Need a Ninja Level F-curve/timeline tutorial


You ever notice that there are things you should know really, really well, but actually just don’t? One of those for me is the timeline and f-curve editor. I can fumble through it but I want to master it. Especially because I’ve got a big camera animation job coming up, and I’d like to raise my game here a bit.

I’m trying to find a good explanation of the functions, presented in a logical way - not just a this-does-this listing as in the help.

I looked for 3DKiwi’s old R10 timeline videos, but they seem to be offline. Anyone know of another resource?

Many thanks,



Yes. There are quite a few things actually. And I know nobody wants to hear this again but ever since Maxon dumped the book and tutorials I’m really struggling with learning new features. There are things introduced in 10.5 I’m still not up to speed on let alone v12. The help menu is good but you need to know what you’re looking for and is written very clinically. Cinema may be the coolest software in the world but I sometimes feel as if I’d never even know it. Blogs and private sites are my best source of info these days. That seems ludicrous for a piece of software as costly and complex as Cinema.


3DKiwi’s tute is still there:

I’m downloading it now as I type.



JTalbotski - Thanks. It wasn’t working from the link supplied by google. It redirected to an R12 video.

DaveD - I’m also a little frustrated with the new learning/reference paradigm. The help is great when I need a quick answer. But I miss the cookbook approach of the old manuals and quickstart guides. Cineversity is a great tool, but I can’t justify the cost for the way I would use it. (Please don’t anyone take this as an invitation to restart the Cineversity debate - it’s been done to death.)




The registration process for that site is insanely frustrating. You have to ask a “challenge question” about a new feature in Cinema. The whole point of signing up to a site like that is to learn those things.


Wow, to actually sign up a site you have to answer a question about a “New” feature of an application you might not even own, but interested in owning ? That sounds just plain stupid if you ask me.


Stupid? Not by a longshot… mildly inconvenient at best. It’s an extremely common part of the registration process for any “good” community site. If you should be complaining about anything, it’s the fact that spamming has gotten so bad administrators have to do things like that to protect their site. It’s not like the question requires someone to own the latest version of c4d, or any version for that matter… just be mildly interested in it enough to take 5 seconds to find the answer if it isn’t already known by the prospective registrant.



Er, sorry chaps, but please take your C4D Cafe rants/defenses elsewhere before I come over there and lock your gimbals!



No other website I have ever registered on has required sourcing down some ‘new’ fact about a program in order to gain access to a forum based website and I’ve registered on many forums over the past 11 years of using the internet, including those dedicated to music and computer graphic based applications. None of them have required the visitor to go and hunt down information to gain access. It doesn’t encourage the user to go through that hassle. 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes searching for information is simply a chore, they will find another website without these restrictions to get their questions answered. That’s no benefit to the c4d based website in building a community beyond what it is.

Anyway, back to the topic of the thread.

Hi Will, if you want to learn more about the timeline in Cinema 4D, there is a very useful video tutorial on using it. This covers the motion system of the timeline which will probably help with some aspects of the work you do. It’s includes information on using F-Curve/Timeline.

For more video’s you can visit this section of my blog.


I’m with you on this Will, I’ve concentrated a lot on one discipline and only touched the surface of others. Would love to have time to master it…

I’ve been learning on the job per se, which works well but I always get the feeling I’m not using the timeline to it’s full potential, especially the motion system and NLA - Kai’s vid looks good scott



what exactly about the Timeline/F-Curve do you want to/need to know?

Cineversity is doing 30 for 30 days right now, I’m not so sure if there’s a lot on Timeline stuff, but It’s a low low price that makes it much more affordable presently.


The thing with 3D is that there are just so many disciplines to master. I only recently got over my mental block with UVing. Animation also has it’s own sub disciplines, like good camera practice, character animation, procedural animation… the list goes on and on.

But you’re right. The timeline for me is place I should understand and do on the surface, but would love to know much more about.

3D Kiwi is a great tutor, even more since his tutorials that are in depth are essentially free. I do suggest donating though.


I made a tutorial a good while back that covers some basics like looping curves cleanly, using snapshots and some other common timeline functions. Rather than an overview of the tools it focuses on some typical things you do very often when animating. I recorded it in 10.5 but it’s all still valid in R12.

You’ll find it on the Cafe ; )



There is certain lack of information in that department, but surely you can find what you are interested in for some other application out there? F-curves are de facto a standard so any Softimage, Max, Maya tut can help you out (?)



I don’t think you’re alone.

I also get lost with F-Curves in 3D too, while the concept in 2D makes far more sense to me, though once I start dealing with XYZ space it never quite behaves I would expect.

I make do with Camera rigs that are freely available (CSTools for one), several plugins that do a good enough job with motion and occasionally dive into Xpresso if I need to fine tune. Although I can do a little fine tuning with the curves if absolutely necessary, I often go in their and act very cautiously


Personally, if you’re specifically talking about cameras I think you can get better results more easily by using Aims and Up Vectors and keyframing their position rather than trying to deal with the rotation of the camera itself.

Another thing I’ve noticed in animation tutorials by people like Jason Ryan and Keith Lango, who do feature quality character animation, is that they actually spend very little time in the FCurve editor, instead they generally just fix things visually in the viewport by adding more keys. Having said that there are other animators who do work with curves a lot, so it really comes down to what works for you.



I’ve never run across someone who can complain about so many things with such voracity.

To the OP, do you have any specific questions maybe some of us here can help you with? If not, there are several Cineversity tutorials if you search ‘Timeline’ or ‘F-Curve’. The $30 for 30 deal would be worth getting into just to check those out.


Everytime I try to log into that site somethings wrong–I give up.

EDIT–contacted 3DKIWI–all is well. Sorry for diverting the conversation.


Re C4D Cafe registration.

Yawn. Scott M bleating again. Nothing new.

We make no apology for having a skill question that people must answer to join the cafe. We get around 100 registrations every day and the skill question helps weed out spammers and those with no interest in Cinema 4D from joining. I change the question regularly. The question is currently “What is the name of the company that makes Cinema 4D?”. Hardly rocket science to answer for anyone interested in Cinema 4D. The scripting question that we had before, sure a little bit harder to answer but tough, if it takes someone a few minutes to figure out the answer then that’s a small price to pay. It certainly puts the spammers off joining.

I am happy to work with anyone having issues in joining. Send me a pm. In addition to the skill question which is very common these days at forums we have automated new member checking against several spam blacklists. If your email address or IP number is listed then you won’t be able to join. Sadly spamming and hacking is a big issue for us and we are forced to take draconian measures to keep undesirables out.



Trying to keep out the nubs huh? Can’t say I blame you either.