Animation Timeline

Explore the features and options on the animation timeline.

Animation Timeline and Play Options

The animation timeline is located at the bottom of the modeling window.

Option Description
Current Time

Drag the Current Time slider to change the time in the animation.

Alternatively, click a time to change the current time. For example, if you click 5s, the animation will skip to the key frame at the 5 second mark.

Start Time

Drag the Start Time slider to change the starting time of the animation.
End Time

Drag the End Time slider to change the ending time of the animation.

A key frame is a specific value that the property must have at a certain time. The list of key frames for a property is contained in a channel.

Each key frame is usually represented by a diamond, but it could also be a square (if Path Interpolation is set to Step) or a circle (if Curve Tangents is set to Smooth).

  • To display information about a key frame, hover over it.
  • To select a key frame, click it. The key frame turns from green to yellow. To select all key frames, use box selection.
    • To add to the selection, hold down Ctrl while clicking another key frame
    • To remove from the selection, hold down Shift while clicking the key frame you want to remove.
  • To move one or more key frames, drag the selected key frames.
Zoom Drag left to zoom in on individual frames so you can see the frame # and time in seconds.

Drag right to zoom out.

Scroll bar Use the scroll bar to scroll left or right along the animation timeline.
Go to beginning of the animation.
Go back one frame in the animation.
Play the animation.
Go forward one frame in the animation.
Go to the end of the animation.
Play Mode

Loop: Play the animation over and over again.

Back and Forth: When the animation is played to the end, play it backwards to the beginning. Then repeat.

Back and Forth (sin) : When the animation is played, it will follow a sinusoidal velocity curve. The playback will be slower at the beginning and end, but faster in the middle.

Show or hide unselected objects.

Search or set filters to find a specific object.
Set the key frame.
Specify absolute time.
Copy the selected key frames.
Remove only the selected key frames from the timeline.
Remove all of the key frames from the timeline.

Context Menu Options

Right-click a key frame or the timeline itself to display a context menu with additional options.

Option Description
Move Keyframes Specify absolute time.
Copy Keyframes Copy the selected key frames.
Path Interpolation This option defines how the interpolation is done from one key frame to the next. For the last frame, this option is disabled.

For example, for the Position channel, using Linear means that the position is interpolated linearly (straight line) and using Smooth for means that the position is interpolated smoothing (curved smooth line).

On the other hand, for Step, let's say there are two key frames, A and B. The object doesn't move between A and B like it does for linear and smooth types of interpolation. The object will disappear from A and appear at B.

  • Step
  • Cusp
  • Smooth
Curve Tangents This option defines tangency between selected key frames.
  • Free
  • Smooth
Curve Preset This option defines the curve between selected key frames. Note, when the Curve Preset is set to Smooth, the Curve Tangent option is automatically set to Free.
  • Linear
  • Smooth
Select Only the Keyframes of the Channel Select only the key frames in the selected channel.
Add the Keyframes of the Channel to the Selection Add key frames from another channel to the key frame selection.
Select All Keyframes at This Time Select all keyframes at the current time.
Remove Selected Keyframes Remove only the selected key frames from the timeline.
Remove All Keyframes Remove all of the key frames from the timeline.
Pre-Post Behavior

Define what the object does before the first key frame and after the last key frame. This is especially helpful when you are working with repetitive animations that don’t need intervention. Otherwise, you'd need to copy and paste the key frames multiple times or do additional work in a post-processing environment.

  • A ball rolling – You can rotate the ball and let it rotate until the end of the animation timeline.
  • A pendulum swinging – You can animate one half of it and repeat the rest without using more key frames.
  • A car moving – You can set one key frame and allow it to continue constantly after the last key frame.

To define the pre-behavior and post-behavior for the Position, Rotation, and Scale channels, choose from:

  • Reset: Reset the channels to their default values. Position is reset to the origin, Rotation is reset to 0, and Scale is reset to 0.
  • Constant: If the Current Time precedes the first key frame, the channels will have the same values as the first key frame. If the Current Time is after the last key frame, the channels will have the same values as the last key frame (for example, the object remains in the same position that was set in the last key frame).
  • Repeat: The animation is repeated in a loop (see example above: a ball rolling).
  • Mirror: The animation is repeated in a back and forth loop (see example above: a pendulum swinging).
  • Linear: The values before and after the first and last key frames are linearly interpolated using the first two key frames or using the last two key frames (see example above: a car moving).