Navigating the Interface
Before you jump right into animating, take a few minutes to get familiar with the Earth Studio interface. It has a lot of different elements, but it's easy to understand if you break it into its three main areas: the Viewport, the Editor, and the Top Bar.
The Viewport is your main portal for interacting with Earth Studio. It serves as both the primary means of navigating the Earth, as well as a live preview of your animation output.
Exploring the Earth
Navigation is simple: simply click and drag the globe to pan your view.
Zoom in and out by clicking and dragging with the right mouse button, or by scrolling.
You can hold ⌥ while dragging to orbit around the center of your viewport. This gives you fine-tuned control of your camera's heading and tilt. Alternatively, you can use ←→ to change your heading, and ↑↓ to adjust your tilt.
Earth Studio supports Map Styles. This allows you to turn on borders and labels for easier navigation of the globe. These map styles will not be included when rendering your animation. To view map styles, right click the globe and select Map Style from the context menu.
If you want to jump directly to a location, enter it in the Search field in the top bar.
The View menu (in the filebar at the top of the screen) offers a few options to adjust your viewport.
Change the number of viewports. This allows you more advanced camera control; for example, you can edit your camera path while the Camera view is visible. More on this in the Multi-View section.
Lower or raise the quality of the renderer in the viewport.
Show or hide guide lines in the viewport with ⌥G. Choose between four types of guides: Safe Margins (helpful for broadcast), Thirds (for ideal composition), Center or use your own Custom Image. Custom Image guides work with transparent PNG images on Google Drive. Cycle between these options with ⌥⇧G.
Adjust the opacity of the side overlays in the viewport, which denote the width of your composition when rendered.
Available 3D Cities
Toggle on / off the Available 3D Cities map overlay. Note that playback performance can suffer when the Available 3D Cities overlay is enabled.
Show or hide the Track Points panel, where you can view and edit your existing track points.
Beneath the viewport is the editor, our primary workspace for animation. The editor contains the Attribute List on the left, and the Timeline on the right.
"Attributes" are elements of the globe that can be animated, like the camera's position or rotation. Each attribute is displayed next to its current value, and a keyframe button. Attributes are arranged into groups based on function.
By default, Earth Studio displays two attribute groups: Camera Position and Camera Rotation. You can't view the Earth without a camera position and rotation, so these attributes are required in every project.
Additional attributes can be added from the Add Attributes menu. These enable exciting effects, like Time of Day to animate a sunset, or animate zoom with Field of View. More about special attributes.
Earth Studio uses a traditional linear timeline to represent animations. The timeline is subdivided horizontally by frames, and vertically into tracks.
Frames are distributed evenly across the top of the timeline. You can change from frames to seconds in the project settings. Tracks correspond to their neighboring attribute. When a keyframe is added for an attribute, it appears in the track.
Scrolling up and down will scroll the timeline tracks and the attribute list together. Resizing the scrollbar at the bottom of the timeline will horizontally zoom your timeline view to a particular frame range. Double-click the scrollbar to zoom out to the whole timeline.
The playhead marks the project's current active frame. On playback, the playhead moves left to right through the work area, at the framerate defined by the playback controls.
You can click and drag the playhead to change the frame, or you can move it frame-by-frame with ←→. Use ⇧← and ⇧→ to step by backwards or forwards five frames at a time.
The work area defines the frame range in which playback is restricted. You can drag the yellow handlebars to set the work area, or you can use the B and N keys to set the work area beginning and end (respectively) to the current playhead position.
Use ⌘← and ⌘→ to jump to the first or last frame of the current work area.
The top bar contains the playback controls, output tools, and search.
Once you have an animation in place, the playback controls will give you a live preview in the browser.
Cycles how playback is handled once the playhead reaches the end of the work area. Playback loops by default, but can also ping-pong (play in reverse) or stop.
Displays the current frame. Clicking on the frame counter toggles between frames and seconds.
You can save your current view as a snapshot at any time while navigating the Earth.
Once you're happy with how your animation looks, it's time to render. We cover rendering in depth here.