Magnet Snapping has been a defining feature of Smart Magnet Rigs since the inception of our system in 2012.
The elements were ‘smart’, because they knew where their place in the hierarchy was and the joints were ‘magnetic’, because they could reassemble at the press of a button.
Initially there was only one kind of Magnet Snapping, where a child element would snap to its parent.
But as the SMR system was maturing, many other types of Magnet Snapping were introduced to cover all possible situations that we could think of.
Now, at the end of 2020, there are so many variations, that Magnet Snapping deserves a special article which can serve as a quick reference.
It is possible that even long-term EDAP Tools users are unfamiliar with all the options and thus are not taking full advantage of the snapping possibilities.
Magnet Snapping with Smart Magnet Joint
No rigging is necessary.
Elements have no hierarchy and snapping occurs based on proximity.
Just select one symbol instance on Stage and execute Smart Magnet Joint ‘.
If the command finds a Magnet Target inside another symbol instance within the (set) 50 pixel range of the selected instance’s Registration point, it will snap the selected over this Magnet Target.
If there are multiple instances with MTs, it will snap to the nearest one.
When elements had been rigged with the FreeStyle Rigging Tool or via the Smart Magnet Rig panel all of them possess SMR info and belong to a Smart Magnet Rig.
In this case each element’s position in the rig hierarchy is clearly defined and the initial selection can include multiple instances.
There is no range as the destination is defined by the child-parent hierarchy.
Executing Smart Magnet Joint without modifiers ‘ will snap all selected elements to their parents.
Inverse snapping with Smart Magnet Joint is possible via the Ctrl modifier Ctrl+‘.
All elements in the initial selection must belong to the same hierarchical chain.
Welded elements not only stay in Hard KineFlex Rotation with their parent, but also their relative rotation in relation to their parent is recorded at the moment of welding, and stored within their SMR info.
If a welded element is moved away from its parent, selecting it and executing Smart Magnet Joint ‘ will snap it back into position. If the welded element was also rotated a second press of the Smart Magnet Joint shortcut ‘ will restore its relative rotation in relation to its parent.
If the welded element is in place, i.e. its Registration Point is over the Magnet Target of its parent element, the first press of the Smart Magnet Joint shortcut will restore its relative rotation.
This two-step magnet functionality covers the full range of usage scenarios – moving into position without rotation and also restoring rotation if desired.
Classic (Full manual) Smart Magnet Rigging requires users to put Magnet Targets inside each parent element manually, by entering the symbols in place and positioning the MT over the Registration Point of the child symbol.
Center Markers placed in child symbols serve as a visual aid, which, when layers are in Outline mode, allows the user to see the location of the child’s Registration Point from within the parent symbol.
When a Magnet Target is selected, Smart Magnet Joint can be used to precisely snap the MT over a Center Marker in another symbol. Snapping will work within the 50 pixel range (described earlier), so the user needs to move the MT close to the desired Center Marker and press the Smart Magnet Joint shortcut ‘.
SMR IK Controllers
SMR IK Controllers serve as handles or pins for IK posing with KineFlex. Controllers reside on their own layer and often need to be snapped back to their controlled elements. Just like any other element of a Smart Magnet Rig, IK Controllers can snap to their respective Magnet Targets.
When one or more SMR IK Controllers are selected, upon executing Smart Magnet Joint ‘ they will snap to their controlled elements. The same can also be achieved if nothing is selected on Stage and the Smart Magnet Joint shortcut ‘ is pressed.
Another way of snapping SMR IK Controllers is to hide and show them by invoking Create And Manage IK Objects twice F1. In many situations this proves to be very practical, because the user does not need to give consideration to what is selected on Stage. The F1 shortcut is very easy to find and very handy.
Snapping to IK Effectors
SMJ and Move
Inverse snapping when one IK Effector is selected is also possible. This is done by executing Smart Magnet Joint in Inverse mode with the Ctrl modifier. Pressing Ctrl+‘ when one Effector is selected on the Stage will assemble magnetically the whole character rig, snapping it to this selected Effector.
Please note: Using this method of snapping the rig to an Effector will also snap all body parts to their Magnet Targets. An completely non-destructive alternative of this is Move in SMR Helpers panel.
Move in SMR Helpers panel is a completely non-destructive alternative to the Snap to Effector Smart Magnet Joint function described above.
Initial selection can be one SMR Effector or any of the two elements of an IK Chain. (The latter can be very useful in cases when the Effectors are used as pins and their layer is locked to prevent accidentally moving them.)
Upon pressing the button, the whole rig will be moved to the Effector, without any internal snapping among rig elements. This means that if you want to preserve some offsets in the pose, you should use this option.
Solve IK Chains
Solve in SMR Helpers panel is used alongside Move or Inverse Snapping. The purpose of this function is to solve all other IK Chains after a Move.
Initial selection has to be a RIK element, i.e. an element on the opposite side of the IK Effector. If the Master Parent is selected all IK Chains will be solved.
Below is an example: We need to pull the character into a standing position. It is difficult to know the exact moment to stop pulling. We want the legs to stretch fully, but it is very likely that the feet will lift off the ground. We then select the Effector and press the Move button in SMR Helpers. The whole character is snapped back to the Effector with perfectly stretched legs.
One of the legs, however, is too stretched and the foot now ‘digs’ into the ground. To bring that foot back into its original position we use Solve in SMR Helpers. With one RIK element selected (the torso in this case) we press the Move/Solve button and the IK Chain is solved. We now have our standing pose and the feet are in exactly the same positions as the original pose that we started with.
Snapping of Transformation Points
Smart Transform Point CW / CCW
Snapping of the Transformation Point of any arbitrary group of selected elements can be very useful for all unusual situations that may not be covered by the rich functionality of a Smart Magnet Rig.
Smart Transform Point CW and Smart Transform Point CCW allow easy and intuitive way to quickly move the Transformation Point of a bunch of symbols either over one of the Registrations Points or, if the symbols are part of a Smart Magnet Rig, over any of the Magnet Targets inside the elements.
Multiple presses of 3, 2 or Alt+3, Alt+2 will move the Transformation Point incrementally in clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.
Make Edaptable – mode 2
Make Edaptable in SMR Helpers panel offers a very quick way to snap all Transformation Points over the Registration Points of their respective symbols in the whole timeline.
This can be used to fix Classic Tweens, broken due to accidentally moved Transformation Points in one of the Keyframes.
It also makes symbols Edaptable.
The following video demonstrates the various magnet snapping methods in detail.