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Editing keyframes in the Dope Sheet


3ds Max 2015 Essential Training

with Aaron F. Ross

Video: Editing keyframes in the Dope Sheet

There's one more essential dialogue box that you need to know about to animate in 3DS Max, or indeed in almost any 3D program. And it's called the dope sheet. This is a term from traditional animation, also known as an exposure sheet. And it's a spreadsheet, it's a grid of data in which every single frame is accounted for. And information about what's happening on that frame is recorded. For example, you know if there's a cut on a certain point in time, or if there's some sort of action like a character lands on the ground in a certain frame, or if you have lip sync.
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  1. 2m 6s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 4s
  2. 14m 44s
    1. Using project folders
      5m 42s
    2. Customize user interface and defaults
      4m 4s
    3. Setting preferences
      4m 58s
  3. 49m 17s
    1. Getting familiar with the interface
      3m 39s
    2. Using the Create and Modify panels
      3m 36s
    3. Choosing units of measurement
      4m 12s
    4. Controlling the grid display
      5m 16s
    5. Navigating in viewports
      6m 2s
    6. Using hotkeys
      5m 55s
    7. Transforming objects
      7m 26s
    8. Choosing shading modes
      6m 30s
    9. Configuring viewports
      6m 41s
  4. 37m 49s
    1. Creating an image plane
      6m 1s
    2. Controlling Display properties
      2m 28s
    3. Creating primitives
      7m 4s
    4. Working with Scene Explorer
      3m 39s
    5. Understanding level of detail
      2m 46s
    6. Working with the modifier stack
      3m 38s
    7. Understanding dependencies
      5m 23s
    8. Collapsing the modifier stack
      6m 50s
  5. 1h 5m
    1. Using the Graphite ribbon with Editable Poly
      4m 47s
    2. Working with subobjects
      6m 0s
    3. Welding vertices
      6m 47s
    4. Choosing a transform center
      4m 22s
    5. Detailing with Cut and Remove
      4m 30s
    6. Detailing with QuickSlice
      4m 56s
    7. Using soft selection
      4m 9s
    8. Faceting corners with Chamfer
      3m 2s
    9. Using Window/Crossing Selection
      2m 50s
    10. Using Paint Selection
      5m 21s
    11. Combining objects with Attach
      1m 44s
    12. Joining elements with Bridge
      4m 39s
    13. Branching polygons with Extrude
      3m 44s
    14. Smoothing and hardening edges
      8m 46s
  6. 43m 50s
    1. Understanding subdivision surfaces
      7m 35s
    2. Creating an editable poly object
      4m 29s
    3. Adding the Symmetry modifier
      3m 30s
    4. Choosing NURMS or TurboSmooth
      7m 16s
    5. Roughing out the shape
      8m 9s
    6. Inserting edge loops with SwiftLoop
      3m 8s
    7. Constraining subobject transforms
      1m 37s
    8. Welding the seam
      1m 59s
    9. Adding asymmetry
      2m 14s
    10. Baking subdivisions
      3m 53s
  7. 35m 52s
    1. Sculpting with Paint Deform
      6m 33s
    2. Using Noise and Relax Brushes
      4m 30s
    3. Setting Paint options
      3m 46s
    4. Controlling Brush options
      5m 11s
    5. Conforming one object to another
      3m 53s
    6. Sculpting with Conform Transform brushes
      5m 52s
    7. Duplication with Object Paint
      4m 20s
    8. Positioning objects with Select and Place
      1m 47s
  8. 33m 32s
    1. Creating a line
      2m 21s
    2. Moving a pivot point
      1m 37s
    3. Revolving a surface with a Lathe modifier
      2m 27s
    4. Using different vertex types
      3m 4s
    5. Using axis constraints
      6m 14s
    6. Extending a spline
      4m 8s
    7. Snapping an Arc primitive
      2m 23s
    8. Combining splines with Attach and Merge
      1m 31s
    9. Rounding corners with Fillet
      1m 28s
    10. Offsetting a spline with Outline
      4m 13s
    11. Adjusting level of detail with Interpolation
      4m 6s
  9. 31m 34s
    1. Understanding NURBS
      2m 48s
    2. Creating NURBS curves
      4m 24s
    3. Converting objects to NURBS
      3m 32s
    4. Cloning subobjects
      3m 13s
    5. Creating a U loft surface
      3m 29s
    6. Rebuilding curves
      3m 18s
    7. Setting Surface Approximation
      6m 36s
    8. Grouping objects
      4m 14s
  10. 41m 25s
    1. Understanding hierarchies
      3m 1s
    2. Moving and rotating pivot points
      7m 50s
    3. Understanding coordinate systems
      6m 53s
    4. Setting Axis Order for rotation
      6m 0s
    5. Linking objects
      3m 41s
    6. Using the Schematic view
      3m 8s
    7. Locking transforms
      2m 57s
    8. Avoiding problems with scale
      7m 55s
  11. 32m 35s
    1. Exporting paths from Adobe Illustrator
      2m 40s
    2. Importing Illustrator paths to 3ds Max
      1m 20s
    3. Creating a Text primitive
      4m 25s
    4. Applying a Bevel modifier
      3m 48s
    5. Instancing a modifier
      2m 13s
    6. Editing text splines
      6m 12s
    7. Viewport clipping
      1m 16s
    8. Controlling level of detail
      3m 44s
    9. Editing polygons
      6m 57s
  12. 29m 7s
    1. Merging scenes
      1m 43s
    2. Managing Display layers
      5m 0s
    3. Creating a target camera
      5m 51s
    4. Enabling Safe Frames
      3m 23s
    5. Choosing an aspect ratio in Render Setup
      2m 34s
    6. Adjusting Field of View
      3m 48s
    7. Using a free camera
      6m 48s
  13. 40m 17s
    1. Setting up Time Configuration
      2m 5s
    2. Choosing Set Key Filters
      2m 11s
    3. Creating keyframes in Set Key mode
      3m 37s
    4. Editing keyframes in the timeline
      1m 24s
    5. Editing position keys with trajectories
      3m 5s
    6. Editing function curves in the Curve Editor
      8m 33s
    7. Creating keyframes in Auto Key mode
      5m 55s
    8. Building up animation in passes
      5m 34s
    9. Editing keyframes in the Dope Sheet
      7m 53s
  14. 21m 23s
    1. Understanding controllers
      2m 53s
    2. Assigning a Link constraint
      2m 27s
    3. Adding link targets in the Motion panel
      1m 56s
    4. Animating constrained objects
      4m 47s
    5. Constraining animation to a path
      9m 20s
  15. 54m 32s
    1. Understanding CG lighting
      5m 56s
    2. Creating a target spotlight
      2m 6s
    3. Adjusting intensity and color
      2m 33s
    4. Setting spotlight Hotspot and Falloff
      3m 0s
    5. Correcting gamma
      5m 31s
    6. Previewing renders with ActiveShade
      3m 13s
    7. Controlling contrast and highlights
      2m 59s
    8. Choosing a shadow type
      2m 56s
    9. Optimizing shadow maps
      7m 4s
    10. Optimizing area shadows
      6m 9s
    11. Creating Omni fill lights
      6m 16s
    12. Using the Light Lister
      2m 49s
    13. Excluding objects from lights
      4m 0s
  16. 27m 21s
    1. Using the Slate Material Editor
      3m 28s
    2. Choosing material and shading types
      4m 0s
    3. Working with scene materials
      4m 49s
    4. Adjusting specular parameters
      5m 53s
    5. Assigning Multi/Sub-Object materials
      9m 11s
  17. 46m 48s
    1. Applying 3D procedural maps
      8m 34s
    2. Working with bitmap image files
      4m 32s
    3. Tracking scene assets
      7m 32s
    4. Projecting UVW mapping
      3m 3s
    5. Using Real-World Map Size
      3m 50s
    6. Mapping a bump channel
      2m 25s
    7. Adding reflections with a Raytrace map
      6m 47s
    8. Painting objects with Viewport Canvas
      10m 5s
  18. 19m 27s
    1. Choosing a renderer
      6m 7s
    2. Choosing Quicksilver options
      2m 33s
    3. Enabling motion blur in the software renderer
      3m 38s
    4. Rendering image sequences
      3m 58s
    5. Playing image sequences in the RAM Player
      3m 11s
  19. 15m 37s
    1. Controlling mental ray sample quality
      4m 28s
    2. Tuning Final Gather
      5m 15s
    3. Enabling motion blur in mental ray
      3m 18s
    4. Distance blurring with depth of field
      2m 36s
  20. 24s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course 3ds Max 2015 Essential Training
10h 43m Beginner May 13, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Aaron F. Ross covers all the features you'll need to start creating advanced 3D models and animation with 3ds Max 2015. Learn the most suitable techniques for modeling different types of objects, from splines and NURBS to polygonal and subdivision surface modeling. Then learn how to design 3D motion graphics, set up cameras, animate with keyframes, and assign constraints. Aaron also provides an overview of lighting scenes within a simple studio setup, and construction of materials with the Slate Material Editor. Finally, learn about your hardware and software rendering options, and make your projects more realistic with motion blur, indirect illumination, and depth of field.

Topics include:
  • Navigating the interface and viewports
  • Understanding the Modifier Stack
  • Modeling with polygons and subdivision surfaces
  • Freeform sculpting
  • Modeling with splines and NURBS
  • Linking objects in hierarchies
  • Modeling for motion graphics
  • Framing shots with cameras
  • Creating and editing keyframes
  • Controlling lights and shadows
  • Building materials
  • Texturing with bitmaps and procedurals
  • Painting objects with Viewport Canvas
  • Rendering a sequence
  • Adding special effects with mental ray
3D + Animation
3ds Max
Aaron F. Ross

Editing keyframes in the Dope Sheet

There's one more essential dialogue box that you need to know about to animate in 3DS Max, or indeed in almost any 3D program. And it's called the dope sheet. This is a term from traditional animation, also known as an exposure sheet. And it's a spreadsheet, it's a grid of data in which every single frame is accounted for. And information about what's happening on that frame is recorded. For example, you know if there's a cut on a certain point in time, or if there's some sort of action like a character lands on the ground in a certain frame, or if you have lip sync.

If you're synchronizing to dialog, then all the words and letters are going to be written out frame by frame on the Dope Sheet or Exposure Sheet. In a 3D program, the Dope Sheet is simply just a spreadsheet of all of the animated tracks, against every single frame. However, we don't see the actual curves like we do in the Curve Editor. The dope sheet is a way for you to basically move key frames around in blocks and maybe change their global timing and so on without getting into the nitty gritty details of the exact shape of those curves and how the animation is interpolating.

Let's look at the dope sheet. Its going to be found under graph editors > track view > dope sheet. Now by default, it's only going to show you the key frames, for the selected objects. And I don't have anything selected now. So if I for example select the sword hilt to my view port, now I can see, a whole bunch of key frame data here. The way I prefer to work in the dope sheet, is to have all of the animated channels or animated tracks visible, regardless of what I have selected. I'm going to deselect that hilt so nothing is selected.

And I'm just going to change the option. That's going to be the filters and it's going to be found under view, filters. And I'm going to say up here show only animated tracks and don't show only selected objects. Under these conditions all of the animated tracks will be displayed regardless of what's selected in the viewport. And click OK. And now we can see all the key frames in our entire world at a glance. This is a good option in this case because I have so few keyframes.

If you had, you know, hundreds of thousands of keyframes or something, then this would be, you know, pretty overwhelming. And you would want the default behavior where only the selected objects keys are displayed. Okay, so you can see here, sword hilt has got a hierarchy position and rotation keys, also logo. If we open that up, and open up transform, position, you'll see there key frames, or position there on the logo as well. Now I want to just point out that you will see some key frame boxes or tics here.

In these rows that are not actually real tracks. This is kind of a little bit misleading. You'll notice that some of these rows are in a lighter color gray, and some are in a darker color gray. The ones that are in light gray are actually animated tracks or channels. The rows that are displayed in dark grey are not actually tracks at all. What they are, are categories of tracks. So if we follow this one back, this is position for the logo.

If I click on this little box, then I'm selecting all of the position keys for the logo object. If I go down here to the sort you'll see position and rotation because their rotation key is on the sort yield. So if I click on a box here, I will select all of the rotation keys or the sort yield. Or if I click over here again, I'm selecting all of the rotation keys and none of the position keys. However this is additionally kind of misleading because it doesn't just highlight all of the things in that category, you'll also see highlighting up here.

So this is again, really misleading. It gives me the impression that all of the transform keys at that particular key frame or position are actually selected but they're not. The position keys are not selected. Only the rotation keys are selected. These markers here are actually unironically known in the documentation as fake keys. And I didn't make that up. They're actually called fake keys. Because they're not actually keyframes. They're just methods for you to select keyframes and to see what is selected.

But, as I said, it's a bit kind of non-intuitive. If I select just one rotation key down here, then all of the fake keys that enclose that key frame are going to be highlighted. So it's a rotation key. So rotation lights up. And it's a transform key, so Transform lights up. And it's a key on the sword hilt, so Sword Hilt lights up as well. So you can't really always trust this to know what's really selected. All you really know is that some key frame within Sword Hilt is selected, and some key frame within Transform is selected.

Okay. But in any event, these can be handy because you can just drag stuff around really quickly. So for example if I want the logo to land at about the same time as the sorthilt, I can click up here and that will select all of the logo keys. Currently the move keys tool is active and I can just drag those over and position those on frame 90. I can also type it in down here. I've got a field where I can type in the frame number. All right, so let's see what that looks like. So, if I minimize this, play it back, There we go.

So now everything is landing at the same time, pretty gracefully. There's one last helpful thing I want to mention about the dope sheet. Which is there is a way that you can visualize, and select, all of the keys in your entire world at once. And that's done by going up to the tool bar here, and clicking this button that's labeled Modify Child Keys. And if that's enabled and you're able to see the world track up here, then you can click on all of the keyframes at a certain point in time.

So I could click here and select all of those keys at frame 90 and maybe move 'em down a few frames. Additionally, there's a ranges mode. So, so far I've just been working in edit keys mode, but there's also edit ranges mode. So if I click on that, now we will see bars indicating the animated ranges or the areas of the timeline that are animated. And using this edit ranges mode and the world. Track, and with modify child keys on, I can stretch time for my entire scene at once.

So if I needed to speed everything up or slow everything down, what I would do is I would click here, and drag to the right to slow it down, drag to the left to speed it up. And let's see what that looks like. So now I just basically doubled the speed of my animation. That is a really helpful thing to know about. Additionally, by the way, snapping is turned on by default. So when you do this, all of the key frames within these ranges, will automatically snap to whole numbers. If that were off, then some of those keys would land on fractions between frames and you don't want that.

Alright well in fact I'm going to move that back where it was, to about frame 90 or so because I think that looked pretty good. Alright, so that's the dope sheet a very useful window that you'll want to explore. And that finishes up our chapter on the basics of key frame animation.

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