not getting shape key widget when copying scene

I have a couple of questions about shape keys.

  1. When I copy the scene by Linking ObData, the shape key widget doesn’t work in the copied scene. Is there a way to re-link it?

  2. Also, I’m curious if there is an easy way to edit meshes that have already had a shape key applied to it. For example, I used a shape key on one part of the head but I need to edit the shape of another part that has nothing to do with the shape key. How do I do that? Is there a way of turning the shape key off or making the changes on both the Basis and the Key 1?

I’m just getting back into blender and I really appreciate any help I can get.


  1. No . “For mesh objects, the shape of the mesh is protected, so you cannot define shape keys” (from the Wiki manual) … I guess the devs expect the rigger to establish drivers in the rig …

  2. Yes, just edit as usual (preferably the basis), if the area doesn’t involve the shapekeys at all you can add verts, extrude, what ever …

Thanks for steering me in the right direction. Working in Blender, especially the shortcut keys just doesn’t seem to come natural to me. I’ve worked in After Effects, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro for years now. This is my first app using real 3d. I did go to the manual and looked up drivers. I kind of got the picture. The thing that I’m having issues with now is the whole workflow of animating. The manual works for a lot of things but I just can’t seem to make sense of this. These are some of my issues that I’m stumbling on. First of all, this is how I see it. ( I’m not using any shape keys this time. …just animating the armature. )
Let’s say I want to make two NLAs. One to blink and one to talk. I start with making the key frames for both the eyes for one blink cycle. Then I save it as an action. Then I convert it into an NLA. Everything is fine so far. Then I close the action by clicking on the X next to the name. Now what I want to do is create one cycle of opening and closing the beak. (I’m animating a hen) I start with creating a key with the mouth closed and then move some frames and create another with it open and then closed again. First of all, it seems to create the keyframes fine but it just resets it in the 3d window and it’s not until I convert it to an NLA that it actually animates in the 3d window. Why is that?

The animations that I created years ago were very simple and I was able to stumble around this app because it wasn’t much time but now I’m trying to get more serious and make entire scenes and I just can’t afford the time loss.

  1. What happens when creating a new action? Why doesn’t it sync with the 3d window after I’ve converted my first action to an NLA?
  2. How do I know how things are linked to what IPO? What happens when creating a new IPO? How do I know which IPO it’s using?
  3. How do I use the NLA to add and remove NLA strips with ease? For example, one thing that happened was I somehow lost all the strips and then I couldn’t figure out how to get them back so I selected View > View All and then all the prior strips came up. Where are they stored? Is there a way to pick them from a list?

I think that someone needs to come out with a book that explains these concepts like they are explaining it to someone, for example that knows a certain group of apps. For example, they could use Photoshop as a baseline or Final Cut Pro or something and explain it in a way that makes sense to that person. I think that they would make a lot of money.

Sorry for the long message. I guess I kind of went off track. Again, any help would be greatly appreciated.


  1. If you have an NLA strip enabled for an armature and you want to see the result of a new action, you have to add it as a NLA stip . This is because of what the NLA does, it arranges actions in the timeline . If you don’t want to have to add a strip to see your new action, you can suspend the NLA by clicking the NLA icon itself (the icon will turn into the “drowning man”/Action Editor icon) . Or you could skip the NLA all together and add actions via the Action Editor and then start arranging those actions later in the NLA . The new actions will always sync with the 3D view .

  2. Open up an IPO window . Select Pose IPO type and select a bone in your armature . You can see all pose IPOs linked to that bone . IPO curves are automatically created when you set keyframes for poses .

  3. If you hit Shift-A in the NLA window all the actions associated with your armature will show up in a context list . Just select the one(s) you want to add . Or alternatively, go to the NLA header and Strip -> Add Action Strip . To delete a strip, select the strip and hit X .

I am not sure an entire book is needed for explaining stuff like this . Blender is my first animation app I have used, but I have not encountered a lot of difficulty understanding the workflow . It sounds to me that you are approaching this from your experience with Final Cut Pro, where you work with clips of film, NLA strips are similar, but actions are basically empty until you set some keyed poses . Trying to create new actions with the NLA strips enabled seems to be confusing you .

The more usual workflow would be to create a series actions (walkcycles etc.) with the Action Editor and the IPO window (to tweak poses if necessary) and then start arranging them in NLA strips . But as I said above you can “suspend” the NLA if needed …

And as far as the hotkey issue … I have taken on the attitude that there is almost always a hotkey for common functions in Blender and always look for them - most are available through the header in the various window types .

This really clears things up for me. Suspending the NLA seems to be the thing that I really needed to know. Thanks!