Two hotkeys today that come standard with Maya straight out of the box. Sort of. More on that later.
K: The Time Dragger Tool
Normally to scrub you have to drag inside the timeline, but if you hold down K, the Time Dragger Tool is activated. With K held you can left-mouse-drag left and right in any panel to scrub through your animation.
If you’re doing this in a viewport, you’ll be restricted by the range that you’ve set, but if you K+left-mouse-drag in the graph editor, you can scrub outside of the range, which can be very handy for checking animation without constantly resetting your time slider.
I: The Insert Key Tool (Maya 2016 and Earlier)
Sometimes adding keys with the S key can put some kinks in your curves as Maya tries to insert a key with your default tangent types. If you want to add a key and preserve your curve exactly as it is, select the curve in the graph editor and hold down I to activate the Insert Key Tool. With I held, middle-mouse-drag over your curve. You will see a yellow marker appear, and when you release the middle-mouse-button a new key will be placed without changing the current animation.
Workaround for Insert Key Tool in Maya 2017:For
For some reason, in Maya 2017 there is a new default hotkey for I in the graph editor for the command “Graph Editor Display All Tangents.” Even after I deleted this key, I couldn’t make I work the way it had in previous versions. The only workaround I could find was to assign a new hotkey to this function.
To do this, open your Hotkey Editor and Edit Hotkeys For: Other Items. Open the tools category.
Scroll down to find Insert Key Tool Activate, and Insert Key Tool Deactivate. Choose something other than I and assign it to these commands. I chose M.
In the small dropdown, make sure that Insert Key Tool Activate is “on press” and Insert Key Tool Deactivate is “on release.”
Now the Insert Key Tool will work as it has in previous versions, only with the new hotkey.