Keyframes and waypoints?

I’m quite confused by the whole keyframe/waypoint concept.
I know what a keyframe is, I’m an animator. From what I see in Synfig, waypoints are keyframes, but what do the things called keyframes do? I add them but they don’t seem to do anything.

I want to add a key for all points in a shape on my timeline but I can’t seem to do this. There is no way to add waypoints other than moving the points in the shape. When I add what you call a keyframe nothing happens. I add one, then goes to another frame to alter the shape. Now the shape is altered through the timeline. At the frame where I added the keyframe as well.

So, basically, how do I add and work with keyframes/waypoints?

Did you go to the animation mode before altering the shape? The button on the bottom right of the canvas window?

The meaning of keyframes and wapoints is slight off compared to other systems. You define a keyframe to let Synfig generate waypoints when needed (as you appear to do in your description).



When I add keyframes no waypoints are created. Is keyframes to be treated more as markers?

How do I add waypoints for all points in vertices for a shape without actually moving the points? (Keyframe does not seem to do this for me).

(Yes, I’m in animation editing mode.)

When first created an object it parameters are constant Values. Same value for all the timeline.
There are two ways of generating waypoints (the colored dots in the timeline and what it is called keyframe in Anime Studio):

  1. By editing the parameter in Animation Mode. The first time you edit a parameter it is disconnected from the constant Value Node and linked to a variable Value Node. That variable Value Node has a initially a single waypoint in the frame where you edited the parameter. Synfig is not able to add a waypoint to a parameter that is linked to a constant Value Node because a constant Value Node is not ready to hold waypoints. It would be good if a right click context menu were available and do all the desired job: link the parameter to a variable Value Node and add a waypoint on the current frame with the current value of the constant Value Node. But that’s a feature request.

  2. Generated by keyframes. Keyframes are like markers. When you create a keyframe you’re telling the program that this frame is special and (depending on the lock keyframe status) you want to prevent that any parameter (that doesn’t have a waypoint in the timeline a constant value or because it has a particular value due to some surrounding waypoints) were modified by the surrounding modifications of that particular parameter. This is a real keyframe IMHO. It is true that a keyframe is meaninless without waypoints though. I should say that in synfig we call keyframes to the automatic generator of waypoints to keep the shape or the pose in a certain frame.

Add a keyframe a the frame where you want to create the waypoints for all the vertices of a shape. It will create the waypoints when needed. You only have to take care on being on animation mode and that the lock keyframe status were in the correct status. Alter the vertex in other frame and the waypoint will be automatically created. If you don’t plan to move that vertex, why to add a waypoint on that frame?

The workflow in Synfig is completely different than in Anime Studio. In AS you have to remember to add a keyframe (AS keyframe) in the previous or next frame to produce the tweening. In Synfig that’s solved with keyframes.

Sometimes keyframes are bad things beacause you want to only modify the poses of certain parts of the animation and not all the complete canvas (that is the keyframe scope). It can be solved by:

  1. Adding only the needed keyframes. If you spread them so much you are in troubles with larger movements. In this case add a waypoint for a certain frame for an animated value is enabled and possible by the right click over the parameter to add the waypoint in the current frame. I repeat, it is only possible for animated parameters.

  2. Playing with the lock keyframe status to prevent to add unneeded waypoints in some keyframes.

See the following sequence of shots after doing these steps:

One interesting thing: If you want to delete all the animation of a single parameter and keep the current value as a constant value just select the ‘Disconnect’ option in the right click context menu. It would disconnect the parameter from the animated Value Node and connect it to a new created constant Value Node filled with the current value at the moment of call the ‘Disconnect’ routine.

For further information on keyframes and waypoints see this:


EDIT: WOW!: meanwhile writing this mini tutorial I’ve found a very cool thing! If you want to produce a waypoint at a certain frame for a lot of layers that share any common parameter do this:

-Select all the layers (for example some regions and some outlines)
-Right click on a common parameter (for example the Bezier line)
-Select ‘Edit Interpolation’. Enable the checkboxes of the dialog and press accept. It will produce a waypoint for that parameter
for all the selected layers. Neat! :slight_smile:

This is a new thing to me!. You can add a waypoint on a constant parameter if you select more than one layer at the same time. Even in not animation mode and without any keyframe. Definitively it must be possible to do the same with a single selected layer. Another feature request :slight_smile:

Thank’s for that in depth help! it certainly gave me something to chew on.
I think I get how it all works now. It’s just so different from every other animation package I’ve used before. You’d need to get rid of your expectations of how things should work.
But I can see that it is a very powerful app. with all interconnectable parameters and nodes.