Fundamentals of creating 3D animations

Animations make your 3D 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.

You might create an animation that helps you visualize how moving satellites react with one another during their orbit. In addition, you can model the earth's rotation and change in lighting at the same time.

You create animations using the Animation toolbar. ArcGIS allows different types of animations to be created in ArcMap, ArcScene, and ArcGlobe, for example to manipulate data, navigate through different perspectives, or help you understand patterns in data over time.

An animation consists of one or more tracks. Tracks control dynamic changes of the properties of an object, such as a document's background color, a layer's visibility, or a camera's location. Tracks are made up of a set of keyframes. A keyframe is a snapshot of a particular object's properties at a certain time. The object can be a scene or globe, layer, or camera. For example, you can create a track with the scene or globe object that animates scene or globe property keyframes to show the background color changing from white to black.

Animation tracks are stored in the current document. They can also be saved as a separate file that might be shared by numerous scene documents. An animation can also be exported as an Audio Video Interleaved (.avi) or QuickTime (.mov) file that can be played by third-party video players.

Animations provide a new and actuated aspect to your 3D documents. Use animations to automate the processes you would undertake to demonstrate points that can only be made through visual dynamics.

For more information on animations, please see the following topics:

Additionally, try the 3D Analyst tutorial exercise on Working with animations to familiarize yourself with the steps to create an animation of your 3D view. There are several tools and properties to customize your animation and they are each covered in the exercise.