So what's this timeline thing then?

  • Saw this in the beta and some pretty excited comments about it, but never having done much animation stuff outside of frame-by-frame stuff, I'm wondering what exactly timeline animations do and how this works in a program like C3?

    I saw "This allows you to design animations in the editor by creating sequences of tweens - for example moving an object along a path, or making some elements of the title screen appear one after another."

    And I just wonder how this is different to the current system of triggering through events or when an object reaches a certain position?

    As this is all new, there's obviously not much in the way of documentation and examples, but I'd love to hear a better explanation of what timelines are and how they work in C3 if someone feels like explaining.

    Cheers

  • If you want to know more about how a timeline works, maybe it would be beneficiary to look at a few tutorials of pretty much ANY animation software like After Effects, Adobe Animate or Moho.

    The exciting thing about the timeline is, that you can do your tweening animations inside the layout editor and see an instant preview. You can add multiple timelines so my guess is you can make like different timelines for like i.e. a sprite floating into the screen and one when it floats out of the screen and then call upon them via code. What's also neat is that the keyframes seem to have indexes so i certainly hope there will be a way where we can call upon actions to happen on specific keyframes within a timeline.

    It's kind of the early Flash/Macromedia Director way of doing interactions. You should be able to animate pretty much any property such as scale, position, opacity etc. and just do it in a much more intuitive way than to code it, test it, see that it looks wrong, change the code, test again, etc.

    Currently it's really just an experimental feature and i couldn't get it to work. It still needs some usability iterations and, of course, bug fixes until it's fully functional but i think it's a great addition to make C3 even more powerful. Whether you want to use it or not is, of course, entirely up to you in the end :)

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  • I know it's still beta and probably a lot of work left to do on the Timeline, so I can just comment on the current state.

    Coming from a background in with a lot of motion graphics work, using software like AfterEffects, Maya, the timeline feature seems at his quite a long way to go to be a great timeline. It currently works but there is a lot to wish for.

    I tried it briefly yesterday, and apart from being very buggy, it lacks some of the most important features to be a useful animation tool. I will highlight some things I found very strange and hopefully not working as intended.

    Scrubbing

    Scrubbing is a pretty crucial part of animating things with a timeline. You need to be able to put the current time indicator (the red line) at a certain point and immediately get feedback to where the object would be at that current time position. You need to be able to click-drag to scrub the timeline back and forth to get a feeling of your animation, without having to press play every time.

    Editing Curves.

    At this point you can only choose various tween options between points, but in the future I hope it's planned to have a curve editor to manually edit curves. If there's no plan for it, at least the timeline could use a good visual representation of the type of tween between the points.

    I don't know if it's a bug, but previewing the animations in the layout object just jumped from one keyframe to the next, without any tween being previewed.

    Auto Keyframing or Record Keyframes

    Very useful for quick animations. It works like this: If the timeline is at position 0s, you then move the marker to 1s, and move the object a bit, to where to object is supposed to be at 1s, it will automatically place a keyframe there with the correct value. I don't know if there's a hotkey for add keyframe. Whenever I added a keyframe, I had to go to properties to set a value for that keyframe. Not very user friendly.

    Useful Keyboard shortcuts: (maybe they exist, but I havn't seen any documentation of what those are yet)

    Set keyframe: example (s, or k) or something like that.

    Play all timelines, (space or something similar)

    Quick add all translations

    When adding an object to timeline, it's good if you get an option to add all properties. X, Y, Rotation, Width, Height, opacity, in the timeline easily. This makes a lot of sense, if you already know you will be animating many properties of that object. This will work well with the Auto key function, when you have an object to animate, and if you edit any property of that object it will automatically make a keyframe, at current timeline position.

    Those were just some if the things I noticed on my quick tryout.

    Edit: Properties I was missing as well, was to set animation and animation frame. That's something i would like to control with the timeline as well. Maybe you can do it as a workaround by using instance variables, then setting animations, and animation frames to that variable.

  • I feel like I'm being a bit dense, but where is the timeline? I've enabled experimental features, but can't find it anywhere... is it a window? A context menu?

  • Pretty much agree with all the suggestions tunepunk made but i'm confident a lot of those thing will be added in later iterations.

  • Elliott Right Click in Layout View -> Timeline -> Timeline Bar

    You also have a new folder in your project window called "Timelines" Via right click you can create new Timelines there.

  • Pretty exiting feature, could be very powerfull, the way its implemented, ease of use will be key, i agree with tunepunk

    I hope there wont be some hard limitation on the way things get replayed, i immediatly wanted to scrub thru my animation, its pretty much a must have for a timeline, i would say even the animation player should have this..

    it will be helpfull to replace hard coded motions and have more visually control over it, not to mention saving lots of time...

    you simply play that sequence from where it currently is, there just lots of usages and you can still have code working on top of it, like shooting every second for example

  • Some Spriter, or other editor integration might be worth discussing given the vastness of what people will be expecting.

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