Page status (reviewing guidelines)
Classical hand-drawn animators often made a chart, showing exactly when each drawing, sound and camera move would occur, and for how long. They nicknamed this the 'dopesheet'. While CG foundations dramatically differ from classical hand-drawn animation, Blender's Dopesheet inherits a similar directive. It gives the animator a 'birds-eye-view' of every thing occurring within a scene.
Dope Sheet Modes
There are four basic views for the Dopesheet.These all view different contexts of animation:
- The dopeSheet allow you to edit multiple actions at once.
- Action Editor
- Action Editor is the default, and most useful one. It’s here you can define and control your actions.
- Shape Key Editor
- ShapeKey Editor is dedicated to the Shape Ipo datablocks. It uses/edits the same action datablock as the previous mode. It seems to be an old and useless thing, as the Action Editor mode handles Shape channels very well, and this mode adds nothing…
- Grease Pencil
- Grease Pencil is dedicated to the grease pencil tool’s keyframes – for each grease pencil layer, you have a strip along which you can grab its keys, and hence easily re-time your animated sketches. As it is just another way to see and edit the grease pencil data, this mode uses no datablock (and hence has nothing to do with actions…). Note that you’ll have as much top-level grease pencil channels as you have sketched windows (3D views, UV/Image Editor, etc.)
The Action Editor interface is somewhat similar to the FCurve Editor one, it is divided in three areas:
- The header bar
- Here you find the menus, a first block of controls related to the editor “mode”, a second one concerning the action datablocks, and a few other tools (like the copy/paste buttons, and snapping type).
- The main area
- It contains the keyframes for all visible action channels.
- As with the other “time” windows, the X-axis materializes the time. The Y-axis has no mean in itself, unlike with the FCurve editor, it’s just a sort of “stack” of action channels – each one being shown as an horizontal colored strip (of a darker shade “during” the animated/keyed period).
- On these channel strips lay the keyframes, materialized as light-gray (unselected) or yellow (selected) diamonds.
- One of the key feature of this window is that it allow you to visualize immediately which channel (i.e. Ipo curve) is really affected, and when: when the value of a given channel does not change at all between two neighbor keyframes, a pink (unselected) or yellow (selected) piece of strip is drawn between them.
- The left “list-tree”
- This part shows the action’s channel “headers” and their hierarchy. Basically, there are:
- “Top-level” channels, which represent whole FCurve datablocks (so there’s one for Object one, one for Shape one, etc.). They gather all keyframes defined in their underlying FCurve datablock.
- “Mid-level” channels, which seem currently to have no use (there’s one per top-level channel, they are all named FCurves, and have no option at all…).
- “Low-level” channels, which represent individual FCurve , with their own keyframes (fortunately, only keyed Ipos are shown!).
- Each level can be expended/collapsed by the small arrow to the left of its “parent” channel.
- To the right of the channel’s headers, there are some channel’s setting controls:
- Clicking on the small “eye” will allow you to mute that channel (and all its “children” channels, if any!).
- Clicking on the small “lock” will allow you to prevent this channel and its children to be edited (note that this is also working inside the NLA, but that it doesn’t prevent edition of the underlying FCurve …).
- A channel can be selected (text in white, strip in gray-blue color) or not (text in black, strip in pink-brown color.), use LMB clicks to toggle this state.
- You can access some channel’s properties by clicking CtrlLMB on its header.
- Finally, you can have another column with value-sliders, allowing you to change the value of current keyframes, or to add new ones. These are obviously only available for low-level channels (i.e. individual FCurve ). See below for how to show these sliders.
- Realtime Updates
- When transforming keyframes, changes to the animation data are flushed to other views
- Show Frame Number Indicator
- Show frame number beside the current frame indicator line
- Show Sliders
- A toggle option that shows the value sliders for the channels. See the The Action Editor window, Action Editor mode, with a group and sliders picture above).
- Use Group Colors
- Draw groups and channels with colors matching their corresponding groups.
- AutoMerge Keyframes
- Automatically merge nearby keyframes
- Sync Markers
- Sync Markers with keyframe edits
- Show Seconds
- Whether to show the time in the X-axis as frames or as seconds
- Set Preview RangeP
- Interactively define frame range used for playback. Allow you to define a temporary preview range to use for the AltA realtime playback (this is the same thing as the Pr option of the Timeline window header).
- Clear Preview RangeAltP
- Clears the preview range
- Auto-Set Preview Range
- Automatically sets the preview range to playback the whole action.
See FCurve Editing
See the Markers page.