How do you do complicated animation sequences in Blender?

I'm only just starting out with Blender. I can do simple animations, no problem. It's easy, right? Move an object, keyframe it, change frame, move the object again, keyframe it. Done. However, once an animation starts to get longer and more things are happening... it just gets harder and harder to keep everything organised. Like, "oh, hey, that shot was a bit too fast, let's make it last a bit longer". Great. Well now I have to find every single keyframe in the entire animation and manually move them all. Not fun!

People have done some insanely amazing things with Blender, so I must be using it wrong. It should not be this excruciatingly hard just to do some basic camera moves and make it all synch up properly. I feel like I'm missing something really basic... like, there should be some way to group or organise animation steps so you don't have to manually memorise millions of keyframes. Does Blender have anything like that?


1 Answer 1


Short answer: Dope Sheet and NLA editor

Dope sheet shows you all keyframes categorized in objects, then axes or properties. You have a complete overview and you can set it up to either show all keyframes in the scene or just of the selected object (click on the little arrow on the navigation bar in the dope sheet window).

For detailed edits you might also want to use the graph editor, which isn't good for an organized overview but let's you edit the key curves in Detail.

The NLA editor can store "animation templates". So for example you can create an idle animation for a character and a running animation and save both as "actions" in the NLA editor. It's layer based and you can do tons of stuff there to make complicated animations easy to manage. You could for example loop an action or layer multiple on top of each other (idle + running for example).


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