Jump to Smart Magnet Rigs FAQ section
Q: What are EDAP Tools?
A: Electric Dog Flanimate Power Tools, EDAP Tools or just EDAPT is a free extension package for Flash / Animate which addresses some of the program's most severe deficiencies when used as an environment for character animation.
Q: Can I use EDAP Tools to produce professional commercial animation?
A: Absolutely! EDAP Tools are designed to be used mostly by animation professionals.
Q: I have basic knowledge of Flash / Animate, but now want to venture into character animation. I have seen a lot of contradicting information about this online. How should I organize my files?
A: There are different ways of achieving similar results in Flash. Unfortunately there is also a lot of incompetent advice and misleading information floating around.
We have tried to describe the process in its entirety in this foundational article.
Q: What are Smart Magnet Rigs?
A: Smart Magnet Rigs ™ are a powerful enhancement of the Classic Tween workflow in Flash.
It is very easy to turn your existing Flash character builds into Smart Magnet Rigs. Doing so gives you access to powerful and refined tools such as Smart Transform, KineFlex and Smart Magnet Joint.
Here is a link to our overview of Smart Magnet Rigs and several video demonstrations which will get you going.
Q: What is KineFlex?
A: KineFlex is our revolutionary on-the-fly skeletal system which uses Smart Magnet Rig metadata to allow an animator-friendly implementation of a Forward Kinematic system, with bones that exist only during the current transformation and do not impose any rigidity or structural changes to the Classic Tween approach.
Q: How to make my own fully edaptable character?
A: The best place to start would be our step-by-step guide to character rigging and to download KineFox and Smart Magnet Bot and study how they are put together.
You should also read the articles on Classic Tween workflow and Smart Magnet Rigs.
Q: What does 'edaptable' mean?
A: 'Edaptable' means that it is ready to be turned into a Smart Magnet Rig ™ with properly positioned Reg points and functional joints to take full advantage of our refined posing and animation tools such as KineFlex, Smart Transform, Smart Magnet Joint, Clean Up and Smart Graphic Control.
Q: What does each of the tools do?
A: There are help entries with full description and video demonstrations for each of the tools at this link.
Q: What are the EDAPT Shortcuts?
A: EDAPT Shortcuts are a part of the EDAP Tools package. They are specifically optimized for animators and animation designers.
Q: Can I become a contributor?
A: If you have an idea for a tutorial article or an EDAP Tools story, we'd love to hear from you.
If you already have a tutorial video showing how you use EDAP Tools in your work, we'd love to see it and share it with our users.
We also like to see animations that our users have made with EDAP Tools.
Send us a message!
Q: I have ideas for new tools. Are you interested?
A: Yes, we are always interested to hear what our users see as a common deficiency in Animate.
The general requirement for a new tool idea to be taken into consideration is that it should solve a common, reoccurring and broad enough problem which either slows down production or is impossible to solve with the default tools.
If you feel that your idea matches these criteria, send us an email.
Q: I found a bug. How should I report it?
A: Please note, that the EDAP Tools team can support with bug fixes only the latest release.
Make sure the bug you have discovered appears in the latest release which is currently available for download.
If so, then file a bug report here, describing all the steps necessary to reproduce it.
Smart Magnet Rigs FAQ
Q: Can I open and work on a file containing Smart Magnet Rigs on a computer that does not have EDAP Tools installed?
Q: Will I be able to continue using the default Flash / Animate tools – Move (V-tool) and Free Transform (Q-tool) – to modify my symbols after I convert my traditional character build to a Smart Magnet Rig?
A: Yes. The transition from a standard build to SM Rig only adds flexibility and hierarchical 'awareness' to the symbols belonging to a rig without altering their properties and behavior when modified with Flash's / Animate's native tools. You gain more tools and methods of control without losing any.
Q: How to create a Smart Magnet Rig?
A: Smart Magnet Rigs can be created in one of three ways:
- Automatically, using the dedicated button in the SMR panel
- Manually by creating a Node-based representation in the SMR panel and tagging each of the Symbol instances of the character build with SMR info (metadata)
- Semi-automatically by using the KineFlex tool in rigging mode [F4+mousedrag]
Q: Can I have more than one SM Rig per character?
A: Yes, you can have multiple rigs for one character, if you need to have different hierarchy to serve specific needs. SMR tools work in the current Keyframe, so all you need to make sure is that the elements in the keys belong to the same SM Rig.
Q: Can I have more than one SM Rig at any given Keyframe?
A: You can have multiple SM Rigs in the same Keyframe. They are usually rigs of different characters.
Q: How to transfer a SM Rig from one file to another?
A: The easiest way is to copy the frames, layers or Symbol instances that contain the elements of a rigged character.
Q: I made a mistake while rigging. How to edit my SM Rig?
A: You can edit your SM Rig either by using the KineFlex tool in rigging mode [F4+mousedrag] or via the SMR panel. The SMR panel provides tools for removing SMR info, deleting Nodes, editing Magnet Targets and transferring SMR info from one Symbol instance to another (Roll Over Rig Info or RORI).
Q: My SM Rig is broken. How to repair it?
A: Use the SMR panel's rig repair tools, located in the drop-down menu at its top-right corner.
Q: What are the SMR tools?
A: The SMR tools are parts of EDAP Tools which allow you to create, modify and utilize Smart Magnet Rigs. The SMR commands all have (SMR) at the end of their name in your Commands menu. Smart Magnet Rig panel, KineFlex and Convert To Keyframe Advanced are also SMR tools.
Q: What are the benefits of Smart Magnet Rigs over the other available rigging systems in Flash / Animate – Bones and Layer parenting?
A: Smart Magnet Rigs integrate seamlessly and fit in with all Classic Tween-based workflows and good practices. SM Rigs assist posing and provide unparalleled flexibility of forward and inverse chain selections, soft and hard rotations, quick clean up and magnetic joints. None of these features imposes any rigidity or requires any special changes in the established for decades good practices. There are only two requirements: Symbols have to be properly registered at joints and should contain Magnet Targets.
Contrary to this Animate's Bones are implemented in a way that requires one Armature layer per character, which means that it is impossible to have separate Keyframes for different elements, rather each key represents a 'pose'. These layers don't allow Classic Tweens and so on. In reality this implementation has proven to be so ineffective that no studio has ever found it of any practical value.
Animate's Layer parenting is still (2019) in its infancy and not fully functional. Many needed features such as copying and pasting parented frames are not available and the way transformations are inherited is sometimes illogical or confusing. It uses Classic Tweens, but again lacks certain flexibility to quickly move elements from one layer to another and so on.
Layer parenting is only available in Animate CC 2019 and newer, while KineFlex and all the others SMR tools are available in all versions of Flash since Flash 8 (incl.) All users who are unwilling or unable for some reason to upgrade to Animate CC, but have copies of Flash CS can enjoy the power and flexibility of Smart Magnet Rigs.
Q: What is an MT?
A: MT or Magnet Target is a fully-transparent (invisible), automatically generated object which indicates the point where a child symbol should snap to magnetically when needed. This is usually a joint. For example the wrist would contain an MT. The hand element will snap to it.
Q: How to create a Magnet Target?
A: Magnet Targets are created by the Create Magnet Target Or Center Marker command.
Q: How to position a Magnet Target properly?
A: When you are inside a parent symbol and you need to position an MT to match the position of child's Registration Point, the best practice is to have a Center Marker already present inside that child symbol. Then move the MT close to the CM and press [~]. Smart Magnet Joint will detect that an MT is selected and will snap it to the location of the CM in the child symbol.
Q: How to edit a Magnet Target?
A: You can check, delete, copy and re-write the SMR info of each Magnet Target by using Edit Magnet Targets, located in the drop-down menu at the top-right of the SMR panel.
You can also enter the MT symbol and add notes to frames inside the symbol if you need to distinguish one MT from another in the case when particular design requires MTs to be very close to one another.
Q: Can I have more than one Magnet Target in a symbol?
A: You can have as many MTs as needed by your design.
Q: Can I tween a Magnet Target?
A: Yes. You can tween MTs like any other symbol. If you have more than one MT in the symbol you will need to separate the ones than need tweening so that you have one MT per layer. Make sure all your MT layers are called MagnetTargets, otherwise the MTs will not work.
Q: How do magnet joints work?
A: The code looks for the position of the Magnet Target in the parent symbol and repositions the child symbol so that its Registration point matches the location of the MT.
Q: My MT does not work. How to fix it?
A: Magnet Targets must always be on a layer called MagnetTargets. EDAP Tools' code only looks for MTs on layers with this name. If your MT does not work, simply rename its layer to MagnetTargets
Q: What is a CM?
A: CM or Center Marker is a fully-transparent (invisible), automatically generated object which indicates the Registration Point of a symbol. Its only purpose is to allow users to see this Reg Point from inside other symbols, so that they can position Magnet Targets correctly.
Q: How to create a Center Marker?
A: Center Markers are created and automatically positioned over the Registration Point by the Create Magnet Target Or Center Marker command.
Q: If I delete the Center Marker, will the Smart Magnet rig still work?
A: Yes. Center Markers only assist the process of SM Rig creation, but are not required for anything else.
Q: What is a Node?
A: A Node in the SMR panel is a graphic representation of a single Symbol instance, usually an individual part in a Smart Magnet Rig. For example there will be 3 connected Nodes representing the 3 parts of the upper limb – upper arm, lower arm and hand.
Q: How to create a Node?
A: Nodes are created by dragging from an existing Node using the Create nodes tool in the SMR Panel (top-left corner). The only exception is the blue Node, representing the Master Parent which is created by pressing the Create New Rig button (bottom-left).
Q: How to delete a Node?
A: Nodes are deleted by dragging and dropping them over the Bin icon at the bottom-right corner of SMR Panel's main area. To move use the Move nodes tool (second tool at the top).
Q: How to move a Node?
A: To move Nodes use the Move nodes tool (second tool at the top).
Q: Why one of the Nodes is always blue?
A: The blue node represents the Master Parent of the rig.
Q: What is SMR info?
A: SMR info is metadata or invisible to the user information written into Symbol instances. This metadata is used by the SMR tools to determine the place of any given element in the rig hierarchy. When this is known, elements can magnetically snap to each other or can be selected and modified in logical groups.
Q: How to write SMR info?
A: SMR info is usually written when one Symbol instance is selected on the Stage and its Node representation in the SMR panel is clicked. It can also be written when an element is dropped over a suitable target element while using Rigging mode of the KineFlex tool.
Q: How to delete SMR info?
A: SMR info can be deleted by clicking the Remove SMR info button (third one at the bottom) in the SMR panel. It can also be wiped out if you change the symbol type in Properties panel, for example from Graphic to Movieclip or vice versa.
One undesired way of deleting SMR info is by using the default Convert To Keyframes function in Animate CC. This is a bug that has persisted for many years now. (Workaround is described here.)
Q: How to transfer SMR info?
A: SMR info of Symbol instances can be transferred by using Roll Over Rig Info, located at the drop-down menu at the top-right of the SMR panel.
Q: What is RORI?
A: RORI stands for Roll Over Rig Info. This is one of the rig repair tools, found in the drop-down menu at the top-right of the SMR panel.
Q: Can I view the SMR info of a selected Symbol instance?
A: No. Metadata is invisible to the user, but it can be deleted or re-written when necessary by using the various tools in the SMR panel.
Q: What is a Master Parent?
A: Master Parent is the highest ranking parent in the hierarchy, represented by a blue Node in the SMR panel. It is the element from which all other elements branch out.
Q: How to change the Master Parent?
A: You can change the Master Parent by selecting another Symbol instance in the rig and choosing Change Master Parent from SMR panel's drop-down menu (upper-right).
Q: What is a SMR Chain?
A: A SMR chain is any group of Symbol instances which belong to the same SM Rig and are in parent-children relationship. There is always a start of the chain – the highest ranking parent in the group – and an end to it – the lowest ranking child. For example: upper arm, lower arm and hand are a SMR Chain, where upper arm has the highest rank and the hand has the lowest.
Q: How to create a SMR Chain?
A: SMR Chains are created during the rigging process. A SM Rig usually contains multiple chains.
Q: How to select a SMR Chain?
A: Click on a Symbol instance which is a part of a SMR chain and press 1 to select all children down the chain. Press Shift+1 to select up the chain.
Q: How to edit a SMR Chain?
A: SMR chains can be edited by removing and reassigning SMR info via the SMR panel or using the KineFlex tool in Rigging mode [F4+mousedrag]