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Mapping and visualization
Getting started with animation
Would you like to move through a virtual landscape as if you were flying over or driving through it? Do you have data with time stamps that you'd like to visualize dynamically through time? Do you want to move an along a path? Would you like to dynamically change the layer properties such as visibility or transparency, or scene properties such as lighting and vertical exaggeration? These are just a few of the things you can do with animation in ArcGIS. Below are a few examples of the different types of that you can create with ArcGIS.
View sample animation videos
Animate data through time
You can animate data through time in ArcMap, ArcScene or ArcGlobe to understand how data changes with time and space.
- Move features—animate the point locations of ocean mammals or other populations to understand patterns in their movement.
- Change the color of features—learn how fatalities from a disease are increasing.
- Change the size or shape of features—understand population increase per city or parcel boundary changes.
- Examine changes using raster catalogs or netCDF data—view ocean temperature change or weather patterns.
- Plot change over time in a graph—examine change in ozone levels or water pressure at different stations.
The left example above shows the 1992 time stamp of change in the percentage of cropland (per grid cell) worldwide from 1700-1992 in ArcMap. When animated, the percentage of cropland in some areas increases as time passes. The middle example above shows the time stamp from April 18th 1997 of sea surface temperature change in ArcGlobe. The data spans 1997-1998, an El Nino year. When animated, the sea surface temperature changes with each successive month. The right example shows the 1994 time stamp of oil and gas production of the Lost Soldier Field in Wyoming in ArcMap. When animated, the pie charts on the map indicate the changing oil and gas production rates from each producing well (red is gas in barrels of oil equivalent and green is oil in barrels). The graph shows production through time for the entire field: gas (red), oil (green) and water (blue).
Learn more about animating data through time
Animate movement through a landscape or an object following a path
You can create an animation where you are moving your view or an object over a landscape.
- Capture the view, move location, then capture the view. The animation will interpolate the movement between the two points—move your viewpoint to get to know your environment.
- Move single point feature layers along paths—move a car along a road or a plane through the air along an invisible path.
The example above shows two paths that objects could be set up to follow. When animated, the car could follow the Car track, and a plane could follow the Flight track.
Learn more about animating the view
Learn more about moving objects
Animate the altering of layer transparency and visibility
You can view information in multiple layers by applying transparency and changing layer visibility as part of the animation.
- Make layers visible or invisible as the animation progresses—zoom in from a global perspective and make progressively more detailed layers visible.
- Make layers appear and disappear gradually—fade in an aerial photograph gradually over an elevation surface.
The example above shows the transition between layers of information that can be part of an animation.
Learn more about animating layers
Animate the change in scene properties
You can alter scene properties as part of an animation to create some interesting effects.
- Alter the background color of the scene—animate the change in sky color from day into night.
- Alter the lighting on the scene— animate the change in surface lighting as the sun moves through one day.
- Change the vertical exaggeration of a scene—make the elevation more or less pronounced during an animation.
The example above shows some of the scene properties that can be altered. By changing the scene's background color (the sky color) and the sun position, you can create the effect of the progression through an entire day. Shadows appear and disappear as the sun's angle changes.
Learn more about animating scene properties
What is an animation?
An animation is a visualization of the changes to the properties of one object (such as a layer) or a set of objects (such as multiple layers). Animations make your documents come alive by storing actions so they can be replayed as you choose. They can help you visualize changes in perspective, changes in the document's properties, geographic movements, and temporal changes. Use animations to understand patterns in data through time and to automate the processes that would be undertaken to demonstrate points that can only be made through visual dynamics.
ArcGIS allows different types of animations to be created in ArcMap, ArcScene, and ArcGlobe. You can:
- Animate data through time
- Navigate through the display (zoom and pan in ArcMap, or navigate in ArcGlobe or ArcScene)
- Animate the transparency or visibility of layers
- Move the camera or map view along a path
- Move a layer along a path (ArcScene only)
- Change the background color, lighting, or vertical exaggeration of a scene (ArcScene only)
In ArcMap, you might animate temperature values through time, pressure with increasing elevation, population change per county, or the growth of a city. Multiple animations can be played together, so you can have an animation that tracks the eye of a hurricane and displays changes in temperature at the same time. In ArcScene, you might have an animation in which the camera moves through a landscape while a layer draped over a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) shows changes in the surface through time. In ArcGlobe, you might animate ocean temperature change over time or the orbits of satellites.
Learn more about the Animation toolbar
Learn more about animation concepts
Learn more about how to build animations in ArcGIS
Objects and their properties
Objects with properties that can be animated include layers (ArcMap, ArcScene, and ArcGlobe), tables (in a chart in ArcMap), the camera (ArcScene and ArcGlobe), the view (ArcMap), and the scene (ArcScene). There are many different properties associated with these objects that can be animated. You can animate the scene by altering the background color, a layer by applying transparency, or the camera and view by moving to a new location. Animations can be created that change the properties of different objects at the same time, such as modeling the earth's rotation and change in lighting at the same time.
Tracks and keyframes
Learn more about animation concepts
To animate the properties of an object in ArcMap, ArcScene, or ArcGlobe, an animation must be created and bound to the object so that its properties will animate. A track consists of a collection of . Keyframes are the fundamental building blocks of an animation. Each keyframe is a snapshot of the object's properties at a certain point in the animation, such as the amount of transparency applied to a layer, or the angle of the camera. Two or more keyframes are required in a track to create an animation that will show change.
You can use the Create Animation Keyframe dialog box to create keyframes for:
- Camera tracks in which the perspective of a camera moves over a surface.
- Map view tracks in which the view moves over 2D space in ArcMap.
- Layer tracks where layer visibility or transparency changes at each keyframe.
- Time layer tracks where the data in the display is updated to display each time stamp, based on an interval set between keyframes.
- Scene tracks where the background or the vertical exaggeration of the scene changes at each keyframe.
As well as using the Create Animation Keyframe dialog box, you can also create keyframes using other options on the Animation toolbar.
For Camera tracks, you can:
- Capture views with the Capture View tool.
- Record actions with the Record tool on the Animation Controls dialog box.
- Create a camera flyby from a path using the Create Flyby from path tool.
For layer tracks, you can:
- Move a layer along a path using the Move layer along path tool.
- Create a group animation using the Create group animation tool.
Use the to edit tracks and keyframes and to organize how the tracks in an animation interact with each other.
Learn more about animation concepts
Saving, exporting, and sharing animations
An animation can be saved in an application document, such as a map document (.mxd); saved as an independent ArcMap (.ama), ArcScene (.asa), or ArcGlobe (.aga) animation file; or exported to an Audio Video Interleaved (.avi) or QuickTime movie (.mov) file. You can share animations by exchanging application documents (.mxd, .sxd, and .3dd), interchanging animation files (.ama, .asa, and .aga files), or distributing video files (.avi and .mov files). Use a shared document with an animation to demonstrate a particular point to colleagues. Independent .ama, .asa, and .aga files can be used as templates for others to build on or as generic animations that can be utilized with various data. Share a .avi or .mov file for picture-perfect, highly detailed animations that can be played in real time to a wide and varied audience when you need to quickly demonstrate a problem that can only be shown dynamically.
Learn more about saving and exporting animations