To animate complex units, use the animUnit() function in gridSVG. Documentation on animUnit() is available in a draft article.

The function grid.animate() provides a user the ability to perform animation on graphics objects. This is accomplished using SMIL animation and SVG’s <animate /> element. While it is the case that all properties of graphics objects can be animated, if support is available on a property of a graphics object, we can smoothly animate that object’s property over time.

The usage of the grid.animate() function is defined as follows (see ?grid.animate for more complete documentation):

grid.animate(path, ,
             duration = 1, rep = FALSE, revert = FALSE,
             begin = 0, interpolate = "linear", group = FALSE)

The key named arguments to this function are path, duration, rep, revert, begin and interpolate. path is the grid path of the graphics object you wish to animate, usually this is the same as the name of that graphics object. duration refers to the length of the animation (in seconds), if left unspecified the animation is assumed to last only 1 second. Animations can be repeated by setting rep to TRUE, by default the value of this parameter is FALSE. The revert parameter determines the behaviour of the graphics object if and when the animation ends. If revert is set to TRUE, the animation reverts back to the first value of the animation, otherwise (and by default) the animation finishes on its final value. begin is a delay that refers to how many seconds that the animation should wait before starting. Finally, interpolate described whether animation transitions should occur smoothly (i.e. linearly) or immediately. The interpolate can take one of two values, "linear" or "discrete".

The most important argument to the grid.animate() function is ..., which is any property that you intend to animate and the values that are going to be animated through. The animation values are taken in the form of an animUnit. A simple example to use in place of ... might be something like x = animUnit(unit(1:5 / 10, "npc")). This will smoothly animate a given graphics object along the x axis through npc units of 0.1, 0.2, …, 0.5. A more complete example is shown below:

> # Loading grid and gridSVG
> library(grid)
> library(gridSVG)
> # Creating two rectangles using one graphics object
> grid.rect(x = c(0.3, 0.7), y = 0.4,
+           width = 0.2, height = 0.2,
+           gp = gpar(fill = "black"))
> # Finding out the name of the object, in this case
> # it is GRID.rect.1
> # Creating an animUnit which described y-position of our
> # rects at each point in time
> yunits <- animUnit(unit(c(rep(0.4, 3),
+                           0.4, 0.7, 0.4), "npc"),
+                    id = rep(1:2, each = 3))
> # Animating our rectange object GRID.rect.1 along the
> # y axis using our animUnit yunits
> grid.animate("GRID.rect.1", y = yunits, rep = TRUE)
> # Drawing to SVG
> grid.export("example.svg")

We are demonstrating how to animate on two graphical elements that are created from a single graphics object. In this case, we wish to animate the rectangle object named GRID.rect.1, but only moving the second rectangle, leaving the first rectangle in the same position.

The way in which we approach this is by creating a matrix of values to animate through, we do this by using the animUnit() function. We give animUnit a sequence of units to use, then tell it which time period and which sub-grob it applies to. In our case, we are ensuring that the first rectangle (which has an id of 1), stays at a y value of 0.4 for 3 time periods. The other rectangle, whose id is 2, is going to be animated from 0.4, to 0.7, and back to 0.4 again.

With our animUnit of yunits ready for use, we can apply it to GRID.rect.1 using the grid.animate() call above.

Now that this animation information has been added to GRID.rect.1, gridSVG can write to SVG, applying the animation information associated with GRID.rect.1. The resulting image is shown below.

grid.animate() Example Figure