I started with a continuous spline raster of hotspots, classified by standard deviations from the mean. This displays as 7 classes, but since it's a continuous raster in ArcGIS 10.2, it appears nice and smooth. However, my goal is to take the splined continuous raster that looks nice and smooth, and make it appear 3D using cartographic representations. That means I needed to convert this spline to vector.
Now, this next part is where I'm not sure about my approach, is there are better way to do this? What I did was I ran the raster calculator on my splined continuous raster for each class. I did calculations like where spline_raster >=2.58, for example. I want to do this for hotspots and coldspots, so I have 6 classes I need to extract through raster calculator. I did this, and raster calculator converted the output into discrete rasters. So where my spline was >= 2.58, it was now 1, and everything else = 0. The issue wasn't so much this, but that the output looked much more "stairstepped" or pixelated compared to my continuous spline. I understand the difference between discrete and continuous, but I'm wondering if there's a best practice for at least making the discrete raster's pixels so much smaller that at the same scale as the continuous spline, they appear almost as smooth? I tried going into the environment settings and decreasing the cell size from the original 1414 to 5, and it hardly changed how the raster calculator output looked. I don't understand this part very well. I researched this a little, and figured I would try resampling my rasters. I tried resampling using nearest neighbor, bilinear, and cubic...they all still look the same. My conclusion is that there is some part of this process I don't quite understand.
Since I would then be vectorizing the raster calculator output (using Raster to Polygon tool), the vectorized polygons look all jagged because of the stairstepping, and I have been using the Smooth Polygon tool to make them look smoother. I feel this approach is very roundabout and not the best way to do it, but I don't know a better way. Because of my field of research and the types of data I've used, I don't typically do a lot of raster analysis.