Node-tree 'Actions' can't be applied to other nodes?

Hi! I posted this in the Animation forum but no one seemed interested so maybe it is better to be asked here!..

Let’s say you have a Color ‘MixRGB’ node, and you animate the Fac slider to go from ‘0’ on Frame1, to ‘1’ on Frame3.

This will appear on the NLA Editor, it will also appear in the Outliner under ‘Blender File’ / ‘actions’.

But you cannot add this action to other nodes with a Fac input because it does not appear in the Action Editor’s ’ ‘Browse Actions to be linked’ dropdown, nor the dropdown in the NLA Editor under ‘Animation Data’.

Why do Actions (which ARE listed as Actions under ‘Blender File’ / ‘actions’!!!) NOT appear in the these dropdowns for applying Actions to new things?

Is there a way around it?


Using node groups can solve your problem. It’s the fastest approach for sharing values/nodes between different materials.

for example: make a Value node (add>input>Value), make a group from the Value node (Ctrl+G), and you can then use this node in every material you want, and any change/animation you make inside the group will reflect in all its instances.

Good points. And another thing that might come in handy … I’m thinking off-the-cuff here, and relative to post #1 not #2 … is to deliberately add a Driver to the mix, just to give you an element of control.

If you directly-animate a value, then as you say the action is tied to that object and can’t be re-used.

If you by whatever means use groups to make multiple instances of something, then all of those instances are “the same” and they are therefore tied to one another. They are exactly … the same. Which can box-you-in later on.

Drivers are F-curves and they therefore provide a mapping from an input to an output. These mappings can be adjusted.

A final thought is to use the NLA Editor. The basic move that’s being made here is that Fac goes from a value of 0.0 to 1.0. What’s different is the frame-number at which it starts and the number of frames that it takes to do it, as well as the amount of “ease-in” and “ease-out” that you might want. A perfect place to use an NLA strip. The content of the action is basically just “the two values,” and the presentation is adjusted by playing with the position, length, and parameters of the action-strip(s) that reference it.

Thanks guys,
Sundial, I’m a bit unclear - You say you cannot add Actions strips to other nodes because as you say it is tied to the first node, then in your final you say “Use the NLA Editor…” Is that you wishing it was possible to use the NLA Editor, or are you saying there is a way it can be done?

It would also seem that Actions applied to paths suffer from the above too!

@realistic: You could try out the RE:Lay AddOn for such tasks. Set the delay time to 0 if you want synchronized relayed animated values.

Here is a link to a short video that shows how RE:Lay works with Cycles based animated node values.