Apply visual effects in scenes

Use visual effects to add creative, abstract representations of GIS content in 3D scenes. You can use visual effects to deemphasize data flaws, promote a different artistic reality, or stylize a view for use as a promotional image.

The table below lists the visual effects you can apply to a scene:

Visual effectDescriptionExample

Black and White Black and White

Removes color and applies a grayscale visual effect using only shades of gray, similar to a black-and-white photograph.

Black and White visual effect

Cross Mosaic Cross Mosaic

Applies a crosshatched mosaic visual effect similar to tiled flooring.

Cross Mosaic visual effect

Halftone Halftone

Simulates a grayscale gradient-like visual effect by using single-tone dots of various size and spacing, similar to how newspapers print images.

Halftone visual effect

Hex Mosaic Hex Mosaic

Applies a hexagonal mosaic visual effect similar to the results of hex-based binning.

Hex Mosaic visual effect

Monochromatic Monochromatic

Applies a color visual effect using shades of a single color or hue. similar to a color filter.

Monochromatic visual effect

Toon Toon

Applies cel shading to give the appearance of a flat cartoon visual effect.

Toon visual effect

Watercolor Watercolor

Simulates watercolor painting with fuzzy edges and colors that blend into each other.

Watercolor visual effect

Once activated, the visual effect is applied to the entire scene. Only one visual effect can be applied at a time, and some visual effects include additional configuration options.

Apply a visual effect

Use the following steps to apply a visual effect in a scene:

  1. Activate the scene view if necessary.
  2. On the View tab, in the Scene group, click the Visual Effect drop-down arrow to open the gallery of visual effects. Once an effect is selected it is applied immediately. The Black and White visual effect is the default.
  3. Click the Visual Effect button Visual Effect to switch an effect off or on.
  4. Optionally, click the drop-down gallery and click Visual Effect Settings to customize the active visual effect by updating properties or changing the active visual effect type.

Save or share scenes with a visual effect

Visual effects are saved with open views and are reapplied when you open the project. They are not, however, stored with the scene document. All scene views open without visual effects. Visual effects are also removed when sharing the scene to a map package, map file, or web scene.

Visual effects are included when capturing the scene to the clipboard, exporting the scene to an image file, exporting a layout containing a 3D map frame, or exporting an animation to a video file.


To include visual effects in a video file, use animation to build keyframes capturing the state of the view, apply a visual effect, and export the animation. Visual effect settings are not captured in keyframes and will not change during the export of a single animation.