Animated symbols add movement to otherwise static data in a map or scene. The speed, direction, and synchronicity of the animation is controlled by properties of the marker symbol layer. You can make your own animated symbols or start with animated symbols in the system styles and modify them as necessary.
As with other symbol properties, animation properties can be attribute-driven symbology to customize the animation to the data. Animated symbols can also be modified by varying the transparency, color, rotation, or size of the symbology of the whole layer.
Animation is part of the marker symbol layer of a symbol. Typically, marker symbol layers are components of point symbols, but marker symbol layers can also be placed along line symbols or within polygon symbols.
Polygon symbols can include animated fill symbol layers that also add visual movement to otherwise static data. Animated fill symbol layers have a different set of properties controlling their animation than animated marker symbol layers.
2D animated symbols
2D animated symbols contain a picture marker symbol layer that references an animated GIF source file (.gif). These symbols are intended to be used in maps, but they can also be used in scenes. They are animated when placed in the 3D Layers category of a scene. They are draped and static in the 2D Layers category of a scene.
Add the Animated system style to your project to see some 2D animated symbols in the symbol gallery. To create your own animated symbol, add a picture marker symbol layer to a symbol, and use an animated .gif file as the source file.
3D animated symbols
3D animated symbols contain a 3D model marker symbol layer that references a glTF source file with animation (.glTF). These symbols are intended to be used in scenes, but they can also be used in maps. They are animated when placed in the 3D Layers category of a scene. They are draped and static in a map, and in the 2D Layers category of a scene.
Add the 3D Animated system style to your project to see some 3D animated symbols in the symbol gallery. To create your own animated symbol, add a 3D model marker symbol layer to a symbol, and use an animated .glTF file as the source file.
If you make changes to a 3D symbol, consider updating the symbol thumbnail so that the thumbnail in the Contents pane and in legends better matches what you see in the display.
Modify animated symbols
The properties of animated symbols can be modified just like those of any symbol, with a few limitations. These limitations are outlined in the section at the bottom of this topic. To adjust the animation behavior of an animated symbol, you must modify the animation properties of the marker symbol layer within the symbol.
The following steps outline how to adjust the animation properties of an animated symbol:
- In the Format Symbol mode of the Symbology pane, click the Properties tab and click the Layers tab .
- Click the marker symbol layer in the upper section of the pane to highlight it.
- Expand the Animation heading. Adjust the animation properties described below, as necessary.
- Check Play Animation to animate the symbol. Uncheck this property to use a static version of the symbol.
- Check Reverse Animation to display the animation in the reverse direction of the way animation was authored in the source file.
- For the Start time offset property, choose Randomized or Manual offset (seconds). Randomized start times give an organic, unsynchronized appearance to groups of animated symbols. Use the manual setting to set the starting point of the animation forward or backward from the animation origin as specified in the source file. The manual offset is measured in seconds.
- Change the Duration (seconds) value from the default duration as defined by the source animation file. The duration is effectively the speed of the animation. A larger duration number makes the animation appear slower. Click the Reset button to reset the value to the native duration of the source file.
- Change the Repeat Type property. Choose between None, Loop, or Oscillate. None plays the animation once and does not repeat. Loop is the default and repeats the animation continuously as defined by the source file. Oscillate repeats through one cycle of animation in the forward direction, and then one in the reverse direction, continuously.
- Optionally, allow symbol property connections to adjust any of the animation properties by attribution or an expression.
- If you are working in 3D, verify that the symbol animation displays as expected by viewing it in the preview panel in the lower section of the pane. If you made changes to the appearance of the symbol, consider updating the symbol thumbnail that appears in the Contents pane and in legends.
- Click Apply to save changes.
Pause animated symbol drawing
As you author a map or scene, you may want to pause playback of all animated symbols. At the bottom of the map or scene display, click the Pause Symbol Animation button to stop all symbol animation. Click the button again to restart symbol animation. Symbol animation is also paused when you pause drawing of the whole view.
Share animated symbols
When you share a layer, map, or scene with animated symbols, the animation is not supported. The symbols will appear static in the web layer, web map, or web scene. Animated symbols export in their initialized state, sometimes referred to as their first frame. For example, a wind turbine symbol may start with one of the blades facing directly upward. The export honors the symbol's randomized or manual offset position, but it does not use the currently displayed state of the view.
Limitations of animated symbols
The following are the limitations of animated symbols:
- In a 3D context, animated symbols do not support face culling.
- In a 2D context, animated symbols have the following limitations:
- Feature blending is not honored.
- Layer blending and layer transparency do not appear as expected when set on a parent group layer of a layer that includes animated symbols.
- Halos are not honored on point symbols that contain animated marker symbol layers.
- Symbol effects are not supported on symbols that contain animated marker symbol layers.
- Animated symbols are not animated in a 2D preview.
- Aggregation (feature clustering and feature binning) does not support animated symbols.
- Marker spacing and rotation may be incorrect when animated markers are placed along a line.
- Placement may be incorrect when animated markers fill polygons, and the clipping options are not honored.