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Blender animation shortcuts

Like many of the things we can do in Blender they usually are accessible by both a menu and a shortcut. This can become quite repetitive when we need to repeat these operations many times. So what are the main shortcuts used for animation in Blender?

A few of the most commonly used animation shortcuts in Blender are:

  • I - Inserts a keyframe on the active object or input field the cursor is hovering over at the current frame. This is one of the main shortcuts for animation and we will use it quite a bit.
  • Right and Left Arrows - Move forward and backward one frame.
  • Up and Down Arrows - Jumps to the next and previous keyframe if there are any.
  • Space Bar - Plays and pauses an animation.

This is a short list of some of the most common shortcuts. Now let's get into all of the other shortcuts we have available for animation. We'll discuss what they do and how to use them.

List of animation shortcut keys in Blender

Animation can be a bit of a repetitive process and there are quite a few shortcuts in Blender we can use to speed up this process. First, let's cover all the keyframe shortcuts as well as the driver shortcuts.

  • I - Inserts a keyframe on the active object or input field the cursor is hovering over at the current frame. This is one of the main shortcuts for animation and we will use it quite a bit.
  • Alt + I - Clear the current keyframe for the value we're hovering over. By value, this could be a position value or any other field that allows keyframes.
  • Shift + Alt + I - Clear all keyframes for the values we're hovering over. These values wo
  • Ctrl + D - Assign a driver to the value we are hovering over. These can be a bit different than keyframes since they can be equations that sample time. They can still be used for animation though.
  • Ctrl + Alt + D - Removes the driver from the value we're hovering over.

Time Adjusting shortcuts

While we could manually move the playhead in the timeline by clicking around these shortcuts allow for more precision. Unlike other timeline shortcuts these will work regardless of where our cursor is.

  • Space Bar - Plays and pauses an animation.
  • Left Arrow - Moves the playhead left one frame.
  • Right Arrow - Moves the playhead right one frame.
  • Up Arrow - Jumps to next keyframe.
  • Down Arrow - Jumps to the previous keyframe.
  • Shift + Left Arrow - Jumps to the first frame.
  • Shift + Right Arrow - Jumps to the last frame.

Timeline Shortcuts

These are shortcuts we can use inside of the timeline. Note that for these to work we'll need to make sure our cursor is over the timeline.

  • A - One press of A will select all of our keyframes and double taping A will deselect all keyframes.
  • Shift + Alt + O - Samples between the select keyframes and creates a keyframe for each keyframe in between. Note that while the keyframes it creates look different this is only a visual difference that we can change with the R shortcut.
  • R - Allows us to change the look of a keyframe. Again we must have one or more keyframes selected for this to change anything.
  • Shift + D - duplicates the selected shortcuts. When we move the mouse it will change the position of the keyframes.
  • Shift + Ctrl + V - Pastes a flipped version of the selected keyframes.

Selection shortcuts

While there are a few general selection shortcuts that work in the timeline here are a few that are specifically for the timeline and animation. We'll want to hover our cursor over the timeline when using these.

  • L - Select all of the linked keyframes from the selected keyframes.
  • Alt + K - Selects the keyframes between the selected markers.
  • Shift + K - Selects all keyframes on the column of the selected markers.
  • Ctrl + K - Selects the column of keyframes on the current frame.
  • K - Select the rest of the keys in the selected key's columns.

Graph Editor Shortcuts

Like the timeline, there are a few generic shortcuts we can use here but as well as those there are a few shortcuts specific to the graph editor.

  • T - When we have a keyframe selected this shortcut will open a menu showing the interpolation methods.
  • V - Allows us to change the handle type of the selected keyframe on the curve. Handles are useful for changing how a value eases between keyframes. We'll need to set the interpolation type to one that supports different handle types, for example, bezier.
  • Ctrl + E - Allows us to change the easing type of the selected keyframe, this won't have an effect with the default interpolation method but will with interpolation methods that ease in and out differently.

Nonlinear Animation editor shortcuts

These shortcuts are handy for when we're doing a lot of work in the NLA Editor.

  • Shift + A - adds the selected action as a strip to the currently selected NLA track.
  • Shift + T - adds a transition strip between the two selected strips. This will automatically adjust to fit the separation length between the strips.
  • Shift + K - Adds a sound clip to the selected speaker. This is useful as it allows us to control when a speaker plays its sound clip. We can also play a clip multiple times and change its length.
  • Ctrl + G - Creates a meta strip from the selected strips. A meta strip basically acts like a group of strips that combines them into one strip.
  • Ctrl + Alt + G - Removes the selected meta strip and splits it back into the original strips.
  • Page Up - Moves selected strip up.
  • Page Down - Moves selected strip down.
  • Alt + F - Swaps around the selected strips.
  • Y - Splits the selected strip in half.

Final thoughts

While most of the information about these shortcuts is available from within Blender hopefully these explanations of what the shortcuts do will help us quickly figure them out.

Having a long list of all the shortcuts in one place can also be useful considering that a lot of these operations are put away into their own menus and sub-menus. While these menus are all organized they can be a bit of a chore to search through.

Thank you for your time.

Written by: Damian Paterson

Editor & Publisher

Erik Selin
3D artist, writer, and owner of artisticrender.com

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