Mastering Unreal Engine: How to Use TIMELINES (Blueprint)

What is a Timeline in Unreal Engine?

The Timeline node is a unique Blueprint node in Unreal Engine that allow us to change a value over time.

For example, let’s say you want to change an object’s location in exactly two seconds. You can do it by using a Timeline.

Timelines can be useful for managing easy tasks, such as changing the position of objects or changing the color of lights in a scene. Using a Timeline node and some keyframes, you’ll be able to create output values like float numbers, vectors and colors.

How do I make a Timeline in Unreal Engine?

To create a Timeline node inside a Blueprint, simply right-click and type “Add Timeline…” in the search field.

When you create a Timeline in Unreal Engine, you can modify it by double-clicking on the timeline node.

After that, a new window will appear.

Be aware that Timelines cannot be used inside Widget Blueprints.

Timeline Inputs and Outputs

Input Pins

  • Play: The Timeline will begin to play from its current position in time.
  • Play from Start: The Timeline will start playing from the beginning, this is really useful for repeating animations.
  • Stop: It will stop the timeline animation at the current time. It can be used to stop loops.
  • Reverse: The Timeline will play backwards from its current position in time.
  • Reverse from End: The Timeline will start playing in reverse, starting from the end and going backwards to the start.
  • Set New Time: This input can be helpful if you want to start an animation from a particular point in time. It allows you to set the current time to a specific value using the “New Time” input.
  • New Time: This float input is used along with the Set New Time input. It accepts a decimal value (called a float) that represents a point in time, measured in seconds, to which the Timeline will jump when the Set New Time input is executed.

Output Pins

  • Update: As is plays, it will continue executing the blueprint scripting code.
  • Finished: The blueprint won’t execute code until the timeline has finished playing. The Stop function does not trigger this.
  • Direction: This output provides information on the Timeline direction, if it is playing forward or backward.

Custom Output Pins

Enter the Timeline and click “+Track” to add custom output pins.

  • Float: Adds a new float track to the Timeline.
  • Vector: Adds a new vector track (XYZ) to the Timeline.
  • Event: By adding an event track, you can create a new execute output that triggers an event after a specific amount of time measured in seconds, or in specific keyframes.
  • Color Track: Adds a new linear color track to the Timeline, for animating colors.
  • Selected Curve Asset: Add an external curve to the Timeline. This button is only active if an external curve is selected in the Content Browser.

Timeline Editor in Unreal Engine

Blueprint Timeline Editor Unreal Engine
  1. Length: It is the maximum length of the curve or the Timeline in seconds. The default value it’s 5 seconds.
  2. Use last keyframe: If this option is turned off, the last keyframe of the animation will be skipped. This can be useful in preventing issues when an animation is looping.
  3. Autoplay: If enabled, this Timeline node will start playing as soon as the level begins and will not require any additional input to get started.
  4. Loop: When active, the Timeline animation will loop indefinitely unless stopped via the Stop input pin. If it’s not working, try to compile the Blueprint.
  5. Replicated: This option is for networking and online multiplayer, the Timeline animation will be replicated across clients.
  6. Ignore Time Dilation: If you’re using Time Dilation in your game, you can turn on this feature to ignore it.
  7. Tick Group: Select between “TG_PrePhysics“, “TG_DuringPhysics“, “TG_PostPhysics” and “TG_PostUpdateWork“.
  8. Reorder: Reorders tracks.
  9. Vector Track Selector: It allows to hide and lock the XYZ tracks.
  10. Zoom to Fit: Vertical and Horizontal.
  11. Time: Keyframe Time Value. Keyframe has to be selected.
  12. Value: Keyframe Value. Keyframe has to be selected.
  13. Keyframe: Press SHIFT + Left click on the line to create a keyframe, or just right-click and select “Add Key“. Then right-click on the Key, to select a key interpolation. Selected keys can be moved by just dragging it, and deleted by pressing the Delete key on the keyboard.
  14. Gradient: Gradient for Color Tracks.

Sliding Door Example

If you want to learn more about Timelines, check this tutorial for creating Sliding Doors in Unreal Engine.

Official Documentation

Unreal Engine Learning Path