The Stacker is our special keyframe manager, inspired by traditional animation X-Sheet (which is by far the best tool to manage keyframes). It works in a complementary way with the TimeBar.
Replicating exactly an X-Sheet would not have been pertinent as 3D environment has its own needs and constraints. That is why we imagined something different, something that would mix the "best of the two worlds" (2D and 3D).
The Stacker name does not refer only to the keyframe manager window (editor) but does refer to the animation layer too (content). In this section we will focus on the Stacker window (editor).
Stacker links keyframes and timings (between the previous keyframe and the current one). It means that:
- If you add a keyframe, you add time, therefore shift next keys further.
- If you delete a keyframe, you delete time and shift next keys back. The same rules apply if you edit a keyframe's timing.
Inside the Stacker, a keyframe looks like this:
- Keyframes are displayed in the center, listed vertically and numbered.
- Keyframes have their time position (global time) on the left side. You may edit this time by LMB double-clicking on it.
- Keyframes have timing between keyframes on the right side. You may edit this time by LMB double-clicking on it.
- Keyframes can be moved by drag'n'drop.
- Hold Ctrl button during the drag'n'drop duplicates selected keyframes
- Keyframes can be flagged as “Extreme” or “Breakdown” by RMB click menu.
Extreme and breakdown keys
) and Breakdown ( ) flags are only visual feedback. It helps you to clearly visualize and distinguish your keyframes.
In traditional animation, an “extreme” pose (also called a “key”) represents a “key” moment in an animated sequence. It is the highest level of pose. A “breakdown” (or “passing/middle” pose) is a “main inbetween” pose between extremes.
By RMB clicking on a keyframe you open the Keyframe Menu:
- Mark the selected keyframes as “extreme” ( ).
- Mark the selected keyframes as “breakdown” ( ).
- Remove marks from selected keyframes.
- Remove all marks.
: Add a key after the current keyframe with a default timing. After creation, akeytsu selects the new key automatically. Create Key
Two different "create key" features
- If your time cursor is already on a keyframe, you will create a new key the way described above (current key duplication, current key timing).
- If your time cursor is between keyframes, you will create a new key (inbetween key) being the interpolation of the two keyframes without shifting next keys. However, all keys will be renumbered.
In Akeytsu, you are forced to create a keyframe before you may edit your character's posing. Therefore, there is no need to confirm posing transformations by creating a new key afterwards. Your modifications are saved automatically.
Remove the current keyframe(s) selection and its timing. Delete Key:
Show previous key or frame of the Stacker as ghost. Display Prev. Ghost:
Show next key or frame of the Stacker as ghost. Display Next Ghost:
Ghosts reacts to the camera used to render the view. Two distinct views will display ghosts accordingly. If the camera is animated, ghosts will show the position in previous/next frame/key, this way you can easily track any parts of your character and make accurate trajectories.
: Insert an automatic loop key to simplify cycle animation workflow. The loop key is Loop Modealways positioned at the end of the animation and can't be edited as it always mimics the first key (even if it is modified afterward) ( ).
Animation curves “pre” and “post” loop mode are automatically modified.
Select all, first half or second half of keyframes. Quick Select Keys:
: This field displays the total time amount for the currently selected keyframes. When you edit it, selected keyframes' timings will be scaled to match the value you entered (as best as possible). Timings amount
The Stacker is also used to manage Audio Clips
To create an audio layer, you will need to go in the mixer window and use the "Create Audio Layer" button
Supported audio file format
Currently, Akeytsu can support .mp3 .ogg and .wav file formats, more formats may be supported in future releases
: Open the explorer, so you can Add Audio Clip pick an audio file.
Delete Audio Clip : Removes the current audio clip(s) selection and its timing. If you delete the last audio clip in the stacker/timebar, the audio layer will be removed as well.
Inside the Stacker, audio clips looks like this:
- Audio clips are displayed in the center, listed vertically.
- Audio clips have their time position (global time) on the left side. You may edit this time by LMB double-clicking on it.
- Audio clips length are displayed on the right side. You cannot edit this time since we do not allow to extend/compress a clip timing yet.
- Audio clips can be moved by drag'n'drop.
- If you press Ctrl button during the drag'n'drop, it duplicates the selected clips
You can find here settings about onion ghosts.
Ghosts on playing: If checked, ghosts will be displayed during playback.
Ghosts always wire: If checked, ghosts will always be rendered in wireframe. It can help visibility.
Prev. ghosts: Set the number of displayed previous ghosts.
Next ghosts: Set the number of displayed next ghosts.
Ghosts on: Choose to display ghosts on keyframes or frames.