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Animator    v3.9a

  • Overview
  • Quick Start
  • Documentation
  • Release Notes

Overview of Animator

  • Sketchup version: SU2017 and above
  • Platform: Windows and Mac OSX
  • LibFredo6: v13.6 or above
  • Usage: Free for the time being
  • Expiration: 31 Dec 24

Animator is a script dedicated to the animation of Sketchup models. It provides a parametric, interactive framework to control movements of objects and cameras along a timeline.

Animations are based on the following concepts:

  • Sequences are reusable definitions of movements for objects (such as translation, rotation, spin, scaling, explosion, ...) and for cameras (still view, traveling camera, ...)
  • Clip elements are instances of Sequences placed in the timeline. When you instantiate a Sequence as a Clip Element, you can then change a few of its parameters, such as duration, easing, ... You can create several clip elements out of a single sequence.
  • A Sequence can contain other Sequences, by grouping. This is called a Clip.
  • By convention the topmost clip is called a Film.

Animator is based on a recursive hierarchical model, so that a sequence can contain other sequences and sequences can be freely re-used to create one or several clip elements (e.g. instances of sequences) at any level.

This is quite similar to the Sketchup hierarchical framework for Components; think of:

  • Sequence --> Component definition (so reusable)
  • Clip Element --> Component Instance (so one or several)
  • Clip --> Component containing other components (so both instance and definition underneath)
  • Film --> Model

Although this may be abstract to you (as it is where you are beginner in Sketchup), this recursive hierarchical model the base for re-usability and for isolating pieces of animation. For instance

  • if you design a car movement, you will create a translation for the body and spinning for the 4 wheels. By encapsulating these unit movements into a Clip, you can re-use the Clip to move the car forward and backward by any amount, without redoing the body translation and wheel spinning each time.
  • if later you wish to add extra animation when the car moves, say a rotation of the brake pedal at the end of the car movement, you will have to do it once only, and it will apply to all car move instances.

Animator is parametric. Movement and cameras are recorded in Animator with their exact parameters (say direction / offset for a translation), so that it is possible to modify these parameters interactively.

Animator allows to record animations in context, which is easier in most cases. This is why this is the default. This means for instance that if you record an object Moving right, then further in the timeline, you can record the Movement Left for the same object in the context where the object is already moved Right. Animator however offers the option to record or play animation outside context (i.e. just the clip element selected or just the sequence under edition).

Although you can play animations within Animator, the objective is to generate quality videos at any specified frame rate. You will need to install an external tool, FFmpeg (see this post for details).

Animator is designed to support rendering for Animations (films, clips and sequences). Rendering software current supported are:

  • TheaRender v1.5: from Animator and from TheaRender
  • AmbientOcclusion Ex, v1.9.5 and above: From Animator
  • SketchFX Ex, v1.0.6 and above: From Animator
  • Twilight Render Pro, v2.5.5 and above: From Animator
  • VRay, v4.2 and v5.0: From Animator

Features in the current release of Animator

  • Object transformations: translation, rotation, spin, screw, explosion, scaling, along path, apparition, all with easing and oscillation
  • Cameras: Still views, Scene views, Tracking camera, all with fade-out
  • Visual Effects: Layer visibility, rendering style, shadow, Layer on-off, visual zoom, visual extents, trajectory, visual target
  • Kinematic Constraints: Same Movement, Rigidity, Global Instance
  • Visit Controller: not finished and therefore disabled as of Animator v2.0

Discussion forum

Links to the Sketchucation forums
Sub-forum dedicated to Animator Main Post Latest Release

Installation of Animator

IMPORTANT: Make sure that you have first installed LibFredo6.

Animator is released as a regular RBZ extension file on the Sketchucation Site.

To download the RBZ file, use the red button on the right side of this page:

  • Download If your are already logged in.
  • Log in to get it! otherwise, in order to log in or to register to Sketchucation as a new user (this is FREE). Then you will be able to download the RBZ file.

Then, you can install the RBZ file from within Sketchup, via the Sketchup Extension Manager

If you are not familiar with the installation of Sketchup extensions and Sketchucation, it is advised to watch the video LibFredo6 installation.

IMPORTANT: Whatever way you choose, you MUST quit and restart Sketchup to get Animator (and LibFredo6) properly loaded.

After the installation, you should have the following footprint in the Sketchup Plugins directory:

  • Language: English
  • Menus: by default, it is installed in Tools > Fredo6 Collection > Animator...
  • Icon toolbar: Fredo6_Animator

Permission to use this software for any purpose, subject to license, is hereby granted

Distribution of this software for any purpose is subject to:

- the expressed, written consent of the author

- the inclusion of the present copyright notice in all copies.

I will publish additional tutorials in this section. In the meantime, you can find a set of older tutorials, some with the old user interface of Animator at dedicated thread at Sketchucation

Tutorial 1 - Basic concepts of Animator

The following tutorial video is rather long (50 minutes), but is worth watching if you wish to understand the core concepts of Animator. So take a breath and watch it by small chunk... And it should play well in full screen mode.

No written documentation at the moment.

Please watch the video tutorials.

Links to Sketchucation Forum: Main Post   Latest Release

Release History

Animator 3.9a - 30 Dec 23: Extension of validity

Animator 3.8a - 25 Dec 22: Extension of validity

Animator 3.7a - 31 Mar 22: Extension of validity

Animator 3.6a - 21 Sep 21: Extension of validity

Animator 3.5a - 28 May 21: Bug fixing and Extension of validity

Animator 3.4a - 30 Mar 21: Extension of validity

Animator 3.3a - 22 Feb 21: Fixed a major bug in Camera Tracker

Animator 3.2a - 28 Jan 21: Extension of validity

Animator 3.1a - 17 Jan 21: Introducing Camera Around, bug fixing and technical adjustments

Animator 3.0a - 06 Jan 21: Extension of validity

Animator 2.9a - 19 Nov 20: Support of VRay 5, bug fixing and Extension of validity

Animator 2.8a - 17 Sep 20: Bug fixing and Extension of validity

Animator 2.7a - 15 Jun 20: Extension of validity

Animator 2.6c - 19 Mar 20: Bug in menu More Clips

Animator 2.6a - 12 Jan 20: Instructions FFmpeg installation and Extension of validity

Animator 2.5a - 11 Sep 19: Small bug fixing and Extension of validity

Animator 2.4d - 14 Jun 19: Added permanent FFmpeg button and Extension of validity

Animator 2.4c - 14 May 19: Extension of validity

Animator 2.4a - 10 Jan 19: Fix a problem for generation of the video files from Thea render

Animator 2.3c - 18 Nov 18: Transparent Background option and bug fixing

Animator 2.3b - 16 Nov 18: Timeline scrolling works in parallel projection

Animator 2.3a - 14 Nov 18: Fix issue with MouseWheel on Mac and other issues

Animator 2.2c - 26 Aug 18: Fix a problem related to transparent move!

Animator 2.2b - 14 Jul 18: Minor release for Full Screen option

Animator 2.2a - 13 Jul 18: Minor release for extension of validity and configuration of prompt for sequence names

Animator 2.0a - 07 May 18: Major release with new GUI theme and functionality in the timeline

Animator 1.8h - 15 Mar 18: Fix a problem when saving cameras or visual effects

Animator 1.8g - 14 Mar 18: Extension of validity

Animator 1.8f - 10 Mar 18: Extension of validity

Animator 1.8c - 20 Jan 18: Extension of validity

Animator 1.8b - 19 Nov 17: Bug fixing

Animator 1.8a - 02 Nov 17: Performance improvement for large models.

Animator 1.7d - 23 Sep 17: Extension of validity.

Animator 1.7c - 16 Aug 17: Minor release fixing bugs and supporting VRay.

Animator 1.7a - 09 Jul 17: Major release introducing Visual Target effect and the support of high-resolution screens.

Animator 1.6a - 25 May 17: Major release introducing Scaling and Along Path.

Animator 1.5d - 13 May 17: just extend the validity

Animator 1.5c - 13 Apr 17: just extend the validity

Animator 1.5b - 15 Mar 17: Fix for a bug in SU8 and SU2013 preventing the launch of Animator

Animator 1.5a - 12 Feb 17: Bug fixing and Trajectory

Animator 1.4c - 16 Jan 17: Bug fixing and GUI for Positioners

Animator 1.3b - 02 Jan 17: Some bug fixing for SU8 and SU13

Animator 1.3a - 24 Dec 16: Some bug fixing + prolongation of validity

Animator 1.2h - 24 Nov 16: Major bug fixing

Animator 1.2a - 25 Oct 16: First release for Public Beta program

Animator 1.0t - 02 Jun 16: Maintenance Release with new features

  • New Features
    • Visual Effects: Layer visibility, rendering style, shadow. This allows to set these parameters independently of views.
    • Support of SketchFX Ex (thanks to Alberto and Fluid)
    • Preview in timeline (you need to set it up in Default Parameters)
  • Maintenance - Fixes and adjustments
    • Bug in Make film from selection
    • Non-ascii characters in model path and name made FFmpeg to fail - fixed
    • Position of the timeline (horizontal or vertical) is now retained across Sketchup sessions
    • Bug in Previw of video and sample image on Mac
    • Cosmetic changes in GUI

Animator 1.0r2 - 24 May 16: Maintenance Release

  • Fixed tentatively a number of problems on Mac OSX[/b] signaled by Oxer, such as the size of the Video generation dialog box and the video generation by FFmpeg
  • Typing SpaceBar or a shortcut[/b] provoking a change of interactive tool now switch to Temporary Exit. A confirmation message is displayed. An option in Default Parameters allows to skip confirmation. I also added an Exit button, along with the "back to Animator" button.
  • other bug fixing[/b], in particular to avoid empty sequences

Animator 1.0q - 20 May 16: Maintenance Release

  • fixed a major bug for non-English keyboard[/b] (say French!), whereby movements would not load due to the problem of decimal separator in Sketchup for length. I noticed it in a model by Pilou (thanks).
  • TheaRender[/b]: implemented a timeout so that Animator stops the rendering and goes to the next frame if the rendering of a frame is > 3 times the rendering of the previous frame. So you should now be able to launch a rendering with Thea and go take a coffee or lunch until it finishes.

Animator 1.0p - 18 May 16: first release for Private Beta program