IRender nXt Tutorial - Animation


Animation is the filming a sequence of drawings or positions of models to create an illusion of movement. It is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision.

High quality animations of SketchUp models can be made with IRender nXt . In IRender nXt animation is created by rendering scenes, moving the camera, and rendering the next frame. We pass the rendered scenes to QuickTime to create a .AVI movie. (Or as an option, you can create a .JPG image for each frame and assemble them into a movie later.)

The times and delays specified for each page in SketchUp are used to time the animation. You specify the number of frames per second and the image size when you create the movie.

Animation is not available in IRender Lite . See the Feature Comparison chart for a full list of IRender nXt and Irender Lite features.


Batch Mode

Animations are created by a process separate from SketchUp.

This allows you to exit SketchUp and the animation will continue.

You can also set the Batch Mode to delay starting the animation, which would allow you to start the animation in a different computer.

See: Batch Rendering


It will be best to learn animation with a small model, and 2 view pages with about 20 animation frames between each page.

Step 1 - Set up view pages in SketchUp

Set up your view pages and animation options using SketchUp Animation

Animation View Pages
Animation Settings. These values from SketchUp are not used by IRender nXt animation. You will have to enter them again on the IRender nXt Animation Wizard. (This allows you to specify different values for the IRender nXt Animation.

Scene Manager.jpg

Scene Manager

In SketchUp you can specify that various items, such a layers, are stored with each scene.

IRender nXt processes Camera Location and Visible Layer changes between scenes. It currently does not process sun position changes, or section plane changes.

Step 2 - Animation settings in IRender nXt

Click the Animation icon on the IRender nXt tool bar ( Movie24.PNG ) to load the Animation Wizard.

Remember: Animations can take a very long time to perform, so you may want to test them first with fewer frames per second or at a lower image quality before creating the final animation.


  • Render and Settings - these are set on the Render and Settings tabs. This is a quick review of the length and size of the final animation.
  • Animation file to create - choose a folder and file name.
Choose .avi for movies
Choose .jpg or .png to create a set of slides - one per frame. The name entered will be used as a base, with a number added for each frame.
  • Don't prompt for file overwrite - if this is checked, then you will be not warned if you are overwriting an existing movie.
  • Play when finished - will launch you movie when it is created.


  • Render Window Size - set the desired size for the render window.
Note: The animation size is different than the size for normal rendering so that you can remember you desired size for creating animations.
  • Stop rendering after - You should do a sample rendering first and decide how many rendering passes you want for each frame of the animation.
  • Modify Batch Settings - Animation and general rendering use the same options for batch files. Use this button to review or change the options. See: Batch Rendering Settings

Batch Rendering Settings.jpg


  • Page Transitions and Delay - Although similar to the settings stored in SketchUp, the animation values are separate. This is done so that if you set a longer transition time for animations, SketchUp can still use a shorter transition time when switching between animation pages.
  • Frame Rate - determines the amount of time between scenes.
(You can also use flightpath.rb to customize the time between pages.)
  • Pages to include - lets you create animations of only certain pages.
Note: The Reset button is not working properly. You will have to sepcify the first and last scenes manually, (with the drop down arrows).
  • Loop back to starting page - will create an extra transition to return to the starting page.


  • Compression Quality - The default is 85, 100 is max. Lower quality produces smaller movie files.
  • Frames before restarting compression - The default is 10, which will compress sequentially for 10 frames, and then restart. A higher number will make smaller AVI files, but may reduce quality.
  • Make separate movie for each key frame - This can be used to save multiple movies from a single SketchUp model.
  • Save PNG file for each frame - This can be used to create the animation later with another program.
  • Generate separate batch file for each key frame - (not working yet) - When this is working you will be able to generate separate batch files for key frames and process them on separate machines, and then combine all the images into a single movie when done.
  • Close rendering window when done - will close the rendering window. This can be used to process multiple animations sequentially from a DOS .bat file. When each animation completes, the next will start.

Step 3 - click OK to start the animation

It may take several minutes, or longer to create the animation.


  • The default location for the animation is the IRender sub-folder in your My Documents folder.
  • IRender nXt Animation can be used to create .AVI movies of fly throughs of your model, or automatically create still renderings and images of each of the SketchUp view pages.
  • If you have changed layers between pages, the layers will be process properly..

Sample animations

Emirates palace video.jpg

Click this link to view a sample animation embedded into a web page.

Please allow 30-60 seconds for the page to load.


Click this link for an animation loaded to YouTube.

Documentation, Help and Forums

Video Tutorials

We have created a number of Video Tutorials which will help you get started.
Rendering with SketchUp
How-to-render.jpg How to choose a renderer
Sample-renderings-thumbnail.jpg Sample Renderings
First Exterior Rendering.jpg First Exterior Rendering

Video2.jpg Simple Rendering of an Object

Getting Started
Getting started video.jpg Getting Started with IRender nXt
Getting Started with nXtRender.jpg Getting Started with nXtRender

Interior lighting button.jpg Interior Lighting Basics
Reflections video.jpg Highlights and Reflections
IRender nXt Videos
IRender nXt Video.jpg IRender nXt Features
Version3-video.jpg Advanced IRender nXt Features
Pback2.jpg Position your Background Image
Position HDRi.jpg Position HDRi Sky

Glass transparency.JPG Fine Tuning Transparency
Button for edge lines vid.jpg Rendering with Edge Lines
Lighting-channels-video.jpg Lighting Channels

Material-channels-video.jpg Material Channels

Realistic Water Effects.jpg Realistic Water Effects
Create 3D PDF.jpg IRender nXt 3D PDF

Other SketchUp products

NprTools Video
  • Add non-photorealistic effects to your SketchUp Model.
  • Soft Shadows
  • Sketchy Shadows
RpTreeMaker Video
  • Add custom, fractal trees to your SketchUp Model.
  • Create a simple tree and see how to change the parameters.
Treemaker button.jpg

AccuRender nXt for Revit

AccuRender nXt Simple Rendering
  • Load and use AccuRender nXt for Revit
  • Render a model with default settings
Revit button.jpg

IRender Tutorials - click to see other Tutorials


Help Systems

IRender reference guides



Forum Support For additional support, visit the IRender nXt Forum

If you have any questions, post them on the Forum, or just visit to see what others have to say.

See also

External links