Dopesheet view

The Dopesheet view displays and edits the timing of an animation's key frames. Animation is an iterative process and the dopesheet provides powerful tools to refine your animations.

Transport controls

From left to right:

  1. Jump to the animation start.
  2. Jump to the previous key.
  3. Play backward (or stop if already playing).
  4. Play forward (or stop if already playing).
  5. Jump to the next key.
  6. Jump to the animation end.
  7. Repeat When enabled, the position will jump to the first frame when playback reaches the last frame.

Timeline

The timeline shows time divided into 30 frames per second by default, though the FPS can be changed on the Playback view. The frames are for convenience, to make it easier to choose discrete timeline positions. Animations can be played at a higher or lower frame rate than the timeline displays and keys can be set between timeline frames.

The orange diamonds indicate which frames have at least one key. The orange vertical line marks the last key in the animation, which determines the animation's duration.

Scrolling the mouse wheel over the timeline zooms the timeline in or out. The zoom slider at the bottom left of the dopesheet indicates the current zoom level and can be dragged. To the right of the zoom slider is the Zoom Keys button that zooms the timeline so all keys are visible.

Similar to panning in the editor area, dragging with the right mouse button pans the timeline left or right.

Timeline position

The current timeline position is indicated by the cyan vertical line and downward facing triangle. A new timeline position may be set by left clicking or dragging. Dragging in the timeline is called "scrubbing" and is a quick way to see how the skeleton pose changes over time.

Hold shift while clicking or dragging to set the timeline position between frames. This is especially useful while scrubbing to see the animation interpolate smoothly.

When repeat is enabled and the timeline is scrubbed past the last frame then the position will loop back to the first frame, but only if the scrubbing started before the last frame. This allows scrubbing to be used on a looping animation. If this behavior is not desired then either begin scrubbing after the last frame or disable repeat.

The current timeline position is also shown next to the Current button. A frame can number ban be typed and followed by the enter key to set the current timeline position. A decimal point may be typed to set the position between frames. If the Current button is active, the dopesheet will automatically scroll horizontally during playback.

Keys

The animation's keys are shown in rows below the timeline as small, colored rectangles. A unique color is used for each type of key. White keys indicate multiple types of keys at that position.

Similar to the timeline, left clicking in the key area sets the timeline position and dragging with the right mouse button pans the timeline left or right. Scrolling the mouse wheel over the key area scrolls it up or down.

The first row is the animation overview row which displays all keys from the rows below it. It also displays the animation's name which can be clicked as a shortcut to select the animation in the tree.

The second row is a bone overview row which groups the rows for a bone. It can be collapsed or expanded by clicking the minus (-), plus (+), Collapse or Expand buttons. When collapsed, the row shows all the keys for the bone. The name of the bone can be clicked as a shortcut to select the bone in the editor area. Hold ctrl (cmd on Mac) to toggle the selection.

The third row displays the keys for a single aspect of the skeleton. The name of the row can be clicked. For a transform row, this is a shortcut to select both the bone and the transform tool. For other types of rows, the appropriate item is selected in the editor area or tree. Hold ctrl (cmd on Mac) to toggle the selection.

Straight lines between keys indicate a linear transition. Slightly curved lines between keys indicate a Bézier curve transition (see the Graph view for more information). No lines between keys indicates either a stepped transition, that both keys have the same value, or that the type of key does not have a transition. Note that overview rows never display lines between keys.

Contents

When the editor area selection is empty or when the selected items do not have any keys, then the dopesheet will show all rows. When items are selected that have keys, only the rows for those items are shown. This can be used to reduce clutter in the dopesheet for a complex animation. Once the dopesheet contains the desired rows, the Lock button can be used to prevent the dopesheet rows from changing.

The Refresh button updates the dopesheet rows for the current editor area selection. The Select Bones button selects the bones for the current dopesheet rows.

When a project has multiple skeletons, the dopesheet contents behaves slightly differently. Instead of showing all rows when nothing is selected, it shows all rows of the last selected skeleton(s).

Order

The order the bones appear in the dopesheet is the order the bones were selected.

Other rows

Some dopesheet rows are not associated with a bone, such as rows for events or draw order. These rows are always shown at the bottom of the dopesheet, unless they are hidden by clicking the visibility dot in the tree for the Events or Draw Order nodes.

Selection

A single key is selected using left click, which also sets the timeline position to the position of the key. Hold ctrl when clicking to select a key without changing the timeline position. Holding ctrl when clicking is also used to select multiple keys or deselect a selected key. Selecting a key in an overview row selects the keys under it.

If the dopesheet is locked when a key is clicked, the appropriate item for that key will be selected in the editor area. This makes it easy to jump to a timeline position and modify a key.

Box select is done by pressing the left mouse button in empty space and dragging. To make a box selection that starts on top of a key, hold ctrl (cmd on Mac) before pressing the left mouse button. Also, multiple box selections can be made when holding ctrl (cmd on Mac).

Manipulating keys

Selected keys can be dragged left or right to change the frame where the key takes effect. If shift is held while dragging, the keys can be placed between frames.

Copy, cut, delete, paste

From left to right:

  1. Copy Copies the selected keys to the clipboard. Copy can also be performed by pressing ctrl+C (cmd+C on Mac).
  2. Cut Copies the selected keys to the clipboard and deletes them. Cut can also be performed by pressing ctrl+X (cmd+X on Mac).
  3. Delete Deletes the selected keys. Delete can also be performed by pressing Delete on the keyboard or by double clicking a key.
  4. Paste Pastes the last copied keys at the current timeline position. Paste can also be performed by pressing ctrl+V (cmd+V on Mac).

Transform, color, attachment, and flip keys can be pasted to a different bone by selecting a different bone before pasting.

Scaling

The left or right edge of a box selection can be dragged to scale the selected keys. Hold shift while dragging to place keys between frames. Scaling keys increases or decreases the timing between the selected keys. When used on the animation overview row, scaling can increase or decrease the duration of the entire animation.

Scaling can also be used to reverse the order of the keys by moving the left edge past the right, or the right edge past the left.

Key Shift

When Key Shift is enabled and a key is moved, all keys after the moved key are also moved. Key Shift can also be used by holding alt (option on Mac) while dragging a key. This can be useful when adjusting the timing between keys without affecting the timing of keys after the key that is moved.

Key Adjust

Key Adjust allows multiple keys to be edited at once. When Key Adjust is enabled and the Rotate, Translate, Scale, or Pose tools are used to manipulate bones in the editor area, all keys that are selected in the selected are adjusted relatively by the same amount.

For example, a bone has three rotate keys: 0, 50, and 85 degrees. These keys are selected in the dopesheet and Key Adjust is enabled, then the Rotate tool is used to rotate the bone 15 degrees. Key Adjust also modifies the selected keys, adding 15 degrees so they become: 15, 65, and 100 degrees.

When an animation has movement that is defined by multiple keys, Key Adjust can made it easier to adjust the entire movement without needing to edit each key.

Key Offset

Overlapping action is an important animation principle that makes animations look natural. For example, if the arms and legs are always keyed on the same frame, the movement will likely appear robotic. To fix this, the arm keys can be offset (moved) to be slightly ahead or behind the leg keys.

When offsetting keys in a looping animation, extra keys need to be set at the beginning and end of the animation and keys offset outside the animation need to be cut and pasted. Key Offset makes the process of offsetting an animation that loops much easier.

When Key Offset is enabled and keys at different timeline positions are moved past the end or beginning of the animation, the keys will wrap to stay inside the animation. Also, keys are set at the beginning and end of the animation to keep the looped movement.

Key Offset requires the first and last keys to be the same and only works on rotate, translate, scale, shear, and slot color keys. If the first and last keys differ or any other type of key is included in the selection, Key Offset will not be applied.

Moving a selection with Key Offset causes a new key to be created where the animation loops. If the same selection is moved again, the original keys are remembered and the offsetting is done without creating a second new key. However, if the keys are deselected and then selected again, moving them with Key Offset will cause a second new key to be created.

Loop Start and Loop End can be used to control the start and end frames used for Key Offset, otherwise frame 0 and the highest frame for the animation are used.

Looping

When Repeat is enabled, playback repeats from frame 0 to the highest frame that has a key (out of all skeletons that have a visible animation). The last frame is indicated by an orange line in the dopesheet. Looping allows a start and end frame to be set so only the chosen section of the animation repeats when Repeat is enabled. This setting only controls how playback repeats, it is not stored per animation.

To set the start frame, set the timeline position and click Loop Start. To set the end frame, set the timeline position and click Loop End. The timeline shows the looped section using green marks and frame numbers. To clear the looped section, click Loop Start or Loop End twice.

Auto Key

When Auto Key is enabled, a key will be set automatically any time a change is made. This can be convenient, but care must be taken to not accidentally create unwanted keys.

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