"KEY" vs. "KEYFRAME"

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D.T. Nethery
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"KEY" vs. "KEYFRAME"

Post by D.T. Nethery » 26 Feb 2021, 19:35

I think the list of actions in the Keyboard Shortcuts list could be clarified in how the terms "KEY" and "KEYFRAME" are used.

I'm proposing that the User Manuel and the list of Keyboard Shortcuts needs to be edited to reflect the usage of KEY referring to a drawing and KEYFRAME used to refer to keyframes set for FX.

In traditional hand drawn animation, we have drawings designated as KEY drawings, BREAKDOWN drawings, and INBETWEEN drawings. (some animators use the designation EXTREME rather than KEY. In common usage I find that most animation artists treat the words KEY and EXTREME as synonymous. For our purposes I'm going to use the terms KEY, BREAKDOWN, INBETWEEN , because the term "KEY" is already embedded in TVPaint's nomenclature in the Image Marks and Flips panel)
Image_Marks_Keys_and_Breakdowns.jpg
(click image to view it larger)
Keys_Breakdowns_Inbs.png
KEYS: The most important drawings or extreme poses in a scene that establish the essence of the action and performance.
BREAKDOWNS: The main drawings or positions made between two keys, which define how a character transitions from one key pose to the next key pose.
INBETWEENS: The drawings that fill in the action between the keys and breakdowns.

On the other hand , in the FX Stack we have KEYFRAMES , which define FX transformations applied over a range of frames in the Timeline. There may be only one drawing (or many drawings) , but there can be multiple keyframes applied to that one drawing (or many drawings) of the FX which will be rendered over the selected range of frames. So Keyframes are not drawings , but are markers which show the progression of the FX applied to a drawing or drawings.

Image


KEYS (drawings) and KEYFRAMES (in the FX Stack) are not the same thing. But sometimes the shortcut naming convention in TVPaint blurs the lines between these two things by using the term "KEY" for both things.

For example: Layer > Previous Key (shortcut: PAGE UP) and Next Key (shortcut: PAGE DOWN) have reference to KEYFRAMES in the FX stack , not to Key drawings. If you set keyframes on a layer for an FX , then you can use shortcuts PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN to jump from the Previous Keyframe to Next Keyframe.

In this case the shortcuts should in fact be named Previous Keyframe and Next Keyframe , not Previous Key and Next Key.

Because when you are using the Image Marks and Flips , the very same term ("KEY") is used to refer to Key drawings. Also shortcuts for LightTable : Edit Next Key and LightTable: Edit Previous Key have to do with Key drawings , not with Keyframes , but the current shortcuts terminology is using Key to refer to both drawings and keyframes , which are not the same thing.
Screen Shot 2021-02-28 at 12.18.19 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2021-02-28 at 12.18.19 AM.jpg (69.04 KiB) Viewed 1405 times

And also the shortcut for Timesheet : Key . In the Timesheet "Key" refers to a drawing, not a Keyframe.

I'm sure I could find other examples, but you see the problem with the current usage in the shortcuts by using the word "KEY" to mean both a drawing or a keyframe?



.

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hilere
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Re: "KEY" vs. "KEYFRAME"

Post by hilere » 18 Mar 2021, 21:25

+1

But a clarification though: KEY and EXTREME are not synonymous.
- KEY = the storytelling drawing.
- EXTREME = the most extreme poses in an animation.
- BREAKDOWN = the drawing that defines the action curve.
- INBETWEEN = the drawings that fill in the action between the keys and breakdowns.

So every KEY is an EXTREME, but not every EXTREME is a KEY. In the example shown above the yellow and pink drawings of the cat jumping, the middle one is the KEY since it tels us the cat is jumping. If you only see this drawing you know the cat is jumping. You do not know this when you see the other EXTREME poses. They don't tell the story, but still are very important to define the action.

The KEYS are also the drawings you see in the storyboard, since...yes...they are the storytelling drawings.

There is a big misconception about this (similar to the misconception about ease-in and ease-out), and I absolutely do not want to offend anyone for getting this wrong, but Richard Williams explains this very clearly in The Animators Survival Kit, with a man picking up a chalk.

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D.T. Nethery
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Re: "KEY" vs. "KEYFRAME"

Post by D.T. Nethery » 19 Mar 2021, 03:14

hilere wrote:
18 Mar 2021, 21:25
+1

But a clarification though: KEY and EXTREME are not synonymous.
- KEY = the storytelling drawing.
- EXTREME = the most extreme poses in an animation.
- BREAKDOWN = the drawing that defines the action curve.
- INBETWEEN = the drawings that fill in the action between the keys and breakdowns.

So every KEY is an EXTREME, but not every EXTREME is a KEY. In the example shown above the yellow and pink drawings of the cat jumping, the middle one is the KEY since it tells us the cat is jumping. If you only see this drawing you know the cat is jumping. You do not know this when you see the other EXTREME poses. They don't tell the story, but still are very important to define the action.

The KEYS are also the drawings you see in the storyboard, since...yes...they are the storytelling drawings.

There is a big misconception about this (similar to the misconception about ease-in and ease-out), and I absolutely do not want to offend anyone for getting this wrong, but Richard Williams explains this very clearly in The Animators Survival Kit, with a man picking up a chalk.

Point well taken. I'm familiar with the example Richard Williams uses in his book and the logical argument he gives for a distinction between Keys and Extremes. And I don't disagree. But I've also noticed over the years that in practice many competent animators use the two terms --- KEY and EXTREME -- as synonymous. Further , two of the most popular animation softwares , TVPaint and Toonboom Harmony, use the term "KEY", so that's why I decided to write of Keys, B'downs, Inbs. Honestly, I can go either way on this. I won't argue against making the distinction between Keys and Extremes. I get it.

It's funny, the first version of my post above did mention the distinction between Keys and Extremes (using the Richard Williams example) but I decided it was over-complicating matters to slice it that fine and that I would be satisfied at this point if TVPaint keyboard shortcut terminology would stop mixing up the terms "keys" and "keyframes" (which really are not the same thing at all) . I'd be quite happy if TVPaint adopted the terminology of referring to "Extremes" for drawings and "Keyframes" to refer to application of effects from the FX stack. Something else that influenced me was that master animator Eric Goldberg (who apprenticed under Richard Williams) seems to be ok using the terms KEYS , BREAKDOWNS, and INBETWEENS in his book "Character Animation Crash Course" , so following Eric's lead I'm ok with using that terminology.

There is a big misconception about this (similar to the misconception about ease-in and ease-out)
Ease-out and Ease-in : yes, some animation software uses those terms in the opposite way I learned them in traditional animation as Slow-out and Slow-in.

This chart shows the action Slowing-out (easing-out) of drawing 1 and then Slowing-in (easing-in) to drawing 9. Adobe Animate has the opposite as Ease-In and Ease-Out. (but then Adobe After Effects has it as Ease-out and Ease-in the same way as shown in the chart below ... so it's not even consistent within the same "family" of software.)
Slow_out_Slow_in.jpeg
Slow_out_Slow_in.jpeg (43.1 KiB) Viewed 994 times

Now don't get me started on "animations" and "tweening". :roll:


By the way, something interesting from 'The Illusion of Life' by Messrs. Thomas & Johnston , under their discussion of Slow-In/Slow-Out:
They seem to be using "extremes" and "key drawings" as synonymous.
Illusion_of_Life_Slow_out_Slow_in.jpg
Illusion_of_Life_Slow_out_Slow_in.jpg (109.59 KiB) Viewed 994 times


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Last edited by D.T. Nethery on 19 Mar 2021, 17:23, edited 3 times in total.

Animator, TVPaint Beta-Tester, Animation Educator and Consultant.
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slowtiger
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Re: "KEY" vs. "KEYFRAME"

Post by slowtiger » 19 Mar 2021, 11:37

My understanding is that every extreme technically is a key, but not every key is an extreme.

(Key: a point defined by physics. Extreme: a point defined by expression.)
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hilere
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Re: "KEY" vs. "KEYFRAME"

Post by hilere » 21 Mar 2021, 18:26

D.T. I think if one day we would meet in person we'd have very interesting talks about animation. Respect.

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D.T. Nethery
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Re: "KEY" vs. "KEYFRAME"

Post by D.T. Nethery » 03 May 2021, 17:47

hilere wrote:
21 Mar 2021, 18:26
D.T. I think if one day we would meet in person we'd have very interesting talks about animation. Respect.
I meant to respond earlier: the respect is mutual. I hope we have the opportunity to meet in person someday. When the world returns to "normal" (what's that?) I hope to start attending animation festivals again. Do you ever go to Annecy ? Or the Ottawa festival ? I miss meeting up with colleagues at animation festivals.


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Thinking again about the distinction between Keys vs. Extremes , one thing I prefer about TVPaint's system of color marking is that there are more than only three colors to mark drawings. (with Harmony you get Red for Keys, Blue for Breakdowns, Green , or no color, for marking Inbetweens) . With TVPaint it could be something like Red = KEYS , Orange = Extremes , Blue = Breakdowns , Green , or no color, = Inbetweens . Flips preferences can be set up with keyboard shortcuts to flip between Red marks only (Keys only) , Red and Orange marks only (Keys and Extremes) , Red, Orange, Blue marks (Keys-Extremes and Breakdowns) , and Flip ALL (Red, Orange, Blue, Green) . And of course the colors denoting Key , Extreme, Breakdown , or Inbetween are up to the individual user , so if you wanted something other than Red, Orange, Blue , Green , you could use whatever colors in the Image Marks list that you prefer. So if you prefer, the Richard Williams system could be adhered to, not conflating Key and Extreme into a single category of "Key" drawing.

Something I do prefer about Harmony's system is that the same two Keyboard shortcuts F = Previous drawing G = Next drawing work for flipping Keys only , or Breakdowns only , or Keys + Breakdowns ,or Keys + Breakdowns + Inbetweens, depending on whether you have selected the K , B , or I buttons (or selected all buttons) on the Flip panel above the timeline . The selection of these buttons controls whether Next Drawing or Previous Drawing will jump from Key to Key or from Key to Breakdown , or flips all (if you have K, B, and I buttons all selected). This is nice to be able to have only two keys (F and G) to remember for Previous and Next.

Harmony -
Screen Shot 2021-05-03 at 10.50.17 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2021-05-03 at 10.50.17 AM.jpg (19.12 KiB) Viewed 169 times

I hope that the NextGen version of TVPaint under development could have something like that ?

However, I also wonder if a similar arrangement could be made using George script with buttons in a Custom Panel ?

Select_Flip_Mode_Custom_Panel.png
Select_Flip_Mode_Custom_Panel.png (60.85 KiB) Viewed 169 times

So by clicking on any single button in the first section (either K or E or B or I ) then the shortcut keys for Next Instance and Previous Instance would flip between only Keys or only Extremes or only Breakdowns or only Inbetweens .

By selecting the button KE under the secion Flip Keys + Extremes then Next Instance and Previous Instance shortcut would flip between only Keys and Extremes .

By selecting the button KEB Next Instance and Previous Instance shortcut would flip between Keys + Extremes + Breakdowns

By selecting the button KEBI Next Instance and Previous Instance shortcut would flip between Keys + Extremes + Breakdowns + Inbetweens (i.e. "Flip All")

A bit more cumbersome than Harmony's system, but I think this might be possible now in TVPaint 11.5 with use of George scripting (?). I don't know how to script , so maybe one of the resident scripting experts can chime in one that point.
Screen Shot 2021-05-03 at 11.53.05 AM.jpg

Animator, TVPaint Beta-Tester, Animation Educator and Consultant.
MAC OS 10.14.6 , Macbook Pro Retina 15-inch, Late 2013,
2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB Memory , TVPaint PRO 11.5.1 - 64bit ,
Wacom Cintiq 21 UX ,Wacom Intuos Pro 5 , Wacom driver version 6.3.39-1

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