some newbie questions

Thanks for this great tool. I am finding myself stumped on some very basic attempts at animation with Synfig, and I’m hoping someone can provide some help.

I’m looking to do a very basic animation consisting of circles and rectangles (representing torsos and heads). I’ve set up five circles and five rectangles, each pair encapsulated and named “person1”, “person2”, etc…; I’ve entered several keyframes (call them 1s, 2s, 3s, etc…), and changed the locations using the parameters panels on each object. What seems to happen is that updates to an object on keyframe 2s don’t update the location of the object on keyframe 3s – the objects glide right back to their 1s position. I’m sure there’s got to be a better way, but I’m not clear on what I’m missing. Can anyone lay out the normal workflow for creating three or four objects that move together in unison, without needing to manually enter updated locations in all keyframes subsequent to the one in which the location first gets updated?

This is probably stuff that’s incredibly obvious to animators, but it’s not very clear to this non-animator from the manual. I’ve tried watching some of the video tutorials, but the flower petal tutorial, for example, doesn’t seem to deal with making many objects move simultaneously, or with the keyframe issue I’ve encountered.

Thanks in advance.

Keyframes tend to keep the current parameter value depending on the Lock keyframe status. If you want to only keep the status of the past keyframe then unlock the future keyframe status. Apart of the behavior of the keyframes based on the lock keyframe status keyframes are a placeholder of waypoints on a given time for all the document, that can be dragged left or right in the time in one single action.
Please read the keyframe wiki page to understand how keyframe works. Some people doesn’t like to work with keyframes and just use the waypoints. They define how the parameter changes in the current time and in the past and future times, having total control of the timeline. Using keyframes you rely on losk keyframe status to keep the values at certain frames (the key-frames).


I have taken to using key frames as bookends. Animate something small, then put a keyframe at each end so that you can adjust the speed of that section. What I DON’T do is put in the key frames ahead of time. If you put down 5 key frames at the start, then they will all have the same values as the start and you will forever be deleting and changing things as you go.

Thanks, Michael and Genete.

Does anyone know of anything online that clarifies the distinction between keyframes and waypoints to someone who doesn’t already use either term? The bookends metaphor will be very helpful in terms of keyframes, but I still have no real idea what the difference is between keyframes and waypoints, despite reading the user manual.

More questions. Is the keyframe lock status per object? Per layer? Or global? I’d love to be able to say that person1 is not going to move from here for the next 30 seconds, but person2 is going to move, then persons 1 and 2 are not going to move, but person3 will, etc… And is there any way to encapsulate persons2 and 3 (for example) between two keyframes, but not have them encapsulated before and/or after?

Again, thanks for your help.

Ah! I’d have sworn this wasn’t on the reference topic listing.

OK, for anyone in a similar situation to the one I was in, the wiki entry on Waypoints has your answers. I blasted through the manual trying to ignore the timetrack, since on a cursory read it looked like it just duplicated the keyframe list horizontally. It’s much more than that.