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Feedback [SUGGESTIONS] 10 Improvements for the Animation View (with screenshots, gifs and mockups)

Discussion in 'Animation' started by VincentPaquinUbiant, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. VincentPaquinUbiant


    Nov 6, 2018
    With the advanced works on Timeline, Mecanim, Animator and the Animation Rigging package, I feel that the Animation Window isn't getting the updates it needs. As a very regular user of said window, I have a few suggestions to improve it.

    Event Edition

    Unfoldable Event Timeline

    When multiple events are happening at the same frame, it is hard, and in some extreme cases, impossible, to select the right event.

    If the event timeline was somehow resizeable, it would give a larger area to click on the right event.

    Events editing box selection

    When editing keyframes, the scaling box tool is very useful to change the length of certain parts. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to do the same with the events.

    Being able to select the events along the keyframes would be useful, or, the scaling box tool when selecting multiple events.

    Copy Paste
    This one seems self-explanatory, I would really like to be able to copy and paste an already existing event/group of events, the same way we can with Keyframes.​

    Keyframe Edition

    Auto Looping Frame Tangent Mode

    For a looping animation, it would be useful to have a third "Auto" tangent mode, that makes a seamless loop.
    In order to get a seamless loop, we currently have to :
    • Copy the whole animation
    • paste it to the end (so the last frame calculates the "auto" tangent based on the following frames)
    • set the final frame to free smooth (so it doesn't change when we delete the following frame)
    • copy back to first frame (so the free smooth is applied to both the first and last frame)
    • remove leftover frames

    Window Tools

    Search bar

    The scene view, the project view, and the hierarchy view have a small search bar that allows to search items, using spaces to separate keywords.

    Being able to filter the objects list by word, in order, for example, to display only the "hands" of the character.

    Interpolation setting when selecting multiple properties

    Currently, the conditions to be able to switch between Euler and Quaternion interpolation is to have selected only rotations, and rotation that have the same interpolation already.

    It would be useful to be able to edit the interpolation as soon as one rotation is selected.

    Folders and reordering

    Even if they are stored in a subasset of the animation, being able to reorder, and store in folder, different properties, would be more than welcome.

    For instance, being able to group in a folder all
    IK Targets
    Gameplay Variables

    The order of the objects is currently by hierarchy. While this is logical, it can be a pain when trying to find both “Hand_L” and “Hand_R” for a character.

    Mass renaming

    Animations reference their properties by name, so if a gameObject is renamed, the reference is lost. This is due to design, and is a feature I’ve actually used to use the same animation on multiple objects.

    However, sometimes, a gameObject will be renamed, and in the Animation Window, this requires to rename a lot of properties, as each property can only be renamed one by one.

    I actually have repurposed some tools in an Asset Store set of scripts in order to be able to do so.

    Renaming made more obvious

    I have never met someone who knew that pressing F2, or clicking on the property’s name allowed for renaming, despite it being a very useful feature. They could read the documentation, but maybe a pencil icon/button to edit the name?

    Colored sections

    Some animations are complex, and some are clearly divided in multiple parts. These parts can not be visualized in the animation Window.
    The ability to “color” or even name boxes in order to group keyframes together would be a big plus to make the different steps of an animation readable.
    For example, in the Asset Store’s “Slate” tool, animations can look as follows:

    You made it this far
    Thank you for reading my rant. I tried to be as specific and detailed as possible. To be honest, I have tried doing it myself by downloading the Animation Window on the Unity Cs Reference Git, but due to most of the logic being internal, it wasn't possible to edit the Animation Window (at least, without recompiling the DLL, which is never risky.)

    After editing it, there are now 11 suggestions!

    I also don't know how to end this forum post. Thank you, thank you for the work that's already existing on the Animation Window, and have a nice day.​
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  2. VincentPaquinUbiant


    Nov 6, 2018
    @simonbz , hello, if I'm not mistaken, you would be one of the right people I would need to address this to?
    Would you mind giving me your opinion on those?
  3. simonbz


    Unity Technologies

    Sep 28, 2015
    Currently, we don't have any short term tasks planned to improve the animation window. That said, a lot of what you are suggesting has been discussed as possible improvements internally.

    I'll go over some of your suggestions and try to shed some light on your questions.

    Boundary tangents edition:
    This is on our list of improvements for the animation window. I wouldn't see it as a new tangent mode, but rather a loop option for tangents to enforce their tangent modes to the first/last keyframe of each curve.

    Search bar:
    This has been prototyped a while ago. While this was working well, it felt clunky in the interface, and we decided to leave it out for the time being. However, we added a selection filter in 2019.2 to allow filtering based on scene selection. You can find it in the interface just next to the clip selection.

    Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 11.00.47 PM.png

    Mass renaming:
    As you've said, it's a tricky thing to do since animation clips can be reused in multiple scenes. You most likely want to rename and/or reorder properties across multiple clips. To me, this feel likes something that could be achieved in the project folder with a dedicated renaming tool, as the animation window will only retrieve clips from the current animator/animation component and misses some context. Fortunately, the public API lets you retrieve and rename curves in the animation clip which allow for custom tools to help alleviate the issue, but I agree we could provide a more integrated solution.

    Events edition:
    The box tool in the animation window has been implemented to work on animation curves in the dopesheet and the curve editor. As such, you can also use it in other windows or inspectors using a curve editor in Unity. The events themselves are separate from the keyframes. However, I agree these could benefit from their own box tool with similar features.

    As for events selection, we explored alternate interfaces that would have moved and changed the events visuals, but weren't able to proceed with these as it would have impacted much more of the animation window ui. I'm hoping we'll be able to tackle some of these issues with the ongoing UX overhaul (

    I hope my answers were helpful. Thank you for providing such extensive feedback on the tool. Constructive feedback like this is very much appreciated :)
  4. VincentPaquinUbiant


    Nov 6, 2018
    thank you for your answers, and especially for the detailed and extended explanation !
    While it's not the most satisfying answer possible, and that I expected the UX overhaul would be an opportunity, but also a good reason not to update the window immediately, I'm glad to hear that the Animation Window has a few plans for improvements!:)
    Oblivionized likes this.