Create a scene

Search for Portland

To create the scene, you'll need to sign in and search for Portland, Oregon, as described in the following steps:

  1. Sign in to your ArcGIS organizational account or into ArcGIS Enterprise using a named user account.

    If you don't have an organizational account, you can sign up for an ArcGIS free trial.

  2. Once you're signed in, click Scene at the top of the site to open Scene Viewer.
    Scene tab on the ribbon
  3. Click New scene in the gallery.

    Click New scene in the gallery window

    A new scene opens.

  4. Zoom with the navigation controls or use your mouse wheel. You can also navigate the scene using the mouse buttons to pan and rotate.

    Next, you'll zoom to the location you want.

  5. In the Search window, type Portland and press Enter.

    Scene zoomed to the Search result for Portland, Oregon.

    The scene zooms in to Portland, Oregon.

  6. Close the Search window and the Search result pop-up.

Add a 2D data layer to a new scene

The 2D tree data that your team collected for downtown Portland is critical for planning and visualization because it contains the tree location and attributes such as species, plant date, and tree height. Your team shared the data as a point feature layer in ArcGIS Online, so it is ready to add to your scene. You'll add the data as a new layer to the scene. As you move around your Portland scene, you will start to see how your 2D points interact with the 3D terrain.

  1. If necessary, click the Add Layers button, and click Browse layers .

    If the toolbar button names are not visible, at the bottom of the toolbar, click the Expand button.

    Layers on the toolbar

  2. Click the drop-down list at the top of the pane and select ArcGIS Online.

    ArcGIS Online in list of options to add a layer

  3. Copy and paste PortlandTrees owner:ArcGISOnlineExercises into the search box.

    This search phrase ensures that you'll find the correct layer in ArcGIS Online for this lesson.

  4. Press Enter or click the Search button.

    The search results appear in the list.

  5. Click the Add button.

    Add Layers pane with search result for PortlandTrees

    The tree layer is added to the scene as 2D points. Scene Viewer automatically zooms to the extent of the layer.

    Scene with 2D points representing trees

  6. Click Done.

Change your 2D points to 3D objects

You can use the tree layer attributes to turn the points into authentic-looking trees with real-world heights. Apply a layer style with 3D symbols that use real-world heights and are colored by tree type to gain a better understanding of tree patterns and behavior in an urban setting.

  1. Pan and rotate the scene to explore the PortlandTrees layer.
  2. In the Layers pane, click PortlandTrees.

    Learn more about how to Style point layers.

  3. For Choose the main attribute to visualize, choose Common to style your trees by the common tree type name.

    If you choose a numeric attribute from the list, you can style the trees more thematically with the 3D Counts and Amounts style that uses proportional symbols and color.

    Choose the main attribute to visualize set to Common

  4. For Choose a drawing style, click Select to change the selected style to 3D Types and apply it to the scene.

    Select button for 3D Types under Choose a drawing style

  5. On the side of the scene, click the Toggle to pan or rotate in 3D tool.

    Rotate tool by clicking the rotate button

  6. Zoom in and rotate the scene to observe your changes.

    Scene and legend with 3D cones representing tree types

    The 2D circles changed to default 3D cones representing Portland's trees. These are 3D object symbols with real-world dimensions.

Next, you'll change these 3D cones to custom tree symbols that can be visualized in Scene Viewer.

Change symbols to trees

To change the cones to custom tree symbols, complete the following steps:

  1. If necessary, in the Layer Style pane, click Options to open and modify the 3D Types style.

    Options for 3D Types

  2. Click Select all at the top of the list of common tree types.

    Select all next to Attribute Values in the Style 3D Types pane

    For the purposes of this lesson, you'll apply a single tree style to all the common tree types. With the 3D Types style, you can give each tree type a unique tree style, if you have time.

  3. Click Marker.

    Style 3D Types section with all tree types selected and a green square around the Marker button

  4. In the window that appears, change the symbol category from Basic Shapes to Vegetation.

    The symbol options change to a wide variety of tree styles.

  5. Click the Australian Pine symbol (the first in the second row).

    Australian Pine in the Vegetation symbol group

  6. Click Done.

    The cones have changed to a realistic tree symbol.

    Symbols changed to trees

  7. Click Color.
  8. In the window that appears, turn off Solid color.

    Color ramp options appear under Fill.

  9. Choose a color palette that contains lighter colors and click Done.

    Light color ramp and Done button

    Next, you’ll apply real-world heights to the trees to make your trees more authentically reflect the urban condition in downtown Portland.

  10. Scroll down to the All markers section. For Size, choose Crown_Height. Confirm the unit is set to ft.

    All markers section with Size set to Crown Height ft

    The tree data that your team collected has tree height values in feet, and the dimension units for the scene need to match.

  11. Zoom to the trees and explore the scene.

    The tree symbol color and size are updated.

    Tree symbols are updated

  12. Click Done twice to return to the Layers pane.

Add an additional layer with transparency

The last layer you will add to your scene to give it context contains 3D models of downtown buildings in Portland. After you add the buildings, you will see the trees with actual heights and their spatial relationship to the buildings, which give a realistic representation of the Portland urban environment.

  1. Click Add layers and select Browse layers.
  2. search ArcGIS Online for PortlandBuildings owner:ArcGISOnlineExercises.
  3. Click the Add button for the PortlandBuildings layer and click Done.
  4. Explore the scene. Zoom out so more trees and buildings are visible.

    Buildings added to the scene

    With the buildings added, you may notice that it is more difficult to see the trees among the buildings. You'll set a transparency on the buildings so the trees are more visible and easier for your audience to identify.

  5. To set transparency in the PortlandBuildings layer, click the layer options button and choose Layers properties.
    Layer properties
  6. Under Transparency, set the transparency to 50 percent so you can see the trees.

    Transparency for the PortlandBuildings layer set to 50 percent

    The trees are now visible through the buildings.

    Scene updated with transparent buildings

  7. Click Done to return to the Layers pane.

Capture a slide

When presenting your plan to the city, you want to present your ideas in such a way that council members can quickly understand and grasp the key concepts needed to drive decision making. Use scene slides to focus your story and intuitively guide viewers through highlights of your scene. Slides are like bookmarks and allow you to quickly navigate to important points of your scene that indicate where tree landscaping is sufficient and perhaps where more tree planting is needed.

  1. Zoom, pan, and rotate the camera to show the viewpoint and extent you want to capture. Find an area where there are many trees along a sidewalk.
  2. On the toolbar, click Slides.

    Click the Slides button

  3. In the Slides pane, click Capture slide.

    Capture slide in the Slides pane

    The slide is added to the Slides pane with a thumbnail and a default name. The slide also appears below the scene when you point to the scene.


    If you don't like the way a slide looks, you can click the Remove Slide button to delete it. Additionally, you can navigate to a new extent and click the Update Slide button to change the slide.

  4. Click Slide 1 and rename it Tree Sidewalk.
  5. Zoom and find a pedestrian area along the waterfront that could use additional trees for shade cover.
  6. Click Capture Slide to add a second slide.
  7. Rename the slide Waterfront.

    Slides pane with two renamed slides

Save the scene

Now you can save the scene to share with others in your department or members of the city council. Furthermore, in the future, you could also embed the scene in your department's website and create a 3D web app or story map to share with the public.

  1. Before you save the scene, adjust the scene to the viewpoint you want for the thumbnail of the scene.
  2. On the toolbar, click Save.

    Save on the toolbar

    The Save Scene window appears, and the Thumbnail is set to the current scene extent. You can capture a different viewpoint for the thumbnail by closing the Save Scene window and changing the scene zoom extent and clicking Save again.

    Thumbnail example in the Save Scene window

  3. In the Save Scene window, type a title, summary, and tags, and click Save.

    Your scene is saved and is ready to be shared with others.

Next steps

Using Scene Viewer, in less than 20 minutes, you've taken 2D tree data with location and tree heights, added a few layer options, and created a compelling 3D visualization of the urban tree environment for Portland, Oregon. Viewers can use this scene to make informed decisions about urban tree management issues, such as where there are enough trees and, alternatively, where additional tree planting is needed.

As mentioned in the previous section, you can create an app that contains your scene and offers the tools that app users need to explore the scene.

To find more scenario-based lessons, browse Learn ArcGIS. To start, try Get Started with Scene Viewer. You can also visit The ArcGIS Book and The ArcGIS Imagery Book websites.

You can also explore ArcGIS Online on your own and discover what else is possible. A few ideas are listed below. Some require an organizational account with publishing or administrative privileges and may consume credits.