How to Create Section Animations with Scenes in Google SketchUp 8

Combining section views with scenes to create an animation is both a useful and impressive way to show off your Google SketchUp model. The basic idea is that you can use scenes to create animations where your section planes move inside your model. Here are a few reasons you may want to use this technique:

  • If you have a building with several levels, you can create an animated presentation that shows a cutaway plan view of each level.

  • Using an animated section plane to “get inside” your model is a much classier transition than simply hiding certain parts of it.

  • When you need to show the relationship between the plan and section views for a project, using an animated section plane helps to explain the concept of different architectural views to 3D beginners.

Follow these steps to create a basic section animation:

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  1. Add a section plane to your model.

  2. Add a scene to your model.

  3. Add another section plane to your model.

    You can add another section plane in one of two ways:

    • Use the Section Plane tool to create a brand-new one. This is probably the easiest option, especially if you’re just starting.

    • Use the Move tool to copy an existing section plane.

    Make sure that your new section plane is active; if it is, it cuts through your model. If it’s not active, right-click the section plane and choose Active Cut from the context menu.

  4. Add another scene to your model.

    This new scene remembers which is the active section plane.

  5. Click through the scenes you added to view your animation.

    You see an animated section cut as SketchUp transitions from one scene to the next. If you don’t, make sure that you have scene transitions enabled: Choose Window, Model Info and then choose the Animations panel in the Model Info dialog box. Make sure the Scene Transitions check box is selected.

If you don’t like seeing the section-plane objects (the boxy things with arrows on their corners) in your animation, switch them off by deselecting Section Planes on the View menu. Then you see the section cuts without any ugly gray rectangles flying around.

The hardest thing to remember about using scenes and section planes to make section animations is this: You need a separate section plane for each scene that you create. That is to say, SketchUp animates the transition from one active section plane to another active section plane. If all you do is move the same section plane to another spot and add a scene, this technique won’t work.

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