Exploded Assembly of a book case tutorial

    This tutorial shows how to easily create an assembly animation in which the components appear to fly into place. The video in the exploded assembly section of Key frames demonstrates the final results of this tutorial.

    You should have already have examinde the other key frame tutorials to become familiar with the idea of a key frame animation.

    The previous key frame tutorial videos created key frames with changed geometry (objects), layers and camera position. In this tutorial we will examine creating a key frame animation that manipulates both geometry and layers.

    Open the model bookcase-assembly1.skp. This model has been prepared using SU Animate's tool to "distribute groups/components to layers", so each group is on a separate layer. The approach will be to move the components away one-by-one, then turn off their layers one-by-one, and then reverse the entire animation to show the components flying into place.

    Make sure that all objects (groups) are selected, and from the SU Animate 4 dialog choose "New... -> KeyFrame Animation". In the dialog that opens, "Capture" the initial scene.

    In the model, clear the selection and select just the group of four pegs that hold the top shelf in place (zoom in if needed).

    Use the Sketchup Move tool to move it straight up some distance. Click "Capture" in the key-frame dialog. We now have two frames.

    Now turn off visibility of the layer of the just-moved object. (The Entity Info dialog shows us that name). Select the top shelf of the bookcase, and move it off to the side some distance away from the rest of the bookcase.

    Click "Capture". That's our third frame.

    The rest of the frames will continue this pattern, turning off the layer of the object just moved, and moving another object.

    You are not constrained to moving a single object at a time.

    For the fourth frame, turn off the top-shelf layer and then move each of the four rails around the top shelf straight away from the bookcase.

    You are also not constrained to simple linear moves, objects can be rotated into place.

    For the fifth frame, turn off the four layers of the objects just moved, then select the top back panel of the bookcase, and use the Sketchup rotate tool to rotate it forward by 90 degrees (so it lies on the middle shelf). Click "Capture".

    Time to check our progress. Remember we want to play the animation in reverse order, so click the "Reverse" button on the key-frame dialog. Increase "Frames"  to 40. Click "Save". In the SU Animate dialog, click "Play".

    Your model should resemble the video for bookcase-assembly1. Notice how SU Animate interpolates the movements, so that they appear smooth. Increase the frame count for even more realistic motion.

    To continue building your aninmation, dismiss the Player (ESC works!).

    Right-click on "KeyFrame1" and choose "Edit". Click the "Reverse" button to restore the original order.

    Continue disassembling the bookcase in this fashion -- turn off the layer of the object(s) just moved, move/rotate some object(s), and "Capture".

    Note that you can both move and rotate in a single frame, so the objects appear to tumble into place. You can also capture any number of separate motions of of an object before turning off it's layer -- for example, we can make the middle and bottom shelf of the bookcase slide into view together, and then separate in to place.

    After the last frame has been captured, right-click the first frame and choose "Set View" -- this restores the model to the first frame, the original state.

    Set the Frames value to 5 or 10 times the number of key frames captured, and click "Reverse", then "Save". Save the model. It should resemble construction_animation_3.

    When you play, the model will vanish, and then the components will tumble into place one-by-one or four-by-four, in all sorts of different ways.