Animate Anything!

I use animation all the time in DataGraph; it is a lot of fun and relatively straight forward. If you have not tried creating animations before then read on.

In this post, I’ll describe the basics of the animation variable, which makes it all possible.  The animation variable is further explained using a simple example, animating a function. A more complicated example is also given where data is animated over time, based on a user question.

Overview of the Animation Variable

The key to creating an animation is to use the animation variable. Settings for the animation variable are located on the bottom left corner of the program, below the column definition list (click the definition icon on right side of the toolbar to view).

By default, the entry for Animate is set to ‘t’, which is the default name of the animation variable. If you are not familiar with what each of these entries represents, you can hover over each item to get a short description or tool tip.



You can change any of these values, the Range, the Duration, and even the name of the variable.  You can also type in the current value for ‘t’ just left of the play button.


To have the value for ‘t’ change over time, hit the play button on the bottom right.  Based on the default settings, the value of ‘t’ will increase from 0 to 1 over a duration of 10 seconds.  You can also stop the variable from changing at any time or use the slider to vary the value, as shown in the short video below.

 

Example: Animating a function

Just about anywhere that you can enter a number in DataGraph, you can also enter a variable that represents a number.  The animation variable is just like any other variable and it can be used in a a wide variety of ways.

The example I have here shows a simple animation of a function.

 

The animation was created using a Function command. By default, the Function command has a Range from 0 to 1, where the Range refers to the x-range that the function is evaluated over. Notice that we changed the Range to go from 0 to ‘t’, where ‘t’ is our animation variable.

Function command
Function command

 

We also had to edit the axis settings to always include the minimum and maximum x and y values for our function. If we did not include these values the axis range would change as the animation was running.

Axis settings
Axis settings

 

The following one minute video demonstrates how to create this animation. Notice that, initially, the axis range is changing as the value for ‘t’ is varied. After we edited the Axis settings as shown above, the axis range for the graph no longer varies during the animation.

 

In the above video, we are able to continue customizing our graphic, changing the line color and line width, while the animation is running.

Exporting a Video

If you want to export your animation, you can click the small QuickTime icon just above the play button. DataGraph creates .mov files. The current format is a lossless file that you can upload directly to YouTube or use in programs like Powerpoint.

If the file is large and you would like to modify the compression settings we recommend using Handbrake. We also are working on adding the option to create .mp4 files directly from DataGraph.

Example Animating Population Data

We recently had a help request on how to animate a graph that a user had created that contained population data from 1971 to 2016 for the country of Australia.

For this example, we modified the Range of the animation variable over the years of population data in the data set (1971-2016) and selected the Integer check box.

To animate the bar graph, the animation variable was used in a mask in a Bar command. The locations of the Label and Region commands were also animated.

We created two DataGraph Demo videos to show the details of how we animated the population data along with the annotations on the graph (i.e., labels, highlighted regions).

You can check them out here or on our YouTube Channel.

Part 1: Animating Data

 

Part 2: Animating Labels, etc.