Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Maya Tools 101: Retime Your Shot



As an animator, learning how to retime your keys in a shot is an absolute must. If the character is moving too fast, you need to add frames. If the character is moving slow, you need to remove frames. Before you know it, you are retiming your keys left and right. There are various ways to retime your keys depending on the situation. 

Maya Timeline

The most common way of retiming keys is to use the default Maya timeline. 

Moving One Key

If you want to just move one key on your timeline, this is the easiest way to do it.
Left Mouse Button + Shift to select the key.
Left Mouse Button/Middle Mouse Button to move it.

Moving Multiple Keys

If there is a section of your shot that you want to move, you can select multiple keys together of that section to move those together.

Left Mouse Button + Shift to select the key.
Left Mouse Button/Middle Mouse Button to move it.

Make sure you are moving the keys by clicking on < >, anywhere else and it would deselect the keys.

Resizing The Keys

If there is a section of your shot that you think is overall taking a lot of frames, you can select that section and then resize it by making it shorter.
Left Mouse Button + Shift to select the key.
Left Mouse Button/Middle Mouse Button to move it.

However, this creates a problem of having keys midframe Like this.

Midframe keys create a lot of problems in animation and rendering so make sure your keys are exactly on frames like 12.0, not 12.34.
To deal with this issue, you have to snap your keys often manually.

Left Mouse Button to select the key.
Right Mouse Button to open the options menu.
Left Mouse Button on Snap.










Even after the snap, sometimes the keys have issues in graph editor with tangents so it is extremely important to use this one with caution.

Graph Editor

If you are an animator who uses graph editor a lot, selecting keys and moving those must have become part of your muscle memory by now. I for one am so used to moving keys in GE that I could not even recall how I was doing it. I had to do it slowly to make these gifs. 

Left Mouse Button + Drag to select keys.
Middle Mouse Button + Shift to move the keys.












The shift key helps you to move keys horizontally (0 degrees) and vertically (90 degrees) from the position of the key. You cannot move keys diagonally. This helps you to preserve the value of the keys that otherwise get changed and can cause a headache.


See! Values of the keys get changed. Better use Shift.

Dope Sheet

Not many animators use the dope sheet which is a shame because it is pretty dope (get it?). The dope sheet looks like this.













It shows all the keyed objects on the left side and their keys on the right side. It gives a very clear picture of the whole shot in terms of frames and makes it easy to move those without messing up any value or tangent arrangement of the keys.
Look at the following .gif! So neat...

Left Mouse Button on DopeSheet summary
Middle Mouse Button +Drag to move keys.

However, the dope thing is that you can move frames of one object on its own as well. Like this...












This is not all, you can move selected frames of objects you want, as well.

Left Mouse Button + Drag to select keys
Middle Mouse Button to move.












You should definitely try using the dope sheet more.

Mel Scripts

Here are the two most basic scripts for retiming keys:

timeSliderEditKeys addInbetween;

timeSliderEditKeys removeInbetween;

If you want to add more frames between your keys, this is the easiest way. 

Click the Left Mouse Button to add frames to your heart's content, but let's not go overboard alright? 


And the same goes for removing the frames from your timeline.

Happy Animating!

If you want to get started in Maya, check out our class Introduction to Maya at animschool.edu
Visit our Youtube channel for more animation tips. 


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