London Eye Animation with Shadows for Google Earth

London Eye Animation with Shadows in Google EarthBarnabu is at it again adding more realism to an animated ferris wheel. Previously Barnabu was shown with a 4D animation of the London Eye where he used a modified ground image to remove the projected image of the ferris wheel from the ground (from the satellite photo). Now he has also added the shadow from the ferris wheel as it animates by using a feature in Google SketchUp (a 3D modeling tool) for projecting shadows. You can view the London Eye with shadows animation (860 KBytes) directly in Google Earth.
Follow these instructions (from Barnabu):

  • After the file loads look for the time slider control at the top of the screen
  • Access the time control options via the white clock face to the left of this
  • Set the repeat mode to ‘wrap’
  • Ensure that ‘clamp beginning of time window’ is off
  • Click OK
  • Hit the play button (the triangular right arrow).
  • If need be, the speed can be varied via the time control options
  • GE takes a little while to load in all the separate parts of the animation, resulting in flickering for a few cycles

An animating 3D model like this is best viewed with the view tilted so you can see both the moving ferris wheel and the shadow. It’s even better if you move around while it is animating with something like the SpaceNavigator. See the link below for a video showing what this looks like.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. llamajourney says:

    It just gets cooler!

  2. I downloaded the .kmz file for the London Eye but I only get the shadow for a couple of seconds throughout the loop. And I don’t see the wheel itself but just the main support structure the wheel is attached to.
    But the idea itself is bloody brilliant!!!

  3. A fantastic piece of work, always something new to understand and learn while reviewing Barnabu’s work.
    Absolutely amazing how .5625deg @ 20 intervals can produce such a realistic representation.
    I reviewed the .gif for the article as well, the smoothness and file size @ 20 frames is also very impressive.

  4. Google Earth was amazing at first and it continues to amaze.
    I wonder what it will be like in ten years time!

  5. Very cool! You should put in the instructions to turn off “3D Buildings” though, because otherwise Google Earth’s own static model of the Eye is also shown.

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