Now that the basics have been covered, I’m going to start showing some things I do to speed up my personal workflow, starting with some hotkeys that are very useful when using the graph editor.
I really dislike going up to the to toolbar at the top of the graph editor every time I want to change a tangent type. Fortunately, the buttons I use most can be assigned to hotkeys for very quick changes.
Open the hotkey editor, and from the drop down boxes next to “Edit Hotkeys For:” select “Editors” and “Graph Editor.”
If you scroll to the bottom you can find tangent types. I set mine up so Alt+1 is Tangent Spline, Alt+2 is Tangent Linear, Alt+3 is Tangent Flat, and Alt+4 is Tangent Auto. I rarely use other tangent types, so these four hotkeys work for me 99% of the time.
One other thing I do all the time is break and unify my tangents. To do this with a hotkey, I use a script from Aaron Koressel. Specifically, at the bottom of his Workflow Scripts page, you can find a script named ackToggleTangentType.
Download this script to your maya scripts folder, rehash so you don’t have to close and re-open.
Back in your hotkey editor, go to the Runtime Command Editor and make a new runtime command. Give it a name, set the language to Mel, and give it the command “ackToggleTangentType()”
Save Runtime Command and assign it a hotkey under Edit Hotkeys For: Custom Scripts. I use Alt+`, which is the ~ key just to the left of the 1 key. Now this hotkey will toggle your tangents between broken and unified. If you use weighted tangents like I do, this will also free your tangent weights. I used to have a separate hotkey to free tangent weights, but a double-tap of this one will free and re-unify the tangents, so now I just use this.
Hopefully that’s helpful. With a little practice, this will help you alter your keys with much more speed and much less distraction than going to the toolbar every time you want to make a change.