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If I have everything selected and can see all my keyframes in timeline, how do I easily identify which keyframe relates to which 3D object?

I often have a "what the heck does that keyframe do to what object?" moment once I've got a good few on the timeline.

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As you have noticed, the timeline is good for

  • scrubbing,
  • playback settings and options and
  • manipulating the keyframes of a single or very few objects.

You need to switch to another animation editor type: the dopesheet or the graph editor.

switch to dopesheet

The Dope Sheet gives the animator a birds-eye-view of the keyframes inside the scene.

dopesheet

The dopesheet can show

  • the object's name (1),
  • the object's action (2) (if you have set keyframes you will have exactly one action)
  • the keyframe groups name (3) (keyframes for the same object are groups)
  • the names of the individual animation curves (fcurves) (4)

You can also toggle the Only Selected option (5), which will only show the keyframes for the selected objects.

The dopesheet provides you with a good overview for your keyframes. It is not only possible to manipulate the time property of keyframes (on which frame they are set) but also their values.

channel values
Click to enlarge.

If you wish to view the keyframes as individual curves or have finer control over their handles, you can switch to the graph editor.

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  • $\begingroup$ also the markers could help to know when a certain action happes, M to create, ctrl M to rename, X to delete $\endgroup$ – moonboots Apr 30 '20 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ A ha! Thank you Leander. So, to add a little info. Use the Dopesheet. Click on the marker I want to identify then Shift-MouseWheel for vertical scroll in the dopesheet and find the corresponding (also highlighted) keyframe component - then look to the left int he dopesheet list to see what the item is. Many thanks! Much appreciated. $\endgroup$ – dwbell Apr 30 '20 at 11:27

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