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Timeline Commands

The Timeline pane lets you create, edit, and play 3D animations.

To display the Timeline pane, click Window > Show/Hide > Timeline or Home > Show/Hide > Animation .

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.

This page discusses:

Toolbar Commands

Toolbar commands let you control the timeline.

Key-Related Commands

These commands, located to the left of the toolbar, let you perform key-related operation. See Set Keys.

Icon Command Name Description
Auto-Keys Mode Creates keys automatically at the current time when you change any actor property (position, color, and so on).
Note: Using Auto-Keys Mode can result in more keys than you intended. For example, when you move an actor to see what is behind it, Auto-Keys Mode creates a key to record the actor's new position even though you did not intend to include the move in the animation. It is recommended that you do not use this mode until you become proficient.
Set Keys Records property values for all () or selected () properties of the selected actors at the current time.
Important:
  • Select only the properties you want to record before setting keys. Setting unnecessary keys affects performance in large assemblies and complicates animation editing because key filtering displays extra keys.
  • Animations do not record changes to actor visibility (Visibility commands, the h key, or toggling check boxes in the Assembly or Collaboration panes). These actions do not correspond to property changes. To hide or show actors in animations, while in Animation mode show all actors that participate in the animation (Show All or selectively show actors) and then set actor Opacity keys as needed.
  • Most properties that cannot be animated are marked with . Properties dependent on other properties (for example, the annotation Text property) are also unanimatable but are not marked with . Keys for unanimatable properties are always created at time=0, regardless of the current timebar location, and apply to the entire animation. Note that Set Keys does not create keys for properties with dependencies but Auto-Keys Mode does.
Set Location Key Records the locations of the selected actors at the current time.
Set Camera Keys Records the current camera and target positions at the current time. Camera keys record the orientation and zoom scale of the model.
Camera Auto-Keys Mode (Available when Auto-Keys is selected.) Creates camera keys automatically at the current time when you change the viewport camera orientation (rotate, zoom, or pan). Note: Using Camera Auto-Keys Mode can result in more camera keys than you intended. It is recommended that you do not use this mode until you become proficient.
Set Digger Keys Records Digger properties at the current time.
Digger Auto-Keys Mode (Available when Auto-Keys is selected.) Creates Digger keys automatically at the current time when you change Digger properties. Note: Using Digger Auto-Keys Mode can result in more Digger keys than you intended. It is recommended that you do not use this mode until you become proficient.
Effects - Fade In Creates keys for a progressive appearance of the selected actors:
  1. Opacity=0 (transparent) immediately following the previous Opacity key or at time=0.
  2. Opacity=0 (transparent) 10 frames before the current time. Move this key to change the fade-in duration.
  3. Opacity=255 (opaque) at the current time.
Note: You cannot fade in Digger. See Set Digger Keys for an alternative approach.
Effects - Fade Out Creates keys for a progressive disappearance of the selected actors:
  1. Opacity=< current value> 10 frames before the current time. Move this key to change the fade-out duration.
  2. Opacity=0 (transparent) at the current time.
Note: You cannot fade out Digger. See Set Digger Keys for an alternative approach.
Effects - Hot Spot Creates keys to briefly highlight the selected actors:
  1. Emission=< current value> 5 frames before the current time.
  2. Emission=1 (full emission) at the current time.
  3. Emission=< previous value> 5 frames after the current time.
Tip: Add several hot-spot effects to cause an actor to blink.
Effects - Set Keys with Beginning Properties Creates keys at the current time that restore the initial values of all keys set in the animation, effectively undoing the animation property and location changes.
Show Keys for Selected Actors Only Displays only keys for the current selection. To show only viewport keys, click in empty space of the viewport.
Note: Does not affect camera and Digger keys.
Show Keys for Selected Properties Only Displays only keys for the selected properties in the Properties pane, such as color and opacity, for all actors. To select several properties in the Properties pane, use the Ctrl key. If no property is selected, all property keys are displayed.
Tip: You can combine this option with Show Keys for Selected Actors Only to filter on properties for selected actors.
Note: Does not affect camera and Digger keys.
Rewind Moves the timebar to the beginning of the animation.
Previous Key Moves the timebar to the previous key.
Previous Frame Moves the timebar to the previous frame.
Play Plays the animation starting at the current timebar location.
Tips:
  • Press and hold Play to access additional commands.
  • If the animation plays beyond your last key, there might be keys for hidden actors. Press Ctrl+T to show all actors and then delete unwanted keys.
  • Press and hold Play to access additional commands.
  • If the animation plays beyond your last key, there might be keys for hidden actors. Press Ctrl+T to show all actors and then delete unwanted keys.
Play Selection (Press and hold Play to access this command.) Plays the animation from the beginning to the end of the selected time period.
Play Reverse (Press and hold Play to access this command.) Plays the animation backwards starting at the current timebar location.
Pause Stops the animation without moving the timebar.
Stop Stops the animation and moves the timebar back to where the animation started.
Next Frame Moves the timebar to the next frame.
Next Key Moves the timebar to the next key.
Forward Moves the timebar to the end of the animation.
Loop Play Mode Plays the animation continuously.
Camera Play Mode Shows the animation from the camera's viewpoint. To show the animation using a fixed viewpoint, turn off this mode. All navigation tools (zoom, pan, and so on) are available when Camera Play Mode is off.

Timeline-Related Commands

These commands, located to the right of the toolbar, let you manage the timeline itself.

Icon Command Name Description
Zoom Fit All Sets the timeline scale to fit all the keys.
Zoom Selection Sets the timeline scale to fit the selected keys.
Time - Select Enables keys selection mode so you can select keys by dragging in the timeline.
Time - Pan (Middle Mouse) Enables timeline translation mode so you can display a different portion of the timeline by dragging in the timeline. You can also press the mouse wheel while in another mode to pan the timeline.
Time - Zoom (Mouse Wheel) Enables timeline zoom mode so you can change how much of the timeline is visible by dragging in the timeline. You can also use the mouse wheel while in another mode to zoom the timeline.

Right-Click Commands

These commands are available when you right-click in the timeline or keys track.

Note: All right-click copy/paste operations copy actor transformations represented by keys. To copy actor locations instead, drag keys (see Manage Keys). For example, when you copy two keys that define a 45-degree rotation of a screw using right-click commands, the new keys apply the transformation a second time, resulting in the screw rotating 90 degrees in total. When you instead copy by dragging, the original screw location is restored and the 45-degree rotation is reapplied.

Icon Command Name Description
N/A Select All Keys Selects all animation keys. You can also press Ctrl+A.
N/A Delete Keys Deletes the selected keys. You can also press Delete.
N/A Copy Selected Keys of the Selected Actor (Available when at least one key is selected.) Copies the selected keys of the selected actor. You can then paste these keys to apply the same animation to other actors.
Note: This command copies key transformations; to copy key locations, use Ctrl+drag.
N/A Copy Selected Tracks of the Selected Actor (Available when no keys are selected.) Copies the animation tracks corresponding to the currently displayed keys of the selected actor. Use the Show Keys for Selected Properties Only filter to control which tracks are copied. You can then paste the tracks to duplicate the animation for other actors.
N/A Paste Keys (Available when pasting only property keys not in a time selection.) Applies copied property keys at the current time (where you right-clicked) to the selected actors.
N/A Paste Keys in Selection (Available when pasting only property keys in a time selection.) Applies copied property keys to the selected actors, spacing the keys uniformly in the time selection.
N/A Paste Tracks (Available when pasting property tracks only (no location track).) Applies the property tracks to the selected actors. Unlike pasting individual keys, you cannot specify where to place the keys.
N/A Paste Tracks in Parent (Available when pasting a location track.) Applies the entire location track to the selected actors, with location keys relative to parent coordinate systems. Unlike pasting individual keys, you cannot specify where to place the keys; the entire track is duplicated.
N/A Paste Tracks in World Coordinate System (Available when pasting a location track.) Applies the entire location track to the selected actors, with location keys relative to the world coordinate system. Unlike pasting individual keys, you cannot specify where to place the keys; the entire track is duplicated.
N/A Insert View Inserts the view selected in the Views pane at the right-click location. The command also creates a marker with the view name. Inserting views is a fast way to create animations.
Note: If collaborative actors do not appear in the animation, click in the timeline and then change collaborative actor visibility (for example, click Home > Visibility > Visibility > Show All or press Ctrl+T). To change actor visibility, set Opacity property keys.
Tip: You can also drag a view from the Views pane to the timeline.
Invert Time Selection

Swaps the key order within the time selection.





Before After

Delete Time Selection Removes all keys in the time selection. Keys to the right of the time selection shift to the left.
Note: The Delete key performs Delete Keys and not Delete Time Selection .
Select Actors with Selected Keys Selects the actors in the viewport associated with the selected keys.
Show Keys for Selected Actors Only See toolbar command.
Show Keys for Selected Properties Only See toolbar command.
Time Settings Lets you set frame rate, animation duration, and time scaling. For details, see Time Settings.


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