3D Preview Window
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Last modified on 6/3/2013 11:20 AM by User.


3D Preview Window

Keywords: 3d, 3D, ArcGIS, ArcScene, ArcMap, layers, layer files

3D Preview Window

EQuIS for ArcGIS provides a dockable window that has an embedded 3D Scene of your current 2D map in ArcMap. It is tightly integrated with the ArcMap 2D map, in that all layers that can be viewed with ArcGIS 3D Analyst1 are seamlessly added to, or removed from the scene as they are added or removed from the ArcMap 2D map window. Any selections on the 2D map are highlighted in the 3D scene, and if you toggle the visibility of a layer in ArcMap, the corresponding 3D layer responds. If you change a layer's symbology and the layer is the selected layer in the ArcMap table of contents before you make the change, it will refresh automatically in the 3D scene. Otherwise, you must click the refresh button in order for the changes to be seen in the 3D scene.

Adding Layers to the 3D Scene

Layers will dynamically be added and removed to the 3D scene as they are added and removed in ArcMap, provided that they can be rendered by ArcScene. An existing ArcScene .SXD Document can be opened in the 3D preview window as well. If any layers are already present when an attempt to open an SXD is made, then a prompt appears asking whether to save these existing layers and add them to those in the SXD after it is opened, or whether to just clear those layers and open the SXD. Using ArcCatalog, layers can be added to the 3D Preview Window by simply dragging them onto the 3D Preview Window (toolbar or status bar). Any ArcGIS layer files (.LYR), feature classes, shapefiles, feature datasets, CAD files, or SXD documents can be dragged onto the 3D Preview Window from ArcCatalog to have them added to the 3D Scene. Additionally, layer files (.LYR's) and ArcScene document files (.SXD's), can be dragged from Windows Explorer onto the 3D Preview Window (toolbar or status bar). Layers added using drag-and-drop or layers originating from an SXD file that is opened will be cleared if the 'Rebuild' tool is clicked. The Rebuild tool will clear the 3D scene, and synchronizes the 3D layers to those in the currently active 2D map in ArcMap.

3D Preview Window Toolbar

The EQuIS 3D utilities available for ArcScene can also be launched from the 3D preview window by clicking on their respective icons on the 3D preview window's toolbar and menus. The 'Options' menu on the toolbar can also be displayed by right-clicking on the toolbar or status bar. This options menu exposes additional features such as setting the scene's background color, toggling the display of the toolbar or status bar, and customizing the layout and appearance of tools located on the 3D Preview Window toolbar.

  • Dynamic Updates
    You can also add a bounding box that shows your current 2D map extents, or a semi-transparent cube that shows the full 3D extent of all layers in scene, using the current fill color in ArcMap's Drawing Toolbar. If you have the 'Dynamic Updates' menu item checked, these bounding boxes will dynamically update as you add new layers to the 3D scene, or change the 2D map view's extent by zooming or panning. Additionally, when using ArcGIS 8.2 and later, 'Dynamic Updates' makes the 3D camera animate for 3 seconds from its current position to a position that contains the extents of the 2D map.
  • Animation Utilities
    When the button on the toolbar is pressed, an animation menu is displayed, which provides access to custom tools and options for creating 3D animations, which can be rendered in real time as well as exported as AVI video files, and optionally encoded as streaming video files using the latest Microsoft Windows Media 9 Series technology. The flyby and animate graphics utilities are accessed from this menu. Before running the flyby utility, a polyline or group of polylines representing the flight path to follow must be selected on the 2D map. Additionally, since selections are preserved when layer files (*.LYR) are saved, any selected polyline(s) in a saved layer file that is added just to the 3D scene will be recognized.

Keyframe animations can be created by capturing a series of camera positions, and interpreting between them. Simply change the camera as desired for the next frame, and select the 'Capture Keyframe...' menu item from the animation menu. After you capture 2 or more keyframes, the "Play Animation Track' menu item will be enabled. When pressed, it will display the animation for the duration set in the 'Animation Duration' text box on the animation menu; the default is 30 seconds. Below the animation duration item on the menu is the loop animation back and forth option. When checked, the animation will run through the keyframes and then run through them in reverse order and keep repeating until you press the ESC button or click anywhere in the 3D scene. Animation tracks can be saved out as *.ASA files, and loaded again by the 3D Preview Window, or even from ArcScene's animation toolbar, where the Animation Manager can be used to refine any animation tracks created.

There are also menu items that allow you to either register or un-register the 3D preview window as an ArcMap Dockable Window, which causes instability on some systems, especially under versions of ArcGIS earlier than 8.2. (You must restart ArcMap for this change to take effect). You can also customize the toolbar to move commands from the content-sensitive menu, up onto the toolbar. The toolbar can also be docked on the top or left side of the 3D Preview Window. The toolbar contains tools which are described in the table below.

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  • Always on Top: When running the 3D Preview Window as a floating window (when it is not registered as an ArcMap Dockable Window), this button toggles the window so it displays on top of all other windows.
  • Open Document: Displays the contents of an ArcScene Document (*.SXD) in the 3D Preview Window. These layers will be cleared if you click on the Rebuild button, or if you close your current ArcMap document.
  • Add Data: Add layers just to the 3D Scene. Warning: Layers added using this control will be cleared if you click the rebuild button.
  • Layers: Remove any layer or access any layer's property dialog found in the 3D scene. The layer properties dialog will have 3D layer property tabs such as base heights, rendering, and extrusion, which can be used to set Z scaling factors or drape a layer on a surface.
  • Explore/Navigate: *Rotate around the 3D Scene when you left-click and drag the mouse; right-click and drag will zoom in and out of the scene. Pan when you hold down your middle mouse button (scroll wheel) and drag in the 3D Scene.
  • Info Tool: Displays the attributes behind any spatial feature selected in those layers you have set as selectable.
  • Scene Properties: View or change the 3D scene properties, including observer and target coordinates, and perspective viewing angle.
  • Refresh Scene: Refreshes all layers currently in the 3D scene.
  • Rebuild Scene: Clears all layers from the 3D scene and adds the layers in the ArcMap table of contents to the 3D scene. If you opened an ArcScene *.SXD Document, it will not be reloaded automatically.
  • Zoom to Full Extents: Zoom to the full extents of the 3D scene.
  • Vertical Exaggeration: Sets the vertical exaggeration of the 3D scene.
  • 3D Annotation Toolbar: Launches the EQuIS 3D Label toolbar which controls 3D text labels and marker symbology options.
  • Animate Graphics: Displays the Animate Graphics dialog, which allows for animated arrows, spheres, or points to be created which move along any 3D polyline layers in your 3D scene. Using Golden Software's Surfer for Windows, you can create 'Vector Maps' with the EQuIS for ArcGIS 'Contours with Surfer' module, using water level data. This utility can then be used to animate arrows showing the direction of groundwater flow.
  • Fly-By Utility: After clicking on a line, or multiple lines which define your flight path, e.g. existing road or highway, or a digitized polyline to serve as your flight path, click the flyby utility to create a 3D streaming video file all within ArcMap.
  • Export Image: Exports a still image of your 3D Scene in JPEG format. Your system's default program for viewing JPEG images is launched to display the image.
  • Export VRML: Exports a Virtual Reality Markup Language file2 using the same options as the last VRML export performed from ArcScene (if any were found).
  • Help: Launches this help topic.

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If you do not have a valid ESRI ArcGIS 3D Analyst (or ArcInfo TIN) license, a warning will be displayed when trying to view the 3D scene. This feature can be installed or removed via the Add/Remove Programs utility by clicking on the Modify button beneath the EQuIS entry. You can then modify any of the optional sub-features of EQuIS for ArcGIS, such as this utility, which is located under the 3D Utilities section. Simply right-click on the feature name you wish to uninstall, and select the Do not install this feature, and click Next to proceed.

The EarthSoft ArcScene Interface license is not currently required to use this feature; only the EarthSoft module-level license already being used for the ArcMap extension is required.

1 Layers rendered with chart symbology (such as pie created for chemical crosstab layers) cannot be viewed in ArcGIS 8.x and are not added to the 3D scene. Dimension layers and annotation layers also are not added to the 3D scene.

2 The VRML files created are "compressed" VRML files (.WRZ) and are significantly smaller than the uncompressed *.WRL files created by ArcGIS normally. If you need a *.WRL file instead of the WRZ file, you can use any GZip-compatible decompressing program, such as WinZip, to "unzip" the *.WRZ into a *.WRL file. *Recommended VRML plug-ins for Internet Explorer to view ArcGIS-created VRML files include:

VRML plug-in

Optional GeoVRML add-on (required in addition to the core plug-in if you set your ArcScene File>Export>3D option to create GeoVRML files)

If these direct links are no longer valid, please inform support@earthsoft.com. In the meantime, go to the homepage of the invalid link and navigate the site to find the current download location.

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