Guides & Tutorials

Flow Editor Quick Overview & Timeline


I'm going to do a quick overview of how to use the timeline area.

And the way to do that is I'm going to want to go ahead and build a flow first, just so that we've got some content to play with.

  1. I'm going to add the global life expectancy data, and immediately, we get a set of dots in space.
  2. Set the camera, and let's go ahead and add another Step.
  3. And now we're on step two, I'm going to turn this into a scatterplot.
  4. Let's go ahead and put the year on the width axis and format it as a year.
  5. We'll put the life expectancy on the depth axis.
  6. Let's go ahead and add another Step. (I know I'm going quick here, I'm just trying to give you a sense of how quick it is to build a little bit of content, and then we'll go ahead and talk through some of these interfaces.)
  7. So I added the third dimension on the country line
  8. I set the camera and you can see this structure pretty well.
  9. Let's go ahead and add the connections.
  10. So I've added that, go back to the swarm.
  11. And I'm also going to add some labels.
  12. And let's go ahead and show a label when the label is present.
  13. And let's just show the country and maybe life expectancy.

So now you can see these first few Steps. 


The Timeline

The timeline shows us exactly what's visible when the first Step is just the Swarm. 

The second Step is still only showing the Swarm, but now it's a scatterplot.

And the third Step shows the Swarm plus Connection lines, plus Labels.

Let's go ahead and add a few more objects in here.

So we've got a little bit more to work with just added a new text by hitting the plus text button. And we'll just call this life expectancy. And as I type that in, okay, so now I've got a piece of text, just four sets of argument. Okay, so that's going to be visible only on this step.

If I go back a step, that Text object is still there, actually in space, but it's not visible.


Now that we've created a little bit of a timeline, let's see how the timeline works.

Double-clicking sets the visibility of each object

Each one of these squares tells you whether that particular object is visible or not. Double-clicking actually makes it invisible. It doesn't delete it, it just makes it invisible. Double-clicking again makes it visible. So that's the way you can turn on and off any particular object.

Click on boxes to select objects and navigate to a particular step

On a particular step, you can navigate to different steps using the boxes on the top here, click here, I go to step two, click here, I go to Step one, you can also click directly on a box, and it will take you to that step and select it. So you can see it automatically took me to step two.

Click and drag an object to extend visibility

Another thing you can do is you can actually click and drag from one step to another. So I'm just dragging the connections from step three to step two. And you see that the connections now appear on step two.

So that's the basic structure here of how the timeline works.

Notice that when I click on an object, it appears over on the right-hand tab. All the parameters are available which you can then start to manipulate.

Set the camera position

Go ahead and "Add step", and it's going to duplicate that same step. And the most obvious thing I might do is just scroll out with my mouse wheel and set the camera. And now when I go back and forth between those two steps, the only thing that's changing is the camera position.

Delete or reorder steps on the "Steps Detail" panel

But maybe you want to delete a step or rearrange the step. Those are accessed with the "Steps detail" button.

Click the little move icon and drag it up to rearrange steps.

Delete a step with the "X" icon


Reset Camera

But now, where am I in space? Use the Reset camera button to return to the center of the virtual space, known as the origin. A Swarn is by default a one meter by one meter object. It's hard to tell on a flat screen, but if you were in AR or VR, it actually looks like it's a meter wide.

When you reset the camera, it sets it back to two meters away, looking at the center point of the Swarm in space.

Preview the scene

Preview is a handy button to get a sense of how this looks on a full screen. Different people's monitors are going to have different aspect ratios. Here my monitor is set to 1920x1080, which is the most typical monitor these days. But that's not necessarily how everyone will see it. So you might want to scroll out a little bit to give yourself a little room on the edges for different size monitors


Hopefully that's a good overview. And we'll move on to more sophisticated parts and pieces of the flow editor in additional videos.