I decided it would be a challenge for me to recreate the Star Wars Ep.IV opening prologue crawler in Google SketchUp and I think I pulled it off. There is no music playback and the timing isn’t perfect (yet) but it looks very close to the real version. At first all I wanted to do was the crawler text but ended up adding the Star Wars logo that zooms and fades out to it. Once I added the logo I realized I didn’t have the opening text that says “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” so I added that.
When I went to compare it to the original I found it was very close but with one major mistake. I initially had the crawler text fading out in the center of the screen, however in the movie it rolls all the way to the top as it fades out. So, it went from moderately tedious to hard just like that. It took me a little while to figure it out. Instead of having the text flat on the “ground” I had to tilt it forward by 30 degrees and adjust the field of view from the standard 57mm to 43mm to get the proper perspective.
The eventual scrolling effect was created through the use of multiple scenes using the same perspective repeated but positioned slightly lower on the screen per each scene. After I had the entire text image in proper perspective and zoomed to its extent. It then involved creating rectangles spaced apart approximately 6 seconds apart each. I’m sure you’re wondering what I mean by that because seconds aren’t even a unit of measure in the program. Basically I determined the scrolling should take 78 seconds until the fade out. With the scene transition time set to 6 seconds, I needed to use 13 scenes for the scrolling. I created the yellow text on a black background in Photoshop using Franklin Gothic as the font and imported it into SketchUp. I then tilted the imported text image downward 30 degrees and zoomed to the extents of the image with the front view selected and changed the POV to 43mm to create the proper perspective. I then created a rectangle the same size as the text image as a group at the same angle and moved its bottom edge to the top edge of the text image. I then made a line from the top of the rectangle group to approximately the center of the text image and divided it into 12 segments. I then copied the rectangle group and positioned its top left corner one segment on the line down. I repeated the last step until there were 13 total rectangles spaced apart by one line segment. I then created a scene for each rectangle using the perspective I created earlier by zooming to its extents of each rectangle at the 43mm POV. I put the rectangles in their own layer and turned off the layer to hide them. I then updated each scene with the style I created with the star watermark and the last scene with a style that had an all black watermark with the star watermark on top to create the fade out.
As I finish writing this blog post, I have decided to write a full tutorial on creating this. It will be posted on this blog when it’s ready.