Loop animation from specific frame range

Hi! I have a character that is running, then stops and takes a moment to catch a breath. The animation starts at frame 0 when he’s running, then the character stops at frame 400 and takes a break that lasts until frame 450. Now what I need is to loop the 50 frames any number of times.

Usually, I duplicate the 50 frames, and do a copy paste until I’d like the character to start running again.

Problem is, when sometimes you have to do some changes, you have to reduplicate the keyframes again and again, which can be a pain if there are a lot of keyframes.

What would be the best practice to duplicate these keyframes? Is there a way to make frames from 400 to 450 into a clip and duplicate them as instances? I never understood how NLA or Dope Sheet worked in Blender. They usually created more problems than they were useful.

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The NLA allow to mix several actions, so it seems the perfect candidate for what you’re doing.
But editing the animation afterward is a bit more complicated than with regular actions.

I think you probably need to make your cycles well polished anyway , NLA will allow to loop and avoid duplicating keyframes, but it will always be more complicated to edit the animation once the whole 450 frames are setup.

Or , take the longest approach and do a pose to pose animation with a good blocking, then refine all the pose by passes. That way you can tweak the animation at a stage where it’s still not too complicated.
450 frame is a lot of animation, it will always take a bunch of time to pull out.

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¿What about the Action Editor? You can find it inside the Dope Sheet Editor.

I can’t yet confirm this, but if I’m not wrong, it allows for making and “saving” animation clips (a bit like Materials are “saved”) that can be recalled for different purposes. I suspect Action Editor can be used with other Editors for making animation loops in the timeline, though I’m not sure whether NLA Editor is absolutely required.

Sorry, that’s all I know for now.

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Thanks for your answers. I think I’ll stick with the longest approach. NLA’s interface is really nonintuitive, and it’s hard to modify the animation once collapsed.

I also don’t know what’s so different about action editor, since it also shows keyframes like in the timeline. I know it has animation clips, but I can only choose the animation clip I want to play on the whole character, not merge 2 animations.

The cycles modifier in the graph editor seems to do its job, but not if you want to use it from frame 400 to 450, and continue afterwards. Instead, the modifier duplicates the framerates to frame 850 and then cycles. A shame really.

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Timeline, Dopesheet and Action Editor are quite similar , but they don’t have exactly the same options and uses. They could have been combined into one editor but that would have led to a cluttered interface.

To merge two actions, is what the NLA is for, it’s also possible to do some looping/cycles here. But yes, it’s harder to modifiy the action afterwards. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting more used to it.

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