Use effects

To create a unique and eye-catching map in Map Viewer (formerly known as Map Viewer Beta), you can apply effects to layers in the map. For example, you can apply a bloom effect to a layer showing volcanic eruptions, or make the labels on a map stand out by applying a drop shadow effect to the basemap reference layer. Experiment with the available effects to achieve the look and message you want. You can quickly apply one or more effects without changing the default settings, or you can customize the effects to suit your needs.

Tip:

Try combining effects with blend modes and different styling options to fine-tune the appearance of the map. See an example of effects and blend modes in a map.

Apply effects

When you apply an effect, there is no change to the data or to the original rendering of the layers. When you save the map, the effect is saved to the map.

Do the following to apply effects to a layer:

  1. Confirm that you are signed in and, if you want to save your changes, that you have privileges to create content.
  2. In Map Viewer, open the map to which you want to apply effects, or add layers to a new map.
  3. On the Contents (dark) toolbar, click Layers Layers if the Layers pane is not open.
  4. In the Layers pane, click a layer to select it.
  5. On the Settings (light) toolbar, click Effects Effects.
  6. Do the following to apply an effect to the layer:
    Note:

    You can apply multiple effects to the same layer. See the table below to learn more about each effect and its settings.

    1. Turn on the toggle button for the effect—for example, Bloom.
    2. Optionally, adjust the effect settings—for example, Strength.
      Tip:

      You can click Reset to default Reset to default at any time to return to the default settings.

    3. Repeat these steps to apply additional effects to the layer.
  7. Optionally, choose another layer from the layer selector and repeat the previous step to apply effects to other layers in the map.
  8. Do any of the following to make changes to the applied effects:
    • Click the name of the effect to update its settings.
    • If multiple effects are applied to a layer, drag the effects in the list to change the order in which they are applied to the features. Effects that are higher in the list draw on top of effects that are lower in the list.
  9. On the Contents toolbar, click Save and open Save and open and click Save to save your changes.
Note:
Effects are not currently represented in the map legend or when you print the map.

Effects

The following table provides information about each effect available in Map Viewer:

EffectDescriptionSettings

Bloom

The Bloom effect adds a colored neon-like glow. It produces fringes of light extending from the borders of bright areas in a layer.

This effect is useful for mapping fires, volcanic eruptions, and so on.

See an example of Bloom.

Bloom has the following settings:

  • Strength—Determines the intensity of the effect. The higher the value, the brighter the glow.
  • Radius—Determines the radius of the blur. The features inside the radius remain untouched.
  • Threshold—Determines how bright a color must be before it blooms or glows. Colors that are brighter than the specified threshold value glow, while those below the threshold do not.
  • Automatically adjust based on scale—Turn off this option to keep the effect the same regardless of map scale.

Drop shadow

The Drop shadow effect makes objects look like they are floating. It applies a drop shadow that follows the outline of the feature.

This effect is useful when you want some features to stand out from the rest of the features on a busy map. For example, you can apply this effect to elevate proportional symbols above the basemap and make them more legible.

See an example of Drop shadow.

Drop shadow has the following settings:

  • Color—Determines the color of the drop shadow. Choose a color or specify a custom color using RGB, HSV, or hexadecimal values.
  • Width—Determines the width of the drop shadow. The larger the value, the larger and more blurred the shadow is.
  • Offset—Determines the horizontal distance between the drop shadow and its associated feature. Specify a positive or negative value to determine the direction of the drop shadows in relation to the features. Negative values place the shadow to the left of the features.
  • Opacity—Determines the opacity or transparency of the effect.
  • Automatically adjust based on scale—Turn off this option to keep the effect the same regardless of map scale.

Blur

The Blur effect defocuses or softens the edges of the features. It makes the layer look out of focus or blurry, as though it's being viewed through a translucent screen.

This effect can be used to soften the edges of a polygon if the precise boundary is unknown or shifting, such as a map of species ranges.

See an example of Blur.

Blur has the following setting:

  • Strength—Determines the intensity of the effect. The higher the value, the stronger the blur.

Brightness & Contrast

The Brightness & Contrast effect adjusts the lightness and darkness of features.

This effect can make a map layer brighter or darker, or increase or decrease the contrast of the colors in the layer. Increasing contrast, for example, can accentuate subtle differences in washed-out map layers.

See an example of Brightness & Contrast.

Brightness & Contrast has the following settings:

  • Brightness—Makes features in the layer appear brighter or darker.
  • Contrast—Determines the contrast between the objects in the layer.

Grayscale

The Grayscale effect decreases or removes color.

This effect is useful for muting or decreasing the visual strength of a map layer—for example, to make a colorful basemap or road network look less prominent so that it doesn't compete with the other layers in the map.

See an example of Grayscale.

Grayscale has the following setting:

  • Strength—Determines the intensity of the effect. The higher the value, the more the features appear gray.

Hue rotate

The Hue rotate effect uses a color wheel to transform colors relative to one another. The colors in the layer are shifted to the colors at the specified angle.

You can use this effect to quickly retint a map to suit your needs without having to reauthor it.

See an example of Hue rotate.

Hue rotate has the following setting:

  • Degrees—Defines the number of degrees around the color wheel.

Saturate

The Saturate effect increases or decreases the intensity of the colors.

For example, you can use this effect to make the green shades in forested areas stronger and more obvious.

See an example of Saturate.

Saturate has the following setting:

  • Strength—Determines the intensity of the effect. The higher the value, the more intense the color.

Invert

The Invert effect transforms all colors to their opposite, similar to a film negative.

This result of applying this effect is like flipping the color ramp when styling a layer. For example, this effect can be useful when you want to replace a light basemap with a dark one but don't want to restyle the other map layers. It allows you to invert the layers so they remain visible with the new basemap.

See an example of Invert.

Invert has the following setting:

  • Strength—Determines the proportion of the inversion. The higher the value, the more the color is inverted.

Sepia

The Sepia effect converts colors to shades of brown to mimic old photographs. This effect gives the layer a warmer, more yellow and brown appearance.

This effect can be used to add warmth to any of the Esri monochromatic basemaps, such as Light Gray Canvas or Human Geography. It is also useful for muting basemaps that have vibrant colors.

See an example of Sepia.

Sepia has the following setting:

  • Strength—Determines the degree of sepia applied. The higher the value, the more yellow and brown the layer appears.


In this topic
  1. Apply effects
  2. Effects