2024-01-11 Animation & Rigging module meeting

The meeting will be on 2024-01-11T17:00:00Z. It is open for everybody interested to join the video call (link below).

Present: Bassam Kurdali, Brad Clark, Christoph Lendenfeld, Dennis (Studio Galt Mocap), Eduardo Rubio, Jason Schleifer, Jeremy Bot, Marion Stalke, Nate Rupsis, Nathan Vegdahl, Sybren Stüvel

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


Since the Last Meeting / Announcements


Names are from the Git log.

Short-term goals / Ongoing Work

  • High prio bugs:
    • #116362: Timeline - Keyframe Precision Moving Not Working
      • Christoph: outside the graph editor: ctrl hotkey used to disable snapping (3.6 and older). Now it snaps to seconds, as it’s very uncommon for animators to have no snapping at all.
      • Christoph: roll back to old behaviour and disable snapping on Ctrl? Or accept the current state as “as designed”?
      • Nathan: big difference between 3D Viewport and animation editors: in the former snapping is sometimes on, but usually off. In the latter, snapping (to frames) is the default behaviour, and having snapping off is hardly done.
      • Animators present in the meeting do not want to have sub-frame keys at all.
      • Nathan: a typical application is cleaning up motion blur sub-frames. Such work does not require frequent toggling between snapping & not-snapping. So then the ‘magnet’ icon in the toolbar would likely be good enough.
      • Jason did something similar for editing motion blur, and it was very rare.
      • Sybren: how useful is snapping to seconds?
      • Marion: it can be used in layout, for camera switches etc. Communication with non-animators can be easier when talking about seconds.
      • Bassam: It’s more about the danger of accidentally creating sub-frame keys by new users. They can be very confusing. So making it very easy to disable snapping can be dangerous.
      • Decision: keep the behaviour of ctrl toggling to snapping on seconds, and close the bug.
      • Christoph: will ask the reporter for more context about their workflow.
    • #115978: FCurve extrapolation ignored in whenever anything is present in the NLA
    • #115915: Very strange constraint jiggling not present in blender 3.6.3
      • Sybren is investigating a solution.
    • #116061: Errors and crashes with BoneCollection properties due to “id_us_min: ID user decrement error” (already fixed)
  • Nathan worked on documenting the bone collections data structure.
  • Sybren created #116938: Anim: move ANIM_… bone collection functions into C++ style, such as the blender::animrig namespace, needs some discussion between developers on how to move for0ward.
  • Christoph came back from holiday and worked on fixing bugs.
  • Marion worked on design work for layered animation.
    • Checked with other animators at work about this.
    • Important: avoiding animating on the wrong layer. Can be done by coloring layers, and showing the color of the active layer in other animation-related editors (like the timeline).
    • When editing an object that’s not on the currently active layer, show a warning.
    • Animatable layer influence.
    • Show keys from inactive layers as well (“shine through”), for syncing between them.
    • Broader idea: have layers “sharable” between different “actions”.
    • Merging layers, splitting layers, etc.
    • Brad: offers to help with knowledge about layered animation workflows.
    • Nathan: moving forward, we’ll work iteration-based so we can steer things quickly.
    • Marion: offers making a “workgroup” for this so we can have extra meetings.
    • Sybren: for video calls, just use the same URL as this meeting. It’s been added to the chat channel title bar.

Patch Review & Decision Time

  • #116927: Fix #73524: Autokey inserts keyframes into the driver FCurve Fixed by removing a “feature” that might have never worked.
    • Jason: it sounds like it doesn’t work as intended anyway.
    • Marion: even when you’re working in the driver editor already that curve is already confusing.
    • Decision: the “feature” can be removed.
    • Sybren: A ‘Radial Basis Functions’ based tool would work much better for this. :+1: from Jason and Jeremy.
  • #117012: Fix #116138: make hidden bones show up in Properties when selected in Outliner
  • #116492: UI: Reorganize ‘View’ menus in animation and video editors to make them more consistent
    • Just generally good to get eyes on this, since it involves the animation editors.
    • Nathan: more specifically, includes 12 additions to the Timeline’s menu that might converge the Timeline and Dopesheet further. Which additional timeline menu items make sense here?
    • Nathan: let’s ask the author to separate “organising existing items” and “adding new items” into separate PRs.
    • Sybren: good idea. Because we don’t want to have the timeline even more like the dopesheet.
    • Christoph: In the design for the new animation system, should we also include designing a new timeline editor?
    • Sybren: Good idea; might be a separate new editor, or a mode of The One Animation editor that it goes into when it’s slim enough.
    • Nathan: there are header items in the timeline that aren’t in other editors, so we can’t just remove it.
    • Marion: there are add-ons that add those items to all animation editors.
    • Bassam: maybe it even makes sense to dumb down the timeline enough to have it always in view.
    • Decision: split the PR into “organise existing menu items” and “add new ones”.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be an off-schedule meeting on Tuesday 2024-01-16T11:00:00Z. Again it will be open for everybody who’s interested. The provisionary meeting agenda will be updated before the meeting.


Author of #116492 here. I’ll try to join in next meeting it sounds fun. We also met at Conference at my talk about stop-motion animation :slight_smile:

About dumbing down Timeline, I’ve been thinking about that a lot as well. Existence of timeline has basically three points:

  1. Less cluttered view of keyframes (can be done in Dope Sheet adding couple of toggles, like “Disable Interpolation Lines”, anybody can make Dope Sheet look like Timeline if they wanted to)

  2. Seeing Cache lines, which can be moved into Dope Sheet as well

  3. Play buttons, but not only, also frame range inputs and other menus not present in other editors. I’ve also tried addons that add those in Dope Sheet header but its unusable, header becomes very long and cluttered, finding items is impossible, especially if you’re in Action or Shape Key editors.

Another issue is that buttons keep moving when you resize editors or change to action with longer/shorter name, and in different workspaces they are in different places. What I found useful is when they’re always at the bottom, like in default Animation workspace and I know I can always expect them there. So if every time we create Dope Sheet we have Timeline under it, why not turn it into footer? Basically add Footer region to Dope Sheet, Graph and NLA, and put what we have in Timeline header there. Then we have fixed, well-spread and defined region for important stuff.