Editing Keys in the Timeline

You can view and edit keys in the timeline similar to how you do in the dopesheet. The advantage of doing this in the timeline, of course, is that you don’t need to open up a separate editor: the keys are right there. This lets you keep the object that you’re animating in full view at all times.

Once you have selected an animated object, you can easily move its keys, cut or copy and paste its keys, and scale a region of frames with keys, all within the timeline. This is especially useful for blocking out rough animations before you do more detailed editing.


You can also display and edit keys on function curves in the animation editor (see Editing Function Curves) and display and edit keys in the dopesheet (see Editing Animation in the Dopesheet).

Viewing Keys in the Timeline

To view keys in the timeline

• Select an object with keyframes set on any of its parameters.

The keys appear as red lines in the timeline, with keyframes being drawn at their exact position in time.

The thickness of the lines depends on the length of the time range or how much you’re zoomed in to the timeline: the smaller the time ranged displayed, the thicker the lines appear.


• When you set keys in an animation layer, the keys appear as blue bars in the timeline. The keys are blue to remind you that you’re animating in a layer, and not the base layer where the keys are red. You can, however, edit the layer keys in the timeline in the same way as you can for the base layer.

For more information, see Animation Layers.


To choose which type of keys are displayed in the timeline

• Right-click in the timeline and choose an option from the Show Keys menu.

For a description of each option, see Timeline Dopesheet [Preference Reference]. You can also set the default type of keys that are displayed by setting it in the preferences.

Selecting Keys in the Timeline

To draw a region

• Press Shift and drag in the timeline in either direction over the frames you want to edit.

The region is displayed as a light gray rectangle on the track with the start and end frame numbers displayed in white.


To deselect the region

• Draw another region or click anywhere else in the Softimage interface.

To select a single key

• Press Shift and click on the keyframe.


You can use the Ripple command to control whether keys are pushed along the timeline or not when you move, scale, or cut, copy, and paste regions.

When Ripple is on and you perform any of these operations, the keys are pushed to the right (forward in time) or left (backward in time) in the timeline. Any offset between the region and the other keys is preserved. For example, if a region of 10 frames is scaled to 15 frames to the right, the keys on the right are pushed in that direction by 5 frames.

As well, keys automatically snap to frame boundaries: you cannot have a key between frames.


When you ripple keys, you may push them out of the timeline’s range. To help you see all frames available in the scene, display the time range below the timeline by choosing View > Optional Panels > Time Range Slider from the main menu.

To activate Ripple

• Right-click in the timeline and choose Ripple from the menu so that a check mark appears beside it.



You can set the default state for the Ripple command in the timeline dopesheet preferences (see Timeline Dopesheet [Preference Reference]).

Viewing Audio Waveforms in the Timeline

If the selected object has one or more audio clips loaded in its animation mixer (see Audio and Animation [Nonlinear Animation]), you can display waveforms for them in the timeline. This helps you synchronize the animation with the sound because you can easily see where each audio clip occurs in time.

To view an audio waveform in the timeline

1. Make sure that there is an audio clip on a track in the model’s animation mixer.

2. Right-click in the timeline and select an audio file from the Audio Clip menu. The available audio clips are listed in alphabetical order.

The audio waveform is displayed in light gray behind the frames and keys.


Autodesk Softimage 2011 Subscription Advantage Pack