Armature rotates in wrong direction

I have an animation where my armature rotates 360 degrees counter clockwise on the z axis with other slight pose changes. After having it rotate like this, I tried to return the armature to its original position and rotation and keyframe it, which worked fine, but the armature moves using a longer path around. It’s like if I wanted to rotate a cube 90 degrees clockwise, but instead it moves 270 degrees counter clockwise.

You’re keyframing both location and rotation? The problems you’re describing can occur when trying to use location + rotation, and some corrective breakdowns, to try to orbit a point. That’s not the right way to orbit a point, it will never be quite right-- instead, create a parent for the thing you want to animate, and rotate the parent.

Otherwise, take a look at your exact numbers as you step through the relevant keyframes. You may find axis-angle rotation to be a better fit for what you’re trying to do.

Hm… Okay… I think I understand. I just wish my armature would recognize which motion path is the shortest.

Be sure to use Quaternion rotation mode if you are rotating over 360 degrees.