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Common animation questions

There are many ways to create an animation based on the task you are interested in. Animation workflows can benefit from best practices to avoid instances of unexpected behavior. In the list below are categorized recommendations of best practices and tips to assist the animation authoring experience.


How do I make the camera face my intended region of interest between two keyframes?

If the keyframes are separated by a large spatial distance, often the camera won't be pointing directly toward your intended point of interest. To fix this, move halfway between the keyframes and update the camera position. For example, if you want to change the direction of the camera angle between keyframe 1 and keyframe 2, type 1.5 in the Keyframe List in the Edit group on the Animation tab, and then press Enter. You can also drag the scrubber in the Animation Timeline pane to an intermediate position between keyframes. Next, update the camera position by either recentering the camera (press Ctrl and left-click in the view) or controlling the rotation using keyboard shortcuts. For example, press the B key and use the left mouse button to look around from a pivot point. Or, press the V key in combination with the left and right arrow keys to rotate. When you have finished updating the view for this intermediate position, click the Update button Set Keyframe and the new keyframe is created between keyframes 1 and 2 with the adjusted rotation.

Learn more about navigation in ArcGIS Pro

I have Maintain Speed checked, but the camera still appears to speed up at times. Why is that?

There are two illusions of speed that can make Maintain Speed appear to speed up or slow down the camera.

  • Camera rotation—Maintain Speed doesn't account for camera rotation. As your camera is moving through space, the rotation of the camera can create the illusion of speed as well. To minimize this effect while using Maintain Speed, reduce the number of changes in camera rotation along the animation path.
  • Closeness to the ground—As you move over the surface of the earth, the camera will appear to move faster when it flies closer to ground. You can consider using a consistent height above the ground to reduce the effect, or slow down the overall duration of the animation.

What's the best way to add overlay text into my animation?

Adding overlay text, such as titles and an explanation of the content being displayed, can greatly improve the understandability of the videos you create using animation. The easiest way to add overlay text into your animation is to select the set of connected keyframes where you want the text to display from the Animation Timeline pane, choose the overlay text element type from the Overlay gallery list on the Animation tab, and type in the text on to the screen. You click the red X to close the entry box and then optionally adjust the text font, color, and size as needed using the Animation Properties pane. When you export the video, the overlay text will be drawn on top of the screen.

Refinement tips

When I create a hop tour from importing my map's bookmarks, the hop arcs are too big. How can I edit them so playback feels more natural?

Bookmarks to Tour automatically creates keyframes from the current map's bookmarks using the hop transition type. During playback, you may see that you need to adjust the height of the hop between the keyframes to make it appear more natural. To edit the camera path of a hop arc, use the interactive slider in the Edit group for a selected keyframe with a hop transition. You can choose a keyframe from the Keyframe Gallery in the Animation Timeline pane, or expand the Keyframe List in the Edit group on the Animation tab. If you have the display path turned on, you can dynamically see your adjustments using the slider. You can either drag the slider bar or click the buttons to incrementally increase or decrease the height of the arc.

Hop transition adjustment slider

You can optionally edit keyframe properties such as hop height using the Keyframe Properties pane for selected keyframes.


My exported movie won't play in Windows Media Player.

If Windows Media Player or another common video player is unable to play your exported movie from ArcGIS Pro, most likely you are missing the necessary codec file. The codec is a form of compression used to keep the video file size low. With the codecs installed, Windows Media Player will be able to play the supported movie formats:

Movie typeCodec

AVI movie (.avi)

Motion JPEG

MPEG4 movie (.mp4)


Download Windows Media Video 9 VCM to reinstall missing codecs.

Export Movie seems to take a long time. How long should my movie take to export?

Many things impact the time it takes for a movie to finish exporting, including the following:

  • The capability of your computer (processor, graphics card, and so on) will directly influence how much you can animate and how quickly your animation will export.
  • The complexity of your project. Numerous elements being saved with keyframes, such as labels, layer transparency, and so on, will slow down the export process.
  • The length of the animation. A longer animation will take more time to export.
  • The size of the resolution will impact how long it takes to generate each frame.


My view appears to stutter or slow down dramatically when I play back my animation.

The playback speed of your animation within ArcGIS Pro may be different from its playback quality as an exported movie. While an exported movie will always play at the correct speed, playback within ArcGIS Pro varies depending on several factors, including your computer's hardware.

Other factors to consider that may impact the playback speed within the view include the following:

  • Transparency applied to 3D symbols, basemaps, and labels
  • Complex 3D symbology
  • The camera's proximity to areas on the ground with varying relief in the landscape, for example, canyons, mountains, and valleys
  • Using camera cuts (the stepped transition type) or quick, sudden camera movements

You can improve the speed of playback by clicking the Camera Only Playback button Camera Only Playback in the Playback group on the Animation tab. This mode only displays the camera position. All other keyframe properties, such as the map's time and range settings, layer visibility and transparency, will not be displayed until playback stops.

To learn more about requirements for running ArcGIS Pro, see ArcGIS Pro system requirements and click the link to check your computer's ability to run it.