Keyframe Animation for SketchUp

Keyframe Animation

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This page has been updated to take into account the features that were added to Keyframe Animation in version 2.0. The User Guide 2.0 has all the details about what's new. Get Keyframe Animation 2.0 on the Download page.

New features are indicated with a green tick new icon icon.


Keyframe Animation makes animating objects in SketchUp easy and intutive. Ordinary scenes act as keyframes. For each scene, you just translate, rotate, scale, reflect, or invert the objects, and click the Record button to save their position. When a scene is selected, each object will move to its recorded position, as if by magic.

An object can be either a group or a component. Objects can be contained inside of other objects. You can animate objects at any depth. Nested objects move relative to their parent. If the parent also moves, the composition of translations and rotations can produce more complex types of motion.

Best of all, the animation you create can be exported to a video, or an image sequence. As of version 2.0, you can export the animation directly from the keyframe model -- there are no longer any tweens create! This makes the export process much more simple, fast, and stable.

Object Interpolation

Keyframe Animation figures out the best way to interpolate an object between its initial and final position. Objects can be interpolated by translation, rotation, scale, reflection, inversion, or a combination.

If the location changes, but not the orientation, then the object is interpolated by translating it along a straight line.
If the orientation changes, then the object is interpolated by rotating it about the appropriate axis, through an angle less than or equal to 180 degrees.
If the object's size changes, then it is interpolated by scaling it along each component axis. Each component axis can grow or shrink independent of the others (i.e. nonuniform scaling is supported).
Reflection new icon
If an object is flipped along one of its axes (menu item right-click > Flip Along), that reflects it. This is interpolated by moving every point along a line that passes through a "mirror plane" in the middle, to a point an equal distance on the other side, reflecting the object in the process.
Inversion new icon
If an object is flipped along all three component axes (i.e. red, green, and blue), that inverts it. This is interpolated by moving every point along a line that passes through the center to a point an equal distance on the other side (i.e. its antipodal point). This inverts the object in the process.

Animation Features

Scene Time Settings
Set the transition time and delay time for each scene. Transition time is the time it takes for the animated objects to move to their recorded positions. Delay time is how long the animation will wait before beginning the transition to the next scene.
Animate any Camera new icon
Combine the Keyframe object animation with SketchUp's native interpolation of the Orthographic camera, the Perspective camera, or even the perspective camera Field Of View.
Animate any Scene Property new icon
Keyframe Animation 2.0 plays nice with all the scene properties. Combine your object animation with SketchUp's built-in animation of Shadow Settings, Style and Fog, and Section Planes.
Animate Visibility new icon
Keyframe Animation 2.0 plays nice with both the Hidden Geometry and the Visible Layers scene properties. So, you can use either one to control the visibility of geometry on each scene.

Export Features

Progress Bar new icon
The export process is much more user friendly with the new Progress Bar. It displays the time elapsed and the estimated time remaining. It also keeps SketchUp from not responding. You can stop the export at any time, and resume it, or quit and pick up where you left off another day.
Export a Video
The animation can be exported to a video on the PC (but not on the Mac yet) in the following formats.
  • H.264 codec (.mp4)
  • VP8 codec (.webm)
  • VP9 codec (.webm)   new icon
  • Theora codec (.ogg)
  • Animated GIF (.gif)   new icon
  • Windows Media Video (.wmv)   new icon
  • Microsoft MPEG-4 v2 (.avi)   new icon
  • Lossless (.avi)   new icon
  • Uncompressed (.avi)
Export an Image Sequence
The animation can be exported to a sequence of image files on both the Mac and PC. For .png images, the background can be either opaque or transparent.
Custom Export Settings new icon
You can export the animation to a video or image sequence with a custom frame rate and frame size. The Frame Rate can go from 1 to 60 frames per second. The Frame Size can go from 8 x 8 to 3840 x 2160 pixels.