Copying motion key frames and applying one to another object/character

I thought I had read this tidbit somewhere in the manual, but can’t seem to find it. Anyways, I was wondering on how to copy one set of key frame functions and applying that to another object. For instance, say that I had animated a walk cycle for character “A” and I wanted to copy just the motion frames and paste it to character “B”, so character “B” would do the same exact walk cycle as “A”. I’m assuming this would only work if the setups for each were exactly the same.

I also recall somewhere that you could even save just the motion frames as a template and use that as part of your repertoire and apply that to objects/characters. Is that correct, or did I just imagine that?

Hi,What you are trying to achieve is possible. Although, there are many IF. :)IF you characters are quite similar in pieces length and shape, it should work.IF you character have the EXACT SAME rigging structure, it should work.At that point, what you have to do is in the timeline view, you expand all the layers of your first character and copy all of it.Second, you expand all the layers of your second character, select the first cell of the first layer, right-click and select Paste Special.In the Paste Special window, set the drawing option to Do Nothing.Click on OK… and it should work.As for the template, I did not succeed in creating a technique that works.Marie-Eve

Muchas gracias kind folks. Yeah i know that you gotta be super strict and have it exactly the same structure in order for it to work. I’ll probably apply this technique to mostly more simpler objects and once in awhile apply it to characters :slight_smile:

Oh Lilly, I was wondering when you are finishing animating your master template, and drag the RIGHT side of the expanded timeline onto the library, do you need a key frame at the end of the timeline like you would in the beginning?

There is a way of doing this with templates. But the same conditions apply that Marie-Eve stated before.

1. The templates MUST have EXACTLY the same structure.
2. The length of the bones must be exactly the same - i.e. the pivot points of the various layers must be in the same place on both templates.

Now the first thing you need to do is create the two master templates. To create a master template, make sure the rig has a KEYFRAME on the first frame. Then, drag and drop from the LEFT side of the timeline onto the library.

Now you can create what we call an “Action” template - this is a template that has reusable animation. To do this, first animate your master template, then drag and drop from the RIGHT side of the timeline to the library. Make sure you use a naming convention that will allow you to remember what your action template does. I will usually put my action templates into a folder in my library devoted to that character. Then I’ll call it ACTION_walk or something equally descriptive.

Now you can take the action template and drag and drop it back onto the right-side of the timeline.

You can drag this action template onto any rig that has exactly the same structure as the rig it was created with. If the pivot points are in the same place, then the animation will transfer over. If the pivot points are different, then you will get some very odd results. :slight_smile:

When you drag and drop the Action template back over to the right-side of the timeline, if you’re dragging it onto a different template, then there are two options that could be useful. After you start dragging, but before you let go, hold down Control. Then when you let go it will bring up the Paste Special options. If you select “Only create drawings when they do not exist” then it will only copy the drawings from the previous template if there are no corresponding drawings (drawings with the same name) in the current structure. It should be okay to leave this option on if your templates were created by duplicating then modifying. However if you have created the two independently from scratch, then you would most likely need to turn on “Do Nothing” for drawings, and just make sure that all the boxes for your keyframes are checked on.

Because of the limitations inherent in trying to copy animation, it’s usually best if you know you want to do this to create the two templates by duplicating the first template then making modifications to it in order to create your second template.

I know that was a lot to take in but hope it helps.


When you’re creating an Action template, what it’s going to do is copy all of the keyframes from the right side of your animation. You only need a keyframe at the end if you want there to be a keyframe at the end. If your animation doesn’t need it, then it doesn’t need to be there.