At last a serious replacement for XSI’s Animation Mixer! Just like the Animation Mixer, Maya’s Time Editor allows the user to mix several different animations in order to produce one final animations. For example if you animated a character running, then the same character walking, then the same character jumping in the air to do some acrobatics, you can put these 3 animation clips on the Time Editor’s timeline and add transitions between these 3 clips. It’s just like a video editing program such as Premiere.
Since the year 2000, XSI had the best animation mixer in the industry. I was a big fan of it. It was very complete and was a must have tool in production, especially in 3d animated TV series, were you re-use a lot of animations from previous episodes, and were you maintain an animation bank filled with animation clips such as walk cycles, run cycles and other often-used animations like jumps, unseathing weapons, etc. Unfortunately, XSI is not developped since 2015. But some of the XSI developpers are now part of the Maya team.
The tool is fairly new as it appeared in Maya 2017. It aims to replace Trax. Why did Autodesk develop a second animation mixer on top of Trax? Why not upgrading Trax instead of adding another tool? Because of the core of trax could never do what the Time Editor has to offer. So it was easier for Autodesk to develop an entirely new tool. But they kept Trax in Maya, for backwards compatibility, and for the functionality that previous users needed with Trax.
The Time Editor works very well, and in some ways, it works better than the animation mixer for sure. One of the big advantage of the Time Editor is that it lets you re-use your animations in the way and the order you choose. And if you need some adjustments, you can modify the original keyframes that are included in these animation clips. So you work in a non linear and non destructive way. This in fact, was XSI’s slogan.
Here’s a Youtube video introducing the Time Editor :