Animation Timeline View

The Animation Timeline view provides an editing environment for creating the animation blocks that are used by the animation action.

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The initial Animation Timeline presentation displays a list of all of the animation blocks defined in the application. Those animations whose names are highlighted in bold represent animations that are currently referenced. The list on the right is updated, based on the selected animation, to show a list of all of the locations in the project where this animation is currently referenced.

Double-click on an animation or select the Edit in Timeline button to change the display mode of the Animation Timeline from a list of all animations to a timeline-based editor focused on the selected animation block. To create a new animation, right-click in the list and select Add Animation, or select Add Animation from the toolbar.

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The timeline editing mode displays a list of the variables that are modified during the animation and a timeline view indicating the starting time offset and step duration for a particular animation step relative to all of the other animation steps running in this block.

To see the properties view to modify values, click on an animation step.

Property values can be edited / calculated inline.

To duplicate a step, double-click beside the animation step.

Clicking an animation step displays a pop up window that displays all of its information when the step is too small to do so.

To easily line up the animation steps in the timeline, select multiple animation steps and use the align left, align right, distribute, or pack tools.

Using the 'Design Context' drop-down list, select a context that the animation will use to resolve variables. This context is also used to determine which screen is displayed during an animation preview (see below).

Right-click on an animation group to duplicate its functionality and assign it to another variable.

You can drag and drop the block within the display to adjust the starting offset or lengthen or shorten its duration by resizing the block. The start, end values, and the rate of change can be adjusted inline by double-clicking the values or by right-clicking the block. Animation steps can also be reordered by dragging and dropping them in the list. For animations with many steps, you may want to choose the compressed display option from the menu.

If you want to make a more significant change to the animation step, or to change several values all at once, select a step and click on the 'Change Variable...' button in the properties view and the Animation Step Dialog will open. You will also get this dialog if you right-click and select Add Animation Step to add a new variable to animate in this block.

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The Animation Step Dialog allows you to select the variable that you want to animate. You can fine tune the characteristics of the animation step including how you want the values to change and when.

Working with Animations

There are a number of ways to get started creating animations. You can manually create a new animation from the Animation Timeline View and add the variables to the animation one-by-one, however Storyboard provides a few shortcuts to make this process easier.

Record Animation
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To create new animations, Storyboard provides a mechanism that allows you to record a series of changes to your application and have those changes automatically incorporated into a new animation. This capability, Animation Recording, can be accessed from the top menu bar.

The animation recorder tracks all changes that are made to model objects in the application. When the recording is finished it automatically creates new variables for those static values that have changed. It then gathers all of the changed variables and places them into a new animation ready to replay that visual change.

Note

When using the animation recorder, any structural changes made to the model will be automatically reverted and lost at the end of the recording. The model recording only tracks changes to existing model properties and variables, creating variables automatically for any static elements that change.

This means that, if during the recording any controls, variables, actions, or any other model elements are created, they will not be captured in the recording and they will also not be present in the model when the recording is stopped.

Add Animation
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To quickly add new variables to either a new or existing animation, use the Animation Variable command that is available from the editor toolbar or from the right-click menu on many model objects.

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A dialog displays all of the variables that are associated with the current selected object. You can quickly select the variables you are interested in, select the animation that you would like them to be applied to, and immediately start fine-tuning that animation.

Preview Animation
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Preview the currently selected animation by clicking the animation preview action. An uneditable version of the application is displayed in a dialog and runs the animation. The bottom bar contains actions that control the preview. Play/Pause will stop and restart the animation from the current frame. While the preview is paused, use the Fast Forward/Rewind buttons to move ahead/back one frame at a time. Interact with the progress bar to jump to any frame and click on the Replay button to reset the animation to frame 0 in preparation for another run.

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By default, the preview window chooses the screen to display by looking at the animated variables. However, if the user has selected a design context for the animation in the timeline, that context is used to determine the screen to display in the preview.

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