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Feature Request Animation editor QoL improvements

Discussion in 'Animation' started by AlexVillalba, Feb 4, 2023.

  1. AlexVillalba

    AlexVillalba

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Posts:
    346
    I re-posted this thread on my website: https://www.jailbrokengame.com/2023/05/22/animation-editor-qol-improvements/

    Hi everybody! I would like to share with you some ideas about how to greatly improve the usability of the Animation window. I'm pretty sure some of them have already come to your mind at some point because they are quite obvious but I want to put them in writing here anyway:

    Adding new properties to the timeline

    It would be nice to be able to select more than one property at a time to add them to the Animation timeline instead of having to open the menu and search for the next property every single time. Maybe the property selection popup could stay there until you click outside.

    upload_2023-2-4_14-1-3.png

    Additionally, or alternatively, it would be good to be able quickly find the next property to add by typing its name in a search box or something. Maybe you could search for the name of the object instead. Sometimes the hierarchy of a prefab is very big and it takes so much time to get to the right place by unfolding the tree.

    I know you can add the same property of multiple instances by selecting the desired objects, enabling the animation recording and then right-clicking on the property in the inspector, finally selecting Add Key in the popup, but that's just a weird workaround.

    Animation event selection

    I think you all agree with me if I say that the presentation and selection of the animation events at the top of the timeline is HORRIBLE. Specially the event stacking, when there are more than one at the same time, sometimes you can't select them unless you expand the timeline horizontally and display them separated.
    I suggest that only one selector is shown at the top of the timeline (maybe with a number or a sign that tells you that there are more than one event) and, once you select it, all the stacked events appear in the Inspector window, as a vertical list.

    upload_2023-2-4_14-5-6.png

    The other horrible thing about animation events is the way the methods of the animated object are selected in the Inspector: just a typical selection popup. You cannot search for it, you cannot scroll up and down in the list (yeah of course you can, using that tiny arrow at the bottom... the same thing as when you want to select a script in the Script Execution Order window, btw).

    upload_2023-2-4_14-5-55.png

    Animation property edition

    Some people don't know that you can edit the path of an animation property, a typical thing you need when moving or renaming objects in an animated hierarchy. I would add some kind of floating "Edit" button that appears when you hover a property with the mouse cursor, so it is obvious for everybody.

    upload_2023-2-4_14-8-25.png

    I suggest also an alternative way to update the path of an animation property: dragging and dropping an object of the hierarchy right on the row of the property, so we don't have to type it.

    An alternative could be showing an object selection window (the same that is shown when selecting an object in a field of the Inspector).

    Animation selector

    When you select an object that has an animator, the Animation window adapts to that context. It shows the list of animations implied in the state machine of the animator and that's great, but I my opinion it would be more useful to show the name of the states in the dropdown list instead of the name of the animation assets. For example "Idle" instead of "A_CharacterX_Idle".

    upload_2023-2-4_14-3-46.png

    Extra (not editor-related): Property blocking

    I would like to use this post also to remark a problem (by design) that has made many devs waste many hours, and it is how the values of the animation properties are blocked (you cannot modify them in runtime) while the animation that modifies them is not playing. If the Enabled property is in state "Idle" and is not at all in the animation of the state "Walking", when the animator is playing "Walking" you still can't modify Enabled. This is very counter-intuitive. Here you can see all the poor souls that fell in this hole:

    https://forum.unity.com/threads/ani...eys-for-that-value.440363/page-3#post-8709834
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2023
    Thaina, Ferazel and Jamez0r like this.
  2. AlexVillalba

    AlexVillalba

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Posts:
    346
    little up
     
  3. AlexVillalba

    AlexVillalba

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Posts:
    346
    Another suggestion:

    When creating an empty state in the Animator window, it would be useful to automatically set the focus in the text box of the name of the new state.
     
  4. AlexVillalba

    AlexVillalba

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Posts:
    346
    It would be good to have a button to select the Animation asset we are working on, in the Animation timeline.
     
  5. AlexVillalba

    AlexVillalba

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Posts:
    346