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How to set keyframes

At the object level, select and transform objects and characters to position them for keyframing.

Selecting an object automatically adds commonly animated parameters to the channel list. To add other parameters, or change which parameters are automatically added to the channel list, see Working with the Channel List.

To...Do this

Set keyframes on parameters in the channel list

Press the Key button on the playbar, press K or choose Edit ▸ Set Keyframe.

Set keyframes on all parameters of the current operator’s active handle

⌃ Ctrl + K

Press on the handle and choose Keyframes ▸ Set Keyframe.

Set keyframes on the selected object’s position

⇧ Shift + T

Set keyframes on the selected object’s rotation

⇧ Shift + R

Set keyframes on the selected object’s scale

⇧ Shift + E

Key everything

Press ⌃ Ctrl + A to select all, then press K.

Protect certain parameters from being keyframed

In the parameter editor pane, press on the parameter and choose Lock Parameter.

Automatically create keyframes whenever you change parameters (auto-key)

Turn on Auto key on the playbar by using the down arrow menu to the right of the keyframe button on the playbar. When Auto key is enabled, the keyframe button has a different look. See auto-key for more information.

See also how to edit keyframes and channels.

Tip

You can set the default curve function for new keyframes in the animation preferences (Edit ▸ Preferences ▸ Animation).

How to set and manage keyframes in the parameter editor

To...Do this

Set a keyframe on a parameter

  • Press on a parameter and choose Keyframes ▸ Set Keyframe.

  • As a shortcut, you can click the parameter with Alt + to set a keyframe.

Remove a keyframe

  1. Move the playbar to the keyframe for the parameter.

  2. Press on a parameter and choose Keyframes ▸ Remove Keyframe. As a shortcut, you can click the parameter with ⌃ Ctrl + to remove a keyframe.

Remove a keyframe on all parameters in the Channel List

  1. Move the playbar to the keyframe for the parameter.

  2. Press Delete with the mouse on the playbar.

Move the playbar to the next/previous keyframe for a parameter

  • Press on a parameter and choose Keyframes ▸ Step to Previous Key or Keyframes ▸ Step to Next Key.

Tip

For parameters with multiple components (for example, a position parameter with X, Y, and Z values) you can click individual component text boxes, or click the parameter label to affect all components at once.

Color coding for keyframes and parameters

Houdini color-codes the background of parameter edit fields in the parameter editor, and the keyframe ticks on the playbar timeline, according to the current keyframe status. The playbar’s keyframe button uses the same color-codes to give a quick status for all the keys at the current frame.

"Pending changes" means you've changed one or more parameters so the value is different from the previous keyframe, but you haven’t set a keyframe to save those changes yet.

The timeline only shows key markers for the parameters in the Channel List. The Global Set Key animation preference controls if all the channels or only selected channels are displayed on the timeline.

Background

Timeline mark

State

Green

Green

Keyed

This component is animated and you're on a keyframe.

Bright green

Partial key

One or more of the channels are keyed at this frame, but not all.

Yellow

Orange

Pending changes

You've changed this component on a keyframe, but not committed the change.

You can set Houdini to automatically commit changes on keyframes.

Light blue

'Tween

This component is animated (either with keyframes or an expression), but you're not on a keyframe.

(Click the name of a parameter to switch between showing the current value and the expression.)

Steel blue

Disabled key

This component is animated (either with keyframes or an expression), but the channel is disabled in the dopesheet.

How to animate an object moving along a path curve

Use the Follow Path tool on the Constraints shelf tab.

View the animation curves for keyframed parameters

Animation

Getting started

Next steps