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Timelines

Ashley's avatar
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Construct Team Founder
Published 10 May, 2019
788 words
~3-5 mins

There are several different elements that make up a timeline. When any of them are selected in the Timeline Bar, their properties will be shown in the Properties Bar. Some of the properties only affect the timeline element that owns them, but there are others that also affect other elements below them in the heirarchy.

The hierarchy is as follows:

It is useful to remember that structure when making changes to the following properties of a timeline element:

  • Animation mode
  • Result mode
  • Ease
  • Path mode
  • Enabled
  • Visible
  • Locked

Explicit property changes

Making a change to Enabled, Visible or Locked properties will trigger changes down the element's hierarchy, explicitly modifying all children.

Inherited property changes

Animation mode, Result mode, Ease and Path mode properties follow an inheritance pattern. This means that the special "Default" value means to use the value defined by the element immediately above it in the hierarchy.

In the case of Animation mode and Result mode the value "Default" can be used at the timeline level but since it is the top most element in the hierarchy it has a different meaning. If the special "Default" value is used at the timeline level and all previous elements in the hierarchy were using the "Default" value as well, it means to use the inherent value associated with the type of each property track. The inherent values for each type are described in the tables below.

Animation mode inherent values

Property type value
Numeric Continuous
Color Continuous
Text Keyframe
Boolean Keyframe

Result mode inherent values

Property type Value
Numeric Relative
Color Absolute
Text Absolute
Boolean Absolute

Common Timeline Element Properties

  • Animation mode: used by property tracks and refers to the method used to interpolate between property keyframes. It can have the following values.
    • Default: use the value defined by the element immediately above it in the hierarchy.
    • Continuous: a smooth transition between values using an easing function. Only numeric and color properties can use this mode.
    • Keyframe: This mode will not do a smooth transition - instead it will change the properties of the instances as the play head of the timeline reaches each property keyframe.
    • Step: a smooth transition, but it only shows values that fall in the step defined by the Step property of the timeline.
  • Result mode: how the values in each property keyframe in a property track are interpreted when playing. Numeric values default to Relative mode, while text, boolean and color values default to using Absolute mode.
    • Default: use the value defined by the element immediately above it in the hierarchy.
    • Relative: the timeline assigns values relative to the initial values each instance had, before the timeline started playing.
    • Absolute: the timeline assigns absolute values, and will not be affected by the initial state before the timeline started playing.
  • Ease: the function used to transition between each pair of property keyframes in a property track. There are several built in functions to choose from. Custom ease curves can also be designed in the Ease editor. The special "Default" value uses the value defined by the element immediately above it in the hierarchy.
  • Path mode: only relevant for the X and Y properties. Sets how to transition between property keyframe pairs.
    • Default: use the value defined by the element immediately above it in the hierarchy.
    • Line: interpolate between the starting and ending position of each property keyframe pair to form a straight line.
    • Cubic Bezier: This mode will enable a few additional controls in the Layout View to allow for transitions following a curved path.
  • Visible: used by tracks to toggle the visibility of the corresponding instance. This setting only takes effect while Edit Mode is turned on. It is only relevant for the editor and will not affect the timeline at runtime.
  • Enabled: used by property keyframes. A disabled property keyframe is not taken into consideration when playing a timeline.
  • Locked: A locked timeline element and its children cannot be modified through the Timeline Bar or Properties Bar. It is only relevant for the editor and will not affect the timeline at runtime.

All Contributors

  • Ashley's avatar
    Ashley
    Last edited 1 Jul, 2019
    ~6,033 chars in 3 edits
  • DiegoM's avatar
    DiegoM
    Last edited 16 Jan, 2020
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