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Time param Overview

In order to define a time reference, Autograph provides Time type parameters. This allows you to perform operations such as setting a time offset or specifying an image in a composition or footage.

Time is defined in three different ways:

  • Timecode
  • Frame number
  • Seconds


Timecodes (TC) have been used for decades as a time reference when synchronizing images and sound. A timecode is expressed in hours, minutes, seconds, and images, separated by colons.

The TC is visible on the left part of a Time parameter:


Each of these elements starts with the value 0. So, the first image in a composition will have the TC 00:00:00:00.

Since the last element represents images, its maximum value depends on the framerate. In a 30 FPS composition, this value will go from 0 to 29 in the time of one second, before going back to 0.

Frame number

The second part of a time param describes a number of images. This one is not related to any framerate.

Keep in mind that this numbering starts at 0, which is the number of the first frame. So, the second image in a composition won't be numbered 2, but 1. If you go to the frame numbered 21, this value represents how many images are left behind the current frame, which is the 22nd.

Working with seconds

The internal time base of any Autograph project is the second. This allows you to create a project in 25 FPS for example, and then switch it to 60 FPS last minute. A keyframe indicating a value at 2.75 seconds won't be time-shifted when changing FPS. A second will always time a second, no matter how many frames exist in that interval.

When you define a time, either by using a timecode or frame numbers, internally it corresponds to a decimal number defining seconds. If you connect or share a value between parameters, it is this Float type value that will be transferred.

This allows you to maintain maximum precision, but also to connect a Time to any 1D parameter, like a rotation for example.

The timecode and frame number prevents defining a time between two images, which can be useful when creating procedural animations; but, you can use the Seconds mode, for more precision. It’s possible to enter a timing in seconds, with as many digits after the decimal point as the precision level requires.