Unity's Timeline is a powerful system to create real time cinematics. However, the uses of the Timeline goes much beyond that. Timeline links a scene element to an asset through a Playable Director.
You can handle anything that deals with time by implementing as a Playable. You can even mix Playables in a customized way.
- An Animator is required in order to use a Timeline. (Unity ask to add an animator if the object don't have one)
- You can create Track Groups to maintain your tracks organized.
- You can use the timeline record system to animate almost any parameter on both: Built-In Components and your own components, without any code.
- You can convert you timeline animations to animation clips.
- There`s already some built-in playable tracks (Timeline behaviours). There's also a pack at Asset Store with some additional Playables and with a Wizard to create your own. New systems as Cinemachine already implements a Playable.
You can see how to use the most basic Timeline functionalities on the video below. First I did a very simple animation using Built-in Playables, then, I used some additional Playables from Asset Store and the Cinemachine Playable to create an "improved" version.