Linear and non-linear animation

It is time to bring some more life to your compos ! This can be done thought parameters binding (see Link and Link Modifier, Exposed Parameter) or through animation (timeline, cues). To address complex scenarios, these two techniques can be mixed together.
It is recommended that you read about Bank before animating or automating your compos.
Here we will review some of the Animations User Interface Properties :


The toolbar has, like the other element editors, a lock and a menu buttons, and a path pointing to the edited element at its start.

F : fit to screen
Shift : Snap

Timeline editor Element Tree

The Timeline Editor tree is a duplicate of the main Element Tree, but with a little bit more informations. Indeed, you can directly see the parameters of the elements in the tree. All parameters are not displayed; to make it easier to read, it is filtered by the Track View Mode. You can change the Track View Mode in the timeline. It will switch between showing only animated tracks (minimal), showing usually animated tracks (normal) and showing all animatable tracks (full).

Tracks vs Curves view

The Timeline Editor can display an animation in two ways: the track and curve view.

We will first see the tracks view.

There is 2 different kinds of Track:
-The Track Block which can be either a video layer Transport or a an image/composition track.
-The parameters tracks which actually is a Keyframe Function and consist in keyframes or curves animating some parameters
Here is an Element track with 3 parameters tracks inside of it

A track is a block matching an object or a layer. Before and after that block, the element is invisible. During it, it is visible and can be animated. The track corresponds to the "life" of the element. For a video or a timeline, it represents its transport.
You can use tracks to activate and deactivate elements to improve the performances of your compo. You can also use it to play a video, like in a standard video editing software.

Now we have a Parameter track :

A parameter track is a collection of keyframes.
To add a Keyframe in a track, CTRL+click or use the keyframe manipulator of the user interface. You can select one or more keyframe(s) and its properties will be displayed in the Parameters Editor.
Navigate from keyframes to keyframes with J/K or the Keyframe manipulators.

When values do change between keyframes, the space between them is highlighted. In the case of color tracks, you can see the values of the color changing.

The transition from one value to another between keyframes is called the interpolation. Smode performs interpolations between keyframes based on different algorithms.
They can be:

You can change those interpolations by selecting keyframes, in their parameters, by the right click or with ALT+click.
The look of the keyframe is generated by its interpolators:

The curves view allows you to edit your track's keyframes in 2D instead of a 1D. This brings you a fine tuned control over the animation curves. To activate the mode, first click on the Curves button in the toolbar. The curves you will see in the view will be the rows you select.

You can select more than one row to see more than one curve.
Just like in the tracks view, you can ALT click the view to create a new point. If you want to change its interpolation, right clicking a selection of keyframes will display a menu to quickly set them.

Be careful, the Ease interpolation is not offered in the right click menu yet !
You have to go to the parameters of your selected keyframe and change it with the drop-down menu for input and output interpolator types.
You can also control click a point to cycle through its interpolations :

Change Tracks Function Mode

You can change track mode of any parameter inside of the timeline. By default it will be in "Key" mode (keyframes).
To change track mode, just click here and choose the track mode you want :

Here is a list of theses modes:
- Key: Classic keyframe mode. Each key represent the full value (e.g. XYZ). Curve view is not implemented yet for this function. To see curve you'll have to split dimensions
- Split (separate): separate the dimensions of a track. Split the XYZ trajectory by combining three independent functions for X, Y and Z.
- Fx: transform a keyframe track into a simple function (sinus, power, noise, etc.). Go see the Function part of the doc for further details
- Custom: Allow you to draw a curve inside the Function Editor.
- Binary file: Allow you to use a existing binary file as recorded source values. File values can have offset and gap. Values can be integer or floating point of different size or endianness.

Trajectories manipulation

If the Placement of 2D Layer or the Position of a 3D Layer is animated inside of Smode, then it's position trajectory can be seen inside the Viewport and is manipulable.
To do so, simply go in edit mode. Trajectories point interpolation can be changed with right click in the Viewport or with [ALT] + [CLICK] on a keyframe inside the Timeline or Function Editor.
A point can be added on the curve inside the Viewport with [CTRL] + [CLICK] either in 2D or in 3D view.

Note that both 2D and 3D trajectories work the same way :

Trajectories can be used either inside Timeline or through the Function Editor:
- Inside the Timeline their units will be in frames :

- Inside the Function Editor, their units will be in percentage. This will be particularly in use when you do an animation using the Exposed Parameter :

Trajectories can be used both for animation and some layers like Function Spline.

You can also check the Function Editor for further informations.

Smode Academy

Animations, Parameters & Links Become a Timeline master
Here is a little introduction video to the Function Cues and Timelines animations in Smode (In french):

Parameters common to all Elements

  • Activation State: The loading status of the animation. It can be loaded , enabled by not loaded or unloaded
  • Activation State: The activation status of the animation. It can be active , enabled by not active or inactive
  • Associate a color label to your animation to make it easily locatable
  • Activate this to keep only this animation active and hide all other animations in same location
  • Activation State: The editabiliy status of the animation. It can be locked directly , locked indirectly or editable
  • Element: Select a preset to apply on the animation
  • Warnings and errors associated to this animation


Animation Bank - Where all your cues are stored

Timeline - Timelines specificity is to play, cut and edit video layers easily, and to animate layers and their parameters

Break Points and Time markers - Put control points all over your Timelines

Function Cue - An animation bloc defined by a Function

Cue List - Add cues one after another to encode your Show

Track - Animation track of an element / parameter inside the Timeline editor or the Function Editor

Track Block - Animate video Transport inside a Track

Cue Transport - Playing parameters, position and length of the Function Cue

Transport - Thing that can be played out of a Timeline or Function Cue and that doesn't need to be inside an Animation Bank

Standalone Player - Is used to play either video layers or generative layers such as Noise layer or Droste or the marvellous Video File

Infinite Ramp - To infinity and beyond!

Exposed Parameter - Allow to control multiple Link Target with a single value

Function - Function that maps a number (percentage, time, etc.) to a value

Link - A link from a source parameter to a set of Link Target

Device - External peripheral exchanging data with Smode

How To - How to animate like a boss!

See Also: