I have a glTF file (authored by someone else) with many named animation tracks. These are modifying transforms on many different discrete nodes within a scene hierarchy for an automobile. (These are not actions on bones or a rig.) For example, one animation causes all four wheels to rotate, another causes the front wheels to steer left/right, another causes the front left door to open.

I have imported the glTF into Blender. Currently, there are no actions listed in the Action Editor, the Dope Sheet, the Timeline, or the Graph Editor. Scrubbing any timeline causes no action to be applied.

However, I see all the actions listed in the Action Editor's "Browse Action to be Linked" dropdown. I want to select one of these actions, preview just that action (dragging the timeline), edit the keyframes of it, and rename the NLA Tracks to match my needs.

I've watched a handful of videos on the NLA. I understand (I think) that selecting an action in the Action Editor links it to the selected object. I don't want to do that. If I happen to have selected the Front Left Door Empty and "choose" the Tire Rotation action to try and preview it, the door now rotates 360 degrees. That's not what I want. But, selecting Front Left Door empty ALSO did not cause any action/animation to show up in any editor.

How do I "select" an Action so that it shows up in the Action Editor, without accidentally linking it to some object in the tree?

I think if you can help me with just that I will be able to tweak keyframes, modify the animations for the action, and move forward.

I'm using Blender v2.83.20, but if you feel I must I can upgrade to a newer version.


1 Answer 1

  1. Open the Nonlinear Animation editor.
  2. Enable the animations you wish to preview (checkbox on the right side of each track, next to the lock icon).
  3. Click on the name of the object (parent of the Action Track) to select the object. (Thanks, @scurest!)
    • Needed so that the object's animations will show up in the Graph Editor, Dope Sheet, or Action Editor later.
  4. Select an Action Strip in the track (the named box to the right of the animation track name) by clicking on it.
    • The selected strip turns bright orange.
  5. Press the tab key, or right-click on the strip and choose Start Editing Stashed Action.
    • The selected strip turns bright green.
    • Keyframes for the strip show up in the Graph Editor, Action Editor, Dope Sheet, and Timeline.
  6. Modify the animation as desired.

If you don't see keyframes after step 5, you may have skipped step 3. If so, you cannot select the object via the NLA editor at this point. However, you can deselect the "Only Show Selected" options in the Graph Editor or Dope Sheet to see the object and its animations in the track. This does not work for the Action Editor...but once you can see the object name in the Graph Editor or Dope Sheet, you can click the name there to select the object, causing it to show up in the Action Editor.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You can click the name of an object in the NLA editor to select it. $\endgroup$
    – scurest
    Jul 11, 2022 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ @scurest You are right! Thank you. (Further, you can uncheck "Only Show Selected" in the Graph Editor and Dope Sheet to see the list of objects and channels; clicking on those names will also select it, causing the object to be selected in the Action Editor, too.) $\endgroup$
    – Phrogz
    Jul 11, 2022 at 23:03

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