Geospatial Christmas Tree Animation

This illustration was created for the course Desktop Publishing in Cartography in my third semester of CDE. The animation was created to get familiar with Adobe After Effects to prepare for the Master Thesis.


Whether you have participated in the tradition yourself or have received postings or letters from companies, the tradition of greeting cards at Christmas time is a widespread custom. Institutions such as the Department of Geoinformatics at UPOL or the Czech Cartographic Society also planned to publish a greeting card with warm wishes for Christmas and the New Year in 2020. We students were given the task of thinking about designs of how a greeting card for Christmas with GIS elements could look like.

When looking for inspiration for my personal design, I found the following collection of images as inspirational and now wanted to try to create a design based on these influences.

For my design, I chose an isometric art style with a pseudo-3D effect. From simple objects, which are typical for geodata, like buildings, streets and markers, I created a design that is shaped like a Christmas tree and contains a chain of lights, consisting of luminous markers and streets, as a highlight. I created the illustration, using the Vectornator app for the iPad, in several color variants and submitted it for the project.

Since a large number of students had been asked to create a design for greeting cards, there was a small competition with voting in which the best designs were selected. I was pleased that my design was selected as one of the best and, after some adjustments, was posted on the social media channels of the Department of Geoinformatics at UPOL.

By the way, PF stands for pour féliciter, which is used on New Year cards in the Czech Republic to express good wishes for the coming years.


In my master’s thesis I will deal with the topic of map animations and the main task will be to create animations in Adobe After Effects.
Since I was in the process of acquiring skills in this software, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to use my vector artwork of the GIS Christmas tree as a basis to gain first experience with animation. Said and done, within three days of work I was proud to present an animated version of the GIS Christmas tree.
When creating the animation and testing the workflows, I particularly liked the interaction between Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects. I had imported the drawing into Illustrator, where I was able to make adjustments, and after just a little preparation, I imported my project with the layers into Adobe After Effects.

I was particularly pleased that after I shared my results on LinkedIn, a small company from Mexico that deals with drones liked my animation that much that they asked if they could use it on their own social media channels. I allowed this and started the 2020 Christmas holidays satisfied.