Animated 3D view

Kicad 5.14

I would like to be able to make an animated clip of a PCB from the 3D view, starting with the front and then rotating to the back. Other paths also desired in future. I gather from a related post that this is best done by exporting the 3D model to another CAD program that can generate such clips.

Are there HOWTOs I can read to learn how?

One method is


Hi Ken,
do you have an example for other tools or something similar that shows your feature?
I’m confusing with the “animated clip” and “starting with the front and then rotating to the back”

I am thinking on cases where you can clip the board to inspection but I’m not understanding the “animation”

Something like that I guess.

ah “clip” meaning like a video or gif… I was thinking “clip” as “3D clipping” that has a very different meaning…

Yeah, what jos wrote. Here’s video clip I found on the Internet (different CAD tool) where the author rotates the board, starting at 0:47.

I could capture my screen while rotating the board in the 3D tool, but it would be jerky.

could you create a wish on for that please?

Well I’m not sure it’s a feature that should be in Kicad’s 3D viewer. I’m thinking it should be in another tool where one can programmatically rotate, zoom, etc. a 3D object, and capture a clip while doing that. I should try jos’s suggestion to export to Freecad first.

it would be possible to develop a get of a sequence of images and save in some format (provide that a library of that format could be included in KiCad).

right now, you can try using an external capture and use the reset shortcuts of 3D viewer as it will create an animation: ZzXxYy … but it will show the green arrow :confused:

I remember someone did a manually rotation by stepping all the rotation and get a screenshot… but will be time consuming…

Hi @kammutierspule ,
this thread reminds me a request we discussed long time ago :wink:
The best would have the option to add (even with a script) a path to be followed by the 3D viewer.
We already have an option to switch between different views using ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’ shortcuts, but an enhanced tool would be great.
Movie recording could be done by an external tool, but the motion would need to be done by the 3d viewer code.
Something like:


I don’t remember… but sound cool! and not complicated to implement…

First I would like to see better lighting. Nice animation will fall flat with ugly background and bad light. It would be good for static screenshots, too.

There hardly exists more advanced free (at least Open Source) tool for animations than Blender. However, it’s not easy. If you haven’t seen the results yet, take your coffee break now…

I once tried to open a KiCad design with it for a nice static rendering, but couldn’t get anything visible within short time.

Hi eelik!

I know Blender. It would be great to have an .OBJ exporter too.

Could you better explain the “better lighting” and “ugly background” ? (you can set it to black or someother color gradient…)

ATM it is already possible to import an exported VRML KiCad pcb board in to Blender.
Blender 2.7.9 is working fine.
Blender 2.8.0 has some issue on color importing.
Anyway Blender is a bit time consuming both to learn and to render.

Something like the 3d-pcb-flyout would be a very nice addition with a minimal learning curve :smiley:

Looking forward to see your coding in action again :wink:

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