the above workflow for the first time. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the quick reply. I will have to take a look at this.

In SketchUp, I suggest you look at Fredo6’s Animator plugin.

Thanks for this. I’ve heard of Animator from Justin, but not yet installed it. Sounds like it’s time to do that.

Took a quick look at both of the sites you mentioned. Looks like you used the jogging in place from Mixamo. What file format does that produce? Maybe you could import that directly into SketchUp and then used Animator to animate the background and make the animated character follow a path through the animated scene.

Maybe sometime soon I can look at this in more detail.

Yes. They have a number of running animations, and typically there is a run in place option. Same for walking.

I export from Mixamo in FBX, first the character, and then the animation. The animation is then washed in Blender, which as you may know, means only that I import the FBX in to Blender and then export it. Don’t ask me why that is calling washing, or why it is necessary. :slight_smile:

Then I import the character and animation in to Hitfilm, and connect the animation to the character. Then the animated character is placed in to the scene by keyframing the character as needed to fit the scene.

I should report that, in my experience at least, this is not a fully reliable process. This seems true any time any one is trying to move any 3D file from one environment to another. Hippy man went perfectly, but then I tried to do a hippy woman and there were problems connecting the textures to the model.

There are a considerable number of assets like clothes available in MakeHuman, but most of them are user contributed, so quality varies. They all look ok in MakeHuman but when you try to move the file elsewhere sometimes unhappy things happen.

My long term goal is to find a single environment where I can do such work, so I can leave ANNOYING file transfer issues behind forever. Except for animation, SketchUp is great for this, and a key reason I am so enthusiastic about it.

Maybe you could import that directly into SketchUp and then used Animator to animate the background and make the animated character follow a path through the animated scene.

Best I can tell for now, I can’t bring animations in to SketchUp. So I could make the man go down the path in the manner you suggest, but it would be a static figure, not running with arms and legs swinging etc.

But again, I am not expert at any of this, so there could very well be solutions that I’ve not yet heard of.