Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the Timeline, part of Blender Essential Training.
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Animation is probably one of the more important features of Blender, so let's take a look at animation, and we're going to start with the Timeline which is the core of the animation process in Blender. Now I have a simple scene here, and you may have seen the scene before. It's billiard balls on a pool table. And we have our Timeline at the bottom of the screen. It's this window, from here down, and it's basically where we can scrub our animation as well as set keyframes and step through our animation.
Now the easiest way to use the Timeline is to simply left-click in this window and we can scrub through the animation. So as you see, the frames are numbered along the bottom, and we basically just jump from frame to frame as we move from left to right. Now we also can go from frame to frame here, using this box, where we can just step through the frame number. Or if we want, we can type in a frame number if we want to jump to a specific frame.
Now if you want to play back your animation, we have animation controls here. The forward-facing triangle plays forward. And when you activate that, notice how it turns into a pause button. If I hit the pause button, I can then reselect the backwards-facing triangle to play backwards. Now we have a couple of other options here. This goes to the very end or the very beginning, and this steps forward and back a keyframe at a time.
So you have to have keyframes enabled in your scene. Now when you're playing back, do you want to sync--and that's this option here-- do you want to sync, do you want to sync to AV? If we're using audio, that's what we might need. Or do you want to drop frames to maintain sync? So if we have this at 24 frames a second, do we want to play it at 24 frames a second? If it can't make that frame rate, it will drop frames. No Sync means it will play as fast as it can up to the maximum rate.
So if it's at 24 frames a second, it will never go over, but it might play slower. Now, we also have start and end frames here, and this basically shows you how much time we have for animation. So our start frame can be at 1, it can be at 0, we can certainly just bring these up and down by clicking the arrows, or we can type in a number. So if I want this to be a longer animation, I could type in, say, 60, and you could see how when I do that, it goes beyond the end of the window here.
But we have the ability to zoom in and out in our window, and this operates just like any other viewport. All I have to do is either roll the middle mouse button or hit Ctrl and the middle mouse button and I can zoom in and out. Now if I hit Shift and the middle mouse button, I can pan this left or right. Now another thing you'll notice is that along the bottom we have our frame numbers, but if you notice on each side of these, we have a little dot.
So if you click on that dot, you can also zoom. So if I click on this dot and then move it right or left, you can also zoom your Timeline. Now we also have options for keyframing, which we'll get into in the next lesson. And we also have some View options here. Do we want to view the selected channels, in other words, the object that we have selected? Do we want to view all the keyframes? And then also, do we want to see this in frames or in seconds? So if I change this, you can see how it's actually showing me seconds plus frames or just frames by themselves.
So those are some of the basics of Blender's Timeline, and we're going to get into animation in the next lesson.
- Navigating in 3D space
- Selecting, rotating, and scaling objects
- Using Snap to move objects precisely
- Creating mesh primitives and extrusions
- Subdividing meshes
- Creating a simple creature
- Joining mesh objects and stitching vertices
- Organizing a scene with layers, groups, and hierarchies
- Assigning glossy and reflective materials to objects
- Creating bump maps
- Creating sky and ambient light
- Understanding ambient occlusion
- Adding motion blur and depth of field
- Editing animation in the Graph Editor
- Building and animating a simple character