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SU Animate: Features and how it works


Table of Contents What is SU Animate Four introduction videos Create a path Select a Group/ Component or camera to animate Assign a number of frames Preview the Animation Make Scenes Play the Animation in SketchUp A summary of features and how to use them Camera Target Group or Angle in Walk-thrus or fly-arounds Multiple Camera Targets Camera Target Group with animated objects One object, two motions: Nested Groups or Components - wheel rotates and moves forward Delay Repeat Repeat from Start option - repeat your animation from the start point, over and over Time Lapse - animate the movement of time (with Shadows) Spiral Curve - make animations that spiral Camera Target Angle Arc Tool to make axis rotations (doors) Working with SU Podium SU Animate Icon Tool Bar Two additional basic examples

What is SU Animate?
SU Animate is a non-photo realistic animation plug-in for Google SketchUp. It will work on the Windows version or the Mac version, Pro or Free, SketchUp 7 or 8. Automatically creates SketchUp scenes from animation paths Allows for walk thru and fly thru type animations Allows for object animations such as moving parts, moving people, etc. Allows for both simple and complex animations Has a non-scene based preview window to view the animation before committing to creating scenes Will work with SU Podium's Render All feature to help create photo-realistic animations

Four introduction videos

Creating a walk-thru animation

Creating object animations summary

Creating a fly-around animation

Two motions of one object

Create a path
The first step with SU Animate is to create a path that will be used by the program to animate a group or the SketchUp camera. For example, if you want to create a walkthru type animation, create a path with one of the SU Animate path tools such as the polyline tool. You can also create a path by selecting connected lines, arcs or circles and then right click and select Create Animation Path. Once you create an animation path, you can assign objects (groups and components) or the camera to be animated. For walk-thru or fly-thru animations, you will select the camera to be animated. For object animations such a fork lift backing up, you will want to animate a group or a component.

Select a Group/ Component or camera to animate


After creating a path, select an object (group/component) or camera to animate. You can do this by selecting the animation path, right clicking and from the context menu and pick Change Animation Parameters. You can animate an object (a SketchUp group or component) or the SketchUp camera. More than one path and one group can be animated. You can assign several groups/components to the same path as well. Keep in mind Groups and Components must have names to show up in the Animation Path dialog box. Components need a Name not just a Definition Name.

Assign a number of frames


From the Path Animation user interface, select how many frames you want to assign to an animation path. Each frame will equal one SketchUp scene and every frame in the path will have the same length.

Preview the Animation


You can preview the animation without actually making SketchUp scenes. Before you commit to making scenes, you can preview your animation. To do so, pick Preview from the SU Animate menu. You can control the Preview's speed with the Preview UI.

Make Scenes

The final step is to Make Scenes. SU Animate's power is to automatically create SketchUp scenes and layers for each animation. For object animations, the program will create a layer for each scene and hide all layers except for the one being "played". The number of scenes will equal the total number of frames in all the animation paths.

Play the Animation in SketchUp


After Make Scenes is completed, it's time to play the animation using SketchUp's View-->Animation-->Play command. Make sure that the Animation Settings in SketchUp is what you want. Usually the faster the transition speed, the better. You can then export the Animation to an AVI or a MOV file using SketchUp's Animation Export command.

Click on the image to see a demonstration of many features of SU Animate

A summary of features and how to use them


Camera Target Group or Angle in Walk-thrus or fly-arounds When creating a camera animation (walk thrus or fly arounds), you have three options for the camera view. The default option is the camera faces the direction of the path on the path's plane. A second option is to assign the camera to stay focused on a particular group or component. This is done by picking the target group or component from the Target Component/Group list. Assigning a target component/group to the animation path will force the SketchUp camera to focus on that particular component or group through all the frames of the particular animation path. If you want to have multiple targets, create more than one animation path and assign a different target per animation path. A third new option is to fix the camera view at an angle from the animation path direction. Using this tool, you can create walk-thrus or fly-arounds that do not require a target group.

Click on the image to launch a You Tube video showing a walk thru animation that uses three different camera view options. Multiple Camera Targets A model can have more than one target. Each unique path can have its own target assigned to it. The target-per-path option allows the user to switch between targets. Since SU Animate will progress to the next path after a path has reached its end, if the next path is assigned to another target, the target is

effectively switched and the camera will follow that target.

Click on the image to see a demonstration of multiple paths and multiple targets to create complex walk-thru animation Camera Target Group with animated objects In an object animation, you can set your SketchUp camera to be stationary. That is, the view you save in the SketchUp model will be the camera view. A second option is to assign a target to the camera. For example, if you are animating a moving car and you want the camera to stay focused on the car, you can pick the target group/ component from the Target Camera --->Target Component/Group list. Assigning a target component/group to the animation path will force the SketchUp camera to focus on that particular component or group through all the frames of the animation path. If you want to have multiple targets, create more than one animation path and assign a different target per animation path. See the video tutorials below for more detail.

Click on the image to launch a You Tube video that shows how Target works with a stationary camera

Click on the image to launch a You Tube video that shows how a moving camera can be focused on a moving target group. One object, two motions: Nested Groups or Components - wheel rotates and moves forward SU Animate now has the ability to perform nested animations. Nested animations allow the user to create animations such as the wheel of a car rotating as it moves along a path. Other applications would include a propeller on a plane as the plane flies through the air or a drill bit spinning as it drills through a material. In the example of a tire on a car, the tire must be a group assigned to a round animation path both of which are grouped in a second group or component. The second group or component (the tire and the path) is then assigned to the animation path the tire will travel along. Make sure that

you do not put a nested group inside another component or group. If you do that the animation will not work.

Click on the image to see a demonstration of nested group/ two motions in action: Wheel rotating and moving forward.

A complex example of nested groups creating some interesting motions: Forklift moving backwards with rotating tires, lift moving Delay Delay is a powerful feature that allows the you to delay a specific path and any groups assigned to that path for a set number of scenes. This enables you to run several path animations in sequence. Simply type in the number of scenes the group(s) is desired to delay for and update the attributes. This feature will allow much more complex animations such as assemblies or multi-path walk thru animations. Repeat Repeat allows you to create an animation that have paths that repeat themselves within an animation.

This Flash based video tutorial shows the functionality of Delay with the Repeat being employed on one of the closed paths and not employed on the other closed paths (circles) Repeat from Start option - repeat your animation from the start point, over and over Repeat from Start option allows you to repeat objects being animated along a path, over and over. For example, in an air-flow animation you may want to repeat an arrow being animated along a path, over and over.

Click on the image to view the video tutorial on Repeat from Start Time Lapse - animate the movement of time (with Shadows) You can now make time lapse animations that will animate the movement of shadows across a certain period of hours. For example, sunrise to sunset. The Time Lapse animation can be part of a multi-path animation or by itself. Note: The time it takes for SketchUp to display shadows on your computer maybe be longer than you have set your scene transitions. If you model is complex you may not see the shadow transitions in the time lapse animation using Preview. For best results, use Make Scene and export the animation to AVI and MOV.

Click on the image for the Time Lapse video tutorial Spiral Curve - make animations that spiral SU Animate's new spiral curve option will create a animation path based on a spiral curve.

Click on the image too see the spiral curve video Camera Target Angle SU Animate now has a feature that allows you to fix the camera view at an angle from the animation path direction. Using this tool, you can create walkthrus or fly-arounds that do not require a target group. For example, with this

tool you can setup the SketchUp camera view to be at a right angle from the direction of the path.

Click on the image to view the Camera Target Angle video (YouTube) Create Arc path tool Now you can accurately create an arc path with the Create Arc or Circle command. This tools allows you to pick the center point of an arc, right click the start point and the end point of the arc. This tool is good for creating animations of revolving doors or any object that revolves around an axis point less than 360 degrees.

Click on the image to view the video tutorial on Repeat from Start Working with SU Podium Combining SU Animate with SU Podium's Render All feature allows for walkthru, camera photo-realistic animations.

This You tube video shows a photo-realistic walk thru animation created by Google SketchUp and SU Animate and then rendered with SU Podium's feature - Render All (SU Podium 1.7.3 or V2)

SU Animate Icon Tool Bar


Polyline Path Tool When selecting this tool, you are asked to input a value for the radius of arcs created between each line. If you make a mistake, you can right click to bring up the ?Undo Last? option. When finished creating the path, you can right click and select done or simply double click to bring up the animation path window.

Double clicking to end path creation may cause crashing when creating paths with many points. Circular Path tool This tool can be used to quickly make a circular path and jump right into the animation path window. Simply drag the circle to the size you desire, or type a value for the radius into the SketchUp VCB after selecting the circular path tool. Edit Polyline/Circular Path These tools are for when you decide to edit the shape, length or size of a polyline or circular path that has already been created. The edit polyline tool allows you to click on a line to reposition and select nodes of the path to reposition as well. Circular paths can be resized to a different radius after selecting the Edit Circular Path tool. Make Path From Curves As in previous versions of SU Animate, you can still create a path by linking together arcs and curves. You can either context click and select Create Animation Path, or select the toolbar button ?Make Path From Curves?. Either method will bring you directly to the animation path window to set animation parameters. Note: paths created in this manner cannot be manipulated with the Edit Polyline path tool. Edit Animation Path With a path selected, click this button to bring up the animation path window. This is the same window that comes up immediately after creating a path. This tool is if you decide to change the number of frames or what group is animating on the path. Preview Animation This tool allows you to see how your animation will look before creating scenes. The preview will begin instantly after clicking the button and will show exactly what the animation will look like when you create scenes. You are asked to input a number of scenes to account for any delay or path repetitions you may have. You can also click on Faster or Slower from the Preview dialog box. Make Scenes This tool creates the actual scenes in SketchUp in order to export the animation as a video file, or to render the scenes with Podium. You will be prompted to enter the number of scenes to be created. Unlike previous versions, if you have not saved the file, you will be unable to make scenes since the only way to undo the scene creation is to revert the model to the last time it was saved.

Two additional basic examples

This Flash based video tutorial shows two spur gears rotating on their access.

This Flash based video tutorial shows a complex animation with three paths. Two paths are circular and are for the gears to rotate on their axis. The additional third path is for the camera. The camera will rotate around the two rotating gears and stay focused on one of the gears.

2011 Cadalog, Inc.