New animations in ArcGIS 10
New animations in ArcGIS 10

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 and to automate the processes that would be undertaken to demonstrate points that can only be made through visual dynamics.

Time animations

Visualizing temporal data over time allows you to observe patterns or trends that emerge in your data as time passes. For example, you can visualize how the ocean temperature varies over time or observe the patterns in population growth over time. In ArcGIS 10, a time animation allows you to visualize such changes in your temporal data over time. Time animations control the time of the display (map, scene, or globe) based on which features, table rows, or rasters in a time-enabled layer are drawn.

Time animations can be played along other tracks, such as the camera track, to create dynamic visual effects. 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.

  • A time animation is very similar to what you can achieve using the new Time Slider tool on the Tools toolbar. If you are strictly interested in visualizing temporal data, you should use the new Time Slider tool. However, if you want to create a dynamic animation wherein you are moving the camera while the temporal data is being updated, you should consider creating a time animation.
  • The Time Layer Animations supported in ArcGIS 9.x are no longer supported. If you open a map, scene, or globe document containing Time Layer Animation tracks, these tracks are automatically converted into the new Time Animation tracks.

Exporting animations as sequential images

In ArcGIS 10, you can export an animation as sequential images. Sequential images are a series of animation stills. Imagine it as undoing your animation into a comic book of one-by-one images. The supported output image formats to which you can export your animations are Windows Bitmap (*.bmp) and JPEG (*.jpg).

The output sequential images can then be used as input frames to create videos (AVI or QuickTime format) using the Raster To Video geoprocessing tool. Also, you can use the output images to other video formats (not supported in ArcGIS) in third-party video creation software. The exported sequential images can be edited before being processed as videos. For example, you can add titles or captions to the images.