How to make good looking animations using IDL
Note: Most of these steps work for Python or any other data visualization language
Frequently you see animations that are generated using IDL where each frame is essentially a screen shot. This is characterized by white-on-black drawing from the default (outdated) Xwindows styling, the low image resolution/clarity, and hard to read fonts.
I have written a step-by-step guide to rendering animation frames using IDL that get around these problems. The task is relatively simple: generate .eps file outputs, convert them to something like .jpeg using an external program, and then finally combine the frames in to a movie (or animated gif).
For the full run-down, check out this post on my blog: If We Assume: Making Quality Animations in IDL