Animations in SketchUp

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    I am working on a large SketchUp model and am having problems producing a decent video. I have made the video using the native export option within sketchup as well as exporting individual images through the “smooth animation” ruby script and stitching together in virtual dub. But, both methods have their weaknesses.

    The native SketchUp animation has the flickering line issue and is generally low quality. But, it has good movement and flow.
    The “smooth animation” has great quality but it is jerky and slows down between scene transitions.
    Judging from the general opinion on I think that exporting the movie as individual images is the way to go. But, I need to figure out how to smooth out the camera as well as produce a quality file that is manageable in size (.avi? .wmv?) 
    I guess my questions are these:
    1. When exporting the movie as an image series can i achieve a smooth animation by monkeying with the settings? (I’m currently using 10 second transitions, 0 second delay, 15fps)
    2. What compression codec should I use? What format should the final file be in?
    3. Is there a better method I don’t know about?
    Thanks so much for the help.
    Frank Varro

    The biggest issue I have with the animations in sketchup is the little bug where if you move the camera into a shadow, it tends to (or at least it did in Sketchup 6) invert the lit and shadowed areas, making it look like there was some sort of crazy lighting storm.

    In terms of frame rate, exporting individual frames will give you the same smoothness if you use the same framerate. I try to stay 20+ frames per second, if not 30+.

    I was never able to find what codec works best, so I’m not going to be super helpful there.

    In terms of other options, if you have the resources, exporting the file and having 3DS Max/Viz or Maya or Rhino do the work might work better, as it will give you better lighting/materials, better camera control, and likely a smoother export. They, however, are not cheap or quick to pick up, so in the short term you might want to keep looking for another rubyscript that can help (Thats the one thing in SketchUp I never got that into). You might also shoot a message on the SketchUp group here at Land8. Daniel Tal frequents, and if anyone knows, its him.


    I hate that shadow bug. When using SKPs native animation tool an inelegant, but effective method, is to turn off shadows on all the objects I pass under. However, exporting an image sequence obviates the problem.

    As for post rendering software, 3DS Max, Rhino etc… I’ve seen some absolutely beautiful work and I think that is eventually where I want to be. But, for now I think I’ll stick with SketchUp and maybe get one of the cheaper or free programs that works inside of SketchUp. I’ve heard Kerkythea (sp?) works well, but I haven’t had a chance to play around with it yet.

    Thanks again for the suggestions.

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