2023-04-20 Animation & Rigging module meeting

The meeting was on 2023-02-23T17:00:00Z. It is open for everybody interested to join on Google Meet (link below).

People present are referred to by first name for brevity. Others are referred to by full name.

Present: Armin Halac, Fani-Eleni Pandi, Brad Clark, Christoph Lendenfeld, Denys Hsu, Eduardo Rubio, Ivan Cappiello, Jason Schleifer, Jon Matthis, Marc, Marion Stalke, Nate Rupsis, Nathan Vegdahl, Nitin Rawat, Omer Almadani, Wayde Moss, William Anim


Since the Last Meeting / Announcements

  • Meeting is hosted by Nathan, as Sybren is unavailable for personal reasons.
  • Sybren is stepping down from USD/Alembic development coordination / reviews. Still available for discussions every once in a while, but 95% of his time is now Animation & Rigging (and a little bit Flamenco).
  • Documentation efforts on HackMD by Ivan (icappiello) and Vittoria Puggioni (toastamore). If you want to join, poke @dr.sybren on Blender Chat.


Short-term goals / Ongoing Work

Ideas for a New NLA

Marion shows some possible directions for Animation 2025’s NLA system.

  • “My fantasy”
  • Looked at designs already elsewhere in Blender
    • More consistent selection/highlighting colors.
    • Instead of checkbox for “active”, use a proper icon.
  • Use colors in both the NLA and action editor to show what clip is being edited, and that you’re in clip edit mode.
  • Selecting a clip automatically opens it in the action editor.
  • A handle on the end of a clip indicated that the clip has more length available, to indicate that they can be dragged out and extended.
  • Tracks can be expanded to reveal:
    • Parameters.
    • Modifiers. And make more things modifiers.
    • Influence keyframes.
  • “Meta strip” is a poor name. Confusing. Call them something more obvious, especially for non-native English speakers.
    • Expanded track view also shows the sub-tracks of any meta strips on it.
  • Not “push down”. Instead “Add NLA clip”.
  • Allow including sound tracks. “Bring sound closer to the facial animation”.


  • Everyone loves it.
  • Brad: Adam did some work on an interface where things are combined, so you can directly see e.g. the graph editor in the NLA as needed.
  • Armin: it could be made easier to access the actions themselves. At work we have an addon that shows a list of all actions in the file.
  • Christoph: Re: influence etc. keys in the expanded track view. A list of things you can key?
  • Jason: what about modifying the influence or other properties on multiple tracks at once? Would be useful.
  • Brad: right now the NLA editor is used for three different purposes: nonlinear editor, animation layers, and export manager. All mashed together. We’re not just redesigning for one workflow.
  • Armin: in Davinci you can make certain edits visually in on the clips, like dragging their corner to create a fade. Would be nice to have things like that instead of having to go to side panels all the time.
  • Denys: we can take a lot of inspiration from video editors and DAWs.

Marion asks: where to upload the presentation recording and files for everyone?

Patch Review & Decision Time

  • Interesting patch by Colin Bassnet: #106700: Core: Add sub-types for float-type custom properties
    • Everyone loves it!
  • #106521: Animation: shear left slider
    • Naming: “shear left” or “shear right”?
    • Could call it “shear from left”.
      • Most people seem to think that’s a good idea.
  • #107089: Anim: add low-level function for simple FCurve key deduplication has a Python API change proposal for Blender 4.0:
    • Make fcurve.update() also deduplicate keys in a stable, predictable manner.
    • Add fcurve.keyframe_points.sort(), .deduplicate(), and .handles_recalc(), which are the components of fcurve.update() for fine-grained control.
    • Proposal: additional functions to go into B3.6, the change to fcurve.update() is for B4.0.
    • Brad: any way to get a function that does everything in one go?
      • Nathan: for now maybe just add a note in update()'s documentation to also call deduplicate()?
    • Denys: what about a Python function for adding keys that doesn’t do any checks? An “I know what I’m doing” function, to avoid the overhead of the current key adding function.
  • #99113: Add Selection functionality to weight painting mode
    • Proposal: make ALT-LMB edge loop select in weight paint mode (like in edit mode). But ALT-LMB is already used for the gradient tool. Should we change it?
    • Brad: loves the gradient tool, but it can be assigned to a hot key. And keeping selection muscle memory consistent across Blender seems more important.
    • Everyone agrees, use ALT-LMB for selection.
    • When to change it? 3.6? Sure! The sooner the better.

Next Meeting

NOTE: Next week (27 April) the meeting will be skipped, as it’s King’s Day in NL.

The next meeting will be on Thursday 2023-05-04T16:00:00Z. Again it will be open for everybody who’s interested. The provisionary meeting agenda will be linked in the #animation-module channel before the meeting.