Feature proposal for 2.50: channel box

Hi guys, I’m Gianmichele, a character animator from Italy.

I don’t know how to post this in the 2.50 proposal section on blender’s wiki, so I thought I could post this here and have some comments.

Well, as you know one of the goals for 2.50 is to have a “everything animatable” blender. As a matter of fact I think Maya’s way of handling attributes is really simple and yet powerful. In a way the channel box is like when you press the numeric key (n), but on steroid!
I’ve prepared a little video to explain how maya’s channel box works, but I really apologize for the boring voice and also all the mistakes in my english :stuck_out_tongue:

http://www.liquidnet.it/maya_channel.mov (18 Mb!)

Anyway, my proposal is not for a copy of the channel box. I know blender developers can come with a very smart way to work with attributes. Want I really wanted to underline are the basic functions and workflows for such a tool:

  • ability to lock and hide attributes, and only expose what’s really needed for users (animators)
  • ability to add custom attributes
  • ability to drive those attributes via python expression, direct connection (shown in the video), set driven key
    (this is not in the video, but if you want I can make a video explaining)

Hope that everything is clear enough, and if someone can give me help to upload this for the wiki proposal it’ll be great!


www.blenderstorm.org ?

IMO, it could be joined into an advanced outliner. :slight_smile:

I agree with the outliner

I think that would be a good place to position it.

Blenders outliner is mayas hypertree or what was that name again …

Uhm,asking Blender to become maya isn’t a good thing,the ways the 2 program work are different.
But I agree that locking and custom attributes are important and good features.

@renderdemon: nope, I really don’t want to have Blender like Maya (I’ll use Maya if I need), but was suggesting a way to have more control over animatable channels.

In production riggers always want to be sure not have have their rig broken is a couple of minutes (by placing a key where it should not be), and believe me, it always happens, I’m one of those animators :P. By having the option to only expose what is really necessary for the animation, riggers have the ability to drastically reduce these problems.

@cekuhnen: no, blender’s outilner is node maya’s hypergraph. those 2 completely different things. Maya’s hypergraph is like the node/compositing editor in blender. Just in there you can connect everything to everything (let’s say a material reverse node to an fk/ik chain, to build an ik/fk switch). I’ve seen the proposal for the outliner at blender wiki and it’s really going in the right direction. But the channel box is really just a COLLECTION OF ATTRIBUTES PER OBJECTS, with the ability to customize those attributes.

Happy blending :smiley:


If you haven’t done yet, post also to www.blenderstorm.org


gianmichele,what can be done now is using python to lock the channel,you use some fake expression that place some constant or something like that.
But you have to understand that for bones/armature things are more difficoult,the ways rotation internally works (and how they are exposed to users) in Blender is totally different than Maya.
Maya has euler angles,you key these,and locking individual channels make sense,as even if the system mathematically has some problems(singularity ) the rigger can overcome this easily and he might be interested in forbidding you to touch something you must not.
But Blender is quaternion based,how/when do you lock individual channel?
This is what I mean when I say that the 2 programs work differently.
Probably is better to first ask to return to euler angles(I think it’s a big job),rotations keys are really important and how work now give less control to animator(working with quaternions ipo curves isn’t easy),and after asking locking channels.
Custom attributes are cool,I really like the idea(I like how Xsi do them),but I prefer a node based interface for that stuff,It can give us more power:yes:.

Yup renderdemon, now I understand what you’re aiming for and that makes perfectly sense.

I agree about the node system. That would a really cool way to handle attributes and channels (houdini rules in this field), and also would make things really consistent with the node editor for materials and compositing.

Anyway, I haven’t yet had to opportunity to say that I’d love to animate one of your creature :smiley: that would make for a wonderful submission for Durian :stuck_out_tongue:



The channel system seems to be pretty much the same as the curve editor
in Blender - the channel values are shown as a curve and not numeric values.

Mh I am curious where the channel box could be integrated. I find sometimes
the curve editor difficult to use when I simply want to enter numeric values for
the key frames. mh …

and they say blender’s interface is confusing… man, all those menu items and dialogs you go through in the video is overwhelming… (and they always seem to block your view)


The “outliner” in blender is like the “outliner” in maya lol. I was pleasantly surprised to see that blender also had an outliner.

Hey Basse

I dont agree with those UI vs UI anyway. maya’s interface is compact because Maya simply comes with quite more tools abroad and you need to put those somewhere.

I did not find Maya very difficult to learn.

I think a floating panels for channels inside the curve editor view might be good
or simply optimizing the current floating transformation panel.