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, and geographic movements. Use animations to understand patterns in data through time and 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 do the following:

Learn more about the Animation toolbarLearn more about animation conceptsLearn more about how to build animations in ArcGIS

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.

Navigating through a landscape

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

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.

Altering layer visibility and transparency in an animation

The example above shows the transition between layers of information that can be part of an animation.

Learn more about animating layers

Animate data through time

You can animate data through time in ArcMap, ArcScene, or ArcGlobe to understand how data changes with time and space. Depending on the how you want to visualize your temporal data, you can use the Time Slider available on the Tools toolbar or create a time animation.

If you are simply interested in visualizing your data over time, you should enable time properties on your data and use the Time Slider for visualizing it over time. Learn more about enabling time on your data and using the Time Slider.

However, if you want to add other animated effects while visualizing your temporal data over time, you should create a time animation, which can be played alongside other animation tracks. For example, if you want to create a camera flyby while visualizing your data over time, you should create a time animation track to alter the time of the display (map, scene, or globe) and a camera animation track to move the camera. These two tracks can then be played together using the animation controls.

Learn more about animating data through time using a Time Animation

Animate the change in scene properties

You can alter scene properties as part of an animation to create some interesting effects.

Altering scene properties in 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

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.

Learn more about animation concepts

Tracks and keyframes

To animate the properties of an object in ArcMap, ArcScene, or ArcGlobe, an animation track must be created and bound to the object so that its properties will animate. A track consists of a collection of keyframes. 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 the following:

As well as using the Create Animation Keyframe dialog box, you can create keyframes using other options on the Animation toolbar.

For Camera tracks, you can do the following:

For layer tracks, you can do the following:

Use the Animation Manager to edit tracks and keyframes and 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 an .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

Related Topics

Published 6/7/2010