|How to record a 3D flyover animation using ESRI’s ArcScene|
This tutorial was suggested by one of our users.
This beginner ESRI ArcGIS tutorial teaches users how to load 3D data into ArcScene 9.2 for the purpose of creating a flyover animation. Users will learn how to setup a Digital Elevation Model raster in 3 dimensions, and how to symbolize it properly to visibly distinguish differences in elevation. Once the data is configured properly, users will learn how to utilize the Animation toolbar combined with the Fly tool to easily produce 3D flyover animations.
Setting up a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) in 3 dimensions
This tutorial will be using digital elevation data from a mountainous region of
As you may have noticed the DEM data comes into ArcScene as a 2 dimensional layer with varying degrees of brightness where black areas represent areas of low elevation, and conversely white areas represent locations of high elevation. We need to use these shades of brightness values in order to redraw the DEM in 3 dimensions. To setup the DEM in 3D, right click on the d30m92j051 layer in the table of contents and select Properties. Along the top of the Layer Properties dialog, click on the
ArcScene has taken the original 2D (x,y) DEM layer and used the brightness value to provide the additional 3rd (z) Dimension. Now that we have the
We want to select a color ramp that will provide a visually appealing difference between high and low values. We recommend selecting the color ramp that begins with cyan, and works its way up through beige, green, orange and red, finishing with white. We recommend this color ramp because it provides the look of water features in the lowest points of valleys, relatively flat land as green areas, steeper slopes appear in orange or red and the peaks of mountains in a snowy white color.
Using the ESRI ArcScene Navigate and Fly tools
Now that we have our DEM setup in 3D, and we have symbolized the differences in elevation, we can start to setup ArcScene for recording our flyover animation. Before we can start recording, we should get some practice using the Navigate and Fly tool to navigate around the DEM layer. The Navigate tool can be used to tilt or rotate the DEM layer to line up your data in the viewer. Conversely the Fly tool is used to direct the focus of the camera. Click on the Fly tool (which looks like a bird) located next to the Navigate tool. To begin your flyover, left click the mouse button to increase the speed of flight. Holding your mouse cursor in the center of the screen will cause the camera to fly forward. Tilting the mouse upward or downward will cause the path of flight to be raised or lowered accordingly. Likewise moving the mouse left or right will cause the path of flight to turn in either direction. To slow down your speed of flight right click the mouse. Practice flying over the area, entering the mountain valleys and flying around the landscape. To reset your view, click on the Full Extent button, and reframe your camera using the Navigate tool, as well as the Pan and Zoom tools.
ESRI ArcScene Animation toolbar
Once you have gotten comfortable with the use of the Fly tool, you are ready to start recording your flyover animation. To enable the Animation toolbar, select View > Toolbars > Animation. Click on the play/pause icon to open the Animation Controls. Make sure that you have your initial camera setup to the location you want to start recording your flyover animation. We suggest starting in the lower right hand corner above the large cyan area of low elevation. Before you start recording, move any open dialog windows out of the map viewer space, as this will be recorded in your animation. When ready click the Record button, then select the Fly tool and left click to begin navigating the landscape. When you are ready to stop recording press the Esc key to pause the recording, then click the Stop button to stop recording. Click Play to review your flyover animation. It is likely that you did not capture the exact flyover you desired on your first attempt. To restart recording, select the Animation drop-down on the Animation toolbar and select Clear Animation. Again reframe the initial starting point and try recording again.
Exporting the Animation to Video
Once you are satisfied with your flyover animation, we can export it as a video file. In the Animation toolbar drop-down, select Export to Video. Navigate to the location you wish to save your video and give it a logical name, ie. Flyover. Next the Video Compression must be set. Using the Cinepak Codec by Radius will provide a nice high quality video of your flyover animation, using the default settings is fine, click OK. The resulting file will be quite large, especially if your flyover animation is a lengthy one. ArcScene will now construction the flyover animation, once complete you can navigate to your Flyover video file and play it in any multimedia player.
Users should now have a beginner level understanding of how to setup digital elevation data within ESRI’s ArcScene 9.2 for the purposes of creating 3D flyover animations. Feel free to use these techniques with other data sets, to create your own custom flyover animations for your GIS analyses.