Upgrade Your Court Presentations With Animation

If you’ve ever wondered if it’s worth the additional expense to upgrade your crash scene diagramming software, one expert responds, “Absolutely.” That expert is Bobby Jones of Bobby Jones Reconstruction of Knoxville, Tenn. For more than 25 years, Jones has been a trained crash reconstructionist and crime scene investigator, providing his expertise to private law firms, major trucking firms, insurance and government agencies, County Sheriffs, the State of Tennessee, and to prosecution and criminal defense clients.

The Crash Zone Includes Easy-to-Use Animation Tools

A major reason that Jones suggests upgrading your diagramming software is to get the animation features now offered in some software. Jones has been a longtime user of The Crash Zone, diagramming software from The CAD Zone, Inc. (ww.cadzone.com ) of Beaverton, Oregon. The Crash Zone is widely used among law enforcement professionals and crash scene investigators. It allows users to create realistic 2D and 3D diagrams of scenes. The latest version of The Crash Zone also features the ability to quickly create 2D and 3D animations of objects that are based on your exact measurements.
The Crash Zone has easy-to-use animation tools that let you show the movement of up to four vehicles, bullets, people, or any other symbols. You simply draw the path of the movement and place Key Event Points where the object changes velocity or direction. The latest Crash Zone also offers the capability to convert scene animations into AVI format movies for greater compatibility with video viewing and editing software. (Click here for more information on The Crash Zone’s animation tools.)


Just draw the path of the object you wish to animate and place Key Event Points, all based on your exact measurements.

Says Jones, “A few clicks of your mouse (using Crash Zone) and you can create a movie of the event that can be played in the Windows Media player that is included with Microsoft Windows.®”

Putting ‘Ideas in Motion’ More Powerful Than Static Diagrams

Why exactly does animation make a crash scene presentation so persuasive? Jones says it is because you can show 30 or more pictures per second with a 10-second animation. “To be able to express your ideas by showing objects in motion is far more impressive to anyone viewing it than to hear words with static diagrams,” he said.

For example, to explain a crash at an intersection without the benefit of animation, Jones said he would have to show a static diagram of the intersection, then another diagram of the vehicles at upon impact, and then a series of diagrams “as we back up the vehicles, in relation to one another, at various time intervals.” Therefore, if you have four seconds, it will require four or six diagrams just to show one second intervals. This could take a long time to explain and show via the static diagrams.

“Watching this unfold in real time, in a movie,” Jones said, “we can now go back and look at this a frame at a time. You can look at where cars were in relationship to one another three and a half seconds away.  Juries comprehend such animations better, and the retention is much higher than with just words and static diagrams,” Jones argues.

The Crash Zone not only makes it very fast and easy to create animations, it also creates a foundation in the background for you, Jones continues. “You can explain each individual frame in terms of exactly what the time-frame is, the speed of each object you have moving on your diagram, and the velocity,” Jones explained. “You can review all of this frame by frame, and you can show this as forensically accurate, based on National Television Standards Commission (NTSC) standards.”


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