In many ways Blue Pencil keys are no different than normal Maya keys. Both are visible in the timeline and graph editor, they can be retimed directly, or through MEL scripting, and they are saved out to the Maya scene file. Animators familiar with Maya's workflow should immediately feel comfortable working with Blue Pencil keys.
The major difference between Blue Pencil keys and native Maya keys is how they are added and removed from the scene. All operations that involve creating, copying or deleting keys must be done through the Blue Pencil toolset (Menu, Toolbox or MEL command). Blue Pencil will try to accomodate keys that are added or removed through other methods but a loss of data may occur.
There are two options for adding a new key:
- Blank Key - Insert a key at the current time and clear the foreground layer.
- Duplicate Key - Insert a key at the current time and copy the foreground layer from the previous key.
If a key already exists at the current time, a new key will not be created.
To add a blank key, click the button on the Toolbox or select Blank Key from the main menu (Blue Pencil->Keys->Blank Key).
To add a duplicate key, click the button on the Toolbox or select Duplicate Key from the main menu (Blue Pencil->Keys->Duplicate Key).
To remove a key, click the button on the Toolbox or select Remove Key from the main menu (Blue Pencil->Keys->Remove Key).
Adding or Removing Multiple Keys
Blue Pencil makes it easy to quickly add or remove keys from the scene. Under the Utilites submenu (Blue Pencil->Utilities) there are helper scripts for adding or removing keys in the selected timeline range. Each of these utility scripts works in a similar way:
- Highlight a range in Maya's timeline. (Hold down Shift+LMB while dragging across the timeline)
- Select the add (or remove) utility script from the main menu (Blue Pencil->Utility->Add Keys in Range).