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About the Timeline

The timeline lets you create, edit, and play 3D animations. The timeline uses a keyframe-based interface. You create keys to capture actor properties and positions at given points in time, and then Composer smoothly animates the transitions between keys.

You can create animations using a library of pre-defined animations. See About the Animation Library and Creating Pre-defined Animations.

You can also animate actors individually. See Creating Animations by Animating Actors Individually.

Note: The timeline is active in Animation mode only. If you are in View mode, click Switch to Animation Mode in the upper-left corner of the viewport or click Animation on the Home ribbon tab. By default, the Timeline pane is docked at the bottom of the Composer window.

See Also
Timeline Commands
Using the Timeline

The timeline is available in the Timeline pane. This pane has several sections:

NumberTimeline ElementDescription
1ToolbarProvides access to many animation commands. See Toolbar Commands.

Additional animation commands are available:

2Marker barDisplays animation markers, which flag significant points in your animations. Also displays milestones to identify key moments in the timeline. See Creating and Using Animation Markers and Milestones.

You can also manage markers and milestones in the Markers pane. See Markers Pane.

3Animation BlocksDisplays the pre-defined animations used in the timeline. See Creating Pre-defined Animations.

Shows some or all of the animation timeline.

You can pan and zoom the timeline using timeline commands in the toolbar. See Handle the Timeline.

5Key tracksDisplays animation keys. A track is the set of keys for a given actor property. For example, when an actor's position and material properties are both animated, that actor has a Location track and a Materials track.
  • Location key
  • Properties key
  • Viewport key
  • Camera key
  • Digger key
  • Animation block key (see dedicated row below)
Notes: You can expand and collapse the Properties track. When expanded, it displays three additional tracks: Opacity, Materials and Events. When collapsed, it displays all keys for these three tracks combined.

The Materials track records keys for the following properties: Color, Shininess, Emission, Environment Effect, and all Texture properties.

The Events track records keys for the following properties: Pulse, Pulse Color, and Link.


Indicates the current animation time.

7Animation block keys Correspond to the property changes of the various motions of pre-defined animations.

Animation block keys are special kinds of keys that you cannot manage individually.

8Multiple-key manipulator

Appears when the time selection contains multiple keys. Lets you reposition the selected keys and rescale the selection according to the timeline. See Manage Keys.

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