Editing Keys

Topics in this section relate to editing animation keys in Track View. Some tools work the same in both Curve Editor and Dope Sheet modes; others apply specifically to one or the other or vary in function depending on the context. The former appear at the start of this section; the latter appear in sub-sections after the general commands.

  • Align to Cursor

    Use Align to Cursor to move selected keys to the current time. Select the keys to align using Move, Slide, or Scale.

  • Insert Keys

    Use Insert Keys to refine an animation by placing additional keys wherever you like. When Insert Keys is active, you can click anywhere on a function curve (Curve Editor) or in an animation track (Dope Sheet) to insert a key at that location. Insert Keys stays active until you activate a different mode.

  • Lock Selection

    Lock Selection toggles the ability to highlight keys in Track View. When Lock Selection is on you can't inadvertently deselect highlighted keys or select other keys. When a selection is locked you can move or scale keys by dragging anywhere in the window, not just on a highlighted key.

  • Move Keys

    You can use the the Move Keys tools in the Curve Editor to change animation keys' timing, values, or both. The same tools are available in Dope Sheet mode, but they all have the same effect: changing keys' timing (horizontal positions) only.

  • Properties (Track View)

    Properties displays a dialog to change animation values. The type of dialog displayed depends on the type of animation controller the selected track is using. The Properties function is unavailable if the selected track controller does not use properties, or the track selection set is incorrect.

  • Reduce Keys

    Use Reduce Keys to decrease key density. Animating with inverse kinematics, or creating any complex animation, can result in many keys, which can make editing the animation difficult. In the case of applied inverse kinematics, 3ds Max generates a key on nearly every frame. Often, the same animation can be produced with fewer keys. Having fewer keys in a track makes it easier to change your animation.

  • Scale Keys - Time

    Scale Keys - Time moves all selected keys proportionally toward or away from the current frame. Use Scale Keys in Curve Editor and Dope Sheet to change the locations and time spans of all selected keys.

  • Slide Keys

    Use Slide Keys to move a group of keys (the highlighted keys plus all the keys to one end of the animation).

  • Snap Frames

    With Snap Frames, all key and range bar positions that are changed are forced to absolute frame increments. This includes selection sets of multiple keys. When Snap Frames is on, each key in a selection set will snap to the nearest frame when the selection is moved or scaled. Default=on.

  • Editing Keys in Curve Editor

    The Curve Editor displays animation as function curves, charting the controllers' changes of value over time.

  • Editing Keys in Dope Sheet

    Edit Keys displays your animation as a series of keys, displayed as boxes on a grid in the Key window. This tool is available only in Dope Sheet mode, where it is active by default. The alternative Dope Sheet modes are Edit Ranges and Edit Time.