mt_animate animates trajectories using the animation package. Note that this function has beta status.

  use = "trajectories",
  dimensions = c("xpos", "ypos"),
  timestamps = "timestamps",
  filename = "trajectory_animation.gif",
  xres = 1000,
  seconds = 3,
  framerate = 24,
  speed = 0.5,
  density = 3,
  jitter = TRUE,
  remove = FALSE,
  bg = "black",
  col = "white",
  lwd = 1,
  loop = FALSE,
  bounds = NULL,
  norm = FALSE,
  upscale = 1,
  decay = 10,
  max_intensity = 5,
  discard_images = TRUE,
  im_path = NULL,
  parallel = TRUE,
  verbose = FALSE



a mousetrap data object created using one of the mt_import functions (see mt_example for details). Alternatively, a trajectory array can be provided directly (in this case use will be ignored).


a character string specifying which trajectory data should be used.


a character vector specifying the two dimensions in the trajectory array that contain the mouse positions. Usually (and by default), the first value in the vector corresponds to the x-positions (xpos) and the second to the y-positions (ypos).


a character string specifying the trajectory dimension containing the timestamps. If NULL linearly increasing timestamps are assumed, producing a perfectly constant timestamp interval.


character string specifying the path and filename of the resulting .gif. If the extension of filename is not .gif, .gif is added at the end. Must not contain spaces.


numeric specifying the resolution of the .gif file.


numeric specifying the duration of the .gif file.


numeric specifying the framerate of the .gif file. Defaults to 24 implying smooth non-discrete frame transitions for the human eye.


numeric specifying the speed of the trajectories with regard to their original velocity profile. I.e., a value of .5 shows trajectories in half of the original velocities, whereas a value of 2 shows trajectories in double of the original velocities.


integer specifying the number of trajectories to be added each frame. I.e., if density = 10, seconds = 10, framerate = 24 and speed = .5 then the animation will show 10 x 10 x 24 x .5 = 1200 trajectories.


logical specifying whether the density should be jittered. If TRUE, density varies according to rgeom (1/density).


logical specifying whether trajectories that reached their end points should be removed from the rest of the animation. Defaults to FALSE implying that all finished trajectories remain visible.


character string specifying the background color.


character string specifying the foreground color, i.e., the color used to draw the trajectories.


numeric specifying the line width of the trajectories.


logical specifying whether gif should be looped. If FALSE (the default), the last frame will remain visible after the animation is finished. If TRUE, the gif will infinitely repeat itself.


numeric vector specifying the xleft, xright, ybottom, and ytop limits of the animation canvas. Defaults to NULL in which case the animation canvas is set to include all existing trajectory points, irrespective of how extreme they may be.


logical specifying whether the trajectories should be remapped to the mt-space. See mt_align. Note that aligning often requires that that all trajectories are flipped to one side first (see mt_remap_symmetric).


numeric specifying a scaling factor for the animation resolution. E.g, upscale = 2 implies that the x-resolution in .gif file is 2*xres.


numeric defining a within-trajectory gradient of color intensity. Specifically, values larger than 1 will give more recent movements higher color intensities than movements that lie longer in the past, and vice versa.


numeric specifying the maximum color intensity. A value of, e.g., 5, implies that color intensity is limited to 5 overlapping trajectories. I.e., a point at which 4 trajectories overlap will in that case have a smaller color intensity than a point at which 5 trajectories overlap, but there will be no difference between the latter and a point at which 6 trajectories overlap. If decay is unequal 1, this metric refers to the most intense color point within the trajectory.


logical specifying whether the temporary folder containing the temporary .png images should be deleted. Defaults to TRUE.


character string specifying the location of ImageMagick's convert function. If NULL, the convert function is expected in '/usr/local/bin/convert', the default location for Linux and OSX operating systems. The location has to be specified explicitly for Windows (see Details and Examples).


logical specifying whether the temporary .png images should be created using parallel processing (uses clusterApplyLB). Process will be run on the maximum number of available cores (as determined by detectCores).


logical indicating whether function should report its progress.


mt_animate produces a .gif file showing a continuous stream of animated trajectories. The function first produces a series of .png images, which then are combined into a .gif animation using ImageMagick (see https://www.imagemagick.org/).

In order to run this function, ImageMagick must be installed (download from https://www.imagemagick.org/). Under Unix systems (Linux and Apple's OSX) the function will look for ImageMagick using its default installation path. Alternatively, the location of ImageMagick's convert function can be provided using the im_path argument. Under Windows, im_path must always be specified explicitly (e.g., it might look something like this im_path = "C:/Program Files/ImageMagick-7.0.5-Q16/convert.exe").

During the animation trajectories are sampled from the data without replacement. The function stops when it reaches the last trajectory contained in data.

By default, mt_animate animates trajectories using the original timestamps. Timestamps are expected to be expressed in milliseconds. By setting timestamps = NULL, the function can also assume timestamps to be regular, i.e., of constant interval, in this case the longest duration is set to exactly one second.

In order to create high-resolution (large) animations in a relatively short time increase upscale in favor of xres. However, note that this will decrease the sharpness of the image.

In order to increase or decrease the overall color intensity decrease or increase the max_intensity, respectively.


Dirk U. Wulff


if (FALSE) {
# Preprocess trajectory data
mt_example <- mt_align_start(mt_example)
mt_example <- mt_remap_symmetric(mt_example) 

# Create animated trajectory gif
# (under Linux / OSX)
mt_animate(mt_example,filename = "MyMovie.gif")

# Increase duration and density while decreasing speed
mt_animate(mt_example, filename = "MyMovie2.gif",
  seconds = 10, speed = .3, density = 10)

# Create animated trajectory gif
# (under Windows - ImageMagick version specific example)
mt_animate(mt_example,filename = "MyMovie.gif",
  im_path = "C:/Program Files/ImageMagick-7.0.5-Q16/convert.exe")