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Rotate marker symbol layers

Marker symbol layers are an inherent part of point symbols. They can also be in line symbols, placed along the length of the line or in relation to line endpoints, and in polygon symbols, either in the interior or along the outline. In each case, the markers have a specific orientation and rotation behavior in the symbol. As with most symbol layer properties, these can be set explicitly, or dynamically by connecting the properties to attributes in your data.

In a 2D context such as a map or the 2D Layers category of a scene, you rotate markers by setting a rotation angle. In a 3D context such as the 3D Layers category of a scene, you specify angles relative to all three axes, and also specify how the marker should behave as you navigate through the scene.

When there is more than one marker symbol layer in a point symbol, the angles of each marker layer are updated by the Angle basic property for the point symbol. For example, two marker symbol layers with angles of 5 and 10 degrees are updated to 25 and 30 degrees, respectively, when the Angle basic property of the point symbol is updated to 20 degrees. The point symbol as a whole is rotated collectively, and the individual marker layers reflect this new orientation.

Rotate markers in 2D

In 2D, you specify the rotation of a marker symbol layer by specifying an angle, applied in a counterclockwise direction, around the marker's anchor point. When a marker symbol layer is in a point symbol, an angle of 0 means the marker will point up, but whether up means to the top of the page or toward north (as defined by the map's coordinate system) is controlled by the point symbol's angle alignment setting.

  1. In the Format Symbol pane, on the Properties tab, click the Layers tab Layers.
  2. Highlight a marker symbol layer and expand the Rotation heading.
  3. Specify a value for the Angle property.

    To rotate clockwise, specify a negative value, or check Rotate clockwise. The Rotate clockwise check box is helpful if you are connecting the angle to an attribute and the attribute values are defined as clockwise angles.

  4. Use the symbol preview to validate the settings.

Note:

When you work with 3D model markers in a 2D context, you see 3D properties as well. You can set these, and they are saved with the symbol in the event that you will use this symbol in a 3D context at another time. As long as it is in a 2D context, many of these properties will be ignored and not reflected in the way the symbol draws. 3D model markers draw as a flat rasterized image of the model in 3D.

Rotate markers in 3D

The best way to visualize direction in a scene is to image a map (or your computer monitor) lying flat on a table, face up. In this arrangement, the x- and y- directions are just as they are in a 2D map. The x-axis points east-west and the y-axis points north-south. The z-axis points up or down, measuring distance below or above the map surface.

When rotating markers in 3D, you rotate around these three axes. The point at which these axes intersect is the location of the feature geometry relative to the marker. You can adjust the location of the anchor point relative to the geometry of the marker to control the rotation. The rotation order in which the three rotations are applied is set globally on the basic properties of the point symbol.

  1. In the Format Symbol pane, on the Properties tab, on the Layers tab Layers, highlight a marker symbol layer.
  2. Expand the Rotation heading and adjust the Angle (Z), Tilt (X), and Roll (Y) properties as necessary. Use the symbol preview to verify the changes.

Change model orientation

When you rotate 3D model markers in 3D, especially dynamically from attributes, it's important to know your starting point. The inherent orientation of the model itself impacts how the model responds to rotation. You can view and reset the orientation of the model within the symbol. This updates the model as an input to the symbol.

  1. In the Format Symbol pane, on the Properties tab, on the Layers tab Layers, highlight a marker symbol layer.
  2. Expand the Appearance heading and click Change Orientation.
  3. On the Change Model Orientation dialog box, adjust the Roll (Y), Tilt (X), or Angle (Z) to orient the model to the desired starting point. The model appears as it is input to the symbol. No additional symbol properties are applied.

    If you are not sure which way to orient the model, rotate it so that the front face of the model is facing north, toward the dark-green axis.

Billboard markers to face the camera

You can billboard markers to have them always face toward you (toward the "camera") when you navigate through a scene. You can set this globally for all marker layers from the basic properties of a point symbol, or set it individually for each layer.

When you billboard markers, they are also rotated to "stand up." In other words, once you billboard a marker, the part of the marker that was facing up (toward the dark-blue axis) is now facing north (toward the dark-green axis) in the symbol preview. You may need to adjust the Y anchor point to move the model higher or lower with respect to the surface.

When markers are billboarded, you can only adjust the anchor point in two dimensions, X and Y. The Z anchor point is ignored, and only 2D anchor point options are available in the Anchor point presets menu.

If your scene is set to cast shadows, the shadows only appear on symbols that exist in fixed, real-world space. That is, if they are billboarded or they are not in real-world units, they do not cast a shadow.

  1. In the Format Symbol pane, on the Properties tab, on the Layers tab Layers, highlight a marker symbol layer.
  2. Expand the Rotation heading and check Billboard to apply billboard rotation behavior. Choose the billboard behavior:
    • With full rotation With full rotation: The marker always faces the viewer directly, regardless of view angle.
    • With signpost rotation With signpost rotation: The marker always faces toward the viewer, but as though spinning on a vertical signpost. Viewed from above, the marker does not face you; you see the top of the marker.
  3. Use the symbol preview to validate the settings.

Anchor point and billboard presets

Anchor points, billboarding, and whether a layer is standing vertically all work together to determine how a symbol is situated in a scene. Billboarded markers seemingly spin to always face toward you. The orientation of this spin is defined by the marker's anchor point. Since billboarding and anchor points are inherently related, the Presets menu provides options to set a few common permutations of these properties to support most mapping scenarios. Presets are an easy way to specify billboarding, anchor point settings, and vertical standing at once. Use these presets as a starting point and further adjust individual properties as necessary.

  1. In the Format Symbol pane, on the Properties tab, on the Layers tab Layers, highlight a marker symbol layer.
  2. Expand the Appearance heading and open the Presets menu. Choose a preset billboard and anchor point combination. Use the symbol preview to validate the settings.

    Upright

    Places the marker upright on the surface, not billboarded. If the marker is a shape or a picture marker, checks Stand vertically.

    Flat

    Places the marker flat on the surface. If the marker is a shape or a picture marker, unchecks Stand vertically.

    Anchor at base

    Sets the anchor point to the bottom of the marker (Y = -50%) and applies full rotation billboarding.

    Signpost anchor at base

    Sets the anchor point to the bottom of the marker (Y = -50%) and applies signpost rotation billboarding.

    Anchor at center

    Sets the anchor point to the center of the marker (Y = 0%) and applies full rotation billboarding.

    Signpost anchor at center

    Sets the anchor point to the center of the marker (Y = 0%) and applies signpost rotation billboarding.

    Anchor at top

    Sets the anchor point to the top of the marker (Y = 50%) and applies full rotation billboarding.

    Signpost anchor at top

    Sets the anchor point to the top of the marker (Y = 50%) and applies signpost rotation billboarding.

Rotate shape and picture markers in 3D

Often symbols in 3D include 3D models, which have a sense of volume. But you can use flat symbols such as shape markers and picture markers in a 3D context as well.

To make flat shape or picture markers stand up on the surface of the scene, adjust the Tilt (X) or Roll (Y) properties, or check Stand vertically under the Appearance heading. Stand vertically effectively switches the orientation of the marker, so that the part that was facing north (toward the dark-green axis) is now facing up (toward the dark-blue axis) in the symbol preview.

  1. In the Format Symbol pane, on the Properties tab, on the Layers tab Layers, highlight a shape or picture marker symbol layer.
  2. Expand the Appearance heading heading and check Stand vertically. Use the symbol preview to validate the settings.

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