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Playing with time

Today we are going to see how to use the Time node in order to have an animated artwork.

This is how we will progress:

  • Starting from an artwork
  • How to use the Time node
  • Export the artwork as a video

Let’s get started!

Starting from an artwork

We will use the artwork from the previous tutorial.

You probably noticed that when you change a parameter it has a direct impact on the image in the view panel. With a slider for example, we can see the image changing as we drag the value.

Changing Parameter

So why not create an animation for this parameter?
This is where the Time node comes into play!

How to use the Time node

You can use it to animate a property of a node.

Time Node

In our case we will play with the Mirror Repeat in Circle node that we added.
Let’s link a Time node to its Period parameter.

Linked Time Node

In the timeline, you can press play to start the animation. The value of the parameter linked to the Time node will increase over time.


Within the time node, you have two parameters.

Time Node Parameters

Speed: You can control the speed of the animation.
Offset: You can select an offset, to make sure a time of 0 corresponds to the moment you want in the animation.

We will set both the Speed and the Offset to 1. We use an Offset of 1 because we want our smallest period to be 1, not 0. Let’s see what this does if we press Play now.

Period Increasing Over Time

If you want a back and forth movement, you can apply the Sine Wave node to the Time for example.

Sine Wave Node Sine Wave Parameters

This node has three parameters:
Min and Max control how small and big the value will get.
Period is the time it takes to complete a full cycle (in seconds).
A cycle starts at the Min value, goes all the way up to the Max value, and then back to the Min value.

Put this node between the Time and Mirror Repeat in Circle nodes. We can set the Min to 1, the Max to 4 and the Period to 5.

Sine Wave Graph

We have this amazing result!

Flower Animated


You can input your own expression for a function using the Math Expression node.


You can also use Greyscale nodes as masks to change a property over space instead of time.

Export the artwork as a video

When you are happy with the animation, you can go over to the Export section. In the dropdown menu, click on the Video option.

Export Video Options

As for the image in the previous tutorial you can choose the resolution and the aspect ratio as well as the path where you want to save your frames. You can change the framerate and the length of the animation, either in seconds or in frames.

Ongoing Export

Now that you have all the frames, you can create your own sequence using the software of your choice (Premiere, After Effect, Shutter Encoder, …) and export it as a video!
We will take the example of Shutter Encoder since it is free and easy to use!
Once you have it downloaded, open it and proceed as follows:

  • Drag and drop all your images in the appropriated area

Drag & Drop

  • Under the Choose function menu, choose an Output codec (H.264 in our example)


  • Ensure that the image sequence is set at the correct framerate under the Image sequence section. In our case we selected 30 fps because this is what we used when exporting in Coollab.

Output Parameters

You can change the destination at your convenience, we will stick with the destination from the sources files.

  • Now click on Start function, wait for the export to finish and you will obtain the video!

Final Artwork Animated

End of the tutorial

Here are some others animated examples!

Laser Loading Beating Compressor

This the end of this tutorial. It is now your turn to experiment with the Time node to animate your artworks.

Feel free to modify the example we have done together, play with different parameters, add multiple Time nodes, and admire the result! 😃

See you in another tutorial of the Coollab discovery series! 👋