- View Offline
- Navigating in 3D space
- Selecting, rotating, and scaling objects
- Using Snap to move objects precisely
- Creating mesh primitives and extrusions
- Subdividing meshes
- Creating a simple creature
- Joining mesh objects and stitching vertices
- Organizing a scene with layers, groups, and hierarchies
- Assigning glossy and reflective materials to objects
- Creating bump maps
- Creating sky and ambient light
- Understanding ambient occlusion
- Adding motion blur and depth of field
- Editing animation in the Graph Editor
- Building and animating a simple character
Skill Level Beginner
When you animate in Blender and you set a lot of keyframes, but you also need to be able to edit your animation and change the values of those keyframes, change how things interpolate, and we can do a lot of that in our Graph Editor. Now the Graph Editor is a separate editor that we can include on the interface. Now when you start using the Graph Editor you kind of need to make decision as to how you want to organize your layout. Now a lot of people will take their Timeline and just change it over to the Graph Editor.
You can do that by clicking here and left-clicking on Graph Editor and it will change it over. But a lot of times that kind of eliminates the functionality of the Timeline, which can be very handy when you're working with animation. So I am going to leave my Timeline on, and let's create a separate panel just for the Graph Editor. So I am going to go up to my top corner here, left-click and drag, and create a new window. Now I like to have a horizontal window, mostly because I am working with time and you want to be able to scrub left and right.
So then all we have to do is change this to the Graph Editor. And here is the Graph Editor. Now you can see it has a Timeline along the bottom, very similar to the Timeline that we have here. And if I left click and scrub in my Timeline, you can see how it moves in conjunction with whatever frame I am at. And you can also see that we have some animation here in the scene. So we have this ball moving up and down. Okay, so the Graph Editor really is for editing animation curves in Blender.
So let's right-click to select our object and then in the Graph Editor window, we are going to do Select All. Or we can just hit A. What that does is it shows all of the animation curves for that object. Now you'll notice here on the left side of the screen, we have all the different channels that we're animating. So you can see here in my Transform panel that I'm animating Location, Rotation, and Scale, and that's what I have here for my animation curves. And if I left-click on any one of these, they will highlight. So you can see that Y location basically moves from one value to the next. My Z location basically goes up and down.
That's this blue line. X, well X really doesn't do much, because the object isn't moving in X. And Rotation and Scale aren't doing much either. Really we are just animating Y and Z in this particular scene. Now next to each one of these we have a couple of buttons here that allow us to mute animation, as well as to lock. So if I were to select my Z location here and hit this button, notice how the blue line goes gray. And what that does is it just turns off that curve, so it doesn't have any effect.
So because the ball was here on the ground at the point where I turned it off, it will stay on the ground throughout the animation. But if I turn this on, you will see it comes back. Now the effect of this is dependent upon where you turn it on and off. So if the ball is in the air when I turn it off, it will just stay at that value. If the ball is on the ground, it will stay at that value. And then next to this we have a lock, and notice how it turns this curve into a dotted line, and that means we can't edit it.
This can be really handy if you are only working with a few curves and you don't want to accidentally select other curves. Now if we move over to the right, we actually have our Curve Editor viewport. This is just a 2D editor, like any other 2D editor in Blender, which means we can navigate through it using our middle mouse button. So if I middle-click, and drag, you can see how I can pan. If I roll my middle mouse button, I zoom in and out. If I hold down the Ctrl key and middle mouse button, if I move my mouse left and right, we zoom left and right, up and down, we zoom up and down. So I can zoom this way or this way or both.
Now we do have a cursor in this viewport as well. So if I left-click and drag on this, I can slide my animation. But notice how we have a second line that intersects with this, and that's kind of a 2D cursor, very similar to the 3D cursor we have in the viewport. So in the viewport we have this 3D cursor which can be a point of action, so if we create an object that comes into that place, and so on. And the same thing happens here in this viewport. But typically we don't need it, so I tend to scrub animation towards the bottom here so that this doesn't quite get in the way.
Now we can also select and edit keyframes. So let's go ahead and move our cursor over. And if I want to, I can right-click over a key. So if I right-click on any one of these keys, notice how this Curve Editor comes up. It is basically a Bezier handle. And if I right-click and drag, you can see how I can actually change the value. Now if you look over here under Transform, you can see how that value actually changes as I move the curve.
So this is basically just literally changing the value that we have for that. Now, on either side of this we have Bezier handles, so you can right-click and drag and then you can actually let go and position that curve however you want. And once you have that curve positioned exactly the way you want it, you can right-click to set that. And so what that does is it actually creates a different type of curve. Notice how now the ball is going dipping down a little bit before it jumps up, and that's just because all we did was change the character of that curve.
Now these curves are Bezier by default, but we can change the type of curve as well. A lot of times we will want to have a linear curve so that things move very evenly; they don't slow in or slow out. We also can have constant curves, which allow you to move from one position to the other. So we can select multiple curves in our editor using the same tool we use for 3D editing and that's by hitting the B key and doing a box select. So this looks very familiar. All we have to do is left-click and select all of our keys.
And then if we want, we can go into our Key menu here and we can change how it interpolates. So we have Constant Interpolation, Linear, and Bezier. By default it's Bezier, and also notices how the hotkey is called T, for Interpolation. So go ahead and hit this to Linear, and notice how all the curves really go away and it just become straight lines. And so now the object is basically moves in straight line. And for some animation this may be advantageous. And notice how also the Bezier handles go away.
Now if we want, we can again hit T, and that just brings up this menu, and we can change it to Constant. And this is basically a square wave. So it basically goes from one value to the next, and it just hops from value to value. Now if we hit T again and go back to Bezier, it actually will remember your old interpolation. So remember how I changed this curve so that it dips down. It will remember that and bring that back. Now we have a number of other options here, and one of the ones I do want to show you is the Filters option here, and this allows you to filter what you're looking at in the Graph Editor.
If you have a lot of things selected or a lot of animation going on, you'll often want to pare down the things that are showing up on the screen, and these filters can turn off anything that you want. So for example, if I click on this one here, it will turn off all location information. Or it can turn off materials if you are animating those lights, if you are animating those, and so on. So those are some of the basics of the Graph Editor. Now just understand that you can have multiple curves showing up in the Graph Editor.
It works pretty much like any 2D viewport: you can zoom around and you can edit the curves to create custom effects. It can be very powerful and hopefully you'll get to use this a lot more as you animate in Blender.
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