1. This tutorial will show you how to use keyframes to animate properties of your objects over time, such as location, rotation and scale.
2. The most important window for animation in Blender is the timeline, which you will find at the bottom of the screen in the default layout. The second most important is the dopesheet.
3. Drag a new window down from the timeline and turn it into a dopesheet. This allows you to see the details associated with any keyframes that you create more closely than the timeline
4. The default number of frames in an animation is 250, which is approximately 10 seconds of animation at 25 frames per second. You can change this by typing in the text field beside the word ‘end:’. Type in 1000. This would create an animation 40 seconds long at 25 fps.
5. For this example, we will put the number of frames back to 250.
6. Keyframes in Blender can be used to store information about the Location, Rotation and Scale of objects in 3D space. Blender uses the abbreviations Loc, Rot, Scale for each of these.
7. You can add keyframes for each of these in isolation or all at the same time.
8. Keyframes work by adding a keyframe at the beginning point of your animation and at the end point. All you have to do is tell Blender where to start and where to end and it works out the animation in between. This is known as ‘tweening’ in other software like Adobe Flash.
9. Go back to frame 1 and press the Record button. It is the red circle near the right of the timeline. If you ever can’t see the whole bar, you can drag it by pressing the roller button.
10. Press ‘G’ to grab and change the location of the cube. When you do this, you will notice a yellow line appearing in the timeline on the frame that you are on. It made a keyframe.
11. In the dopesheet, the keyframe is represented by a diamond. At the moment, this keyframe now contains information about the Location (Loc) of the cube.
12. Press Command or Ctrl-Z to undo and this time, move your cursor into the 3D view panel and press ‘i’ on the keyboard to open the Insert Keyframe menu. Choose ‘LocRotScale’. Notice that a keyframe has now appeared in the timeline and dopesheet again.
13. Move the playhead to frame 25. Note the frame rate in the properties window. Make sure this is set to 25 frames per second. Zoom in on the timeline and dopesheet with roller wheel
14. Move the cube to the other side of the screen with the gizmo and a new keyframe will be added in frame 25 with new LocRotScale information.
15. Scroll between the keyframes to see the animation in action. Go back to frame 1 and press the Play button in the timeline window to play the animation through.
16. The dopesheet is very useful for editing your keyframes after you have created them.
17. Right click on the keyframe in frame 25 to select it. Press ‘g’ to move it to another point in the timeline. Move it to frame 50. This will double the time it takes to animate our cube.
18. Let’s create a simple animation with our cube rotating, moving and getting bigger and smaller. First, delete the keyframes by moving the playhead onto the keyframe, then pressing ‘Alt+i’ in the 3D viewing pane and then selecting delete keyframes. Alternatively, you can right click on the keyframes in the dopesheet and press delete or ‘x’.
19. Next insert a keyframe in frame 1 and frame 250, to make the cube start and end in the same place. Next, move the playhead to frame 125 and animate the rotation by pressing ‘r’ and then ‘180.’ Or you can simply rotate the cube with the gizmo.
20. Next animate the scale, by pressing s and enlarging the cube. Finally, change the position.
21. Play the animation. The changes in fr 125 will play and then the cube will go back to the start
22. Set up your camera by pressing 0 and then ‘shift f’ to enter flymode. Reposition the camera.
23. Next we are going to animate the camera itself. Press 7 and 5 to enter Top Ortho view and zoom out so you can see everything. Select the camera by right-clicking it.
24. Go back into camera fly mode by pressing 0 and then shift+f. Make sure you are recording.
25. Press i and select LocRot to create a keyframe for the camera in frame 1.
26. Go to frame 250 and do the same. We want the camera to end up back where it started.
27. Go to frame 125 and move the camera to a different position.
28. Press play and see what the animation will look like through the camera lens.
29. Next, we will render the movie. In the render panel, change the ‘/tmp’ folder to your desktop. Increase resolution to 100%. Make sure frame rate is 25 fps. Change ‘PNG’ to Quicktime or ‘MPEG’. Change Encoding Preset to ‘H.264’.
30. Click ‘Animation’ under the Render heading and make sure that nobody touches your computer for a while. It will take some time to render 250 frames of animation.