Timetrack rearrange, Pose Library, etc.

I’ll break the ideas in points:

  1. Timetrack: I find animating in Synfig far more comfortable than the likes of Flash, but there is a minor annoyance that slows production speed down. There’s no bugs or whatever, but we do require to “re-arrange” the UI a bit.

For the time being we can only see/edit the waypoints of individual layers, but an animator usually requires quick references to keyframes and their locations (and switching between layers constantly proves to be a distraction). However, Synfig does have the ability to show grouped waypoints in a single frame when an entire encapsulation is selected, so why not group waypoints of layer’s parameters (perhaps in separate colors, like green for vertices and blue for amount, etc.)? The reason I’m asking this is because as much as I’m against having Flash’s layer system in Synfig I realize it can increase productivity: we can merge the parameters with the Layers panel, in turn merging with Timetrack, so we can see/edit separate layers’ keyframes at the same time.

We could either go Premiere Pro style, where parameters can be edit via Layer’s drop down menu, or we can take it to another level by keeping the parameters in a separate panel altogether, like in GIMP or Blender. Similar to how we right-click a parameter in Blender and hit “Insert key”, we could do the same with Synfig, though with waypoints instead. Something like this:

  1. Pose Library: What ToonBoom and Retas can do that Synfig and Flash cannot is make good use of X-Sheet to recycle Cells. Every cell in the system can be called by typing a single cell number at a frame and it shows up. Flash takes the “copy/paste” approach, and so does Synfig, but in practicality there’s no real way to keep a library of poses. Yes, we can export Encapsulation, but beyond expressions and blinking effects the Paste Canvas layer is not usable because it remains static.

An idea, instead, would be to have a Pose Library of either individual or encapsulated layers. This parameter would function like Paste Canvas, but this time it saves every waypoint (if it isn’t there, it creates them) of every selected layer in that frame into a namable library (say, “Walking Pose”). So this way, it can function the same way as Paste Canvas, but instead applying a set of waypoints you’ve saved into the library, giving you the ability to “tween” along with it.

Both ideas are quite interesting.

  1. The UI redesign needs more brainstorming IMHO. I can imagine a merge of the layers and the parameter panels into one single one. Each layer is inside a tree hierarchy and paste canvas layers can be expanded via triangle click. But at the same time each layer (paste canvas included) can be expanded into its own parameters. All the waypoints visible at the same time (parameters, and accumulated parameters) For the special case of Paste Canvas Layers, the show of the children layers waypoints or its own waypoints should be a switchable option.

  2. Regarding to Poses I have one idea in mind since long time. You know that keyframes are like poses of the current canvas on a certain frame. If the Lock keyframe status affects it, the values of the parameters on that frame are kept regardless the surrounding variations of the parameter due to other waypoints. What if I can copy a keyframe but like a reference instead of a copy? That would allow me to reuse the keyframe and keep its original aspect regarless the tweaking done in the original one. The referenced keyframes will copy its modifications. More even. Once I have defined two different keyframes I can insert linear combinations of them in the timeline. That would allow to merge keyframes and create new ones based on that.

My two cents.

  1. Yeah! Though the separate parameters does give that problem. Or, if we merge the timetrack with the parameters for scrolling ease, we could also keep the Layers and Parameters in separate panels (grouped in a single window akin to Metadata and Curves) and give these panels their own timetrack. This helps in making the layer panel clutter-free and you won’t see the parameters unless you want to animate / draw / in detail. It would only require a single click to switch between layers and parameters anywhos. Also, if you want to view both, all you need to do is undock one of them. :smiley:

  2. That’s even better. :smiley: The original as reference, so modifying it would affect all layers. Of course, there should be an option to change the pose manually on the Pasted frames rather than the original if you want to; example, either having an “abandon” key or having not original not be influenced by the clone at all.

But how do we get about this? Create another panel of Library, like for exported Canvas? Also, it would help that selecting the library would automatically select the layers it is associated with (little things help speed things up :smiley: ).

Keyframes (originals and references) will be shown on the keyframe widgets and the keyframe panel all together. Just a mark in one column or the color will distinguish one original from the reference.
Remember that keyframes are per canvas and for the moment not per layer(s)

Earlier I mentioned about the integration of Parameters and Layers with the Timetrack. Now, check this out:


Take a close look at the interface, especially the Timeline/Timetrack. The detailed parameters are at the right panel, however, and the layers extended to the left.

But it’s not just the layout that’s convenient but also it’s intuitiveness in regards to animation. The whole process is… quick. Wow!

What do you guys say about this? Should be take some inspirations from Adobe Edge, such as interface, animation management and stuff?

Yes, it is truly inspiring!