Smart Magnet Rigging process


Before you begin


When work on the tra­di­tion­al char­ac­ter build is com­plet­ed, it can be eas­i­ly upgrad­ed to a Smart Mag­net Rig ™.
A detailed step-by-step tuto­r­i­al how to set up rigs for Flash char­ac­ter ani­ma­tion is avail­able here.

The only require­ment for the flaw­less tran­si­tion to SMR is that all ele­ments should be prop­er­ly reg­is­tered.
Prop­er Sym­bol reg­is­tra­tion is explained in detail in this arti­cle.

Reg­is­tra­tion points of sym­bols should be cor­rect­ly and log­i­cal­ly posi­tioned, i.e. upper arm’s Reg point must be in shoul­der, low­er arm must reg­is­ter in elbow, thigh – in hip joint, low­er leg – in knee and so on.
Reg­is­tra­tion must always facil­i­tate For­ward Kinematics.
If nec­es­sary, Sym­bols can be eas­i­ly re-reg­is­tered via Make Edapt­able in SMR Helpers pan­el or Set Reg Point To Trans­form Point com­mand Ctrl+T.

Rig­ging methods
Users have a choice of three rig­ging methods:

  1. FreeStyle rig­ging, using the FreeStyle Rig­ging tool
  2. Clas­sic (Full man­u­al), using the Smart Mag­net Rig panel
  3. Par­ent­ed Lay­ers to Smart Mag­net Rig (Ani­mate 2019+)*

The first is faster, poten­tial­ly eas­i­er and more intuitive.
The sec­ond requires some prepa­ra­tion and may be more suit­able for designs with many over­lap­ping elements.
Choos­ing one over the oth­er is only a mat­ter of preference.
*The third method is only avail­able in Ani­mate 2019.2 and new­er as it uses the hier­ar­chy of Par­ent­ed Lay­ers (a fea­ture intro­duced in AA 2019) to cre­ate a Smart Mag­net Rig.

Trou­ble-shoot­ing SMR
If you need to trou­ble-shoot Smart Mag­net Rig issues, jump to the bot­tom of the page.



1. FreeStyle SM rigging is a single-pass process


Select the FreeStyle Rig­ging tool KineFlex by click­ing on its icon in the tool­bar or press F4.

Click and drag from one Sym­bol instance on stage to anoth­er. An arrow will be drawn from the cen­ter of the first instance and a box will be drawn around the tar­get instance.
Upon MouseRe­lease the tar­get instance will become a child of the instance you clicked and dragged from.
Both instances will be tagged with meta­da­ta IDs (SMR info) and Mag­net Tar­get and Cen­ter Mark­er will be added auto­mat­i­cal­ly where needed.

Repeat this click-and-drag process until you have linked all ele­ments in your char­ac­ter in a log­i­cal hierarchy.
While rig­ging there will be visu­al indi­ca­tors around ele­ments that already have SMR info.

If you make a mis­take, either Undo or select the element(s) that you would like to un-rig and press the Remove SMR info but­ton in SMR Helpers panel.

Good prac­tice would be to start rig­ging from the pelvis or the tor­so and branch out from there.

When done, test your Smart Mag­net Rig by drag­ging the Mas­ter Par­ent sym­bol away from the oth­ers and while it is select­ed, press 1(for­ward) and then (tilda/~ key to the left of 1/! and below Esc). This should select all chil­dren and assem­ble your char­ac­ter around the Mas­ter Parent.

Video presentation



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



2. Classic SM rigging (Full manual) is a multi-pass process


  1. Place Cen­ter Mark­ers (CM) and Mag­net Tar­gets (MT) inside sym­bols, using Cre­ate Mag­net Tar­get Or Cen­ter Mark­er com­mand Shift+‘(tilda/~ key) and Alt+‘(tilda/~ key). Alter­na­tive­ly you can use the and but­tons in SMR Helpers panel.
  2. Cre­ate a node-based rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the char­ac­ter struc­ture in Smart Mag­net Rig pan­el.
  3. Using the pan­el’s tool, add SMR info (meta­da­ta ID) to each ele­ment of your char­ac­ter. This is done by click­ing to select a Sym­bol instance on stage (hand for exam­ple) and then click­ing on the cor­re­spond­ing node in the SMR pan­el. When tag­ging is suc­cess­ful the node icon changes to show the pres­ence of a tagged MT.
    Impor­tant: Always start rig­ging by first tag­ging the Mas­ter Par­ent, which is visu­al­ized as the only blue node in the panel.

Once the ele­ments have SMR info, they become ‘aware’ of their place in the rig hierarchy.

Test your Smart Mag­net Rig by drag­ging the Mas­ter Par­ent sym­bol (the pelvis in the exam­ple above) away from the oth­ers and while it is select­ed, press 1(for­ward) and then (tilda/~ key to the left of 1/! and below Esc). This should select all chil­dren and assem­ble your char­ac­ter around the Mas­ter Par­ent (rep­re­sent­ed by the blue node in panel).

Video presentation


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



3. Parented Layers to SMR is a single-pass process


  1. Select all ele­ments that belong to your Lay­er Par­ent­ing rig on Stage.
  2. Press SMRize Par­ent­ed but­ton in SMR Helpers or choose SMRize Par­ent­ed from the drop-down menu in Smart Mag­net Rig pan­el.

Upon com­ple­tion you will have a ful­ly-func­tion­al SMR Core. A short report will be dis­played in Out­put. After that you can start using all SMR tools.

Test your Smart Mag­net Rig by drag­ging the Mas­ter Par­ent sym­bol away from the oth­ers and while it is still select­ed, press 1(for­ward) and then (tilda/~ key to the left of 1/! and below Esc). This should select all chil­dren and assem­ble your char­ac­ter around the Mas­ter Parent.

Video presentation


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



Welding of rigged elements


Ele­ment Welder in SMR Helpers pro­vides addi­tion­al flex­i­bil­i­ty, allow­ing ele­ments to be soft or hard-weld­ed to one another.
Such ele­ments either behave as one and can serve as two parts of the same object, or the weld­ing is uni-direc­tion­al and allows the chil­dren to be mod­i­fied independently.

Full details: Ele­ment Welder.


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



Trouble-shooting Smart Magnet Rig issues


If a Smart Mag­net Rig is not behav­ing as expect­ed (for exam­ple if ele­ments snap to wrong Mag­net Tar­gets or do not snap at all) this is most like­ly due to some Rig info mis­match or a mis­take dur­ing the FreeStyle Rig­ging process, where an ele­ment was rigged as a child to the wrong parent.

It is impor­tant to under­stand that Rig info (meta­da­ta) for each pair of ele­ments is writ­ten dur­ing the rig­ging process in two places – the sym­bol instance and the Mag­net Target.

If more than one or two ele­ments behave unpre­dictably, and this hap­pens just after rig­ging, it is usu­al­ly eas­i­est to remove all Rig info, to delete EDAPT objects fold­er from the Library (which will remove all MTs and CMs) and start over. Rig­ging with the FreeStlyle Rig­ging tool will only take a few moments.

If the prob­lem is noticed after some amount of ani­ma­tion has already been pro­duced with a faulty rig, it is usu­al­ly worth­while to trou­ble-shoot. The rig can be fixed in one Keyframe and then this healthy Rig info can be Rolled Over to the left and to the right, using Roll Over Rig Info.

Smart Mag­net Rig panel
Load­ing the rig in Smart Mag­net Rig pan­el will show the node rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the hier­ar­chy and will reveal any poten­tial anom­aly. If an ele­ment was attached to the wrong par­ent this will become very obvi­ous at a glance.

Remove SMR info
Press­ing the ded­i­cat­ed but­ton in SMR Helpers or Smart Mag­net Rig pan­els will remove all meta­da­ta from the select­ed ele­ments or Mag­net Tar­gets, so that you can rig them again.

Inspect Mag­net Targets
Press­ing the ded­i­cat­ed but­ton in SMR Helpers or choos­ing Edit Mag­net Tar­gets from the Smart Mag­net Rig pan­el drop-down menu will allow inspec­tion and edit­ing of the meta­da­ta writ­ten in the select­ed MT.

Roll Over Rig Info (RORI)
Press­ing the ded­i­cat­ed but­ton in SMR Helpers or choos­ing Roll Over Rig Info from the Smart Mag­net Rig pan­el drop-down menu will allow the trans­fer (Roll Over) of Smart Mag­net Rig info (meta­da­ta) from a prop­er­ly func­tion­ing frame in the time­line to keys with bro­ken or miss­ing SMR info in a user-spec­i­fied direction.

Video presentations





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

Con­tin­ue with the next arti­cle in the series – SMR For­ward Kine­mat­ics (FK).


 
Comments

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply