Sketchup's Animation

Hello Sketchup forum users, I am currently working on a school project that requires me to build and animate a table using SketchUp. I’ve linked the video I used for reference to make my model down below. The main issue I’m having is being able to animate the individual components at first, (flipping the table, folding the first set of legs) and then combining those components to fold both sets of legs. Ultimately the entire table needs to flip down. Any advice? Thanks.

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If you are going to use SketchUp’s native animation option all you need to do is create copies of the components in the positions you need for the sequence and give each copy a tag. Here’s an example I did not long ago of a card table with a folding top. This shows three positions of the top.

And the resulting animation. It was just a quickie to show someone how the top worked:

Click on the picture.

More scenes used for this animation:


Dave, question about the Muncaster machine if I may without going totally off topic… is that model built in such a way that to create all the scenes required for the animation all you have to do is move the main piston and then the moving parts of the model all move and rotate as if they were physically connected?
If so, how?!
It’s amazing.

No. SketchUp doesn’t have that sort of capability. Component copies were either moved or rotated or both to get them into the correct positions. Not really a difficult thing though. The Arc and Circle tools and the True Tangents extension make it easy enough.

And thank you!

That’s what I thought would be the case, but wondered if there was some connectivity function that I didn’t know about to let you create moving machines like that!
Not that I need to, but it would be quite some tool for some people I’m sure.

It would be a neat feature but fortunately it’s not too bad the way it works.

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And there are definitely more important things for the SU/LO developers to concentrate on!

Just make your life easier and use a proper animation tool like Fredo’s “Animator”

If you need a rendered version with proper lights and materials you could also use Unity 3d which is free and can handle this kind of simple rigid-body animations in a matter of minutes.

@DaveR I have always used Animator to create my animations, but I decided to go try it your way just for fun (and learning purposes). I had trouble getting smooth aminations though (at least not as smooth as yours). It appears that you cannot set a time for the scene less than 1 second. Again, just for my education (and others I assume), can you share the settings you use to get such smooth animations using the native tools.

No transition time and 0 second delay. Export at 24 frames per second. Knowing I’d be using 24 frames per second for my animation export I divided the motion into 24 scenes.

Here’s a single run of the sequence of scenes.

And another animation of the engine including a cut-away. Click on the picture.

Why not? you can manually enter times less than 1 second.

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When I tried to do that it would not allow me to enter a time with a decimal point. I will try again. :expressionless:

Here are the problems/challenges I encountered when i tried to adjust the animation settings in my SU model.

Hope these explain what I was/am seeing.

BTW: @DaveR, the 0 time for both attributes did seem to accomplish what I was trying to do. Thanks for the input/feedback.


Good deal. Keep in mind that with transition time greater than 0 and turned on, SketchUp will interpolate camera positions between scenes but it won’t do the same with apparent object motion. (transition from one visible tab to the next) so for moving objects you need to find a balance for the number of scenes you need to get smooth enough animation.

It’s odd that you get that ‘zero’ result.

Bottom line (IMO) is that Animator is a far easier way to generate an animation and gives you many more options and much more control. :grinning:

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The animations I need to create are plenty easy with the native tools but evidently it’s easier for you to use Animator and that’s fine.

While I have always used Animator for creating my animations (lots more options including rendering) I had to give your method a try (again for my education/learning).

Here is an example of what I just created:

Is there a way to get it to continue playing? I did have the loop turned on. Also, do you recommend a different version other than mp4?

The animation export only exports one run through the scenes. I bring the MP4 into a video editor (I use Camtasia because I have it for recording tutorials and such) and then make multiple copies of it to get the continuous run. I turn off Loop to Starting Scene because with it on you get what looks like a delay before the cycle starts again. I think MP4 is probably the best for general animation export.

Thanks for the feedback Dave. I will look at Camtasia.

In the past, my animations were primarily car washes which became very complex and that would be way to much to do with the native tool and that is how I got started with Animator. Now I will explore the native tool more, thanks to you. :+1:

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