Timeline Locking

When you take a look at RealFlow's → timeline you can see a lock symbol. Locking the timeline means that RealFlow ignores animated parameters completely.

Mode of Operation

To get an idea of how this feature works, start with a basic setup.

  • Standard – Particles shelf > Circle emitter
  • Daemons shelf > Gravity
  • Objects shelf > Vase
  • Resize the vase with the R key to make it bigger.
  • Move the timeline slider to frame 0
  • Circle01 > Node Params > Circle > Speed > click on the grey circle to set an animation key.
  • Move the timeline slider to frame 50.
  • Circle01 > Node Params > Circle > Speed > 0
  • Circle01 > Node Params > Circle > Speed > click on the red circle to set an animation key.


Animated parameters are displayed in red.


Here we expect that the particle emission will decrease gradually and stop at frame 50. Click on the “Lock” button and simulate:



What you will see now is that the timeline slider remains at frame 0 and the emission does not stop. Now let's check the output:

  • File > Open project folder... > particles
  • The only file you can see is Circle01_00000.bin.


This file is constantly overwritten and always represents the last simulation state. It is possible to create an → initial state from this file:

  • The advantage is that you can simulate, but without creating large amounts of cache files.
  • A typical application is to fill a glass or container (here: “Vase01”) while the timeline is locked.
  • When the glass is filled you create an initial state, unlock the timeline, and simulate again.

Frames Countdown

Although you cannot see any progress on the timeline during a locked simulation, RealFlow counts the simulated frames internally. This gives you the possibility of unlocking the timeline at a given point in time. Let's stay with the example scene:

  • Click on the small triangle next to the lock button (see image above).
  • Choose “Frames Countdown”.
  • Frames Countdown > 25
  • Enable “Use Frames Countdown”
  • Simulate



As in the simulation before, the vase is being filled. After a few moments, the timeline is unlocked and at frame 50 the creation of new particles is stopped. Now take another look at “particles” folder. There you will see the cached files.

With “Frames Countdown” you are able to “jump” on the current simulation at any time without interruptions or initial states.