Using the Animation Timeline Editor
This editor is used to create and export animation from a section view. Only one timeline editor can be active at a particular point in time. This editor is associated with a specific view; at present only 3D views are supported.
Animations are created from a set of keyframes, each of which uniquely define the state of their corresponding view. A "keyframe" defines the full state of the view including position and orientation (the “camera”), navigation and other view display settings. The Timeline Editor can then automatically animate between keyframes based on how these change.
Start using the Animation feature by selecting the View tab and clicking the add (+) button > Animation.
This editor consists of a titlebar, toolbar, the main timeline view, and a status panel.
When the Timeline Editor is open, the corresponding view is visible for animation, with the Timeline Editor on top.
Closing the corresponding view will automatically close the timeline editor, while closing the timeline editor will simply exit animation mode and return the corresponding view to its normal mode of operation.
Shows the animation product name, animation dimensions and frames per second.
The Timeline Panel displays events occurring throughout the animation and consists of a Timeline Axis and Track View. Icons on the Track View indicate whether a keyframe is present, and if so, which type of changes it makes to the view.
When you create a new animation, a keyframe (representing the current state of the view) is automatically created and inserted at frame 1.
To create an animation:
- Move the frame marker to some later frame e.g. frame 40.
- Change the view (i.e. zoom, pan or navigate to different location).
- Insert a new keyframe there using the create a keyframe button.
With two or more keyframes, the play button will allow preview of the animation, and the export button can be used to write a movie to disk.
This axis bar shows frame numbers and the currently selected frame.
The selected frame can be changed by either clicking the axis at the required position or dragging the frame marker handle. Similar to other section views, the axis may also be zoomed in or out using the mouse wheel.
This panel area shows all the defined keyframes and lets you manipulate them:
The track rows in this panel indicate which type of data is changing.
Tip: You can also animate the frames while over the timeline panel by holding down the Ctrl key and scrolling the mouse-wheel.
You can also create a new keyframe from the context menu if no keyframe was selected.
Because the attached view can be manipulated (for example, to inspect data independently of the animation process), keyframes are protected and will not automatically update with every view change.
Keyframes must instead be updated explicitly, and a number of indicators on the timeline view are used to signify that the view has changed and the current keyframe should be updated (or a keyframe created) if you do not want your changes lost.
These include a highlighted keyframe icon, a red frame marker, and an alert on the status bar. When in this state, use the update (or create) keyframe actions to include the view's new settings in the animation before changing timeline locations to avoid losing your changes.
For experimental changes you wish to discard, you can revert the view to its saved keyframe by simply clicking on the frame marker handle, or by contextual menu. View unsaved changes can be copied clipboard via contextual menu for later pasting at new location:
Shows the currently selected frame and its corresponding time, progress when playing or exporting animation, and error and warning messages.