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Fine-tuning keyframes in the Graph Editor

From: MODO 501 Essential Training

Video: Fine-tuning keyframes in the Graph Editor

Sometimes just manually placing keyframes in the scene doesn't often quite give you the look you want. In our previous exercise, we animated the camera's zoom, as well as its motion, and it looked just great. But here on a simple move like this--and I'm going to rewind here-- you're going to see that this camera moves up, turns, and just kind of floats there in the middle. It's not quite what we want. Well, how do you fix something like that? Well, that is all done in the Graph Editor. So let's get in there and fix that.

Fine-tuning keyframes in the Graph Editor

Sometimes just manually placing keyframes in the scene doesn't often quite give you the look you want. In our previous exercise, we animated the camera's zoom, as well as its motion, and it looked just great. But here on a simple move like this--and I'm going to rewind here-- you're going to see that this camera moves up, turns, and just kind of floats there in the middle. It's not quite what we want. Well, how do you fix something like that? Well, that is all done in the Graph Editor. So let's get in there and fix that.

To get to the Graph Editor, you can click this little envelope right down here, and it says Graph Editor. And you get this nice panel that might look overwhelming at first, but it's really not. And what happens in here is specific control over every motion channel. If you take a look at the camera, we've got the position, the rotation, and the scale all keyframed. Now, scale doesn't really need to be keyframed, but we just generally keyframe the whole thing and it's just added into it. You'll also notice that if we have keyframes for any of the other values, the F-Stop, the Depth of Field, the Target, the Focal Length, and so on, they will be in here as well.

For right now, we just want to be concerned with the rotation and position. When you select any of these channels, you see them up here in the Graph Editor. Sometimes they're not so visible. And just like you would in the layout, you press the A key to fit everything to view. So I'm going to select the first channel, hold my Shift key, and add some to the selection, just selecting all of my position channels. And I'll press the A key to fit, and that will bring all of those to view. So here you can see, if we take a look at just the X, look what happens; it kind of extends out and then down.

Well, what's the X motion? Well, if you take a look at your camera, and I press the Y command, the X is this left and right; it's that red keyframe channel. And if I drag through the Timeline in here, you can see that right at that X, it kind of extends out a little bit. Let's take a look at that again. See, it goes up and down. But take a look at this. See these little handles right here? I can actually grab those, almost like Bezier handles, and adjust that motion. And this way that X channel now stays straight; it doesn't actually swing out around and do a trucker's turn, if you will.

The next thing, I want the rotation to happen as we're coming into the curve, rather than at that curve and turn. How would I do that? Well, the rotation is on this channel; that's the Y. The green is my Y channel. So let's take Rotation Y and look what happens. It's the same thing. Okay. First, we're going to fix that so it stays level and it doesn't swing out. That's number one. Then we get a much sharper curve right there.

But we want it to happen sooner. So all I need to do is adjust this keyframe. And let me see if I can move this so you can see both here. I'm just going to click on the very bottom corner of this Graph Editor. We'll size that up. I can take this keyframe right here and I can actually shift it. So look at the turn. So now the camera is actually turning a little before it gets in there. And now it doesn't look quite like it's drifting; it turns and then goes.

If you'd like to adjust it some more, bring it back some more. And by the same token, you can actually take this last keyframe and pull that back. And again, we're only adjusting the rotation for the Y channel. And that way when the camera turns around to the right side, it's completely straight. So it's really pretty easy to adjust these motions. But you'll also notice it's kind of sliding a little bit.

Let's take a look at the other channels. So here's the Rotation Z. I'll press the A key to fit. Not much happening there. Rotation X, it's also not much happening. The only rotation we did was on the Y. So we're pretty much done with the Y channel. Position Z starts out smooth and ends okay. But look at after that keyframe; it goes way down. That could be an issue. And then if you look at the Position Y, well, that's up and down; we're really not adjusting that keyframe. We didn't move the camera up and down. So the Position Z is what we want to edit.

And all I'm going to do is simply go to this keyframe at 31. And again, you can grab these handles and adjust the motion of this key. So for instance, I can actually stretch this out. And what this will make it do, the motion will ease out of that first frame, come down, and then ease into this one and keep going. The only problem with doing that is that it might slow it down a little too much. Let's take a look. So, not quite the motion we wanted.

It slows it down too much right there. But it can give you a good idea of how these keyframes work. So I'm going to shorten this back up and make it really short and then just try and turn it around like that, and then we are going to adjust this keyframe up like that, so it ends a little bit smoother. So what's happening here is you'll see a very sharp turn, rather than the original frame, which just had it kind of drifting through there, and then it comes and slows down.

And that's all through the Graph Editor. There's a lot more you can do with the channels in here. If I select all of these motions--just click the first one, hold the Shift key, and select the last--I can take all of these and change it from a curved motion to a linear motion, and suddenly everything is straight. Now, you really wouldn't want to do this on something like a camera that we've just animated. You would do this more on a mechanical animation. It has to be very linear. More like a piston or some kind of machinery that's moving A to B and doesn't have any smooth stop-and-go.

But in this case we do want it to be a curve. And over here you can change the Slope from Auto to Flat and it will flatten out those. You can change it to Auto Flat, which often fixes a lot of the things we just did manually. So as we build more animations, we'll actually use these keys and control them right inside the Graph Editor.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for MODO 501 Essential Training
MODO 501 Essential Training

80 video lessons · 4569 viewers

Dan Ablan
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 21s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 26s
  2. 42m 37s
    1. Understanding the interface
      4m 30s
    2. Understanding the workplane
      5m 7s
    3. Understanding Action Centers
      4m 12s
    4. Working with the modeling tools
      5m 10s
    5. Understanding surfaces
      7m 12s
    6. Selecting elements
      7m 33s
    7. Understanding the elements of a 3D model
      4m 3s
    8. Understanding symmetry
      4m 50s
  3. 1h 2m
    1. Building a model
      8m 56s
    2. Editing geometry
      10m 39s
    3. Controlling geometry
      10m 31s
    4. Bending geometry
      6m 42s
    5. Adding detail with edges
      5m 37s
    6. Editing polygons
      10m 27s
    7. Extending polygons
      9m 34s
  4. 42m 53s
    1. Understanding subdivisions
      3m 49s
    2. Understanding Pixar-based subdivisions
      2m 48s
    3. Creating a basic model
      7m 51s
    4. Beveling with subdivisions
      6m 6s
    5. Adding detail to models
      8m 54s
    6. Deforming and shaping objects
      7m 48s
    7. Cloning
      5m 37s
  5. 49m 32s
    1. Creating with Radial Sweep
      4m 44s
    2. Working with text
      8m 40s
    3. Understanding replicators
      7m 22s
    4. Instancing objects
      7m 0s
    5. Working with Curve Clone
      4m 36s
    6. Working with Curve Extrude
      2m 25s
    7. Modeling with Array
      8m 50s
    8. Understanding Mesh Paint
      5m 55s
  6. 1h 4m
    1. Introducing the Shader Tree
      4m 32s
    2. Exploring layer-based shading
      4m 29s
    3. Creating surfaces for polygons
      7m 41s
    4. Editing surfaces
      7m 4s
    5. Applying procedural textures
      7m 38s
    6. Applying image-mapped textures
      6m 2s
    7. Working with transparent images
      5m 48s
    8. Adding bump maps for realism
      8m 49s
    9. Enhancing surfaces with specularity and glossiness maps
      3m 25s
    10. Creating a reflective surface
      3m 27s
    11. Working in glass
      5m 28s
  7. 39m 9s
    1. Building 3D scenes
      2m 49s
    2. Working with different light types
      8m 26s
    3. Lighting a 3D scene
      12m 51s
    4. Reflecting light
      5m 23s
    5. Lighting environments for realism
      4m 18s
    6. Blending light sources
      5m 22s
  8. 21m 1s
    1. Understanding the MODO 501 camera
      5m 39s
    2. Setting up a camera
      5m 42s
    3. Placing multiple cameras
      7m 11s
    4. Animating cameras
      2m 29s
  9. 29m 58s
    1. Understanding the timeline
      7m 16s
    2. Adding and controlling keyframes
      3m 22s
    3. Fine-tuning keyframes in the Graph Editor
      6m 17s
    4. Animating nontraditional elements
      4m 31s
    5. Animating colors
      4m 39s
    6. Animating displacement maps
      3m 53s
  10. 13m 57s
    1. Working with Hair Guides
      3m 18s
    2. Creating human hair
      4m 7s
    3. Creating the hair's surface
      1m 30s
    4. Generating animal hair
      1m 48s
    5. Building enhanced hair textures
      3m 14s
  11. 26m 21s
    1. Working with the painting tools
      6m 14s
    2. Painting on multiple layers
      9m 37s
    3. Sculpting models
      5m 45s
    4. Tweaking and finishing with the sculpting tools
      4m 45s
  12. 25m 56s
    1. Working with the Schematic interface
      1m 20s
    2. Understanding channels
      4m 9s
    3. Building a channel-based animation
      5m 51s
    4. Creating a schematic network
      6m 26s
    5. Setting up inverse kinematics
      4m 29s
    6. Adding the finishing touches on schematic rigs
      3m 41s
  13. 26m 47s
    1. Understanding resolutions and rendering
      12m 43s
    2. Setting up a render project
      4m 51s
    3. Rendering to movie files vs. image sequences
      9m 13s
  14. 3m 23s
    1. Exporting an object
      1m 2s
    2. Exporting a full scene for backup
      2m 21s
  15. 2m 2s
    1. Next steps
      2m 2s

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