An Introduction to Timeline And How To Make Cinematics in Unity

When creating a cinematic in Unity, you must utilize two features. Timeline and Cinemachine. If you are interested in learning more about Cinemachine then check out my other article “An Introduction To Cinemachine And Virtual Cameras In Unity”.

Timeline is an Animation Track that contains a sequence of events such as animations, sounds, and camera manipulation. By combining the use of Timeline and Cinemachine you will be able to create dynamic cuts of video and blend them together in an organized flow.

To start using Timeline, you will need to add the Timeline editor window to your project’s layout. This can be done easily by simply selecting “Window>Sequencing>Timeline” from the toolbar.

Next, you will need to create an empty parent object to hold your cutscene. Then, while the new parent object is still selected, select “Create” within the Timeline window. This will create a new Timeline asset into the designated folder, and it will add the “Playable Director” component to the object that you had selected.

If you have “Virtual Cameras” or “Actors” set up for use with this cinematic you will add them as children to the new parent object that you just created.

So now let’s make a cinematic!

Select the “Add/+” button then select Cinemachine.Timeline>CinemachineTrack from the drop-down menu.

Now drag and drop your main camera that contains the “Cinemachine Brain” component into the box within the Cinemachine Track.

Next you will need to right click within Timeline and select “Add Cinemachine Shot”.

If you select the “Cinemachine Shot” from Timeline you will see it brought up in the inspector.

Drag and drop your virtual camera into the “Virtual Camera” slot.

Repeat this process and adjust them accordingly to create the sequence of shots that you are wanting.

You can also blend the transition of your scenes instead of cutting by overlapping your shots in Timeline.

And there you have it. Those are the basics of Timeline and how to use it to make a custom cinematic. Tune in for my next article where I will be explaining “Actors” and how to animate them during your Cutscene!

Hi, my name is Adam Reed and I am a software engineer specializing in Unity and C# development. Feel free to scroll through and check out some of my work!

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