Timeline Basics

Timeline Basics

Maya 2012 Tutorial


How to Work with the Maya Timeline



The Timeline is helpful in setting keyframes, previewing scene motion and syncing to an audio track. You can navigate the Timeline with the Timeline Controller.


Step One

By default the Timeline appears at the bottom of your workspace. If not, choose Display > UI Elements > Time Slider. The Timeline default setting is 24 fps (frames per second). To change the frame rate, choose Maya > Preferences > Settings Category + Time.

Step Two

To select a specific time, click desired time on the Timeline. You can also set the project start time and end time or playback start and end times using the Timeline input boxes.

Step Three

Clicking and dragging the bar below the Timeline allows you to control the playback times. Click and drag the boxes at the ends of the bar to change the playback start and stop times.

Step Four

The playback controls provide a quick way to move throughout the animation.

Step Five

If keyframes have been set for a selected object, they will show as red lines on the Timeline.

Step Six

To control whether the animation plays at real time or as fast as the processor can deliver the images, choose Maya > Preferences > Time Slider Category + Playback Speed. Set the speed to Real Time.

Timeline Shortcuts

Remember these shortcuts to quickly control the timeline.

Forward One Frame:

Opt + .(period) (PC - Alt + .)


Backwards One Frame:

Opt + ,(comma) (PC - Alt + ,)



Opt/v (PC - Alt/v)


Go to Start of Playback Range:

Opt/Shift/v (PC - Alt/Shift/v)


Animation Preview Playing Too Fast?

If you find that the preview is playing faster than the chosen frame rate, open the Maya Preferences, Time Slider section. Change the Playback Speed to Real Time.

Another solution is to right click the timeline and choose Playback Speed > Real Time.


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