Keyframe Animation 2.0

Here is a quick rundown of things that were fixed, and features that were added to Keyframe Animation in version 2.0.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause SketchUp to crash if you undid the Save Position Data operation (Edit > Undo).
  • Fixed the bug involving negative scale factors.
  • Added support to interpolate reflections.
  • Added support to interpolate inversions.
  • Eliminated the tweens.  Now you can export the object animation directly from the keyframe model.
  • There are more export formats.  For example, Animated GIF (.gif), Windows Media Video (.wmv), Microsoft MPEG-4 v2 (.avi), and Lossless (.avi).
  • More export options too.  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.
  • A new Progress Bar makes the export process much more contolled and user friendly.  It displays the time elapsed and the estimated time remaining.  It keeps SketchUp responsive, and also allows you to stop exporting the animation at any point and resume it later.
  • Removed restrictions on the type of camera.  The object animation can be combined with SketchUp's animation of the Orthographic camera, Perspective camera, and Perspective camera Field of View.
  • Removed restrictions on the scene properties. The object animation can be combined with SketchUp's animation of any of the scene properties and exported.  It now plays nice with Hidden Geometry, Shadow Settings, Style and Fog, and Section Planes.
  • The toolbar has a new Select Button that highlights all the objects that have position data saved on the current scene.  This provides an easy way to tell if an object was recorded or not.
  • The Record Button has a new workflow.  If you don't select anything, it records all moving objects.  Otherwise, it records the objects that were selected.
For a better write up, please visit the main Keyframe Animation page.  For complete and detailed documentation about all that is new, please check out the User Guide 2.0.   We are working on new video tutorials for version 2.0, but at this point there is only written documentation to go on.

Keyframe Animation 1.9

In this update the license management system was overhauled and the Internet connection requirement removed.  Here are the main features in Keyframe Animation 1.9:
  • Licensed users can work offline for up to 7 days.
  • The license serial number is now displayed in the About dialog.  This should be useful if you ever lose the original email with the serial number.
  • If you ever wanted to transfer the license -- for example, if you get a new computer -- now you can remove the license from the old computer yourself.
  • In the past, when people upgraded SketchUp, they usually had to register their serial number again.  Now you only need to register the serial number once per computer.  For any future activation, (like when you upgrade SketchUp), you can simply click on the Activate button, which will call the server to find your license status automatically.

The About dialog is the main point of contact between you and the new license management system.  It has details about your activation history, including Free Trial info and License info.  Access to the About dialog is from the menu, Plugins > Keyframe Animation > About.

If there is no license status, then the About dialog displays a text field and a Register button to submit the serial number and register a license.

If you have registered a license, then the About dialog has a Remove License button.  Clicking the button will remove the license from the computer.  You need to remove the license from one computer before you can register it on another computer.

This version uses a different database to track the license information than the previous versions.  So, when you register a license with version 1.9, we will (eventually) deregister it on version 1.8 (i.e. the license can not be operable on both versions).  Basically, you should just upgrade all your computers to v1.9 --  it's free, v1.9 has everything that v1.8 had, plus several new features.

Keyframe Animation 1.9 is available on the Download page.

Update: Keyframe Animation 1.8

Version 1.8 now lets you animate the size of objects. Make them grow, shrink, or stretch them in different directions.

Any recorded change in the size of objects will be interpolated between key frames. The scaling can be uniform, or non-uniform.

You can combine a translation and a scale operation, so that the object moves and changes size at the same time. 

Rotations and scale can be combined if you rotate and scale about the same point.  (They don't have to be the same point, but if they are, then that point will remain fixed while the object is interpolated.)

The tweens have support for animating the scale of objects, so the animation can be exported to a movie.

Here is a quick demo.

Update: Keyframe Animation 1.7

Click the new Scene Settings button on the toolbar to display the Scene Settings dialog. It allows you to set both the transition time and delay time for each scene. There is also an input field to set the frame rate. So, all the scene settings can now be updated from a single dialog.

Settings are saved as soon as the textbox loses focus. The bell will beep to indicate the value changed.

The dialog stays in sync with the model. If you change the name of the scenes, add them, delete them, reorder them, etc., the changes are reflected simultaneously in Scene Settings dialog.

Update: Keyframe Animation 1.6

Version 1.6 lets you control the visibility of objects. Objects can be made visible or hidden by putting them on layers, and then turning those layers on or off for each key frame. This allows you to make objects appear or disappear at any point in the animation. The tweens are generated with the same layer visibility properties as the key frames. The animation can then be exported to a movie.

This feature is useful for animating a construction process. The demo below shows how parts are assembled to construct a bookcase. Initially, the parts are hidden. Each part stays hidden until it is required for assembly. Then its visibility is turned on, and it stays visible for the rest of the animation.

The tweens have also been updated to play more nicely with the camera location property.  If the keyframe scenes don't save the camera location property, then the tweens won't either.  This allows you change the camera location for all of the tweens, on the fly, without having to regenerate the tweens first.

New Website for Regular Polygon

Now we have a real website at  The Blogger blog is going to stay around to publish the latest news.  The website will be used to better organize the content.

Update: Keyframe Animation 1.4

Keyframe Animation version 1.4 added a new toolbar to facilitate the workflow. Now, most of the features that you need are conveniently located just a click away.

A complete overview of the toolbar can be found in the user guide.

toolbar overview (transparent)

Update: Keyframe Animation 1.3

Version 1.3 takes another step towards simplifying the process for creating an animation.
The basic workflow can be summarized in five simple steps:
  1. Add some scenes.
  2. Select the first scene.
  3. Move the objects where you want them.
  4. Record the position data.
  5. Select the next scene, and go to step 3.

Update: Keyframe Animation 1.1

This update mainly contained improvements to the code.  Particularly the code for creating the tweens, which was completely rewritten from top to bottom.  It is much more efficient, and generates the tween scenes in roughly half the time it took for version 1.0.

Plugin: Keyframe Animation 1.0

This plug-in provides simple, but powerful, object animation in SketchUp.  It will animate the movement of objects between scenes.  All you have to do is assign the position of the objects on each scene. So, the scenes act like key frames.

You can add movement to doors, windows, cars, wheels, gears… you name it.  Create an animation to show how parts are assembled in a construction process.  You can even create complex animations, where objects move in relation to other moving objects.  Best of all, you can export your animation to a movie, directly from SketchUp.

For documentation, demos, and video tutorials, please visit the main Keyframe Animation webpage.

Update: Spherical Helix 1.1

This update uses the exact equations of a Spherical Helix to compute the coordinates of each point along the curve.  So, it is slightly more accurate than the approximation I was using.  Another thing nice about the exact equations is that they simplify the code.

Plugin: Spherical Helix 1.0

This plugin draws a spherical helix (also known as a loxodrome, or a rhumb line).  It is a spiral curve on the surface of a sphere, which crosses all meridians of longitude at the same angle.

Conceptually, this is the path a ship would follow if it traveled around the earth without changing direction.  In other words, if the ship proceeded along a course with constant bearing relative to true north, then it would trace out a spherical helix (loxodrome) as it circled the globe.

To download, please visit the Loxodrome Plugin page.

Plugin: Spherical Spiral

This plugin draws an Archimedean Spherical Spiral.  By that I mean, it is a spiral on the surface of a sphere.  And, it is an Archimedean spiral, because the turns are all an equal distance apart.


To download, please visit the Spherical Spiral Plugin page.

Plugin: Sierpinski Tetrahedron

The Sierpinski Tetrahedron is a 3D fractal.  It is constructed by a repetitive process, where each level is built up from subcomponents of the previous level. 

Here is how the fifth level tetrahedron looks.

level 5

To download, please visit the Sierpinski Tetrahedron Plugin page.

Plugin: Menger Sponge

The Menger Sponge is a 3D fractal. It is constructed by a repetitive process, where each level is built up from subcomponents of the previous level.

Here is the fourth level.  It takes SketchUp about a minute to generate the geometry, and has around 200k faces.

level 4

To download, please visit the Menger Sponge Plugin page.

Plugin: Torus

This plugin will draw your everyday garden-variety torus.  Just enter the parameters and click OK.


In addition, it can draw these twisted torus shapes.

twisted sqr tori

To download, click here to visit the Torus Plugin page.

Plugin: Superellipsoid

This plugin creates a superellipsoid.  A superellipsoid is a 3D shape that varies between a roundish ellipsoid and a square-like rectangular box.  If all three axes are equal, the shape varies between a sphere and a cube, like the ones in this image.


To download, please visit the Superellipsoid Plugin page.

Update: Superellipse 1.2

This update works the same as version 1.1, except that it remembers the last values entered in the dialog box, even between SketchUp sessions.  The previous values are then used as the default values the next time.

Click here to visit the Superellipse Plugin page.

Update: Sphere 1.1

This update works the same as version 1.0, except that it remembers the last values entered in the dialog box, even between SketchUp sessions.  The previous values are then used as the default values the next time.

Click here to visit the Sphere Plugin page.

Sphere 1.0

This plugin creates a sphere.  You just enter the parameter values in a dialog box, and click OK.

dialog sphere

It can also draw sphere shaped polyhedra.

To download, please visit the Sphere Plugin page.

Update: Superellipse 1.1

This version works the same as 1.0, except it uses a more intuitive scale to specify the “squareness” of a superellipse.  Zero corresponds to a perfectly round shape, 100 corresponds to a perfectly square shape, and the numbers in between correspond like in the picture below.

scale 8

Click here to visit the Superellipse Plugin page.

Plugin: Ellipse

This plugin creates a simple ellipse, including the focus points, if you want.

ellipse 2  

To download, please visit the Ellipse Plugin page.

Plugin: Superellipse 1.0

This plugin draws a superellipse.  A superellipse is a shape that varies between an ellipse and a rectangle, (or a circle and a square, if both axes are equal).  A superellipse is similar to a rectangle with rounded corners.  However, a rounded rectangle is composed of circular arcs and line segments, whereas a superellipse is a single smooth curve. 

Here are some examples.

superellipse 5 stages

To download, please visit the Superellipse Plugin page.