Timeline
Using the Timeline window

Timeline overview

Use the TimelineGeneric term within Unity that refers to all features, windows, editors, and components related to creating, modifying, or reusing cut-scenes, cinematics, and game-play sequences. More info
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window
to create cut-scenes, cinematics, and game-play sequences by visually arranging tracks and clips linked to GameObjectsThe fundamental object in Unity scenes, which can represent characters, props, scenery, cameras, waypoints, and more. A GameObject’s functionality is defined by the Components attached to it. More info
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in your SceneA Scene contains the environments and menus of your game. Think of each unique Scene file as a unique level. In each Scene, you place your environments, obstacles, and decorations, essentially designing and building your game in pieces. More info
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.

A cinematic sequence in the Timeline window.
A cinematic sequence in the Timeline window.

For each cut-scene, cinematic, or game-play sequence, the Timeline window saves the following:

  • Timeline Asset: Stores the tracks, clips, and recorded animations without links to the specific GameObjects being animated. The Timeline Asset is saved to the Project.

  • Timeline instance: Stores links to the specific GameObjects being animated or affected by the Timeline Asset. These links, referred to as bindings, are saved to the Scene.

Timeline Asset

The Timeline window saves track and clip definitions as a Timeline Asset. If you record key animations while creating your cinematic, cut-scene, or game-play sequence, the Timeline window saves the recorded clips as children of the Timeline Asset.

The Timeline Asset saves tracks and clips (red). Timeline saves recorded clips (blue) as children of the Timeline Asset.
The Timeline Asset saves tracks and clips (red). Timeline saves recorded clips (blue) as children of the Timeline Asset.

Timeline instance

To animate a GameObject in your Scene with a Timeline Asset, you must create a Timeline instance. A Timeline instance associates a Timeline Asset with the GameObject in the Scene, through a Playable Director component.

When you select a GameObject in a Scene that has a Playable Director component, the Timeline instance appears in the Timeline window. The bindings appear in the Timeline window and in the Playable Director component (Inspector window).

The Playable Director component shows the Timeline Asset (blue) with its bound GameObjects (red). The Timeline window shows the same bindings (red) in the Track list.
The Playable Director component shows the Timeline Asset (blue) with its bound GameObjects (red). The Timeline window shows the same bindings (red) in the Track list.

The Timeline window provides an automated method of creating a Timeline instance while creating a Timeline Asset.

Reusing Timeline Assets

Because Timeline Assets and Timeline instances are separate, you can reuse the same Timeline Asset with many Timeline instances.

For example, you could create a Timeline Asset named VictoryTL with the animation, music, and particle effects that play when the main game character (Player) wins. To reuse the VictoryTL Timeline Asset to animate another game character (Enemy) in the same Scene, you can create another Timeline instance for the secondary game character.

The Player GameObject (red) is attached to the VictoryTL Timeline Asset
The Player GameObject (red) is attached to the VictoryTL Timeline Asset
The Enemy GameObject (blue) is also attached to the VictoryTL Timeline Asset
The Enemy GameObject (blue) is also attached to the VictoryTL Timeline Asset

Because you are reusing the Timeline Asset, any modification to the Timeline Asset in the Timeline window results in changes to all Timeline instances.

For example, in the previous example, if you delete the Audio track while modifying the Player Timeline instance, the Timeline window removes the track from the VictoryTL Timeline Asset. The Timeline window also removes the Audio track from all instances of the VictoryTL Timeline Asset, including the Enemy Timeline instance.


  • 2019–08–20 Page published

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Timeline
Using the Timeline window