Smart Magnet Rig panel (SMR)

Main Rigging Tools


Functionality

Interactive panel through which users are able to visually establish the hierarchical structures for the Smart Magnet Rigs and connect Symbol instances in parent-children relationships.
The panel assigns metadata IDs to Symbols and Magnet Targets and enables the use of Smart Magnet Joints, Smart Transform, Clean Up, Smart Transform Point (Inverse) and KineFlex.

As of EDAP Tools v.6 using the FreeStyle Rigging Tool is considered to be the primary rigging method, which should comfortably cover more than 90% of the situations and should be more intuitive and easier to use. 

The Smart Magnet Rig panel, however, remains the main interface where rig representations can be loaded for inspection and repair.

Suggested use

The panel is used to add SMR info (metadata) to the elements of a character build after all Magnet Targets are placed correctly inside parent Symbols.
Once the elements have SMR info, they become 'aware' of their place in the rig hierarchy and all SMR functionality can be fully utilized.

Representations of existing Smart Magnet Rigs can be loaded in the panel for inspection and repair.

Where does it work?

Hierarchical node-based representations of the actual character rigs are created within the panel itself.
Using the tool, SMR info is added by selecting one Symbol instance at a time on the Stage and clicking on its corresponding Node in the Panel.

EDAP Tools shortcut

n/a; open the SMR Panel from Window menu > Other Panels (Extensions in Animate) > Smart Magnet Rig

Interactions

Ctrl-click on a node in the panel while the Move tool is active selects the corresponding Instance on the Stage.
Shift-dragging a node while the Move tool is active moves the whole chain.
Hovering over a node displays its SMR ID and Welded status in the panel's Status Bar.

Buttons, Dropdowns

Full description

SMR panel

Top row:

  • Tools to create and modify Nodes and add SMR info to Symbol instances.
  • Drop-down which allows users to switch between the currently loaded SM Rig representations.
  • Menu with some additional features and rig repair tools.

Real-time feedback checkbox which activates a red border around the main area of the panel. Switches on or off the interactive mode of the panel where it actively checks a few times a second the status of the rig on Stage and the content of the individual elements; then reflects its findings by visualizing the presence or absence of MTs or any other status changes. This is resource intensive and has to only be on while rigging or trouble-shooting rig problems.

Main panel area:
A node-based representation of a Smart Magnet Rig can be created (New rig representation button) or loaded, using the Load rig representation(s) button. The representation can then be modified, renamed or deleted (by dragging individual nodes or the whole structure to the bin in the bottom right corner of the area).

Buttons at the bottom:

  • Load rig representation(s) – scans the current frame in the current timeline for existing Smart Magnet Rigs and loads their representations in the main panel area
  • Remove SMR info from selected symbols – removes the SMR info (metadata) from the selected elements on Stage. After that they are no longer a part of the rig.

Notes

Interactive panel used in the process of Smart Magnet Rigging.
Disable Real-time feedback when finished rigging as it slows down Flash.

Important! Smart Magnet Rig panel is used only to assign SMR info (metadata) to elements. Once this is done the panel is not needed for animation. Posing and animation are assisted by Smart Magnet Joint, Smart Transform, Clean Up and KineFlex which need the metadata to function. Good practice would be to close panel after rigging is completed and only activate it when some modifications to the rigs are necessary.

Compatibility Mode

In some rare cases the Smart Magnet Rig panel will run Stage Updates in Compatibility Mode. This happens only if both your OS X and Flash version are quite dated and don't support any of the optimized methods. Compatibility Mode for Stage Updates allows the full functionality of the panel, but slows down Flash significantly and cursor may blink. Only turn Real-time feedback on when you need the visual feedback during editing of a Smart Magnet Rig. When Stage Updates are disabled the panel can be used normally without any negative effects on performance. If in Compatibility Mode, keep the checkbox disabled at all times when you don't explicitly need this functionality.

Change Master Parent

Functionality

Redefines the parent-child hierarchy in a Smart Magnet Rig by re-assigning Master Parent status to the currently selected Symbol instance and inverting some hierarchical chains when necessary. The symbols which need inverse registration are duplicated while the originals are preserved intact. The Rig info is also duplicated so that the new structure (rig) is completely independent and non-destructive to the original SMR.

Suggested use

In situations when the typical structure of a SMR is not functionally optimal.
For example: Normally a monkey would have its torso as Master Parent. However, in a situation where he needs to swing holding a vine with one of his hands, it will be easier and more logical to make the hand the Master Parent. Change Master Parent works in the current frame only and effectively creates a separate rig.

Where does it work?

Stage, one selected Symbol instance, which is already part of a Smart Magnet Rig

Notes

If at some point in animation you need to go back to the original structure, the best approach would be to either copy the frames that carry that Rig info or use Roll Over Rig Info.


Video demonstrations



All our videos are 1080p. If for some reason full HD is not available here, try watching them on YouTube.

Additional SMR Tools


Smart Magnet Rig panel provides tools for analyzing and repairing existing broken rigs.
These are placed in the More Actions… menu at the top-right of the panel.

Analyze Rig

Functionality

Checks the currently loaded rig for potential problems and displays a log of found inconsistencies in the Output panel for review

Suggested use

If a Smart Magnet Rig is not behaving as intended. For example, elements not snapping to their parental symbols or snapping to the wrong magnet targets.

Where does it work?

Smart Magnet Rig panel, current rig

Notes

A Smart Magnet Rig representation has to be loaded for analysis. A Smart Magnet Rig has to be present at current frame. The information is loaded into the panel by pressing the Load rig representation(s) button at the bottom left of SMR panel.


Edit Magnet Targets

Functionality

Allows the users to inspect and manually change the metadata of individual Magnet Targets (MT)

Suggested use

If for some reason during rigging or later edits MTs have acquired inconsistent metadata across frames.

Example: Arm snaps correctly to shoulder MT at frame 1 (front view of torso), but does not snap to shoulder MT at frame 2 of torso (which is 34).
By selecting the MT at frame 1 and running Edit Magnet Targets you can view the metadata that works, compare to the metadata of the same MT at frame 2 and if different, unify them by using the available fields (copy > paste > apply).
When MT metadata is unified for the selected joint the elements should snap correctly.

If this 'inner' repair operation does not solve all functionality issues, you can move onto the next option – Rolling Over the Rig Information on the 'outside' - at character timeline level.

Where does it work?

Selected Magnet Target (MT) inside an element that belongs to a Smart Magnet Rig


Roll Over Rig Info

Functionality

Allows the transfer (Roll Over) of Smart Magnet Rig info (metadata) from a properly functioning frame in a timeline to keys with broken or missing SMR info.
The users can specify direction (to the left or to the right) or frame range(s) and also can roll over rig info layer by layer or in larger chunks.

Suggested use

Last step in a Smart Magnet Rig repair process or if a character has been converted into a Smart Magnet Rig after some of the animation has already been created.

Example: A broken rig has been fixed using Edit Magnet Targets or un-tagging and re-tagging of elements via the Smart Magnet Rig panel. All these repair works have been done at frame 1 of the current character timeline, but animation for the character already exists.
By applying Roll Over Rig Info to the right the correct Smart Magnet Rig metadata will be transferred to all subsequent keyframes and functionality will be consistent throughout the timeline.

Where does it work?

Timeline or Stage selection. One or multiple selected symbol instances (Stage) or keys (Timeline), placed on one or multiple layers.

Notes

Only works when there is one element per layer. If elements change layers during animation, it is a good idea to roll over the rig information one element at a time. If elements occupy the same layers through the whole timeline the roll over can be safely done in one pass.


SMR Break Apart

Functionality

SMR Break Apart only works, one at a time, with Symbols containing Smart Magnet Rig elements inside.
The command is a feature-rich replacement of the default Break Apart and also circumvents a bug in Animate CC, allowing users to break apart containers of Smart Magnet Rigs and retain all functionality.

Upon execution SMR Break Apart 'punches' temporarily the timeline of the container at 'Current frame' and then releases the outer wrapper to produce an exact replication of this 'Current frame' on the outer timeline.

It also provides options to remove hidden (guided) elements and non-SMR elements.

Suggested use

Character animation. For example when a walk cycle is nested inside a container and we would like to animate out of the cycle into a couple of smaller half-steps, overshoot and stop. A suitable frame to get out of the cycle is chosen, then the outer wrapper is released using SMR Break Apart. The result is that all symbols appear on one layer. These are then distributed to layers and can be animated on the current (outer for the walk cycle) Timeline.

Where does it work?

Stage or Timeline key selection; One symbol at a time

Notes

Important! Animate CC users who use Smart Magnet Rigs must use SMR Break Apart to retain metadata. Due to a bug in Animate CC, its native Break Apart function wipes out metadata during operation. 
Flash CS users can still use default Break Apart without losing SMR functionality.

edit: 5 April 2019. The issue described above was finally fixed in Adobe Animate CC 2019.2, released on 3 April 2019. If you have Animate CC 2019.2 or newer you should be able to use the default Convert to keyframes, Break Apart and drag in the Timeline to create keys without losing SMR functionality.


Video demonstration


All our videos are 1080p. If for some reason full HD is not available here, try watching them on YouTube.

This panel is part of the Flanimate Power Tools package. Download the latest version from the Downloads page.
 
Comments

Hi. I really like your tools. However when i click "show rig at current frame and timeline" it always crashes adobe animate. I can still animate the SMR rig but I can't modify it or trouble shoot because I am unable to display the rig in the SMR panel.

Hi Cullen,

We'd like to investigate your report, but to be able to do so we will need to be able to reproduce the described behaviour (which we can't at the moment).

So here are some additional questions:
1. What is your OS and exact version of Animate? Are you using the latest EDAP Tools v.5.0.0.1?
2. Does the SMR panel crash Animate with one of our sample rigs, which you can download to test the functionality?
3. If crash does not occur with every file, please submit via email or share via a file-hosting service (such as Google Drive) a file which always crashes the program, so that we can test with it.
4. A screen recording or a screen grab of the crash would be useful too.

Thanks!

Hi Sorry for late response. I still have the same issue. Everything works great but animate crashes when I click "show rig(s) at current frame and timeline" in the SMR panel. The answer to your questions are as follows:

1. What is your OS and exact version of Animate? Are you using the latest EDAP Tools v.5.0.0.1?
Windows 10 pro / Animate v 21.0, Using latest version of EDAP 5.0.0.1

2. Does the SMR panel crash Animate with one of our sample rigs, which you can download to test the functionality?
The SMR panel works as intended with the sample rigs. Not sure what I did different as everything else works

3. If crash does not occur with every file, please submit via email or share via a file-hosting service (such as Google Drive) a file which always crashes the program, so that we can test with it.
What email address should I send it to?

4. A screen recording or a screen grab of the crash would be useful too.
I will include a screen recording as well

Thank you very much for this extremely useful crash report and the files, Cullen.
I will move this discussion under Smart Magnet Rig panel as it is not specific to Animate 2020, but happens everywhere with EDAP Tools v.5.

Unfortunately
I use Adobe Animate 2020.0.2
The tools don't work with me ?
Such as :
Smart Magnet Rig

Does the tool work with me "Center-marker"? Why?
Adobe Animate CC 20.0.2

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GfC73ZASNp347tE-fT8F7PTQR7xfm6kE/view?usp=sharing

Hi Nadia,

Thanks for posting a file. It made things very easy for us.
Your rig had many mistakes, that is why it did not work.

I just fixed it and here is the fixed file.

The registration of symbols was not correct.
You had too many magnet targets.
You had hand inside arm and foot inside leg.

To learn how to do these things properly, please, follow our detailed step-by-step tutorial on character rigging.

Also, look into symbol registration: Understanding symbol registration in Flash and Animate

Also, read all the information about Smart Magnet Rigs. You need to know what you are doing.

Finally, download some of the free sample files that we provide to see how they are made.

In conclusion: The tools work just fine in 20.0.2. You were not using them properly, that's all.

Good luck!

Thanks for your kind and prompt reply
I wish you a happy day
Thank you so much

Hello Mr. Nick,
You have no idea how you made my life simpler .
So happy to learn all what you are teaching .
I was using smart magnate on a torso.
Lower part worked well upper part dose not want to work with center marker of the hand .
Made sure registration is correct
What do you think I am doing wrong .
I am using Animat cc 20.

Thank you
Aleme

Hello Aleme,

It's difficult to know what the reason for the mismatch might be.
In such cases when there is the potential of messed up metadata, it's usually best to just remove all SMR info and to start over.

To remove SMR info from symbols, select all elements of your rig on the Stage and press the (X) button at the bottom of SMR panel.
Then open the Library and delete the EDAPT Objects folder.

Then follow the rigging instructions very closely.
You can try FreeStyle Rigging or Full manual. Either should work.

You may look here for some common mistakes that others have made.

It may be a good idea to practice SM Rigging first with something very simple like 3-4 rectangles to get used to how it works.

Hopefully the second attempt will be a success.
Good luck!

Thanks for the quick response . Now it works in the whole body . the only problem I have is on the torso.
all of the symbols with CM and MT connect with upper symbol. By this I mean for example the hand has Center marker and connects with lower arm which contains MT . In the pelvis I put center Market at the bottom and 3 MTs one for left leg , One for the right leg and then on Magnet target for the Torso ( the torso has Center Marker ) .
It works fine , but when I got to Smart rig Panel and try to tag it (the Pelvis ) It gives me error message
(No MMagnet Target found with the 4px etc.)
What could be my mistake Mr. Nick

Thank you ,
Aleme

Hello Aleme,

If you get this message it means that the Registration point of the child element (torso) is not perfectly matched with the Magnet Target in the parent element (pelvis), i.e. it is not within the reach of the tagging/rigging script.
So maybe your registration is off or maybe the element is not positioned correctly.

If you'd like send me your rig via email and I will look into it. It probably is something very small that you are missing.
Just use the email written at the top of contact page.

Alternatively you can post a link to your rig file here, which may be helpful for other people who face similar issues.

ps. It's important to understand that Center Markers are just this - they mark the position of the Registration point. The Reg point itself is the active point, not the CM. So you need to re-register the symbol with, say Set Reg Point To Transform Point, not just move the CM.

It is possible to call "Roll Over Rig Info" function with hotkey?
And, much better, with some stanadart options (like "To the Left, all frames")

I already have 114 animations (symbols) in one file, and now using these tools to assign rig to all animations.
i manually create rig in one animation, and then copy one frame with all layers to end of other animation, then use "Roll Over Rig Info", and after that, delete copied frame.

Hi Sergey,

We're glad you decided to upgrade to Smart Magnet Rigs!
For the moment the only way to call Roll Over Rig Info is via the SMR Panel's drop-down menu. There is no hotkey option as it is a much less frequently used command and we do not want to clog the Commands menu with too many entries.

In v.6 of EDAP Tools, which we will be releasing in a few weeks, we have made Roll Over Rig Info a button in the new SMR Helpers panel, so it will be easier to access with one click, rather than having to go into the panel's drop-down menu.
You will still have to deal with the dialog, but it remembers the last used direction, so it will be two clicks - the RORI button and OK.

can i copy animation of one rigged character to another.….…??????

No.
You can symbol swap if the lengths of symbols are the same. Or you can clone a character and create a variant by editing the symbol content.

What might be going wrong if an MT is not recognizing the corresponding CT? Once I have created the CT (auto-created at the reg point), and create the MT, I cannot lock it to the MT, because I get the error "Smart Magnet Joint:
There are no Center Markers found within the 50 pixel range." The MT will lock to other CTs (or MTs) on other layers. 

I suspect this issue also returns an error when attempting to match the symbols to the node representation.

Hi Aya,

If, as you say, CM in one symbol is located over the Reg Point of that symbol, and a MT in another symbol is placed close this CM, it should snap over it.
It is important to keep in mind that SMR hierarchy uses the Registration Points of symbols and snaps the Reg Point of one symbol to the Magnet Target placed in another symbol.

It is very difficult to guess what the issue might be without seeing the actual file.

If you like, send us the FLA and I will look into it. Use the email address at the top of the contact page. We will also need to know the exact version of Flash/Animate and what OS you are using.

If you don't want to send a file, you can record a video with a screen recording software, showing how you place the Center Markers and the Magnet Targets, and how you get the error messages when attempting to snap or tag with SMR info.

OK. It's possible that I misunderstood the purpose of the CT/reg point/ MT. I will prepare a copyright-safe file with the issue and post the link here as well when I have time.

For anyone else who might be looking for a quick answer, I got around this error temporarily by using freeform Kineflex.

Great to hear, Aya!

In the upcoming v.6, which will be released soon, there will be many UX improvements to the rigging process to make it easier for new adopters.

Good luck with your project!

Hey, where can i find smr helpers panel, i saw it on youtube at someone?

Not released yet, mate.
It will be introduced with EDAPT v.6.
You must have seen a video by some of our beta testers.

hi nick,

somehow I have a hard time to connect my symbol to the SMR node, I follow the instruction and click on the torso symbol then clock on the first blue node , but a pop up with title Set SMR info 6.0.0 keep showing up and it ask to select one symbol on stage which I already did. not sure what is happening, thanks

Hi Stan, pleаse, look into FreeStyle rigging. It should be easier to do. 

Try to work with simple rectangular boxes first before you get into rigging real complex designs. If you make unsuccessful attempts, it is likely that you have messed up SMR info in those instances. You have to clear this metadata by selecting the instances on stage and pressing the button in SMR Helpers panel.

If you still experience difficulties, record a video of the problem and email us a link to the video and your FLA file to look into it.
Hope this helps!