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Not Either/Or, but Both/And

So far, we've been describing how each keyframe generation strategy works. We're not implying that you must work only one way or the other way. You can combine both methods. In fact, it may be more efficient at times to go back and forth between Auto-Key off and Auto-Key on. We'll lay out scenarios for the way that key events can exist for a given option over the duration of a sequence. This will help you understand how to work with Auto-Key on and off and to move between the two approaches.

Keyframes and Animation Scenarios

Figure 2 shows an un-animated state plus four possible scenarios for object animations that take place over time. (Although the same scenarios can exist for skies or object attributes, we use objects for ease of reference.) The little vertical bars mark the key events. You may recognize the general appearance of these options when you visit the Advanced Motion Lab.


Figure 2 An object's attribute being animated.

    Top: No animation (no keyframes, no nothing).

    Second row: Animation exists as an initial state, but does not change for the duration of the sequence.

    Third row: Animation from one condition to another.

    Fourth row: Initial condition is established at a later time.

    Bottom row: Animation between two conditions

Here are the four scenarios:

  • Not Animated. There are no keyframes for the object; it is not animated. This is the normal scenario with Auto-Key off. If you have Auto-Key on, you need to make a change to the object's keyframe(s) to put it in this state (we'll tell you how later). If an object is not animated, you can change it no matter what the current time is set to. That's because there is no initial state for Auto-Key to compare against, so there's no possible way to record a change as a new key event.

  • Animated Initial Condition. This is the normal scenario for all objects created when Auto-Key is on. The initial condition persists for the duration of the sequence. Therefore, if you need to change something for the entire sequence, tap the left bracket key ([) to move the time to the beginning, make your change, and then go back to whatever point in time you were at before doing the once-for-all change. (Otherwise, the change you make will look like the next option, Animated Object.)

  • Animated Object. Two or more animated conditions exist, and there is a transition from condition A to B, and so on. For animation in Bryce, this is the most common scenario.

  • Delayed Initial Condition. The initial keyframe is set not at the beginning of the time, but at a later point in time. With no additional changes after the initial keyframe, the object exists in a single-condition. When Auto-Key is off, this might happen if you record the first keyframe at that later point. You can also change the second scenario (Animated Initial Condition) into this one by moving the key ticker mark's position in the Advanced Motion Lab (more on that later).

  • Delayed Animation. A delayed initial keyframe is followed by another keyframe later in the sequence, resulting in an animated transition from one condition to another. This scenario is identical to Animated Object except that the animation commences later in the sequence. Like the previous scenario (Delayed Initial Condition), this scenario is more apt to occur when working with Auto-Key off and setting the initial keyframe later in the sequence.
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