[Bf-committers] Shapes / Shape Keys - confusing terminology

Mike Belanger mikejamesbelanger at gmail.com
Sun Nov 1 07:08:27 CET 2009

As a former Maya user, I can agree with Matt's proposed
convention.  In Maya, they're called 'Blend Shapes" while the keys for  
it are just called keyframes.   In Lightwave, they're
'Morph Targets'; seems like each 3d software has a different name.   
But never has the word 'key' ever been in the name.  Reserving the  
word 'key' for solely keyframes is a good idea, and is more consistent  
with other 3d software.

Mike Belanger ( Mikahl )

On 2009-10-31, at 9:15 PM, joe wrote:

> I think it's ok to leave the code as it is (that'd be a pain for me to
> merge, heh).
> Joe
> On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 5:43 PM, Matt Ebb <matt at mke3.net> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I've noticed some weird terminology creeping into Blender 2.5, which
>> we'd better clear up. Thought I'd clarify things here so people can
>> talk about this with understanding.
>> In pre-blender-2.40, we had the weirdo name 'relative vertex keys',
>> which in the 'new' animation system in 2.40 during Orange, we changed
>> to shapes/shape keys. Part of this was improved in 2.4 but there's
>> still some weirdness, in the code naming and in the UI.
>> Right now in 2.5 we are calling 'instances of mesh vertex locations'
>> as 'Shape Keys'. This is misleading and confusing terminology, since
>> the word key usually refers to a keyframe, i.e. something that you  
>> set
>> while animating, and makes it makes the process more difficult to
>> understand. A mesh 'shape key', known in other apps as a Blend Shape
>> or Morph Target really has little to do with the actual keyframing in
>> time. So I propose this clarified naming convention:
>> * Key (or keyframe)
>> --> A stored state of some data at a single point in time,  
>> represented
>> by the little gold diamond that shows up in the dope sheet.
>> For example: "Add a location key at frame 10" or "Key the influence  
>> of
>> the constraint".
>> * Shape (mesh shape, curve shape, etc)
>> --> A set of vertex locations, as part of a mesh. Known in other apps
>> as a Blend Shape or Morph Target.
>> For example "Make a new mesh shape for the character's smile" or
>> "Delete that shape from the mesh shapes panel"
>> * Shape Key
>> --> A stored state of the influence of a shape, at a single point in
>> time. The Shape key is the actual keyframe, when you've keyframed a
>> mesh shape.
>> For example: "Delete the shape key in the dopesheet at frame 15" or
>> "Bring up the smile strength a bit more and key it"
>> I'm happy to go and fix this in the UI but unfortunately the code
>> still refers to keys I believe, which might be a bit of a pain to
>> change... :/
>> cheers,
>> Matt
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