Timeline Animations

Timeline animations are a great way to show the passage of time and the order of events. They can be used to show the history of a character, or the development of a product. A well-done timeline animation can add a lot of depth and understanding to a story or presentation.
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Animated Timeline Considerations

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating a timeline animation. First, you’ll need to decide on the timeframe you want to cover. This will determine the length of your animation and the level of detail you can include. Second, you’ll need to gather all of the necessary information and arrange it in a logical order.

Once you have all of your information gathered and organized, you can begin creating your animation. There are a number of software programs that can be used to create timeline animations, such as Adobe After Effects or Apple Motion.

Creating a timeline animation is a great way to add depth and understanding to your story. With a little planning and creativity, you can create an animation that will engage and inform your audience.

Timeline GIF Animation

Timeline Infographics

Quite often, timeline infographics are the precursor to an animated timeline. Why? Because they already have the information gathered and organized in a logical order. Plus, they can be used to test out different design ideas before committing to the animation process.

One of the best, in my opinion, tools for designing a timeline infographic is Adobe Illustrator. Using SVGs, or scalable vector images and shapes can be resized and rearranged as needed. Quite often, shapes with icons and other graphics can be great for representing different events on the timeline.

If you’re not familiar with Adobe Illustrator, or design tools in general, there are a number of templates available online that can be customized to fit your needs. Check out sites like Shutterstock or Envato Elements for some great options.

Animated Timeline Callouts

Incorporating callouts and text into your timeline animation can help to further explain the events taking place. Callouts are a great way to highlight certain details or characters without overwhelming the viewer with information.

When adding callouts to your timeline animation, be sure to keep them short and to the point. You don’t want viewers to get lost in a sea of text; instead, you want the callouts to supplement the action taking place on screen.

There are a number of ways to add callouts to your timeline animation. One option is to create them in a separate software program and then import them into your timeline animation. Another option is to use shapes and text boxes within your timeline animation software to create the callouts directly.

Multimedia Timelines

If you’re creating a pitch or presentation for your timeline of events, sometimes adding in background music or audio can be helpful. This is a great way to set the tone for your story and help engage viewers.

When choosing audio for your timeline animation, be sure to pick music or sound effects that fit the mood of your story. You don’t want jarring or out-of-place audio that will take viewers out of the experience.

Beyond background music, narration can also be used in timeline animations. This is a great way to ensure that all of the important information is conveyed to viewers, without overloading them with visual information.

As with any multimedia element, be sure to test out your audio before finalizing your timeline animation. This will help to ensure that everything sounds great and flows together smoothly. If you are adding in multiple layers of audio, it’s important to make sure that the levels are balanced. The primary focus should be voice over (narration) of the script and the music should be used to supplement the multimedia experience, not overpower it.

Timeline Animation Order

There are a number of different ways that you can format your timeline animation. One option is to have the events take place on screen in chronological order. This is a great way to show the progression of time, or how one event led to another.

Another option is to format your timeline animation as a loop. This means that the animation will start over from the beginning once it reaches the end. This can be a great way to show that a cycle is continuing, or that history is repeating itself. This is where animated icons can come in handy, as they can help to represent the different events taking place.

A third option is to have your timeline animation branching off into multiple timelines. This can be a great way to show different paths, or how different products were developed. This type of animation can be quite complex, but when done well, it can be a very powerful way to tell a story.

No matter which format you choose for your timeline animation, be sure to keep the viewer in mind. You want to make sure that the animation is easy to follow and understand. Too much information, or too complex of an animation, can be confusing and off-putting for viewers.

Exporting Your Timeline Animation

Once you’ve completed your timeline animation, it’s time to export it. This is where you’ll choose the file type and size that you want for your final animation.

There are a number of different file types that you can choose from, but the most common are .mp4 and .gif files. The file type that you choose will depend on where you plan to use your animation.

If you’re posting your timeline animation online, then a .mp4 (HD video file) file is usually the best option. This file type can be easily shared and viewed on most devices. In most cases HD video is my recommendation for the best quality and file size.

On the other hand, if you’re including your timeline animation in a presentation or email, then a .gif file is usually the better option. This file type is much smaller, so it’s less likely to bog down your presentation or email. And, since .gif files are self-contained, they can be easily viewed on most devices.

When choosing a file size, you’ll want to consider the quality of your animation. If you’re planning to use your animation on a large screen, then you’ll want to choose a higher quality option.

More Timeline Infographic Examples

There do not need to be many stages/steps within your flowchart infograph. For example, the loading animation below is considered a type of timeline animation, referring to the correlation between point A (zero percent) and point B (100 percent loaded). 

GIF Loading Bar Animation

Timeline Templates

What makes a good timeline infographic template?

The answer to this question really depends on your needs and preferences. However, there are a few key elements that all good timeline infographic templates should have.

First, the template should be easy to use and understand. This means that it should be well-designed and organized. All of the elements should be clearly laid out, so that you can easily add in your own information.

Second, the template should be flexible. It should be able to accommodate different types of information and data. This way, you can use the same template for different projects, without having to start from scratch each time.

Third, the template should be visually appealing. A good timeline infographic should be eye-catching and visually interesting. This will help to engage viewers and keep their attention focused on the information that you’re trying to communicate.

Finally, a good timeline infographic template should be easy to share. It should be compatible with the most popular social media platforms, so that you can easily share your work with others.

Finding the right timeline infographic template can be a challenge. However, taking the time to find a good template will be well worth it in the end. With a good template, you’ll be able to create stunning timeline infographics that will engage and inform your audience.

Final Considerations

Icons, shapes and colors are three of the main elements to consider when creating your animated timeline. The example at the top of this page consists of four stages and a just a few different colors. There’s no need to go overboard with the complexities of your animations as these are typically embedded within a powerpoint presentation or landing page. 

One thing I would when going about creating a custom timeline GIF is how many stages you’ll need. Unless you’re doing a video infographic animation I would keep the number of timeline events or steps somewhere between 4-6. GIFs have a duration of about 10-15 seconds before they will need to repeat (otherwise the files sizes become too large and embedding them can be limited). 

These types of GIF animations are perfect for presentations where you can set them and have them loop seamlessly. Other factors to consider when creating a timeline GIF are:

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