Timing Pane

Like the Project pane, the Timing pane has three tabs, each to control a different aspect of your project. The Timeline tab is a broad overview of all the objects and how they are laid out over time. The Keyframe Editor tab displays the animation curves for animated parameters and effects, and the Audio Editor tab provides access to the level and pan controls for the audio components of your project.

At some point in most projects, you want to view the contents of your composition represented as a graph over time. This may be to compare when two objects appear or disappear, or when an effect begins or changes. You may want to add or remove objects in your project at a particular point in time to observe or modify how different parameters of different effects occur. You may also want to view your audio waveforms to allow visual events to synchronize with your soundtrack.

All of this can be accomplished in the Timing pane, which appears at the bottom of the Canvas.

Figure. Canvas window showing Timing pane.
To display the Timing pane
Do one of the following:
  • Drag the divider on the bottom edge of the Canvas.

  • Click the Timing icon in the upper-right corner of the Toolbar.

    Figure. Timing icon in the Toolbar.
  • Choose Window > Timeline (or press Command-7).

  • Press F6.

  • Use a vertical three-finger swipe on a Multi-Touch trackpad.

  • Choose Window > Layouts > Cinema (or press Option-Control-U).

Timeline

The Timeline is the most general of the tabs in the Timing pane. It can display not only the visual elements in your project (the layers), but also audio tracks, cameras, lights, keyframes, and effects such as masks, behaviors, and filters. For more information on using the Timeline, see Using the Timeline.

Figure. Timing pane showing Timeline tab.
To display the Timeline tab
Do one of the following:
  • Choose Window > Timeline (or press Command-7).

  • When using a Multi-Touch trackpad, three-finger swipe up or down to show and hide the Timing pane.

  • If the Timing pane is already visible, click the Timeline tab at the top of the pane.

Timeline Layers List

The left side of the Timeline tab—the Timeline layers list—is nearly identical to the Layers tab in the Project pane. Objects appear in the project hierarchy categorized into layers and groups. The columns and controls are identical to those in the Layers tab:

Figure. Timeline layers list.
  • On (not labeled): This column (identical to the On column in the Layers tab) contains an activation checkbox to the left of each object that turns the visibility of the object on and off. When the object visibility is turned off, you can still modify the object’s parameters and manipulate its onscreen controls.
  • Name (not labeled): Identifies the object by name. (This column is identical to the Name column in the Layers tab.) To edit the name, double-click the text area of a selected object, type a new name, then press Return. In projects that contain a camera, the Isolate button also appears in this column.
  • Isolate: The Isolate button only appears in projects that contain a camera. Once a camera is added to the project, all groups are converted to 3D (if you choose Switch to 3D in the New Camera dialog). If you choose Keep as 2D in the New Camera dialog, the camera is added to the project, but the groups remain 2D groups. Once a camera is added to the project, the Isolate button appears for any selected group, layer, or camera.

    The button has an active and inactive state. Clicking the Isolate button for a layer or group sets that object to its original face-forward orientation (so you can apply a mask, for example). Clicking the button again returns to the previous view. Clicking the Isolate button for a camera takes you to that camera’s view.

  • Status (not labeled): Contains a number of several possible icons to indicate the status of the object. (This column is identical to the Status column in the Layers tab.) The lock icon lets you lock an object to prevent any changes from affecting that object. Locking a group prevents changes to all layers and effects within that group. This column may also include a link icon when a layer has a corresponding audio element, such as a multi-channel QuickTime file.

    The Status column also contains a 2D/3D icon to switch a group between 2D or 3D mode. The same icon appears immediately to the left of the group name and indicates the 2D/3D status of the group. Individual layers cannot be 2D or 3D—they are always 2D elements within a 2D or 3D group.

    Note: Changes made in the Timeline layers list also change the Layers tab in the Project pane and vice versa.

Timeline Track Area

The main part of the Timeline tab, to the right of the Timeline layers list, is called the track area. Objects in your project are each represented by a colored bar. Different colors represent different types of objects. For example, behaviors and filters are purple and audio layers are green. For a complete table of colors, see Timeline Tracks.

Figure. Timeline tab showing track area.

Group tracks differ from individual object tracks in two ways. First, when an object that resides in a group is selected, a thinner group bar appears above the layers within the group. Second, when the group itself is selected, the group track displays a special indicator that identifies how many objects reside within that group. Layers, cameras, and lights are counted in that total; effects such as masks, behaviors, and filters are not counted in that total.

Timeline Ruler

At the top of the track area is the ruler that provides a gauge for the positions and durations of the objects in your project.

Figure. Ruler, In and Out points, project marker, and playhead in the Timeline.

The ruler can contain indicators to help mark important frames or sections of the project such as the playhead, play range indicators (also called In and Out points), and markers. The ruler can be viewed in frames or timecode.

To change the ruler view format
  • Control-click the ruler, then choose Display Frames or Display Timecode from the shortcut menu.

Note: You can also click the current frame icon directly to the left of the current frame field (to the left of the transport controls) or click the duration icon directly to the left of the project duration field (to the right of the transport controls) to switch the project between frames and timecode.

The playhead tracks the frame currently visible in the Canvas. You can drag the playhead or reposition it using the transport controls described inPlaying Your Project. The playhead in the Timeline and the playhead in the mini-Timeline are linked. Moving one automatically moves the other.

The play range indicators limit the area of the project to be played. For more on setting and using the play range, see Defining the Play Range.

Markers can be added to your project to identify an important frame or range of frames. For more on creating and using markers, see Adding Markers.

Working in the Timeline

The Timeline tab can be customized to facilitate a variety of working styles and specific project needs.

Turning Effects On and Off

When certain effects are applied to an object, icons appear next to the name of that item. There is an icon for masks, filters, and behaviors. These icons control the visibility of those effects in the Canvas.

Figure. Masks, Behaviors, and Filters icons in the Timeline tab.
To turn masks off for a layer or group
  • Click the Masks icon in the Timeline layers list.

    A red slash appears over the icon and the effect is temporarily turned off.

To turn behaviors off for an object
  • Click the Behaviors icon in the Timeline layers list.

    A red slash appears over the icon and the effect is temporarily turned off.

To turn filters off for a layer or group
  • Click the Filters icon in the Timeline layers list.

    A red slash appears over the icon and the effect is temporarily turned off.

    For all three of these controls, clicking the icon again turns the effect back on.

Timeline Tab Display Options

As with the Layers tab, you can choose to show or hide effects such as masks, filters, and behaviors. Additionally, the Timeline lets you display keyframes. You can also choose to display audio tracks and, if audio tracks are displayed, you can hide groups and layers. All of these display options are controlled by the row of buttons in the lower-left corner of the Timeline tab.

Figure. Show/Hide Layers, Show/Hide Audio, Show/Hide Keyframes, Show/Hide Masks, Show/Hide Behaviors, and Show/Hide Filters buttons in the Timeline tab.

Masks, behaviors, and filters can be displayed as layers in the Timeline, just as they are displayed in the Layers tab. Showing or hiding effects in the list does not control whether the effect appears in the Canvas.

To turn on or off the display of masks in the Timeline
  • Click the Show/Hide Masks button.

To turn on or off the display of behaviors in the Timeline
  • Click the Show/Hide Behaviors button.

To turn on or off the display of filters in the Timeline
  • Click the Show/Hide Filters button.

When keyframes are shown, each track becomes a little taller, and the bottom section is used to show any keyframes that exist for the layer.

Figure. Keyframes in the track area in the Timeline tab.
To turn on or off the display of keyframes in the Timeline
  • Click the Show/Hide Keyframes button.

Audio files appear in a separate section from other objects. You can move the divider between the audio and video sections of the Timeline to show more or less of each section.

Figure. Timeline tab showing audio track section and track divider bar.
To turn on or off the display of audio files
  • Click the Show/Hide Audio button in the lower-left corner of the Timeline tab.

To turn on or off the display of layers and groups
  • Click the Show/Hide Layers button in the lower-left corner of the Timeline tab.

    Note: You cannot hide layers and groups unless audio files are currently visible. This is to prevent the Timeline from becoming completely empty.

To move the divider between audio and video tracks
  • Position the pointer over the divider, then drag up or down to expand or contract the track section.

You can adjust the height of the tracks in the Timeline to provide more or less vertical space. You can also expand the size of the Layers tab.

To adjust track height
Do one of the following:
  • Position the pointer over any horizontal line and drag up or down to decrease or increase the height of all tracks.

    Figure. Track resize pointer.
  • Click one of the “Set timeline row size” buttons at the bottom of the tab.

    Figure. Timeline track resize buttons in the Timeline tab.
To change the width of the Timeline layers list
  1. Position the pointer over the rightmost edge of the Timeline layers list.

    Figure. Layers list resize pointer in the Timeline tab.
  2. When the pointer changes to the column adjust pointer, drag left or right.

Adding and Removing Groups

The Timeline has controls to add new groups and to remove existing layers from the project.

To create a new group in the Timeline tab
Do one of the following:
  • Click the Add button (+) in the upper-left corner of the tab.

  • Choose Object > New Group (or press Shift-Command-N).

    A new empty group is added at the top of the list.

    You can also create new groups when dragging files to the Timeline tab from the File Browser or Library. For more information, see Adding Files to Your Project.

To remove an object from the Timeline tab
Do one of the following:
  • Select the object you want to remove, then click the Delete button (–) in the upper-left corner of the tab.

  • Control-click the file you want to remove, then choose Delete from the shortcut menu.

  • Select the file you want to remove, then choose Edit > Delete (or press Delete).

    The object is removed. This action removes the object from the Canvas as well.

Using the Current Frame Field

Next to the Add button (+) and the Delete button (–), the Timeline tab also contains a current frame field that can be used to navigate your project.

To move the playhead to a new time
Do one of the following:
  • Click the current frame field, then type a frame number.

  • Drag the current frame value slider to the left or right to advance or rewind.

    Note: To advance or rewind more rapidly, press Shift while dragging in the current frame value slider.

  • With the Timeline active, type the timecode or frame number where you want to move the playhead. Press Return to jump to that frame.

To move forward a specific number of frames
  • Type a plus sign (+) and then the number of frames you want to move forward.

To move backward a specific number of frames
  • Type a minus sign (–) and then the number of frames you want to move backward.

Collapsing and Expanding Groups and Layers

You can collapse a group or layer so the tracks for the individual objects within the group are temporarily hidden.

Figure. A layer collapsed and expanded in the Timeline tab.
To collapse or expand a group or layer
  • Click the disclosure triangle to the left of the group or layer name in the Timeline layers list.

    Figure. Group disclosure triangle in the Timeline tab.

A variety of editing tasks can be done in the Timeline, including moving, trimming, and slipping. For more information on how to perform editing in the Timeline, see Editing Objects in the Timeline.

Zooming in the Timeline

As you get familiar with using the Timeline, you will find yourself wanting to focus on an individual edit point one second, and the next, you’ll want to see the overview of your whole project. Fortunately, you can quickly zoom in and out on the Timeline using a variety of different tools.

The bottom of the Timeline contains a zoom slider and a scroller.

Figure. Zoom slider and scroller in the Timeline tab.
To zoom the Timeline using the zoom slider
  • Drag the zoom slider left to zoom in and right to zoom out.

    The Timeline updates as you drag.

To zoom the Timeline using the scroller
  • Click the handle of the scroller and drag it away from the center to zoom out and toward the center to zoom in.

    The Timeline updates as you drag.

    You can also automatically zoom the Timeline to include the entire duration of your project or just the play range as defined by the play range indicators (In and Out points).

To zoom the Timeline using a Multi-Touch trackpad
  • Pinch open to zoom in, pinch closed to zoom out.

    Once zoomed in, you can use two-finger swipes to scroll left or right.

To zoom the Timeline to fit the entire project
Do one of the following:
  • Double-click the Zoom Time View button to the right of the ruler.

    Figure. Zoom Time View button in the Timeline tab.
  • Choose View > Zoom Time View > To Project.

    Note: An object must be selected in the Timeline layers list in order to access the Zoom Time View items in the View menu.

  • Control-click the ruler, then choose Zoom to Project from the shortcut menu.

To zoom the Timeline to fit the play range
Do one of the following:
  • Click the Zoom Time View button to the right of the ruler.

  • Choose View > Zoom Time View > To Play Range.

    Note: An object must be selected in the Timeline layers list in order to access the Zoom Time View options in the View menu.

  • Control-click the ruler, then choose Zoom to Play Range from the shortcut menu.

The Zoom Time View button switches between the Zoom to Play Range and Zoom to Project settings. If no play range is established, choosing Zoom to Play Range performs a Zoom to Project.

Changing the Track Display

The tracks in Motion can be displayed in a variety of ways to satisfy different working styles. You can set your tracks to be viewed as Name Only, Name Plus Thumbnail, and Filmstrip.

Figure. Track label options in the Timeline, including Name, Name Plus Thumbnail, and Filmstrip.
To change the Timeline track display
  1. Choose Motion > Preferences (or press Command-Comma) to open Motion Preferences.

  2. Click the Appearance icon to open the Appearance pane.

  3. In the Timeline section, choose an item from the Timebar Display pop-up menu:

    • Name: Displays only the name of the object on the track.
    • Name Plus Thumbnail: Displays the name of the object and a single thumbnail on the track.
    • Filmstrip: Displays frames of the object over the track.

    Regardless of the Timebar Display setting, tracks for cameras, lights, behaviors, and filters are always labeled with names only. When the Timebar Display is set to Filmstrip, your processing time is increased.

Keyframe Editor

The Keyframe Editor is where you can view and modify the individual attributes of filters, behaviors, and other effects over time. Each parameter can be displayed as a curve showing how the parameter’s value changes over time. You can manipulate the points within that curve (called keyframes) to create a variety of powerful effects. For more information on using the Keyframe Editor, see Keyframes and Curves.

Figure. Timing pane showing Keyframe Editor.
To display the Keyframe Editor
Do one of the following:
  • Drag the divider on the bottom edge of the Canvas, then click the Keyframe Editor tab at the top of the pane.

  • Click the Timing icon in the upper-right corner of the Canvas, then click the Keyframe Editor tab at the top of the pane.

  • Choose Window > Keyframe Editor (or press Command-8).

  • Press F6, then click the Keyframe Editor tab at the top of the pane.

  • Choose Window > Layouts > Cinema (or press Control-Option-U), then click the Keyframe Editor tab at the top of the pane.

  • If the Timing pane is already visible, click the Keyframe Editor tab at the top of the pane.

Keyframe Basics

You animate an object by creating at least two keyframes for a parameter, such as Opacity, at different points in time in a project. A keyframe is a point in time that records any change in the value of a parameter. For example, to create an animation in which an object is completely transparent at frame 1 and becomes completely opaque at frame 120, you create two keyframes: an Opacity keyframe set to a value of 0% at frame 1 and an Opacity keyframe set to a value of 100% at frame 120. The image fades in from 0% to 100% over the 120 frames. The smooth, fade-in transition between the two keyframed values is called interpolation.

All keyframes for a specific parameter (such as Opacity or Rotation) are positioned on a line over time. Different values for the keyframes change the shape of that line and create what is called an animation curve. The type of curve from keyframe to keyframe (interpolation) can be changed to create different animation effects. For example, keyframes set to Bezier create smooth transitions in values. Keyframes set to Linear create straight lines between the keyframes, for sharper changes in value. You can modify keyframes and their animation curves in the Keyframe Editor, located in the Timing pane. For more information, see Keyframes and Curves.

Keyframe Editor Controls

The left side of the Keyframe Editor contains a list of parameters. You can choose which parameters are displayed in the list in the Show menu. You can also create custom sets of parameters. This allows you to focus on certain parameters at a time. For more information on creating and viewing parameter sets, see Custom Parameter Sets.

There are a number of controls above the parameter list:

  • Current Frame Field: The current frame field appears between the Show pop-up menu and the keyframe edit tools.
    Figure. Current frame field in the Keyframe Editor.

    For more information, see Timecode and Current Frame Fields.

  • Keyframe edit tools: There are three different tools available to assist in editing keyframes and curves in the Keyframe Editor. For more information about using these tools, see Modifying Keyframes.
    Figure. Edit, Sketch, and Box tools in the Keyframe Editor.
    • Edit: Select and edit keyframes.
    • Sketch: Draw curves with keyframes. You must have a parameter active (checkbox enabled) and selected in the list to be able to sketch a curve.
    • Box: Drag a selection box to enclose and manipulate keyframes.
  • Keyframe Editor parameters: The Keyframe Editor parameters list is divided into four columns.
    • On (not labeled): This column contains activation checkboxes to turn the display of parameters on and off in the keyframe graph. Activating the checkbox next to the object name turns all of the parameters for that object on or off for display purposes only (the animation of the object is not affected).
    • Name (not labeled): Lists the name of the selected object and its parameters.
    • Value (not labeled): Displays the value for the current playhead position for that parameter. You can drag in the value field to set new keyframe values, or double-click in the field and type a new value. For more information, see Modifying Keyframes.
    • Animation menu (not labeled): The last column contains a pop-up menu to control animation and keyframing attributes for that parameter. The menu contains the following items:
      • Enable/Disable Animation: Remains unavailable until keyframing is applied to the parameter, either by using the Record button or by directly adding a keyframe. Once the parameter is animated, the menu item is automatically renamed to Disable Animation. Activating it at that point hides the keyframes you have set, restoring the parameter to its default value. However, the keyframes are not thrown away. Choosing Enable Animation restores the parameter to its last keyframed state.
      • Reset Parameter: Removes all keyframes and settings for this parameter. The parameter value is restored to its default value.
      • Add Keyframe: Adds a keyframe at the current frame. If your playhead is positioned on a frame where a keyframe has already been added, this menu item is unavailable. To add a keyframe, you can also Option-click the Animation menu. A keyframe is automatically added to the last modified parameter of the object (regardless of the status of the Record button) at the current playhead position.
      • Delete Keyframe: Deletes the current keyframe. The Delete Keyframe command is only available if the playhead is positioned on a frame where a keyframe already exists. You can also Control-click a keyframe and choose Delete from the shortcut menu, or select the keyframe and press Delete.
      • Previous Keyframe: Moves the playhead to the previous keyframe for this parameter. The Previous Keyframe command is only available if a keyframe exists earlier in the project. You can also press Option-K to advance to the next keyframe.
      • Next Keyframe: Moves the playhead to the next keyframe for this parameter. The Next Keyframe command is only available if a keyframe exists later in the project. You can also press Shift-K to advance to the next keyframe.
      • Interpolation: Sets the type of curve for the parameter. See the table in Modifying Curves for examples of the different interpolation methods.
      • Before First Keyframe: Defines the animation before the first keyframe of a parameter. This is called extrapolation. For examples of the different extrapolation methods, see Extrapolation.
      • After Last Keyframe: Defines the animation after the last keyframe of a parameter. This is called extrapolation. For examples of the different extrapolation methods, see Extrapolation.
      • Lock/Unlock Parameter: Locks the parameter to prevent changes. When a parameter is locked, neither keyframes nor curves are adjustable.
      • Reduce Keyframes: Applies a “thinning” algorithm to the keyframes for the selected parameter. This reduces the number of keyframes in a parameter while attempting to maintain a similar curve shape. For more information on keyframe thinning, see Keyframe Thinning.
      • Set to Curve Snapshot: If “Take/Show curve snapshot” is turned on (see Keyframe Editor Control Buttons.), this option reverts any keyframe changes made in the currently selected curve back to the most recent snapshot. For more information, see Curve Snapshots.

Animation Menu States

Depending on the current condition of the parameter for the selected object, the Animation menu displays a different icon. The following table shows the Animation menu icons.

Icon
State
Description
Figure. Animation menu showing No Keyframes state.
No Keyframes
The parameter has no associated keyframes.
Figure. Animation menu showing Keyframing Active state.
Keyframing Active
Keyframing is active on this parameter but the playhead is not currently positioned on a keyframe.
Figure. Animation menu showing Current Keyframe state.
Current Keyframe
The playhead is currently positioned on a keyframe for this parameter.
Figure. Animation menu showing Behavior Applied state.
Behavior Applied
This parameter is being controlled by a behavior, as opposed to a keyframe. When a behavior is applied to a layer or group, the name of the behavior also appears in the Animation menu.

Keyframe Editor Control Buttons

In the lower-left corner of the Keyframe Editor, five buttons provide additional control over the Keyframe Editor window: Snapping, “Show audio waveform,” “Fit curves,” “Clear curve list,” and “Take/Show curve snapshot.”

Figure. Snapping, "Show audio waveform," "Fit curves," "Clear curve list," and "Take/Show curve snapshot" buttons in the Keyrame Editor.
  • Snapping: When snapping is turned on, keyframes snap to other keyframes, markers, grid points, and other snappable items.
  • Show audio waveform: Turns on the display of audio waveforms for the selected object.
    Figure. Keyframe Editor showing audio waveforms displayed under curves.

    When “Show audio waveform” is turned on and the project contains at least one audio file, a pop-up menu at the bottom of the Keyframe Editor allows you to view the waveform of the master audio track or any individual audio track in the project. The waveform of the track selected in this list is displayed in the Keyframe Editor.

    Figure. Available audio track list in the Keyframe Editor.
  • Fit curves: Automatically scales the graph both vertically and horizontally (in time) to include all of the keyframes of your active parameters.
  • Clear curve list: Empties the parameters list. This control is only active for custom curve sets.
  • Take/Show curve snapshot: When this setting is enabled, as you move keyframes in the Keyframe Editor, the original curve—as it appeared when you took the snapshot—appears as a lighter color. As long as you remain in the Keyframe Editor editing the current set of curves, the snapshot curve remains available.

Auto Scaling the Keyframe Graph

As you change keyframe values, they may exceed the currently displayed value range in the Keyframe Editor. You can turn on Auto Scaling to make the graph range expand as keyframe values exceed the current range. At the right side of the Keyframe Editor is the “Auto-scale vertically to fit curves” button.

  • Auto-scale vertically to fit curves: Turn on “Auto-scale vertically to fit curves” to continuously stretch the graph vertically to fit all of the curves in view.
    Figure. "Auto-scale vertically to fit curves" button in the Keyframe Editor.

Keyframe Graph

The remainder of the Keyframe Editor tab contains the keyframe graph. This area displays all of the curves and keyframes for the selected parameters. Parameters are represented by different colors. Keyframes appear as diamonds and curves appear as solid lines. Areas before the first keyframe and after the last keyframe are represented by dotted lines. Selected parameters and keyframes appear white.

Figure. Keyframe Editor showing keyframe graph.

You can manipulate keyframes directly by dragging them in the graph. Moving keyframes left and right changes their position in time, while dragging them up and down changes their values. You can also double-click a keyframe, type a number into the pop-up value field, and then press Return to change its value.

Control-click a keyframe to access shortcut menu options as well as an Interpolation submenu, which allows you to change curve types. For more information on manipulating keyframes and curves in the graph, see Modifying Keyframes and Modifying Curves.

Ruler

At the top of the keyframe graph is a ruler that provides a visual gauge for the positions and durations of the keyframes and curves. The ruler is identical to the Timeline ruler. For more information on working with the ruler, see Timeline Ruler.

Zooming in the Keyframe Editor

As you become familiar with the Keyframe Editor, you may want to switch between focusing on an individual keyframe or curve and seeing an overview of your whole project. Fortunately, you can quickly zoom in and out on the Keyframe Editor using a variety of different tools.

The bottom of the Keyframe Editor contains a zoom slider and a scroller.

Figure. Zoom slider and scroller in the Keyframe Editor.
To zoom the Keyframe Editor using the zoom slider
  • Drag the zoom slider left to zoom in or right to zoom out.

    The Keyframe Editor updates as you drag.

To zoom the Keyframe Editor using the scroller
  • Drag the handle of the scroller away from the center to zoom out and toward the center to zoom in.

    The Keyframe Editor updates as you drag.

To zoom the Keyframe Editor using a Multi-Touch trackpad
  • Pinch open to zoom in and pinch closed to zoom out.

    Once zoomed in, you can use two-finger swipes to scroll left or right.

Audio Editor

The Audio Editor provides a view of your audio elements over time. You can view and modify the level and pan information for the audio files in your project. You can also view the audio waveforms of your layers. In many ways, the Audio Editor is simply a specialized Keyframe Editor just for audio. For more on using the Audio Editor, see Working with Audio.

Figure. Timing pane showing Audio Editor.
To display the Audio Editor
Do one of the following:
  • Choose Window > Audio Editor (or press Command-9).

  • Drag the divider on the bottom edge of the Canvas, then click the Audio Editor tab at the top of the pane.

  • If the Timing pane is already visible, click the Audio Editor tab at the top of the pane.

  • Click the Timing icon in the upper-right corner of the Canvas, then click the Audio Editor tab at the top of the pane.

  • Press F6, then click the Audio Editor tab at the top of the pane.

    Choose Window > Layouts > Cinema (or press Option-Control-U), then click the Audio Editor tab at the top of the pane.

Audio Editor Controls

The left side of the Audio Editor contains four rows of controls for the audio track currently in view. The top row controls playback; the second row controls the In and Out points of the audio track; the third row controls the selected track’s level; and the fourth row controls the selected track’s pan settings.

Figure. Audio Editor showing track control area including playback controls, play range controls, level controls, and pan controls.
Audio Playback Controls

The playback controls in the Audio Editor do not control playback in the Canvas. Rather, they allow you to listen to the audio component of your project without being distracted by (or slowed down by) the visual component.

There are four playback controls:

Figure. "Jump to start," Play/Pause, and "Use marked region" buttons, and "Current frame" indicator in the Audio Editor.
  • Jump to start: Moves the playhead to the beginning of the audio clip or to the beginning of the marked region (if the “Use marked region” button is turned on).
  • Play/Pause: Starts and stops playback in the Audio Editor.
  • Use marked region: Restricts playback to the play range (the In and Out points) for the selected audio track. For more information, see Audio Play Range Controls.
  • Current frame: Indicates the current playhead position in the Audio Editor. You can also use this field to change the current frame.
Audio Play Range Controls

The second row provides two controls to set the In and Out points for the audio file. Changing a file’s In or Out point in the Audio Editor is reflected in the Timeline as well. The area of the track between the In and Out points is the region used when “Use marked region” is turned on in the playback controls.

Note: The In and Out points of the master track cannot be modified.

Level Controls

The third row contains controls to adjust and keyframe the level of the selected audio track.

  • Activation checkbox: This checkbox at the left of the row turns the display of the level animation curve on and off. It does not disable existing level settings or prevent you from making new settings.
  • Level: A slider and value slider that control the level (volume) of the track. If the playhead is currently positioned on a keyframe, the slider controls the level of that keyframe. If the playhead is not on a keyframe, the slider adjusts the entire curve.
Pan Controls

The fourth row contains controls to adjust and keyframe the pan (left-right balance) of the selected audio track.

  • Activation checkbox: This checkbox at the left of the row turns the display of the pan animation curve on and off. It does not disable existing pan settings or prevent you from making new settings.
  • Pan: A slider and value slider that control the left-right balance of the track. If the playhead is currently positioned on a keyframe, the slider controls the pan setting of that keyframe. If the playhead is not on a keyframe, the slider adjusts the entire pan curve. Negative numbers move panning to the left, while positive numbers move panning to the right. When the value is zero, the balance is split evenly between left and right. You can use the value slider for more precise control.
Animation Menu

Appears to the right of the Level and Pan value sliders and is similar to the Animation menu found in the Keyframe Editor. The menu is represented by different icons depending on the current state of the parameter. For a table describing the different icons, see Animation Menu States.

Level Meters

Audio level meters appear at the right side of the Audio Editor controls. There are two vertical bars that show the level at the current playhead position. The left bar shows the levels for the left audio channel and the right bar shows the levels for the right audio channel. As you play, the meters change to indicate the changing audio level.

Figure. Audio Editor showing audio levels meters and peak indicators.

Peak indicators appear at the top of the meters. These small lights illuminate red when the volume exceeds acceptable levels (called peaking). They remain red for a short time after the peak occurs.

Audio Editor Keyframe Graph

The remainder of the window contains the keyframe graph. This area contains the curves and keyframes for the level and pan of the selected track. Keyframes appear as diamonds, and curves appear as solid lines. Areas before the first keyframe and after the last keyframe are represented with dotted lines. The waveform of the selected track is displayed behind the curves.

Figure. Audio Editor showing keyframe graph.

At the top of the graph a green bar shows the duration of the audio file. As you change the file’s In and Out points, the bar shrinks or expands to show the new duration.

As in the Keyframe Editor, you can manipulate keyframes here also by dragging them in the graph. Moving a keyframe left or right changes its position in time, while dragging it up or down changes its value. Because audio keyframes work exactly the same as keyframes for other parameters, you can learn more about working with audio keyframes in Modifying Keyframes and Modifying Curves.

Ruler

At the top of the Audio Editor Keyframe graph is a ruler that provides a visual gauge for the positions and durations of the level and pan keyframes and curves. The ruler in the Audio Editor shows different time than the rulers in the Timeline and Keyframe Editor. This ruler shows the time for the selected audio file rather than for the whole project.

The ruler can contain indicators to help mark important frames or sections of the project such as the playhead, play range indicators (also called In and Out points), and markers. The ruler can be viewed in either frames or timecode.

To change the ruler view format
  • Control-click the ruler, then choose Display Frames or Display Timecode from the shortcut menu.

Markers can be added to your project to identify an important frame or range of frames. For more information on creating and using markers, see Adding Markers.

Note: The playhead in the Audio Editor is not the same as the playhead in the Timeline and the Canvas. The Audio Editor playhead shows the current time within the selected audio track rather than the current time within the entire project.

Audio Scrubbing

You can choose whether or not you want to hear the audio play when you drag the playhead through the ruler in the Audio Editor. This is called audio scrubbing. To turn audio scrubbing on or off, click the button in the lower-left corner of the Audio Editor.

Figure. Audio scrubbing button in the Audio Editor.

Working in the Audio Editor

You can modify a number audio settings and view options using the controls in the Audio Editor.

Modifying the Audio Play Range

There are three ways to change the audio track start and end times.

To change the audio track’s start time
Do one of the following:
  • Drag the center of the In value slider. Dragging to the right advances the audio, and dragging to the left rewinds.

  • Click the right or left arrows at the sides of the In value slider to move forward or backward by one frame.

  • Click in the field and type a new number.

To change the audio track’s end time
Do one of the following:
  • Drag the center of the Out value slider. Dragging to the right advances the audio, and dragging to the left rewinds.

  • Click the right or left arrow at the side of the Out value slider to move forward or backward by one frame.

  • Click the current frame field, then type a new number.

Alternatively, you can change the start and end time using the audio track bar to set new start and end times.

To change the start and end time using the audio track bar
  • Select the track in the Audio tab, then drag either end of the audio track green bar (located above the waveform in the Audio Editor).

    Figure. Audio tab showing audio track green bar.

    Note: You cannot create marked regions for the master audio track.

Changing the Playhead Position in the Audio Editor

There are three ways to move the playhead within the Audio Editor.

To change the playhead position
Do one of the following:
  • Drag in the center of the current frame field. Dragging to the right advances and dragging to the left rewinds.

  • Click the arrows on either side of the current frame field to move forward or backward by one frame.

  • Click the current frame field, then type a new number.

Zooming in the Audio Editor

You can zoom in or out in the Audio Editor just as you can in the Timeline or Keyframe Editor.

The bottom of the Audio Editor contains a zoom slider and a scroller.

To zoom the Audio Editor using the zoom slider
  • Drag the zoom slider left to zoom in and right to zoom out.

    The Audio Editor updates as you drag.

To zoom the Audio Editor using the scroller
  • Click the handle of the scroller and drag it away from the center to zoom out and toward the center to zoom in.

    The Audio Editor updates as you drag.

To zoom the Audio Editor using a Multi-Touch trackpad
  • Pinch open to zoom in, and pinch closed to zoom out.

    Once zoomed in, you can use two-finger swipes to scroll left or right.