Keyframe Animation for SketchUp

Keyframe Animation Demos

These animations were created with the Keyframe Animation plugin. Most were exported directly from SketchUp and uploaded to YouTube. There are a few examples of rendered animations using third-party tools.

Simple Animations

These examples illustrate the basic features like moving objects by rotation and translation.

Rotating Gears 1

by Regular Polygon | Runtime 0:21 | Download model

The little gear rotates 180 degrees between key frames, while the big gear rotates 90 degrees in the opposite direction.

Kitchen Cabinet

by Adriana Granados | Runtime 0:30 |

An example, using translations and rotations, that displays the features of kitchen cabinets.

Slat Platform Bedframe Assembly

by Regular Polygon | Runtime 1:20 | Download model

This animation shows how to assemble a bedframe that is made entirely of interlocking wooden parts. There are one dozen animated components that make up the bed frame. The animation uses 16 keyframes, with 4 second transition times, and 1 second delays between transitions. The camera also moves.

Ikea Step Stool Assembly

by Joachim von Rost | Runtime 0:41

Here is another construction process type animation. The parts move by both translation and rotation. The camera also moves between key frames.

Animating the Size of Objects

In addition to translations and rotations, you can also animate the size of objects by scaling them between keyframes.

by Rich O'Brien | Runtime 0:13

In just 13 seconds, this video illustrates every kind of operation that Keyframe Animation can interpolate: translation, rotation, scale, scale + translation, and scale + rotation.

Animated Tiling

by Regular Polygon | Runtime 0:40 | Download model

In this example, the 2-dimensional tiles are scaled in such a way that they continue to fit together with no gaps or overlapping. The result is an animated tiling that varies from hexagons, to triangles, and back.

Polyhedral Waltz

by Debra K. Borkovitz | Runtime 7:28 |

This video will be of great interest to all recreational mathematicians. By animating the size of various intersecting polyhedrons, lots of amazing symmetry is revealed. The complete Mathematical and Technical details can be found on the author's blog.

Animating Object Visibility

When there are lots of parts, it may be necessary to hide them until they are required in the assembly process. Keyframe Animation lets you animate the visibility of objects by putting them on layers, and turning the layers on or off for each key frame. The following demos illustrate this feature.

Bookcase Assembly

by Regular Polygon | Runtime 1:27 | Download model

This animation shows the construction of a bookcase. Initially, all the parts are hidden. Each part has its visibility turned on when it is ready for assembly, and stays visible for the rest of the animation.

1UPcard: Retro Video Game Cartridge Cleaner Kit

by Adam Stephey | Runtime 0:42 |

This animation shows that it can be useful to turn the visibility of objects on and off, even when it is not an assembly process. Check out the 1UPcard at

Cirkus Cirkor : Knitting Peace

by Joachim von Rost | Runtime 2:30

This is a very complex and elaborate construction using Keyframe Animation. Parts are hidden until they are required in the assembly process.

Animating Subgroups and Subcomponents

When the parent object moves, the child object (i.e. subcomponent) moves along with it. In addition, the child can move relative to the parent. The combined motion is usually more complex than a simple translation or rotation. Keyframe Animation allows you to animate objects contained inside other objects to any depth. The following videos show several examples of motion that is possible with nested animated objects.

Folding Doors

by Regular Polygon | Runtime 0:24 | Download model

In this example, the motion of folding doors can be modeled by using nested animated objects. The door on the far right is the parent, and the middle door is the child of the right door. The right door rotates 90 degrees clockwise. At the same time, the middle door rotates 90 degrees counter-clockwise about the axis where the two doors meet. The combined rotations produce the desired motion of folding doors.

Sheet Breakdown

by Dik Harrison | Runtime 0:48

In this example, the arm is the parent object, and the bridge is the child object. First the arm rotates about the pivot point. The bridge moves with the arm, but at the same time, it rotates through an equal angle, in the opposite direction, at the point where they are attached. The combined motion of these two rotations raises and lowers the bridge perfectly.


by Regular Polygon | Runtime 0:20 | Download model

In this example, the lower arm is a child object of the upper arm, and the hand is a child object of the lower arm. This way, when you rotate the upper arm, the rest of the arm moves with it. Same for the leg. The lower leg is a child object of the upper leg.

Mechanical Hand

by Ferdinand Vogl | Runtime 0:56 | Download model

This is a very cool model! The idea here is similar to the mannequin, only more complex. There are more joints and objects are contained in other objects up to 4 levels deep.

Rotating Gears 2

by Regular Polygon | Runtime 0:27 | Download model

In this example, the little gears roll around a stationary big gear. The 3 little gears are grouped to form the parent object. This group rotates about the center point of the big gear, which causes the little gears to revolve around the big gear. An additional rotation is applied to each little gear that rotates it about its own center. The combination produces the rolling movement you see in the video.

Seafood Restaurant

by Adriana Granados | Runtime 0:33 |

The parent object doesn't have to move. In this case, the fish, which are moving, are subcomponents of an aquarium, which is stationary. Details about how the animation was made can be found on the author's blog.

Rendering and Post-processing

People often ask me about rendering. Based on these videos, it seems clear that Brighter3D, Shaderlight, and Sony Movie Studio are compatible with Keyframe Animation.

Space Rock 2.0

by Jack Willard | Runtime 4:54

The spaceship models in this video are amazingly detailed. And there is every sort of animation: translations, rotations, moving subcomponents, etc. SketchUp renders the animation. Then the segments are composed in Sony Movie Studio, which adds in the audio, sound effects and titles.

Space Rock 3.0

by Jack Willard | Runtime 6:03

This is the awesome sequel to Space Rock 2.0.


by Brighter3D | Runtime 0:06 |

Reflections, shadows, glossy surfaces, textures... Brighter3d is a rendering plugin for SketchUp that has a lot for a little price. Their new version 2.0 supports Keyframe Animation. You can learn more about this rendering plugin here at the Brighter3d website.

Think Outside the Box

by fruntside | Runtime 2:17 | Watch on

This amazingly realistic video was made with Keyframe Animation and rendered with Shaderlight. Also by fruntside, this rendered animation called XXXX Gold Container Bar.

fruntside container box

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