Raynimation plugin for Sketchup

Download the RBZ (stable beta v1.0.4, November 10, 2023) and install from the Sketchup Extension Manager. Tested in Sketchup 2021.1 to 2023 but should work on older versions too.

If you’ve found this plugin helpful, consider supporting its development. Every bit helps!

For a list of animation commands, please see Raynimation Commands


Raynimation is an animation plugin tailored for Sketchup users on both PC and Mac platforms. Designed to streamline the animation process within the Sketchup environment (and to save the animation as an MP4 video file), Raynimation forgoes the traditional timeline interface. Instead, users input straightforward commands such as “Move” and “Rotate”, accompanied by parameters like angles, distances, and start-end times. This approach ensures a seamless integration of animation tasks without the need to navigate to external software or tools.

How It Works:

Using Raynimation is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:

Initiate the Process: Launch the Raynimation window.

Set Preferences: Configure your desired FPS (frames per second) and the overall duration of the animation.

Select Object: Click on the group or component you intend to animate.

Input Command: Manually input the desired animation command, or choose from the provided list of commands.

Execute: Click ‘Run’ to start the animation process.

Key Tips and Clarifications:

Components over Groups: While it’s possible to animate groups, we highly recommend converting them to components. This ensures you have flexibility in modifying the axis of rotation and direction – crucial for precise control over rotation and movement.

Understanding Axes in Sketchup UI: Sketchup’s interface uses three primary axes…

Red Line (X-Axis): Represents left (dotted line) and right (solid line) directions.
Green Line (Y-Axis): Denotes the back (dotted line) and forward (solid line) directions.
Blue Line (Z-Axis): Indicates down (dotted line) and up (solid line) directions.
Being familiar with these axes is essential to prevent errors in rotation and movement direction.

Performance Tips:

Model Size Matters: The complexity of your model can impact animation speed since Sketchup is not inherently optimized for animation. Aim to keep your models as simple as possible for optimal performance.
Optimization Settings: If you notice lag, you can tweak the OpenGL settings in Sketchup, reducing the anti-aliasing to 2x for enhanced speed. Additionally, deselecting “View/Profiles” can also provide a performance boost.

By keeping these points in mind, you can make the most of Raynimation and create stunning animations with ease.

Command Parameters and Compilation Insights:

Flexible Parameters:
Raynimation is designed to offer users flexibility when it comes to command parameters. Here are some key points to remember:

Units Matter: By default, parameters like “distance” will adopt the model’s current unit. However, users have the option to specify a different unit by appending measurements like ‘ (feet), ” (inches), cm, mm, or m. For instance, both 12’ and 12m are valid inputs.

Mathematical Expressions: Raynimation supports inline math, allowing users to perform calculations directly within the command. An example could be 12′ * 0.0254.

Ruby Integration: For those familiar with Ruby scripting, any command or function that can be evaluated without errors by the Ruby “eval” function is accepted.

Pre-Compilation for Smooth Animations:
When you click “Run,” there might be a slight delay before your animation starts. This is because Raynimation is hard at work pre-compiling the animation to guarantee maximum performance. By pre-computing all necessary calculations, Raynimation ensures that once the animation begins, it runs seamlessly with no runtime computations. The results are directly fed frame by frame to Sketchup for a flawless viewing experience.

Essential Companion: Raylectron Tools…

To further enhance your animation design with Raynimation, we highly recommend downloading and installing the complimentary Raylectron Tools (it’s free). This supplementary toolkit offers a range of utilities that can significantly simplify and optimize your animation process. Some key features include:

Center Axis Tool: Easily move the component axis to the center of an object. This is particularly useful for objects like balls, gears, or any other items requiring rotation from their central point.

Origin Alignment: Swiftly move any object to the origin, ensuring consistent positioning and alignment.

Ground Drop: Automatically align objects to the ground plane, ensuring a realistic placement within your scenes.

By integrating Raylectron Tools into your workflow, you can ensure a smoother, more intuitive animation process and achieve professional results with greater ease.

Diving Deeper: Visual Tutorials…

While many of Raynimation’s commands are self-explanatory, we understand that visual demonstrations can provide a clearer understanding of the plugin’s capabilities. To aid your learning journey, we’re offering a series of tutorial videos that delve into the intricate details of the tool.

Starting with the Basics:
Our first video focuses on foundational aspects:

Rotation & Movement: A thorough look into the core functionalities of Raynimation.

Group to Component Conversion: Understand the importance of this transformation and its impact on animations.

Axis Manipulation: Explore the effects of repositioning and reorienting the axis. This hands-on approach will give you a deeper understanding of the significance of axis placements and their influence on object behaviors.

Without further ado, here’s the first video tutorial to guide you step-by-step…

Explore for yourself! Download these Sketchup models, each pre-equipped with an animation script, and experience the magic of Raynimation firsthand. Once you’ve loaded the model in Sketchup, bring up the Raynimation window and click on any component to view its animation commands. Dive deeper by examining child components, such as in the ‘soccer ball’ model, or inspect the wheels of the car model. Remember to check out nested components for a comprehensive understanding of the animations…

Rotating Gears (very easy):

Rotating rings and pulsating sphere (easy):

CNC animation (easy):

Opening and closing windows (easy):

Bouncing and spinning soccer ball (intermediate):

Moving chess pieces (advanced):

Car turning and up the hill (expert):

Robot running after ball then fall of the edge (expert):