Timeline

The Timeline shows you the frame range of each state (animation clip) in your story. It also displays tracks under each state that you can use to add actions and events to your story.

To open the Timeline view, double-click on a state in the Graph Editor. The Timeline appears as another tab in the Story window. The name of the tab is taken from the Maya source file that the state comes from, and the Timeline includes all the other states from that source file.

The Timeline

You can have multiple Timeline views open in separate tabs, each showing the states from different Maya source files. Double-clicking on a state in the Graph Editor that's already open in a Timeline will not open a new Timeline. The currently open Timeline will simply pan (scroll) to the chosen state.

Frame Ranges

In the Timeline, each state in the source file is listed in order on the left side of the window, along with any tracks it has underneath. To the right, each state is represented under the animation frame numbers, along the same tracks.

You can click on the title bar of a state to select it. Its properties will appear in the Properties window. You can also drag on the title bar to move a state to a different frame range. Note that, as you move your mouse over the Timeline, a vertical line appears showing you which frame the mouse is currently over. This is useful when moving states or actions to a specific frame.

You can not change the duration of a state directly in the Timeline, however you can change the duration in the Properties window.

To help navigate in the Timeline, you can:

  • Press the "F" key to frame the selected state.
  • Press the Option key or space bar and drag the mouse to pan.
  • Press the Option key or space bar and right-click-drag to zoom.

It is possible to drag a state so that it overlaps the frame range of another state. However, you can not drag a state so that its starting frame is earlier than the starting frame of a previous state. If you do, the Story Editor will move the state back to a later frame, which will appear the next time you open the Timeline.

Tracks

The rows of tracks under a state name show you the actions that occur during the frame range of that state.

Timeline Tracks

Tracks are present for your convenience, and are used only for visual organization. You can choose to have a track for each action, or you can place all the actions in one track.

To add a track to a state, right-click on the title bar and choose Add Track. As new tracks are created, they are auto-numbered to be unique. But you can change the name by right-clicking on the track and choosing Rename Track.

To delete a track, right-click on the track and choose Delete Track. A track also disappears if you move or delete all the actions it includes. You can delete all empty tracks at once by right-clicking and choosing Delete ALL Empty Tracks.

Actions

To add an action to a track, right-click in the track at the desired frame and choose from the Create Action menu. For more information on the actions available, see Actions.

Timeline Actions

Depending on its properties, an action appears in a track as either instant (diamond icon) or with a duration. Click on an action to see its properties in the Properties window. You can also multi-select or drag select actions and all of their properties will appear in the Properties window.

You can drag actions to different frames and different tracks in a state. You can even drag actions to different states. Note, however, that if you move the beginning of an action to a frame that is not in any state's frame range, the action will never launch.