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I am looking for a flexible way to group some properties temporarily for animation work. Typically, for that kind of fine-tuning work, you'd have, say, 10 values scattered over various objects; you would then work through the timeline of the shot, tweaking values to make them play together suitably. Then, next you'd work through another aspect in yet another "pass". Maybe you want to come back to the fist "pass" later, and tweak and adjust some details to fit.

How can such work be accomplished efficiently with animation curves and dope sheet? I find myself most of the time just digging through the outliner; and when I then select one object, I see a dozen curves, while only one of them would be relevant at the moment. It seems I am missing some very basic workflow feature of the UI. (I am fairly fluent with Blender, yet up do now, I have not done that much in-depth animation work).

  • Grouping of curves doesn't seem to be helpful; neither does it remove the clutter (i.e. hide everything else), nor does it work cross-cutting the object hierarchy, as is required to accomplish the task at hand

  • Hiding likewise does not feel like the right tool for the job; it is indispensable for basic selecting and working with keyframes, but seemingly we can only "hide all others" and "unhide all"

  • Drivers could get me close, by wiring the group of properties to a set of custom properties on some "controller object" (e.g. an Empty). However, setting up this wiring through Drivers is rather tedious, and most notably it is rigid and needs to stay in place for the automation to work. I can not use this for ad-hoc grouping as needed.

Note: right now I am still confined to Blender 2.79 (however, if the newer versions > 2.80 offer something suitable, I'd appreciate if someone could point out where to look)

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  • $\begingroup$ check out the Non Linear Action (NLA) editor. personally I still haven't gotten my head around it, but got the suspicion this is where the more sophisticated animation stuff happens $\endgroup$
    – pevinkinel
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 0:21

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